The Transparent Self to Come?

Scott Preston’s newest piece, The Seer, is worth reading. He makes an argument for what is needed next for humanity, what one might think of as getting off the Wheel of Karma. But I can’t help considering about the messy human details, in this moment of societal change and crisis. The great thinkers like Jean Gebser talk of integral consciousness in one way while most people experience the situation in entirely different terms. That is why I’m glad Preston brought in what is far less respectable (and far more popular) like Carlos Castaneda and the Seth Material.

As anyone should know, we aren’t discussing mere philosophy here for it touches upon human experience and social reality. I sense much of what is potentially involved, even as it is hard to put one’s finger on it. The challenge we are confronted with is far more disconcerting than we typically are able and willing to acknowledge, assuming we can even begin to comprehend what we are facing and what is emerging. How we get to the integral is the difficult part. Preston explains well the issue of making the ego/emissary transparent — as the Seth Material put it, “true transparency is not the ability to see through, but to move through”. That is a good way of putting it.

I appreciate his explanation of Satan (the egoic-demiurge) as the ape of God, what Iain McGilchrist calls usurpation. This reminds me of the mimicry of the Trickster archetype and its relation to the co-optation of the reactionary mind (see Corey Robin). A different kind of example of this is that of the folkloric Men in Black, as described by John Keel. It makes me wonder about what such things represent in human reality. This was on my mind because of another discussion I was having in a different post, Normal, from rauldukeblog’s The Violent Ink. The topic had to do with present mass hysteria and, as I’m wont to do, I threw out my own idiosyncratic context. Climate change came up and so I was trying to explain what makes this moment of crisis different than the past.

There is the scientific quality to it. Modern science created climate change through technological innovation and industrialization. And now science warns us about it. But it usually isn’t like a war, famine, or plague that hits a population in an undeniable way — not for most of us, not yet. That is the complexifying change in the scientific worldview we now inhabit and it is why the anxiety is so amorphous, in away profoundly different than before. To come to terms with climate change, something within human nature itself would have to shift. If we are to survive it while maintaining civilization, we will likely have to be as dramatically transformed as were bicameral humans during the collapse of the Bronze Age Civilizations. We won’t come through this unscathed and unchanged.

In speaking of the scientific or pseudo-scientific, there is the phenomenon of UFOs and contact experience. I pointed out that there has been a shift in official military policy toward reporting of UFO sightings, which gets one wondering about motives and also gets one thinking about why now. UFOs and aliens express that free-floating sense of vague anxiety about the unknown, specifically in a modern framework. It’s almost irrelevant what UFOs really are or aren’t. And no doubt, as in the past, various governments will attempt to use UFO reports to manipulate populations, to obfuscate what they wish to keep hidden, or whatever else. The relevant point here is what UFOs symbolize in the human psyche and why they gain so much attention during periods of wide scale uncertainty and stress. The UFO cults that have appeared over the past few generations are maybe akin to the cults like Jesus worship that arose in the Axial Age. Besides Jung, it might be helpful to bring in Jacques Vallee’s even more fascinating view. A new mythos is forming.

I’m not sure what it all adds up to. And my crystal ball is no less cloudy than anyone else’s. It just feels different in that we aren’t only facing crisis and catastrophe. It feels like a far more pivotal point, a fork in the path. During what is called the General Crisis, there was much change going on and it did help bring to an end what remained of feudalism. But the General Crisis didn’t fundamentally change society and culture, much less cut deeper into the human psyche. I’d argue that it simply brought us further down the same path we’d been on for two millennia since the Axial Age. I keep wondering if now the Axial Age is coming to its final conclusion, that there isn’t much further we can go down this path.

By the way, I think my introduction to Jacques Vallee came through my further reading after having discovered John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies, the book that came out long before the movie. That is where the basic notion comes from that I was working with here. During times of crisis and foreboding, often preceding actual mass death, there is a build up of strangeness that spills out from our normal sense of reality. We can, of course, talk about this in more rational or rather respectable terms without any of the muck of UFO research.

Keith Payne, in The Broken Ladder, notes that people come to hold bizarre beliefs and generally act irrationally when under conditions of high inequality, that is to say when inflicted with unrelenting stress. But it goes beyond that. There is more going on than mere beliefs. People’s sense of reality becomes distorted and they begin experiencing what they otherwise would not. This was the basis of Julian Jaynes’ hypothesis of the bicameral mind where voice-hearing was supposedly elicited through stress. And this is supported by modern evidence, such as the cases recorded by John Geiger in the Third Man Factor.

