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February 4, 2018 — Erich von Däniken and David Halperin

Discussion in 'Talk About the Show' started by Gene Steinberg, Feb 4, 2018.



  1. USI Calgary

    USI Calgary J. Randall Murphy

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    Welcome to the forum. I'm still kicking myself for missing the opportunity to be on the show. I completly agree with the points you made, but if I may ask a couple of pertinent questions:

    If you can bear with me here they require a little setup:

    It's true that humans create fictional stories that are often fantastical in nature, and I tend to think that 99% of mythology ( including religious mythology ) is exactly that sort of thing ( as you suggest ). I don't know your position on UFOs as a topic of study in modern times, but for the sake of argument, if we suppose that they are really some sort of alien craft, and not simply fictitious, then:

    1. Why isn't it possible that the same phenomenon was observed in ancient times, and that it did contribute to the mythology?
    2. Given that the answer to question 1 is that it is possible, how might we separate actual observations from the myth and fiction?


    USI has a member who is a professor specializing in mythology out of Hawaii, and in my past correspondence with him, he doesn't see the reality of ancient sightings as all that far fetched. I also think it's entirely possible for us to look at ancient descriptions of alleged observations of things fantastical to them in their day, and realize we would see it very differently and probably more accurately and objectively. This does nothing to diminish our appreciation for the psyche of the ancient mind. We simply recognize that their interpretation is as primitive as a cargo cult looking at airplanes. Just because they saw airplanes as mystical flying creatures controlled by humans doesn't mean there were no airplanes.

    So I see your points. Do you think there is any room to meet somewhere in the middle? If not, then how is it that we can be 100% certain that no mythology contains even a single grain of truth that could be related to sightings of the same sort of craft numerous witness in modern times have observed?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  2. David Halperin

    David Halperin Paranormal Novice

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    Many thanks for your post. I very much appreciate the points you've made.
    To respond, I will need to get into my reasons for being so skeptical about the physical reality of UFOs today. I remember how, in the 1960s when I was a teen UFOlogist, the UFOlogical discourse anticipated some dramatic denouement to the UFOs' presence within the next few years--massive and undeniable contact, for example, or possibly an invasion. The years passed; nothing of the sort happened. Our own space program revealed nothing about extraterrestrial visitors, provoked no response from them. As far as their impact on human affairs went, the UFOs might not have been there at all.
    This did not suit what I would have anticipated from a space visitation--that it would turn out to be a major turning point in human history.
    We UFOlogists had our answers to the old why-don't-they-land-on-the-White-House-lawn question: we can't put ourselves in the ETs' position and ask why they don't behave as we would, because we don't know what their position is. It was only long afterward that I realized that this robbed the extraterrestrial hypothesis of any explanatory power it might have had. If absolutely nothing can be predicated of the space visitors, their motives, and their expected actions, then to say that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft amounts to the same thing as saying we don't know what they are. I would prefer an open confession of our ignorance.
    Going back to the "ancient aliens," I would ask: does positing their presence make anything within the ancient texts more intelligible? Or does it just create more problems of the why-didn't-they variety? My own view is: the latter. On the "Paracast" show, I touched on von Daniken's treatment of ancient myths and legends about giants. He writes near the beginning of chapter 4 of Chariots: "'Giants' haunt the pages of almost all ancient books. So they must have existed." He means, of course: "existed" as gigantic superhuman beings. But suppose they "existed" as the giants we all remember from our infancy, "giant" only in relation to our own smallness. (But anything is "giant" only by comparison with something else.) I'm not sure this is the full explanation of "giant" legends; in fact, I'm sure it's oversimplified. But it seems to me more promising than finding the reality-core of the legends in the extra-human world.
    I hope I've responded to the issues you've raised. Thanks again for posting.
     
