Here’s a nice shortcut into madness, a conceptual summary of The End of Human Space novel. It’s a 10,000 word “shortcut,” and available in a spiffy PDF…. One now more polished than this blog!
Escaping Fermi’s Paradox – DRAFT (PDF)
[Well, now it's a 27,000 word "shortcut." This is going to be a second book I think...]
If the Universe is so large, and life seems so persistent; then where is everyone?
URING the summer of 1950, a father of the Atomic Age, Enrico Fermi and his friends Edward Teller, Emil Konopinski, and Herbert York all walked under the warm New Mexico sun on their way to eat lunch in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s cafeteria. The conversation casually turned to flying saucers, and according to Teller, the chatter was “quite brief and superficial on a subject only vaguely connected with space travel,” one of the men had seen a cartoon about UFOs stealing garbage cans in The New Yorker, and the men talked around “the obvious statement that flying saucers are not real” (Jones 1985). The exchange fizzled away into mathematics for a time and the four men arrived at the diner, selected their food, and sat around a table to eat. Then, as Konopinski recalls, “Fermi surprised us with the question: But where is everybody? It was his way of putting it that drew laughs from us.” Despite that the question had fallen from the blue, it was clear that “Fermi was talking about extraterrestrial life,” and according to York, he “followed up with a series of calculations on the probability of human life, the likely rise and duration of high technology, and so on. He concluded on the basis of such calculations that we ought to have been visited [by aliens] long ago and many times over.” This lunch-time conversation formed the basis of what would later become the known as the Drake Equation. (The real value of the Drake Equation is not in the answer itself, but the questions that are prompted when attempting to come up with an answer.)
Fermi and the group puzzled together a few possible answers as to why no one has visited Earth; that the vast distances of space might make star travel impossible; that if it is possible, interstellar travel might not be worth the effort; or that technological civilizations themselves might not last long enough to overlap or even reach interstellar space.
Since that summer over sixty years ago, many theories have stepped forward to explore the subject known today as The Fermi Paradox. The theories fall on two simple sides: 1) They are here, or 2) They are not here. An answer to the question, “Are They here?” would quickly clear away many arguments from the debate.
So, could They be here?
Yes They Are Here
The following is a brief and well-documented summary of an obvious Alien craft that interacted with a Boeing 747 cargo plane as it flew over Alaska in 1986. The event was recorded on radar and was confirmed by NORAD not to be a military aircraft. Later in 1987, the incident was subject to a significant investigation by the FAA. At the time of this episode, the public could fill in an FAA Order Form and receive a large packet [200MB pdf] of the air traffic control tapes, incident reports, and testimony of the event from the FAA [this packet now includes other documents collected by researchers]. These FAA documents have been distilled into the most comprehensive narrative of JAL 1628’s experience ever complied, and is available here, and is included as part of chapter three in The End of Human Space.
Our story of Alien Contact is indeed one of surprising subtlety…
In the early evening of November 17th 1986, Japanese Airlines flight 1628 approached Alaskan airspace from Canada as the glowing red leftovers of the sun setting painted themselves on the southwestern horizon. Complying with a navigation order to enter U.S. air space, the crew made a slight left turn—during which they noticed some odd lights a few miles ahead. Being near U.S. and Soviet airspace, border patrols were often encountered in this area, and the crew ignored the lights, thinking at first that they were special mission aircraft or a pair of fighters. Then “the two lights began to move in a manner different from ordinary aircraft maneuvers, like two bear cubs playing with each other” (FAA Testimony 1987).
Here is Captain Kenju Terauchi‘s translated testimony to the FAA, on what happened next:
Unexpectedly, two ships jumped in front of our face, shooting off lights! The cockpit shined brightly and I felt warmth on my face. The firing of the exhaust jets varied, perhaps to maintain balance; some became stronger than others and some became weaker than others, but the jets seemed to be controlled automatically. Then three to seven seconds later, the fire (like from a jet engine) stopped and became a small circle of lights. The craft’s overall shape was square, and it was flying 150–300 meters in front of us, slightly higher in altitude than us. Its size was about that of the body of a DC-8 jet, but with numerous exhaust pipes. The center area of the ship, where an engine might be, was invisible and the middle of body of the ship sparked an occasional stream of lights like a charcoal fire from right to left, and left to right.