An additional layer could be brought to this with Jacques Valle’s work in showing how anecdotes of alien contact follow the same pattern as the stories of fairy abductions and the anthropological accounts of shamanic initiation. These are religious experiences. At other times, they were more likely interpreted as visitations by spiritual beings or as transportation into higher realms. Similarly, spinning and flying disks in the sky were interpreted as supernatural manifestations in the pre-scientific age. But maybe it’s all the same phenomenon, whether the source is elsewhere or from within the human psyche.

The interesting part is that these experiences, sometimes sightings involving crowds of people (including many incidents with military personnel and pilots), often correspond with intensified societal conflict. UFO sightings and contact experiences appear to increase at specific periods of stress. Unsurprisingly, people turn to the strange in strange times. And there is something about this strangeness, the pervasiveness of it and the power it holds. To say we are living in a reactionary time when nearly everything and everyone has become reactionary, that is to understate it to an extreme degree. The Trickster quality of the reactionary mind, one might argue, is its most defining feature.

One might call it the return of the repressed. Or it could be thought of as the eruption (irruption?) of the bicameral mind. Whatever it is, it challenges and threatens the world we think we know. Talk of Russian meddling and US political failure is tiddlywinks in comparison. But the fact that we take such tiddlywinks so seriously does add to the sense of crisis. Everything is real to the degree we believe it to be real, in that the effects of it become manifest in our experience and behavior, in the collective choices that we make and accumulate over time.

We manifest our beliefs. And even the strangest of beliefs can become normalized and, as such, become self-fulfilling prophecies. Social realities aren’t only constructed. They are imagined into being. Such imagination is human reality for we are incapable of experiencing it as anything other than reality. We laugh at the strange beliefs of others at our own peril. But what is being responded to can remain hidden or outside of the mainstream frame of consciousness. Think of the way that non-human animals act in unusual ways before an earthquake hits. If all we see is what the animals are doing and lack any greater knowledge, we won’t appreciate that it means we should prepare for the earthquake to come.

Humans too act strangely before coming catastrophes. It doesn’t require anyone to consciously know of and rationally understand what is coming. Most of how humans respond is instinctual or intuitive. I’d only suggest to pay less attention to the somewhat arbitrary focus of anxiety and, instead, to take the anxiety itself as a phenomenon to be taken seriously. Something real is going on. And it portends something on its way.

Here is my point. We see things through a glass darkly. Things are a bit on the opaque side. Transparency of self is more of an aspiration at this point, at least for those of us not yet enlightened beings. All the voices remain loud within us and in the world around us. In many thinkers seeking a new humanity, there is the prioritizing of the visual over the auditory. There is a historical background to this. The bicameral mind was ruled by voices. To be seek freedom from this, to get off the grinding and rumbling Wheel of Karma requires a different relationship to our senses. There is a reason the Enlightenment was so powerfully obsessed with tools that altered and extended our perception with a major focus on the visual, from lenses to the printed word. Oral society was finally losing its power over us or that is what some wanted to believe.

The strangeness of it all is that pre-consciousness maintains its pull over modern consciousness simultaneously as we idealize the next stage of humanity, integral trans-consciousness. Instead of escaping the authoritative power of the bicameral voice, we find ourselves in a world of mass media and social media where voices have proliferated. We are now drowning in voices and so we fantasize about the cool silence of the visionary, that other side of our human nature — as Preston described it:

One of the things we find in don Juan’s teachings is “the nagual” and “the tonal” relation and this is significant because it is clearly the same as McGilchrist’s “Master” and “Emissary” relationship of the two modes of attention of the divided brain. In don Juan’s teachings, these correspond to the what is called the “first” and “the second attentions”. If you have read neuroscientist Jill Bolte-Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight or followed her TED talk about that experience, you will see that she, too, is describing the different modes of attention of the “nagual” and the “tonal” (or the “Master” and the “Emissary”) in her own experience, and that when she, too, shifted into the “nagual” mode, also saw what Castaneda saw — energy as it flows in the universe, and she also called that “the Life Force Power of the Universe”

About getting off the Wheel, rauldukeblog wrote that, “Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning action so the concept is that any act(tion) creates connective tissue which locks one into reaction and counter and so on in an endless loop.” That brings us back to the notion of not only seeing through the egoic self but more importantly to move through the egoic self. If archaic authorization came from voices according to Jaynes, and if self-authorization of the internalized voice of egoic consciousness hasn’t fundamentally changed this equation, then what would offer us an entirely different way of being and acting in the world?

