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November 18, 2018 — Jerome Clark



Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
#1
Jerome Clark discusses the third edition of his two-volume work, "The UFO Encyclopedia."

Is it the most expensive UFO book ever?

This episode ended too quickly, so Randall and I invited Jerry back on this weekend's episode of After The Paracast.

After The Paracast is an exclusive feature of The Paracast+.

For more details on subscribing, please visit: Introducing The Paracast+ | The Paracast — The Gold Standard of Paranormal Radio
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#5
Binary Thinking?

In this episode Jerry had the notion that there was some sort of third reality that exists between the objective and the subjective that he referred to as "experience level events". I made several attempts to pin down what that actually meant, but Jerome had no coherent explanation. He defaulted to the idea that people can't grasp the idea because we're stuck in "binary thinking".

Unfortunately that's not an explanation, and when I attempted to explain why, he kept cutting me off and made a comment to the effect that logic is what whatever people want it to be. By the time he gave me the opportunity to talk, he and Gene's moderating had flustered me and I didn't do a very good job of explaining exactly why Jerry's view of logic is completely backward from the way it actually is.

The point I was trying to make is that the logic of a situation remains constant regardless of people's opinions about it. For example if we take an even number of things and divide them into two groups, those things will then be in one group or the other. None will be in both, and there's no amount of opinion making that can change that situation because the nature of the situation is binary, not because it's based on "binary thinking".

Likewise, we humans each experience the world from our own unique perspective. By their very nature, our experiences don't belong so anyone else but us. If we then accept that there is a world beyond us as individuals, and that our experiences aren't simply a grand illusion created by our mind, then the nature of the situation becomes binary in that there exists an external ( objective ) world as well as our inner ( subjective ) world, and these two groups are by their very nature mutually exclusive. Jerry doesn't get that.

I also tried to get him to realize that these sorts of questions are what philosophers have studied for millennia, and that making the claim that any particular existential position is true requires substantial evidence, which he simply hand waved, and when I offered a way that his idea might logically work, he hand waved that as well.

So as much as I respect Jerry's contribution to ufology, I wouldn't say that his idea about things existing someplace between the objective and the subjective is coherent. Or if it is, he hasn't explained it in a way that makes any sense, and defending it with the idea that others don't get it because of their "binary thinking" isn't good enough.

It boils down to this: If someone has a UFO experience, it is something subjective, and either that subjective experience has an external ( objective ) cause or it doesn't. Logically, there can be no third option for there to be no external cause and not have the experience be entirely subjective.
 
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GlitteringBadger

Paranormal Novice
#6
Is Clark here on the forum? I hope so, otherwise it seems a little cheap to lay out your argument in such detail without him having the space to reply! Hopefully y'all will reach out to him and invite him here if he isn't already.

ETA: And it makes as much sense as your MIB claims, Randall.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#7
Is Clark here on the forum? I hope so, otherwise it seems a little cheap to lay out your argument in such detail without him having the space to reply! Hopefully y'all will reach out to him and invite him here if he isn't already.
We have always had threads intended for talk about the show, and whatever is on a show is open for discussion. So there's nothing "cheap" about anyone ( including me ) fully explaining themselves here. Jerry has the same opportunity if he's at all interested ( which I doubt ). But I would welcome his clarification of the idea. Maybe he just wasn't expressing himself as clearly as he wanted.
ETA: And it makes as much sense as your MIB claims, Randall.
My MIB experiences are an entirely separate issue. They can make sense or not make sense, and either way they have no relevance to the notion that something can exist independently between the objective and the subjective. In other words, using that example is what's called a straw man argument.

If however you see a way for something to exist independently between the subjective and the objective, by all means feel free to explain how that's possible, or explain how the logic used to support my position is flawed.

I am certainly open and willing to change my view if you ( or anyone else ) can do that. But until then, I see insufficient reason to grant the "Middle Kingdom" theory or Jerry's explanation for what an "experience anomaly" is ( as heard on the show ), any weight whatsoever.

As I mentioned on the show, the only way I see it being sort of possible is for some third universe capable of manifesting its own objective realities, to insert them into ours based on what the observer is thinking. But even then, we'd still be dealing with separate objective and subjective contexts, not something between the two. But Jerry didn't think that sort of explanation fit whatever his idea is anyway.