We did not feel threatened or in danger because the spaceship had moved so suddenly. We probably would have felt more danger and have been prepared to escape if the spaceships were shaking unsteadily or were unable to stop. It was impossible for any manmade machine to make a sudden appearance in front of our jumbo jet flying 910 kilometers per hour, and move in [seamless] formation.
Captain Kenju Terauchi, Meeting The Future, 1987. Personal Statement.
The “crafts” that followed JAL 1628 for almost an hour were powerful and strange. And massive. To the flight crew, the main “walnut” craft which remained in the distance had the apparent size of “two aircraft carriers” (Terauchi FAA Testimony 1987). The three crafts are illustrated below in “Drawing B” sketched by Captain Terauchi for FAA inspectors in his immediate interrogation after JAL 1628 landed in Anchorage that night. Note the small Boeing 747 drawn under the right side of the mothership object in the second panel.
During the confrontation, mangers at the Anchorage FAA Control Facility received enough data from multiple radars (including military), that they contacted the customs office at Anchorage International Airport and told them to prepare for the arrival of a lost aircraft. Yet the crew of JAL 1628 thought the craft was obviously out of this world. Captain Kenju Terauchi later noted to the FAA that the pattern of the UFO’s motions, and how the UFOs always stayed on the darkest side of the sky, denoted that it “seemed like they were trying to stay away, I guess there’s some kind of regulation for them to not be seen by [humans]” (Terauchi FAA Statement 1987). On March 5, 1987, the FAA completed its investigation of the JAL 1628 incident and did “not try to determine what the crew saw,” as “the FAA does not have the resources or the Congressional mandate to investigate sightings of unidentified flying objects” (FAA 1987).
Why So Shy? They May Have Rules, Like We Do.
First Contact Is Dangerous
CIENCE is a very strong and important type of knowledge. Yet occasionally, we over apply the expectation that if a piece of knowledge is not subject to scientific controls, then that knowledge is worth nothing at all! However, every day we bet our lives on non-scientific knowledge when we drive down the highway at the mercy of other drivers. And the most important question we may ask, “What is a life worth living?” has no scientific answer; yet, exploring this answer may define (or squander) decades of time and resources. Non-scientific information can be very important, even if this information is weaker than The Strong Facts of Science. We navigate the world with imperfect controls, and try our best to remain as rational we can.
For years I’ve been stressing with regard to UFOs that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions, 1998.
Extraordinary claims do not always need significant amounts of evidence. If deception surrounds an event, then significant pieces of evidence will be intentionally obscured and the only information lying open to the public realm may be a scant scattering of clues. A well-played puppet show can make a fool of Occam’s Razor.
The Great Silence itself might be a sign of widespread, and massive, intelligence. The “silence” of extraterrestrial civilizations might be similar to how anthropologists today provide native tribes an ethical amount of space to prevent the transfer of germs and disease. If Aliens have rules about contact, as Captain Terauchi suggests, then it is highly probable that Their interactions with us may also involve shy deceptions. To the early uncontacted tribes in the Amazon, perhaps the “greater population of the world” may have seemed a vague rumor until a critical number of tribal members saw the regular flybys of high altitude aircraft operating on a technological level beyond their understanding.
How UFOs might view technologically “advanced” humans today. © Gleison Miranda/FUNAI/Survival. Uncontactedtribes.org
Today, uncontacted tribes are protected under international law: United Nations’ International Labor Office Convention 169 “Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.” An estimated one hundred uncontacted tribes remain in the world, and Convention 169 is designed to protect these uncontacted peoples’ rights and condemns the assimilationist approach of governments. Under this law, indigenous peoples have the right to choose integration with wider society, or to maintain their cultural and political independence in isolation. …As too much contact, too fast, can be devastating.