The last time we had a major transformation of the human mind, back during the ending of the Bronze Age, it required the near total collapse of every civilization. Structures of the mind aren’t easily disentangled from entrenched patterns of social identity as long as the structures of civilization remain in place. All these millennia later, we are still struggling to deal with the aftermath of the Axial Age. What are the chances that the next stage of humanity is going to be easier or happen more quickly?

Imaginal Beings and Imagined Realities

I was thinking about the blue fairy. I’m not sure why it was on my mind. In browsing the web, I came across the Wikipedia article on the Púca. They are the Celtic fairy, often portrayed as dark, black, or blue. These beings exist at the crossroads of mind and matter, imagination and reality. They are tricksters.

The Wikipedia article points to something discussed by Robert Anton Wilson. He claimed to have experienced contact with an alien. But epistemological anarchist that he was, he ended up interpreting this experience in numerous ways. Sometimes he just thought of it as one hemisphere talking to the other, which sounds like Julian Jaynes’ bicameral mind. He also liked to think of it as a Púca in the form of 6 foot tall rabbit.

I immediately realized that this was the same as John Keel’s men in black (a topic I’ve written about before: Fortean Curiosity). And Keel always brings to mind Jacques Vallée who was initially influenced by Carl Jung’s book on UFOs. Both sought to explain Fortean experiences without recourse to claims about extraterrestrials. Both noted how certain unusual experiences tended to coincide and fall into similar patterns across time and cultures. Men in black, aliens, fairies, etc all were describing the same basic experiences according to the beliefs and biases of the experiencer.

Culture does have immense influence on how we experience all kinds of things. Linguistic relativism shows how perception of time and space are formed through the language we use. This is also true of the voices people hear, that is to say voices without bodies. Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearers in collectivist societies tended to have more positive experiences of those voices. By the way, Luhrmann was originally drawn to this field of study by reading Jaynes’ book.

Cultural differences are seen with the fairy and fairy-like encounters. They can be perceived as good, evil, indifferent, or plain weird. Schizophrenics in Western countries, specifically the hyper-individualistic United States, are prone to less than happy hallucinations, auditory and otherwise. Few Westerners are able to access this state of mind without the extremes of stress, such as the Third Man Factor as happens during periods of danger, trauma, and grief. It requires a lot to force the Western mind outside of its thick ego boundaries of self-contained individualism. And the mind, when forced open, sometimes breaks.

There was a comment I saw where someone, an American, described a friend who became schizophrenic. This friend’s hallucinations weren’t only paranoid but also contagious, such as other people began hearing odd sounds on the phone while talking to this guy (something Keel describes as well). As one becomes more paranoid, the evidence justifying paranoia is manufactured or manifested and it can be quite compelling to those involved. To take notice of this Fortean field of consciousness is to have it take notice of you, to be drawn into it. And what you bring to the experience is mirrored back to you (albeit sometimes distorted), at least as experienced within one’s psyche. Jung considered UFO to be a manifestation of psyche, an imaginal expression of a symbol of wholeness. But for the schizophrenic in Western society, there is little social support for wholeness and so the psyche is splintered while simultaneously being obsessively focused, the hallucination becoming intensely real.

This is how cults form and given enough time a religion might get established. There are some interesting books that look into the phenomenon of UFO religions, which show us the early stage of religious formation. Consider Heaven’s Gate, the cult that committed mass suicide, maybe not the best way to ensure the promotion of your religion, but then many religions begin with death or persecution. Interestingly, the Heaven’s Gate leader was inspired by Star Trek. And Gene Roddenberry was in turn inspired to create Star Trek because of the channeling of The Council of Nine. The difference between a schizophrenic and a cult leader is simply a matter of how much charisma one has to command followers (related to what Jaynes refers to as authorization, such as happened with Franz Anton Mesmer).

This is the territory of mass hallucination and shared psychotic disorder (folie à deux). But in a sense, every culture is built on hallucination, that is imagination as social construction and ideological worldview. The only difference with a culture is that it happens to be a highly successful and powerfully compelling hallucination, taking hold of the minds and identities of a large population. All of civilization is an expression and enactment of profound fantasies that possess us, to such an extent we live out those fantasies with the full commitment of our being in the world.