Not sure if any of that gets me off the hook, but in case it doesn't, how many people in the world review things and rate them? Movies, cars, websites, books, concerts, etc. Should all the people who create that content really have to get the express permission and approval of who they write about every time they write an editorial? I'm pretty sure Jerry doesn't.

ETA: Or if none of that matters, why does my editorial upset you anyway?
 
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Farlig Gulstein

Paranormal Novice
#8
If however you see a way for something to exist independently between the subjective and the objective, by all means feel free to explain how that's possible, or explain how the logic used to support my position is flawed.
In this sentence you seem to be saying that things exist solely in well-insulated subjective and objective categories. If that is what you are saying, then that seems to be an overstatement.

Every "objective thing" is observed by us in ways that are personally subjective – the so-called objective world around us is registered by each of us subjectively. So objectivity is simultaneously subjective. Still, in our observations of reality, when we all come to strong agreement about our individual subjective observations of various things, then we might well call those things “objective.” Lots of daily life is mind-numbingly “objective” even if individually one grasps it subjectively. On the other hand, evidently all humans dream. So, the phenomenon of human dreaming is literally objective. Nevertheless, it seems that nearly all dreams themselves are almost totally subjective, in that they do not involve the “outer” so-called “objective” world. Even so, there are reports by people of non-mundane dreams that seem to take on objective qualities and that seem to be connected somehow to the objective world. So, I do not think one can say with any certainty that so-called subjective and objective categories are so well insulated that there is categorically no overlap. I would not speak for Mr. Clark, but it seems to me that he is postulating a realm in which subjective and objective are decidedly blurred into each other.

As far as “logic” goes, here are two articles that might help lay a foundation for more accurate use of the term.

Basics: Logic, aka It’s illogical to call Mr. Spock logical”

Deductive Reasoning vs. Inductive Reasoning

According to the article on the flawed use of “logic” by Star Trek scriptwriters for Mr. Spock’s lines, “There are many logics, and a statement that is a valid inference (is logical) in one system may not be valid in another.”

The other article says:

“According to California State University, deductive inference conclusions are certain provided the premises are true. It's possible to come to a logical conclusion even if the generalization is not true. If the generalization is wrong, the conclusion may be logical, but it may also be untrue.” (emphasis added)

So, unless the presuppositions behind the analysis are well-defined and agreed upon by all parties in a discussion, a so-called "logical" statement might not be of any value. Unfortunately, there are still many issues of reality that resist complete cogent understanding, most especially those that are all loosely classified as “paranormal.” But even such subjects as psychology and quantum physics, and plenty of other studies of reality, have highly speculative aspects. So, trying to trump an argument by playing the “logic” card may not mean much ultimately, since the presuppositions may be highly speculative or wrong. Thus “logic,” of itself, does not mean much unless all presuppositions being analyzed are well-described and agreed upon.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#9
In this sentence you seem to be saying that things exist solely in well-insulated subjective and objective categories. If that is what you are saying, then that seems to be an overstatement ...
Okay now we're talking. Great post. In it, here's where the branch I'm on fits into the picture
“According to California State University, deductive inference conclusions are certain provided the premises are true. It's possible to come to a logical conclusion even if the generalization is not true. If the generalization is wrong, the conclusion may be logical, but it may also be untrue.” (emphasis added).
When I employ critical thinking, one of the first tasks is to establish a premise, which is why I asked Jerry if he could clarify his position. If you listen to the show this all begins around 39:20 when Jerry mentions the late 1890s airship sightings in the USA and makes the claim that they happened on the "experience level", the rationale being that if they happened on what he called on the "event level", it would turn into a conspiracy theory with so many complications that it would "overload all common sense", especially because there were no dirigibles in the USA in the late 1890s.

He goes on to say that there were sightings in the USA that seemed to him to be "true to people's experience", but not happening on what he calls an "event level reality". To clarify that, I said "let's unpack that a little", and asked if what he was talking about was a hallucination. To which he replied "No." So I asked him to explain what he meant by that exactly.