If They Are Here and If They Are Shy; Then Shyness Reveals a System of Ethics
Progress can kill. From the thin air of Tibet to the plains of the Dakotas, forced progress has destroyed many developing societies and killed millions of people. We are all familiar with the most recent (official) first-contact experience in human history: the decimation of the New World by Europeans. Unintentionally and intentionally, the Western Hemisphere was wiped clean of 90% of its indigenous population and culture as Western diseases “created the greatest human catastrophe in history, far exceeding even the disaster of the Black Death of medieval Europe” (Cook 1998).
Stephen Hawking worries that “it would be a bad idea to contact aliens because they might be so greatly advanced compared to us, that our civilization might not survive the experience” (Hawking 2011). Indeed, we wouldn’t stand a chance if They held unethical or exploitative intentions. If They wanted our natural resources or delicate flesh, then we are certainly doomed (and likely would never have developed at all). Yet, if They are ethical creatures, then we would be allowed the space to develop as we are, perhaps in a sort of “Sapience Preserve” free of the noise and idea pollution of galactic society. As “people living in freedom on their own land, making decisions about their own lives, are far healthier than those who have been uprooted and had ‘progress’ forced upon them” (Survival International 2011).
We are here on Earth, and we have “developed” as a society that is relatively sustainable. Yet as shown by JAL 1628 and many thousands of other of strange experiences in our sky, They too are here—yet They remain shy. Thus, ethical principles and controls must be involved.
Perhaps floating outside of Earth sits a sign that says:
Memes are ideas with properties similar to viruses (Dawkins 1976). Memes are powerful, abstract little things that “emerge in brains and travel outward, establishing beachheads on paper and celluloid and silicon and anywhere else information can go” (Gleick 2011). To our society today, it is possible that Alien Memes might be the new conquistador’s bullets and smallpox that would ravage our way of life. A full, honest, scientifically confirmable Alien contact could likely drop a massive “memepox attack” on our values and beliefs, as the simple voice of an Alien will walk through our coherent interconnections of science and culture like a grizzly bear through a spider’s web… and centuries of patient, intricate work will instantly vanish.
Say Yes To No
Alien knowledge, thousands of years more advanced than ours, would be an ultimate authority within our culture. We will ask, What is a more perfect constitution and tax structure? Will you cure my cancer? May we please build a fusion power plant? Who is God?
Certainly, Survival International says that “experience shows [remote] peoples are in fact robust and well able to adapt to outside goods—most have been doing so for a very long time. Tribal peoples are not destroyed when they get or see things from outside, but by violence and disease as their lands are invaded” (Survival 2011). Uncontacted tribes can survive small levels of contact, but not a large flood of contact. How long would tribal medicine practices endure if Doctors Without Borders were to set up a very polite, yet very modern free medical clinic (with moon suits to avoid virus contamination) near a network of uncontacted tribes? Tribal identity would likely endure, yet the economic effect might be devastating to the long term and organic development of the tribes medical practices; that cultural branch would likely atrophy and be replaced with something foreign–and unsustainable.
Many developmental philosophies re-enforce a stark “say yes to no” position that allows “parents to raise more self-aware, self-disciplined, and self-reliant kids” (Search Institute 2010). Billionaire fathers like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett follow an austere path with their children who, despite being surrounded by “godly” amounts of wealth, must forge their own paths in life and through adulthood. This is done by providing opportunities, not handouts (Buffett 2010).
Alien knowledge could be so seductive and psychologically addictive to us as individuals, and as a culture, that we may need to be careful not to destroy our place within our native web of life. Standing near Alien knowledge, it might be easy for us to be like the wild animal who sniffs a candy wrapper left by an unknown civilization, and go crazy with desire for just one more taste! In the actual moment of Contact, it may be enormously difficult for us to tame the balance between craving the smell of Alien sweets and remaining true to the self-reliant human diet of berries, grubs, and dirt.
Our greatest test might be to enter an Alien candy store and stand without desire or hunger, and return home to our native forest entirely empty-handed and yet satisfied.