When those fantasies diverge far enough from objective reality, that is when civilizations come to an end, often through following a cultural vision to its extreme. The hallucination of capitalist realism is at present remaking of the global world through climate change and in the end the earth might become uninhabitable for the human species or at the very least not conducive to the continuation of modern civilization as we know it. At the point of potential breakdown, the Fortean has a way of breaking into our world. UFOs, for example, were often observed during periods of mass conflict such as the foo fighters seen during World War II.

The fairy are messengers from our collective psyche, but few of us are capable of listening with a Fortean curiosity to match such Fortean experience. The significance is not what it seems but at the edge of what appears and what is yet to be. Our imagination forever precedes us. There is no objective standpoint to stand outside the flow of what we are becoming. The blue fairy makes our imaginings real, makes our wishes come true or else our fears.

* * *

4/23/18 – Some further commentary:

I left out some background to my thoughts. Recently in the news, there was reporting on a hierarchical sex slave cult. One of the key figures who was a head mistress earlier was an actress in the tv show Smallville. There is something about science fiction, odd belief systems, and cults. That is why I used the example of Star Trek, the Council of Nine, and Heaven’s Gage. But I just as easily could have referred to L. Ron Hubbard’s career, from science fiction writer to cult leader of Scientology. All of UFOlogy, as Keel and Vallee would attest, is mired in science fictions and cultish groups.

More broadly, there is the topic of blue fairies. I lied about not knowing why this was on my mind. I just didn’t feel like connecting back to previous posts, but I decided I should. One of those posts was from earlier in the month (Nature, Nurture, Torture), in which I explore the mythology of the blue fairy in greater detail. My interest goes many years back to the Bush administration (“What is Real?” asked the Rabbit one day…).

That earliest post discussed the psychology and mythology of transformation. Blue fairies are very much about transformation or else destruction, that is to say death of the self in one way or another, a far from easy process or necessarily even desirable considering how many people simply go mad (see John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies). There is a deep longing for what is real and genuine, a gnostic compulsion for Philip K. Dick I might add. This longing can be expressed as a desire to become real, to attain something of real value, or to find ultimate reality itself.

Otherwise, this can be the search for a new reality, to replace what no longer compels or functions. John Keel noted that, during times of difficulty and change, the archetypal and imaginal “men in black” would make their appearance in a guise appropriate to the cultural biases and personal expectations of the individual. The men in black were associated with other sightings, from the Mothman Keel studied to the Foo Fighters of World War II.

Fantasy becomes rather potent during times of threat and instability, whether on the personal level such as the third man factor or on a collective level as seen with some of these other cases. The Mothman was seen by many prior to a bridge collapsing that killed many people. And World War II, of course, killed far more. But it isn’t merely violence that elicits this fantasy-proneness. Others have observed that during periods of social uncertainty, there is a growing popularity of fantasy entertainment. This happened during the Great Depression when movie The Wizard of Oz was a great hit. When troubled, people don’t merely seek escape in fantasy for they also seek to imagine new possibilities through fantasy. And in some cases, this will lead them to start cults or to start revolutions.

We live in troubled times right now. And it stands out how popular fantasy entertainment has been since the 9/11 terrorist attack and continuing beyond the 2008 Great Recession. Some see us as having become lost in Fantasyland, a new post-fact era with a media personality as our president. It’s not entirely new, although maybe new forms of media technology have weaponized fantasy like never before.

About the blue fairy and men in black, it just occurs to me that some of the themes discussed here can be found in HBO’s Westworld, which deals with transformation and makes use of Julian Jaynes’ bicameral mind theory. Westworld even has a man in black who, though human, plays a role in the transformation that occurs and the havoc that follows. I doubt it is accidental that a show like that gets made at a time like this nor that it becomes so popular.

Westworld is all about self-awareness and social identity, self transformation and social change. Interestingly, we the viewer come to identify more strongly with the non-humans who, as in the PKD-inspired movie Blade Runner, in a sense become more convincingly real than the humans. It’s the Pinocchio story for an age of advanced science and technology, giving form to a vision of what our world is becoming.

 

Respectable UFO Researchers

I was thinking about the difference between the perception of the stereotypical UFO researcher and the reality in many cases.  UFO researchers tend to be categorized with conspiracy theorists and psychics.  Well, it’s true that there are some strange people interested in UFOs, but there are also many quite respectable people involved.