He went on to say that, '... when we talk about high strangeness experiences, they don't have to occur in some kind of binary system with reality on one hand and imagination on the other. They're occurring apparently in some sort of liminal state in which those boundaries are erased. And that it's like they're imaginary, but not only imaginary. It's kind of imagination plus. And so they occur in liminal or threshold space, that they have the appearance of consensus reality but not the substance of consensus experience. And this is where all weird encounters occur. They don't seem to be happening on the event level. even though people who experience them don't have a mental framework. They're like all of us, they're in binary thinking. It's A or it's B. "

So I said, "Well there's no evidence that there's something in between, that's why. I mean we either have something that's material or something that is conceptual ..."

That's where Jerry interrupts and asks what I mean by evidence. I start by explaining that:

"We have material evidence of material things because we have the materials. So if we see something like a craft that is material, we can go up to it and we can identify the materials it's made out of."

Jerry interrupts again and says, "That's what binary thinking tells us. It's physical or it's not. What if it's neither?"

So I asked him again: "What evidence is there that it's neither? There's no evidence for that?"

You can follow it from there. But the point is that the premise Jerry is making is that something can exist withing the realm of experience of the witness but be neither physical nor mental at the same time

Obviously there are some immediate problems with that statement. For example how can the witness have a mental experience of the event if it's not at least in part a mental event? They are in every essence one in the same. Personal experiences are all mental events. If no mental event were to take place with respect to the observation of an airship, no airship would be observed. He continues to add and subtract various other ideas in an effort to make some sense of the theory, but never does make a coherent case.

So returning to your point ( The Premise ) is: Something can exist between the objective ( a.k.a. the material ) and the subjective ( a.k.a. the mental ).

This premise is logically inconsistent with respect to the airship sightings because ( Reason One ).

A - The human experience ( consciousness ) is a mental phenomenon.
B - Therefore the experience of sighting an airship must be at least in part a mental phenomenon.
C - Therefore the experience cannot simultaneously not be a mental phenomena.

Specifically, if there are no mental phenomena associated with an airship or UFO experience, there can be no memory, imagery, feelings, or any other experiential clues or mental activity to alert the alleged "witness" that any airship or UFO sighting is taking place. The sighting itself, would not ( and could not ) happen, at least not as described.

We can go on to apply the same logic to the objective side of the equation:

If the airship is objectively real but never mentally experienced by a witness, it exists objectively but the "witness" would have no awareness of it and therefore there would be no sighting report of it. So there is no way for there to be a sighting of something that doesn't exist as at least a mental ( subjective ) phenomena.

Returning to the beginning, the philosophical problems with the idea Jerry proposed "overloads common sense" far more than the idea that some people built an airship in North America around the same time they were being made in Europe. Either that or the stories are a fabrication. Or lastly, they were neither airships nor fabrications, but perhaps only looked like airships and were in fact something else. And to me that's where the conversation gets interesting.
 
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Farlig Gulstein

Paranormal Novice
#10
[Clark] went on to say that, '... when we talk about high strangeness experiences, they don't have to occur in some kind of binary system with reality on one hand and imagination on the other. They're occurring apparently in some sort of liminal state in which those boundaries are erased. And that it's like they're imaginary, but not only imaginary. It's kind of imagination plus. And so they occur in liminal or threshold space, that they have the appearance of consensus reality but not the substance of consensus experience. And this is where all weird encounters occur. They don't seem to be happening on the event level. even though people who experience them don't have a mental framework. They're like all of us, they're in binary thinking. It's A or it's B. "

So I said, "Well there's no evidence that there's something in between, that's why. I mean we either have something that's material or something that is conceptual ..."
Seems to me that Clark has qualified what he was talking about: "high strangeness experiences", and is attempting more to describe them in terms of phenomenological aspects: how these "visions" of whatever is going on seem to be able to appear to the observer. I don't get the impression that Clark flatly denies some kind of outside influence on the observer that causes the "vision", or even possibly some outside intelligence that triggers or generates these "experiences" in the observer. Clark seems to be saying that some kind of trigger causes a person to become an observer of a "high strangeness" that might not be generated by typical physical stimuli. If I were to guess, it seems to me that he might be saying that something like the mental process of a dream gets stimulated, and then overlain directly onto the typical physical stimuli of "consensus reality." In any case, I can look out the window and see "consensus reality" happening outside, and can simultaneously think of all kinds of things that are not actually there in the outside consensus reality scene that I'm detecting. So, perhaps a certain aspect of "high strangeness" is some kind of powerful stimulation of thought processes that is "like" dreaming, and that gets imposed onto the observed consensus reality scene that the observer experiences. The "high strangeness" might still all be generated by an external stimulus or external intelligence, and the so-called consensus reality may include such an agent, perhaps even non-human.
 