The overly skeptical criticism of UFO evidence is an example of this dangerous thirst for Alien Knowledge: Show me! Prove it! …But what happens once Alien Civilizations proves Themselves? We now have a solid truth, but at what cost? We then also have the truth that for decades our governments have been lying to us about some very important things. This Alien contact stuff is not new. Remember how Fermi talked about “flying saucers” over sixty years ago, in 1950? A solid truth of Alien contact experience might pose a tremendous existential threat to governmental authority and may unhinge the legitimacy of every Western government in the world, and crash the world economy. (Maybe. I think we’re stronger than that–and everything seems to be crashing just fine on its own…)
Regardless, in exploring the truth of Contact, a traditional dilemma arrives: knowledge and freedom at great cost, or the oppression and ignorance of safe comfort? Unfortunately no great moments of freedom or expansion ever occur without risk or pain…*
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.
Martin Luther King Jr.
In the 1850s, freeing the slaves was seen as an existential threat to the Southern Way of Life, yet today the culture of The South lives on transformed. In retrospect, the right choice for the citizens of the 1850s was straight forward, but in the violent era of the Civil War many people preferred to die and kill, than learn how to grow and change.
Contact Is Up To Us
EVELOPMENTAL ethics suggests that uncontacted tribes ought to “be free to choose whether to make contact or not. That’s the only way they will survive. There is no other way” (Meirelles 2010). So, if less-developed peoples ought to choose contact, how then might we choose Contact with the greater universe? Do we need to wish a UFO to land in the back yard, and hope Their mind-readers pick up our thought-scents?
Now we start dabbling into science-fiction (or do we?). Much of the sections above represent well established perspectives tied together in an interesting way. Yet this next section represents my own, more unique and radical perspective, one that only a handful of people in the world share or even have the full and proper exposure to properly understand.
This is new.
In 1985, Carl Sagan published his only science-fiction book and gave it a pleasantly direct name, Contact. In this great story, Earth receives a signal from deep space that contains a message on how to build an Alien Machine. No one knows what the contraption does or how it works beyond a guess, but once it’s built (at tremendous cost) a few human passengers enter and they turn on the device—a massive amount of energy is used—and the passengers eventually exit the Machine in jubilation! They apparently had bounced down wormholes and through star systems and met strange creatures in disguise, and it was real and lasted 12-15 hours! What year is it? How long have we been gone? The crew marvels as they exit. Yet to the outside world, the Machine had apparently malfunctioned. The crew was only inside the Machine for twenty minutes. Nothing moved, the doors remained locked, and they had gone nowhere. And no empirical or scientific readings were collected beyond static.
In Sagan’s book, many of the scientists thought “the only function of the Machine was in twenty minutes to produce a memorable illusion—or just possibly—to drive [the travelers] mad” (Sagan 1985). The skeptics and governmental administrators now believed that the crew inside the Machine had suddenly realized the whole project was a failure and had scrambled to concoct a set of lies to save face and justify the massive amount of funding spent to a rightly outraged public.
“Come off it, Arroway. Don’t insult our intelligence. You don’t present us with a shred of evidence, and you expect us to believe the biggest cock-and-bull story of all time? You know better than that… How could you figure to get away with it?” This was worse than she thought possible. She felt a moment of epistemological panic—as when your car is not where you thought you parked it.
Defense Secretary Kirtz to Ellie in Contact, By Carl Sagan, 1985
Yet to every person inside the Machine that day, the experience was real. And there was no other way to process it other than believing what it appeared to be, a grand adventure into other worlds!
“Eventually, it will be easy to convince ourselves this was only an illusion. Every morning when we wake up, our experience will be more distant, more dream like… I will not permit anyone to trivialize this experience. Remember. It really happened. It was not a dream, Ellie, don’t forget.”
Sukhavavti to Ellie in Contact, by Carl Sagan, 1985
An Uncomfortable Lie
I now believe that we have been lied to on a most massive level. I believe that Carl Sagan may have been playing a part within his own puppet show…. That maybe his “Machine” needn’t cost trillions of dollars, merely a $100 depending on the supplies you buy. I now believe our government has made contacting aliens illegal.
I believe we are seeing different dimensions; distinct planes, occupied by conscious entities of all sorts—insects, plants, orange peels, and gods. There is a structure and architecture to this shared consciousness, this hyperspace. We must journey through it with a good heart like a good guest, with an open smile of friendship and the bowed head of noble gratitude.