Carl Jung probably was the first highly respectable person to make any serious comments about UFOs, but he was mostly making observations as an outsider.  Jung didn’t spend decades involved in studying documents and interviewing abductees, and his views were mostly as a psychologist… and also as a scholar of religion, mythology and folktales. 

Jacques Vallee would be a more serious example of a reputable scientist directly within the field of UFO research.  Like many in this field, he is involved in many areas outside of UFO-logy.  He is a venture capitalist and is a computer scientist.  He worked on ARPANET which was the precursor to the internet and he was involved with early work on artificial intelligence.  His interest in UFOs began when he was doing work as an astronomer.  Working on a NASA project mapping Mars, he co-developed the first computerized mapping system for this purpose.  Besides writing books on UFOs and technical subjects, he has written science fiction and his first novel won the Jules Verne Prize.

Vallee’s mentor was Dr. Josef Allen Hynek who also was an astronomer.  Hynek received a Ph.D. in astrophysics and became a full professor.  He originally worked as a scientific adviser for UFO studies conducted by the U.S. Air Force.  In a project undertaken between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard Observatory, he was responsible for directing the tracking of an American space satellite.  He started off as a debunker which was a role he enjoyed and which the Air Force expected of him.  Hynek was conservative and cautious in terms of his natural personality and in terms of his position as a scientist.  However, over the years he was able to study lots of data and first-hand reports from reputable sources and he came to realize that the field was worthy of more serious study than it was receiving.  He came to regret his role as a debunker because he thought that the dismissive attitude of many scientists undermines the very principles of science.  Later in his life, he founded and was the head of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), but he still was skeptical of the extraterrestrial hypothesis.  Also, he was a consultant on the UFO movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind (in which he played a brief non-speaking part).

Another big name from the 1950s and 1960s is Donald Edward Keyhoe.  He had a B.S. degree at the United States Naval Academy and was a U.S. Marine Corps naval aviator.  He was a manager of promotional tours for aviation pioneers such as Charles Lindbergh and he wrote aviation articles and stories for leading publications.  He also wrote many science fiction and weird fantasy stories.  His interest in UFOs came later.  He was a proponent of independent scientific investigation and so was critical of Hynek’s acting as the governments head debunker.  He tried to do careful research often using data from the government and his first book on the subject even had a positive blurb from Albert M. Chop who was the Air Force’s press secretary in the Pentagon.  Keyhoe cofounded the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and the research from that organization would later be included in Hynek’s CUFOS archives.

However, not all of the respectable authorities in UFO-logy are from hard science and the military.  Similar to Jung’s expertise would be John Edward Mack.  Besides being a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, he was a psychiatrist and a Harvard Professor in the School of Medicine.  Mack was friends with the famous Thomas Kuhn who encouraged him in his interest in alien contact experiences.  After realizing that his suspicions were wrong about experiencers having mental illness, he decided to study it more seriously.  His clinical investigations drew negative attention and a Harvard committee was formed to investigate him, but it was never clear what he was being investigated for.  With legal help, the investigation ended and he continued his work at Harvard.  This incident was a perfect example of Kuhn’s theory about how scientists resist new evidence and new paradigms.  Mack was exploring the area where psychology meets spirituality which was the same area for which Jung had drawn criticism in his studies earlier in the century.

Normally, scientists stay out of the field of religion and religious authorities stay out of the field of science.  But some people occasionally try to bridge the two.  An interesting example is Barry H. Downing.  He is a somewhat significant figure in UFO research as he is a member of MUFON and was one of the earliest to research the religious angle.  Downing is unusually situated as an authority.  He has a degree in physics and in divinity, and he has a Ph.D. specializing in the relationship between science and religion.  Interestingly, he is a mainstream Christian who doesn’t believe UFOs are demonic.  Like some Catholic theologians, he sees no conflict between the possibility of aliens or other paranormal beings and God.  Even more interestingly, he is simultaneously active in the UFO community and in the Christian community.  He is a minister who has been the pastor for a Presbyterian church for several decades.  That is quite impressive considering that many Christians are quite critical if not outright fearful of UFO phenomena.