D

Derek

Guest
#11
I was really excited to hear that Jerome was to be a guest, but I have to admit that I listened to this last show with mounting disappointment. I think you missed a golden opportunity to get the best out of this veteran investigator - I would have loved to have heard very much more about the classic cases and personalities that he had been involved with over the decades. Unfortunately too much time was wasted with the host pontificating about his own pet theories and really treating Jerome with, to my mind, an element of dismissal and condescension. It was pretty bad interviewing - I’d like to have heard very much more from the guest and very much less from the host.
I say the host - because we heard very little from Gene - apart from a quip or two prior to announcing the ads. To make matters worse Gene your mike was obviously unmuted for a time - one could quite clearly hear the clattering of a keyboard, the shuffling/clipping of papers and the occasional deep sigh !- it was really off putting at times. This is lazy broadcasting. I really think things have slipped.
Please do take this as constructive criticism - as very long time listener I’d really like things to get back on track - back to the proper Gold Standard that made for such an exciting experience in the past and truly deserved that name.
 
D

Derek

Guest
#12
Ps - having had my say I freely admit that Paracast is a free show and that you guys are working unpaid. So you can obviously do, say, write as you please. But if you’re trying to engage, excite and retain a larger audience (and especially a new/younger element ) then I don’t think the current format will do.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#13
I was really excited to hear that Jerome was to be a guest, ... Unfortunately too much time was wasted with the host pontificating about his own pet theories and really treating Jerome with, to my mind, an element of dismissal and condescension ...
What specifically are you talking about that qualifies as pontificating about our own pet theories"? In what way was either of us treating Jerry with "condescension"? Is pointing out that there's no evidence in support of a theory condescension? Is asking a guest to explain their concept pontificating about my own theories? If you think so, then you have things backward.

BTW Jerry's not afraid to criticise others in the field and he did plenty of pontificating on his own. He also had plenty of opportunity to tell us about his favorite sightings, and was in fact asked to do so. Plus you had an opportunity to post your own questions and requests prior to the show on the Question Bank, and didn't. So maybe try that next time before complaining that we didn't include something you would liked to have heard.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#14
Ps - having had my say I freely admit that Paracast is a free show and that you guys are working unpaid. So you can obviously do, say, write as you please. But if you’re trying to engage, excite and retain a larger audience (and especially a new/younger element ) then I don’t think the current format will do.
What format ( specifically ) would you prefer or think that a "younger audience" would respond better to?
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#15
Seems to me that Clark has qualified what he was talking about: "high strangeness experiences", and is attempting more to describe them in terms of phenomenological aspects: how these "visions" of whatever is going on seem to be able to appear to the observer. I don't get the impression that Clark flatly denies some kind of outside influence on the observer that causes the "vision", or even possibly some outside intelligence that triggers or generates these "experiences" in the observer.
Agreed. My comments above are only on the idea that there can be some other reality with respect to sightings that is neither objective nor subjective, but something in between.
Clark seems to be saying that some kind of trigger causes a person to become an observer of a "high strangeness" that might not be generated by typical physical stimuli. If I were to guess, it seems to me that he might be saying that something like the mental process of a dream gets stimulated, and then overlain directly onto the typical physical stimuli of "consensus reality."
That would at least be possible. But if that's what he meant it's not what he was saying. He was saying that something can exist between the material and the mental ( neither A or B ) ... outside what he called "binary thinking".
In any case, I can look out the window and see "consensus reality" happening outside, and can simultaneously think of all kinds of things that are not actually there in the outside consensus reality scene that I'm detecting. So, perhaps a certain aspect of "high strangeness" is some kind of powerful stimulation of thought processes that is "like" dreaming, and that gets imposed onto the observed consensus reality scene that the observer experiences. The "high strangeness" might still all be generated by an external stimulus or external intelligence, and the so-called consensus reality may include such an agent, perhaps even non-human.
I think you're making more sense than Jerry there because again, that's at least possible.
 