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  3. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    just listened to the episode to see what the author of my first ever ufo related book that i read as a kid had to say..."i've read many theologians and many different books etcetera..." Inside his etcetera there is a deep theme in ufology of people making things up as they go along and inserting awe and wonder into the blank spaces that were created by the person spinning the yarn. there is nothing productive here to be gained.

    on the flip side i found Halperin to be very insightful regarding ancient texts and allowed them some proper breathing room to say what they had to say, leaving the mysteries found in those ancient texts to stay as mysteries, for their truths belong to their times and not ours. we have our own mysteries to explore and we would do well to take into consideration the role of cultural training as part of why we see what we see. while i don't subscribe to either of the Belgian wave or Barney Hill explanations there is still something of a truth there. the world is symbolic reality without question and we interpret everything we see and experience through the lens of our own socialization and deep personal experiences. some people find butterflies absolutely frightening. i find them enticing.

    blobs of light on film seem to make a lot more sense when it comes to understanding why we have no single photo of a ufo that everyone can agree on is a ufo without question. the viewer certainly brings their own interpretations to the dance, hence the variations of witness testimony in any act that is retold. this then leaves most clear objects and technological crafts in photos to be utterly suspect, whereas the blobs of light carry much more weight. surrounding both are retold stories - anomalous witness events.

    our experiences do shape us and in turn shape our perceptions and perhaps that's how two different things can be true at once - both the mask we put over what we see, or the mask that our subconscious provides, along with there being something else utterly unknown that is causing the mysterious event. perhaps it is something truly mundane or there is a mystery there but it's always a personal one. collect enough mysteries that are similar and you have a mythology. the thing behind it all stays simply strange. we have no other evidence to go on really, despite best efforts to link and connect all manners of discontinuous evidence to make a through line for the story. maybe it really was a chariot, or a god, or an alien or simply a vision from a mind undergoing very unique spaces. but without a doubt the ufo experience is primarily a visionary one and very hard to estimate or even comprehend in any pragmatic or definitive way.
     
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  4. David Halperin

    David Halperin Paranormal Novice

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    "Burnt State," I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I particularly like your remark, "collect enough mysteries that are similar and you have a mythology. the thing behind it all stays simply strange."
    Thanks for posting.
     
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  5. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    I enjoyed your commentary on this episode and for providing a more clear path of interpretation of ancient texts. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the scholarship of D. Pasulka in these areas.

    You made me think more about Jung and the role and origin of the collective unconscious. I know our minds are socialized by culture and collective trauma is a significant socializer. Processing trauma on other levels and how these are expressed by the mind is a complex space. The various constructions that mind may create in order to suppress or express real personal traumas shouldn't be dismissed too quickly. I once read a very interesting doctorate paper that looked at the role of hospital traumas and their connection to UFO abduction narratives. It struck me as being a very appropriate possibility having lived through some very strange middle of the night medical procedures myself where you are suddenly woken up at 3am by strange people dressed in garb and surrounded by odd technology that manipulates your body... What dreams may come of such things and how they may be combined with other cultural symbols is not out of the realm of possible ways to consider how some abduction narratives are sourced.
     
  6. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Administrator Staff Member

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    but my question is who here desires the eternal mystery....

    Science? No vision to the past from the present...that's the thesis Halperin presents.
    Don't believe it.
    Halperin will seduce you into the belief that our current understanding (science) is inferior to the thinking of the ancients...but think clearly about this and move past this trap. NO HOLY BOOK ever taught us how to get to the MOON...or build a nuclear reactor.

    WHY DOES THIS ILLOGICAL thought even CROSS minds?

    disclaimer: I have a lot of respect for Halperin...but this is a trigger.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  7. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    I thought his thesis was that we can't know the past realities by looking at past texts through present contexts. Their times and their writings belong to them and to confabulate mysteries out of their writings is the mistep we make - no science involved, just faulty sociology. And in the attempts to define evidence of a technology at work in the past writings some writers create enduring mysteries and mythologies out of UFO speculation while wrapping it in the gauze of science, a la Von Daniken. At least that's the argument I heard from him.
     
  8. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Administrator Staff Member

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    If you were to accept that argument then that would mean that the time in the 1950s in the 60s which directly impacted the in technology technological advancement of our history is null and void.

    Invalid.