There are new voices who deserve further introduction to the world. They are the travelers of DMT. N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a highly illegal (though little known) Schedule I Psychedelic Substance that has no physically damaging or addictive effects, yet holds massive legal penalties for anyone who ingests or procures DMT. And a Very First Time Smoking DMT may occasionally have the same qualities as Carl Sagan’s adventure in Contact. Some (not all) DMT travelers believe that hiding behind the scrim of our normal three-dimensional reality sits a massive Alien Hyperspace that envelops our entire conception of space and time. That when these DMT adventurers smoke or ingest DMT, their minds are folded into a new Hyperspatial world that is massively more confusing and sophisticated than our own.
I have learned that it chooses when to suck you in. If the time is right, you enter, but otherwise you are given the usual light show. (On the highest dose I took, I was not allowed in. So I know it’s dose independent.) Another thing I have learned is that there is no end to the rabbit hole with DMT… There is a stage beyond this experience, and there is even a stage beyond that one.
We could make many indentations in space-time as much as we like; it would do us no good if no one hooked up from the other side.
Ellie in Contact, by Carl Sagan, 1985
I would vaporize my DMT and see nothing. “Maybe a higher dose,” I say? Still nothing. Maybe freebase? Nothing but blank. I try a lower dose and again nothing, no visuals what so ever, just a little body high and no recollection of anything. So I take a break for a few weeks, re-evaluate what I want, and start low. I have had some of the most profound breakthroughs on low doses. Amazing, just amazing.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine is an eerie little chemical that is naturally produced, well, everywhere, and is easily extracted from many common plants you walk past every day. Oddly enough, DMT is even produced within our bodies (Jacob, Presti 2004). Why the world’s most powerful psychedelic is found naturally within us, “has puzzled scientists for decades,” and remains a mystery.
Sure they wouldn’t make it hard for us. They would make it easy, because if they wanted to communicate with dummies they would have to make allowances for dummies.
Peter Valerain to Ellie in Contact, by Carl Sagan, 1985
This “Spice” (DMT) is “a gateway to parallel dimensions… I don’t care if people say ‘it’s just a drug’—it isn’t. We have stumbled upon an ancient biotechnology that ports you into different planes of existence, where you meet the inhabitants of said planes. And you never know which dimensions you’ll end up in or what Entities you’ll meet. I’d be surprised if you weren’t shitting yourself before going there. Apart from being born and dying, Spice is the most intense experience you will ever have” (88 2010).
DMT is one of the psychedelic compounds traditionally found in shamanic ceremonies in the Amazon. For thousands of years native shamans have safely used psychedelic plants to induce visions wherein, through their minds, travelers would clearly meet intelligent creatures and spirits who would poke, prod, and experiment on them—and even provide insights and rewards for their participation! Ayahuasca (pronounced “eye-ah-wha-ska) was also called “the vine of the dead [or] sometimes called the little death, because [many thought] it gave you entrance into what we now call a near-death experience, [that would show you how to] improve your own life and permit you to help other people in certain ways that wouldn’t be possible if you were just stuck in an ordinary state of consciousness” (Michael Harner). Dr. Michael Harner, one of the first Western anthropologists to study Ayahuasca, had this to say about his first session in 1961:
I’d had these experiences which were so incredible, and then I went to the shaman, and he dealt with them quite matter-of-factly. [In my session] there were certain creatures who said certain things about how they were really running the planet, and he just smiled and said, “Oh, they’re always saying that,” and so on. And I realized, from that, and many other things, he was quite familiar with the terrain I’d been to…. This was fascinating to me, because I was trained as a cultural anthropologist, and I was told that culture did everything. And now it looks like maybe culture isn’t the last word about everything.
Anthropologist Dr. Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman,
Advanced Beings interacting with us directly through our minds? Shamans seemed to agree, although they called Them “spirits” and “gods.” This psychedelic substance was so fascinating that in the early 1990s, Dr. Rick Strassman, M.D. conducted an F.D.A.-sponsored a multi-year clinical study with American volunteers and the substance. To his great surprise, he found regular and remarkable results of dramatic personal transformations—and direct contact with “advanced entities and civilizations” that were so consistent and startling that he had to reevaluate his personal agnostic position on “UFOs” and “alien abductions” (see DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman). This perspective is also mirrored by independent DMT travelers:
I consider myself to be a scientifically minded and rational person, and I didn’t seek out DMT so I could communicate with aliens or any other such nonsense. But having now experienced a deeper part of what DMT has to offer, I don’t think there’s a limit to its depths. It is undeniably real, and undeniably Alien.