D

Derek

Guest
#16
Randall those were just my honest opinions as a casual ITunes listener/occasional consumer of the programme. Most folks are such these days - hardly anyone posts much in the forums (let alone guest questions), it’s just the way things have moved on I guess. And/or maybe the way the phenomena is dissipating/transmuting as Eric Quellet suggests?
I specifically meant “host” in the singular, as I said Gene wasn’t really participating that much - although he did try to rein you in once or twice.
All I was suggesting was that maybe listeners would want to hear much more of the guest’s (especially such an esteemed one) experiences and theories and less of yours - it just seemed that you really didn’t get the best of him. I could sense his antagonism at times.
Maybe try listening again - but from the perspective of the interested but casual listener. Too much pseudo logic/semantics doesn’t really make for very interesting listening. Whereas more concrete real life examples/cases (such as Ouellet gave) are much more digestible. Let the audience decide.
The sort of private conversations/debates that you’re having in here with a few subject devoted members (and why not - quite rightly too) do not translate well on air to a more general audience.
But there again maybe it’s all fizzling out and it’s just time to move on?
 
D

Derek

Guest
#17
Randall I listened once again to the programme - and would maybe suggest that you do likewise - especially that middle hour or so. I think you’d probably get a different perspective as a listener.

Jerome was crystal clear in his conceptual thinking and explanations - and that between him, Vallee, Jung and Ouellet they’ve essentially cracked the nub of the phenomenon (or are at least getting closer!) - without unnecessary complication. It just requires the courage to be prepared to drop the rigidity of thinking that has really got us nowhere to date - be it called binary or critical thinking as Jerome said. That middle hour was largely wasted in you “spinning your wheels” in defence of that way of thinking. That middle hour was made unnecessarily tedious (and Gene virtually gave up altogether hence all of the typing clatter and paper shuffling noises).

Actually by the end of the programme the “penny seems to have dropped” for you to a large extent?

Anyway as I’ve said, all of this is meant by way of positive criticism.
 
#18
To make matters worse Gene your mike was obviously unmuted for a time - one could quite clearly hear the clattering of a keyboard, the shuffling/clipping of papers and the occasional deep sigh !- it was really off putting at times. This is lazy broadcasting. I really think things have slipped.
Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this. There are hosts that run a podcast out of their bedrooms that have more tech savvy than this!
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#19
Randall those were just my honest opinions as a casual ITunes listener/occasional consumer of the programme. Most folks are such these days - hardly anyone posts much in the forums (let alone guest questions), it’s just the way things have moved on I guess. And/or maybe the way the phenomena is dissipating/transmuting as Eric Quellet suggests?
I specifically meant “host” in the singular, as I said Gene wasn’t really participating that much - although he did try to rein you in once or twice.
All I was suggesting was that maybe listeners would want to hear much more of the guest’s (especially such an esteemed one) experiences and theories and less of yours - it just seemed that you really didn’t get the best of him. I could sense his antagonism at times.
Maybe try listening again - but from the perspective of the interested but casual listener. Too much pseudo logic/semantics doesn’t really make for very interesting listening. Whereas more concrete real life examples/cases (such as Ouellet gave) are much more digestible. Let the audience decide.
The sort of private conversations/debates that you’re having in here with a few subject devoted members (and why not - quite rightly too) do not translate well on air to a more general audience.
But there again maybe it’s all fizzling out and it’s just time to move on?
I appreciate your opinions. Thanks for sharing. That being said, others may have differing opinions. After all, what you find interesting may be completely different from what others find interesting. The Paracast is also known for calling out a guest on questionable claims, and Jerry certainly isn't shy about doing that himself. So you'll have to excuse me if I don't stop doing that.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
#20
Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this. There are hosts that run a podcast out of their bedrooms that have more tech savvy than this!
Well, good for those other podcasters. Personally, Gene could be recording out of a cardboard box on a street corner and it wouldn't make any difference to me. It's his show. He's got his own personal challenges and way of doing things.
 

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