    ...if you were to extend that argument to a shorter time span you would find that it leads to a contradiction




    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  9. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Administrator Staff Member

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    My last comment was made through voice text I will have to correct some of the grammatical and punctuation errors in order to make my former statement clear

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
     
  10. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    There's a substantial difference in understanding what happened in the recent century vs. many centuries ago. These are two different eras with different approaches to language, science, knowledge of the world and the recordings of these in text.
     
  11. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, and that "substantial" difference was not bridged by some ridiculously inexplicable "quantum leap" -- there must be continuity in history for any of this to make any sense whatsoever.
    As they like to say "you can't get from there to here"

    At what point will the contextualistic reduction end? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years...where do you draw the line and say "yes we can understand" or "no we have no idea."

    I think a lot of people like to overuse the "you don't understand the mind of the ancients" argument...probably because they themselves have an axe to grind. Perhaps they are looking for more "gaps" or voids to throw their "gods" into...

    Creating singularities out of ancient anomalous human events will not answer any questions--it just forges a wall between critical thinking and understanding--when you lack critical thinking, you won't find any understanding...just mystery.
     
  12. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    a7068d1bcdae860853fa74ebed5146c3.jpg

    I'm honestly not too certain where to draw the line on all of it but once we move into texts written and rewritten multiple times over and whose essence are retold stories that formed the basis of religions formed a couple thousand years ago I think we can begin to assume that what is being described is now open to interpretation. It may be metaphorical, or one could take literalist interpretations I suppose, but saying the world and the rest of the heavens were made in seven days I have a bit of a problem with, same with parting the red sea and voices in burning bushes etc.

    Similarly, these images above could be interpreted literally to create a mystery of gods in their spaceships or you could rely on scholarship that tells us an alternative contextual approach to understanding the iconography of their times and their functions in communicating to the people of those times. These problems persist in archeology and anthropology.

    We do have a throughline though when it comes to scienctific principles and invention. Those make good sense to me. But underestimating the capacities of ancient peoples to create megalithic structures without the aid of alien intervention strikes me as dismissive of human capability. We are an inventive and an inaginative species and I think that's our hallmark.

    However, interpreting aerial phenomenon that appears in ancient texts and citing this as evidence of alien intervention I also find to be problematic. Pasulka's scholarship in this area is going to bring this into contentious spaces, but I still wonder whether or not those who are looking for evidence of non human technology in ancient texts are simply chasing rabbits or working on creating a throughline for ancient aliens as part of an unknown parallel history for their own purposes. I personally think they are myth builders. How can we possibly know the minds of the storytellers of long ago beyond their intentions to convince people about their god?

    Wonders in The Sky leans right into these spaces as does the airship mystery. These are fascinating writings and the airship stories are wild beyond belief. Perhaps we might discover one day that much of human invention has been heavily reliant on alien intervention but until this tech is revealed and we hear the real story about those alloys I'm going to rely on the throughline of human ingenuity that has been well captured in the recordings of factual human science and will let metaphorical stories stay as simply a good story and nothing more.

    So perhaps my line is based on the intention of the interpreter. If you are trying to convince me about the facts of human invention then I'm good with the history that gets more accurate the more we investigate who invented what. But if you're trying to convince me that anomalous aerial phenomenon in ancient texts is evidence of aliens with "etc. etc." as Von Daniken does, then I've got little time for it.
    .
     
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  13. Burnt State

    Burnt State Paranormal Adept

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    And along with this thinking I have to ask is it even possibly conceivable that we could hide alien crashed vehicles from human history in the way Doty likes to tell us? Continuity in history is important and yet history is filled with writings of fabulous things including talking to gods, bilocation, levitation, men in Black and other wild visions. Much of written history is visionary and whose intentions are non-materialist in nature. And while I like a good dose of esotericism sprinkled with some gnosticism on late Friday nights I have great difficulty in believing something as historically revolutionary as aliens crashing on Earth in the modern era is something that could ever be hidden. That's just a perspective mind you and it flies in the face of what Pasulka will say in American Cosmic when it comes out but that's just me. I live in the Jerome Clark camp on that point and believe the disclosure people are out to lunch, as there's nothing to disclose except no one really knows squat about what UFO's are or where they come from.
     
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