The Uncomfortable Answer
HE Fermi Paradox indeed has an answer and has never been a “paradox” at all. Our planet is merely part of a massive developmental system we cannot understand, control, or properly evaluate. The power, scope, and responsibility of this system is likely unimaginable and is astonishing to even begin pondering. But in time—as our human abilities continue to grow at an exponential pace—this great system may slowly become more intelligible and accessible as we learn to take our own steps into a Beyond that is even greater than we once imagined.
We have mistakenly bought into the SETI misdirection… our evolution will not expand outward to the stars, but transcend within to higher levels of the universe, and we are likely to find very little with the efforts of SETI (Smart 2002, 2011). This is perhaps this is why U.S. authorities/puppeteers stick so closely to the “importance” of SETI, while they refuse to fund it. It seems silly to ask “where is everyone?” and look to the radio waves of stars, when at the same time Cosmologists say 96% of the calculable Universe is missing (1, 2, 3, 4)! The implications of the search for hyper-dimensional intelligence now sits on the uncomfortable realization that They are not someplace ”out there” light-years away, but right HERE…
And then it took me. Like a lion shaking a lamb in its jaws, it overpowered me. It showed me that hyperspace is not somewhere else–it is here, around us, always, now. Our perception of reality is limited to a single facet of a much larger reality. And what we do here matters… we must prepare for this larger reality, for it’s overwhelming; it is like death itself.
A darker side to this issue remains the role of our governments. Their exact reasoning on such immense secrecy and social controls also remains a mystery. Perhaps the Intelligence Agencies felt they had no clear explanations and society would freak out at the ambiguity; perhaps they felt that a new “galactic perspective” would damage governmental authority; perhaps they rightly realized that once changed, a Hyperspatial Explorer can never really return to society as they once were; or perhaps as individuals, the agents were terrified at what they found, and felt a “global war on drugs” was a safer choice for them and everyone else; or perhaps in a bureaucratic world where compartmentalized information is a commodity and a source of power…why should those at the top give up their golden egg? All we can do is speculate, and ask the CIA for explanations.
Ideally, the whole situation requires further academic study by people who’s opinion’s count. Yet unfortunately, according to those in the field, it is easier to study biological warfare than psychedelic “drugs.” And these scientists are disappointed that in a supposedly free society, a whole realm of knowledge is hidden away without a clear reason as something illegal to study.
And that’s the secret to politics: trying to control a segment of people without those people recognizing that you’re trying to control them.
Scott Reed, 2011. Veteran strategist and lobbyist
In order for you to validate the perspectives of this article, as in Sagan’s Contact, will require you to repeatedly violate some very strict laws and have the experiences for yourself–multiple times. This is not a game, and I do not encourage you to break the law. There are serious consequences to this “validation”—legally, culturally, and psychologically. If you choose to Travel, please do so responsibly and according to the suggestions of those who have traveled before you: please read Book Two in The End of Human Space. And please do not assume taking a hallucinogen will simply bring you face to face with an alien. Subtlety is at play.
Everything is different now.
*As a member of the Lost Generation I don’t care much to coddle those who through greed or incompetence refuse learn, grow, or help others in need. Our society has forgotten how to share and how to love. We seem to prefer to protect those who expand only themselves and control others through poverty of the mind and pocketbook.
Stéphane Hessel, a trouble maker in the French Resistance during WWII, recommends to the youth of today that “If you want to be a real human being—a real woman, a real man—you cannot tolerate things which put you to indignation, to outrage, you must stand up. I always say to people, ‘Look around; look at what makes you unhappy, what makes you furious, and then engage yourself in some action.’ To be conquered by a nation like the Nazis, obviously is insufferable,” he says. “Today we are not in front of problems that immediately appear as impossible to accept. But if we look a little carefully, these challenges are there.”