I’ll add one more example.  Keith Thompson is a more recent addition to the field.  His book Angels and Aliens has brought useful perspective to what others have been writing about for decades.  He is known for having done the first major inteview with Robert Bly that brought the mens movement into mainstream attention.  He also has been the head of Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute and he worked closely with Michael Murphy at the Esalen Institute where he organized conferences on various topics.  Michael Murphy encouraged his interest in UFO experiences and so he held a symposium where many of the experts of the field spoke.  It was different than many of the other UFO conferences before it in that the focus wasn’t on the extraterrestrial hypothesis.  Thompson seems to represent a new phase in UFO-logy’s increasing respectability and also he represents a new generation of intelligent researchers.

So, my point is that UFO researchers aren’t mentally unbalanced freaks and loners.  They’re normal people… heck, even more respectable than normal people in the examples I provided.  Likewise, alien contactees are also just regular folk.  Religious people and atheists have seen lights and/or objects in the sky.  Scientists and farmers have experienced aliens and other paranormal beings.  Police, pilots and even politicians have observed unidentifiable flying objects.  It happens all of the time.  This is all a part of “normal” reality experienced by “normal” people.  And many intelligent rational people find it interesting and even worthy of study.

Arsen Darnay’s Borderzone Blog

I just discovered a new blog.  It’s titled Borderzone and is written by Arsen Darnay.  From his ‘About’ page:

“Borderzone may be of interest to those whose inner sense suggests a reality open at both ends—in the heights and in the depths: angels above and agents below the enzymes, as it were. The posts are exploratory and philosophical; they point to horizons not typically reached by ships or planes.”

I wrote some responses to his posts that I’ll share below.

Henry Corbin

I only know of Henry Corbin’s ideas indirectly through the book Imagination is Reality by Roberts Avens. Have you read it? I’ve also come across these ideas in my reading of paranormal and ufo literature. Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality is a good analysis of all of this.

I didn’t know that Corbin wrote about Swedenborg. I’ve never read Swedenborg either, but I’ve read that his ideas influenced New Thought Christianity which I was raised in.

I found it interesting your mention of Paracelsus. I hadn’t heard of his view that visionary experience came from the heart. I like that idea.

The Random Element in Borderline Phenomena

Well, I’m personally a fan of “useless” knowledge. To the degree that knowledge is useful it will be biased towards some specific agenda. Useful knowledge isn’t problematic per se, but if the agenda becomes too overt it can be a major limitation for further scientific research and discovery. Anyways, the Taoists warned against the dangers of usefulness and I think it’s good advice.

As for the issue of science and the paranormal, there are two authors that I’d recommend. Both have worked in the field of science and so have knowledge of it from the inside.

George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal covers a lot of territory. Hansen worked as a parapsychology researcher and so is very familiar with the flaws and limitations of the field (and of science in general).

Jacque Vallee has done lots of scientific work with astronomy and computers, but he has become one of the biggest names in ufo research. He became involved in the latter field because he personally witnessed an astronomer destroy data of a ufo. He is specifically known for proposing the similarity between ufo experiences and religious experiences.

Have you heard of either of them? If so, what do you think of their ideas?

The Song of the Pearl – Part II

This is something that interests me immensely. I’ve been reading Gnostic texts recently. The Song of the Pearl is one of my favorites partly for the dream-like imagery.

I think it’s important your noting Cindarella and Snow White. I mentioned Jacques Vallee in another post of yours. He wrote about the similarity between ufo experiences and fairy/folk-tales. One element is the experience of unconsciousness, forgetting and lost time. Reports of interactions with other paranormal beings (such as fairies) also involve this element. So, there is a continuity between religious experiences in the past and ufo experiences now. It’s just a matter of cultural interpretation.

I’m not sure exactly how all of that fits into the Gnostic viewpoint, but it seems significant. I’m sure Gnostics would’ve taken seriously the actual paranormal experiences people had. Some people just see their weird myths as complex theologizing, but I think that misses the original intent of gnosis itself.

Your last point makes me wonder about one possible connection. The idea of children who end up as queens and kings reminds me of another element of ufo experiences. The “aliens” (or whatever they are) often tell people that they are an elect or special somehow, that they will be saved or will help save the world. These paranormal beings are always proclaiming grand messages and singling out people to receive them.

What is the purpose? Heck if I know. The messages usually don’t have any practical value and the predictions often don’t come true.

For instance, paranormal beings (and the prophets or alien abductees who listen to them) have been predicting the end of the world for quite a while now. Whether its the early Christians waiting for the Second Coming or ufo believers waiting on a hill, it’s all the same.

Maybe the problem is that such people took the message literally instead of allegorically/spiritually as the Gnostics preferred.