The Seven Stakes of the Alien

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The value
of studying ufology and extraterrestrials is often questioned. Why is it
relevant to the spiritual path? This question is even more pointed when asked
in the context of Advaita, which asserts that phenomenal "reality" as a whole
is unreal. So why devote time to investigating aspects of unreality rather than
simply focusing completely on the Supreme Real?

First let us address the advaita objection, then approach the question more
generally. It is true that Sri Ramana Maharshi would probably not have been too
interested in aliens, though no doubt he would have invited them to share a
meal at his ashram, and he would have gazed at them lovingly. He might have
even introduced them to his pal Lakhshmi, the enlightened cow. But phenomenal
entities of any sort are not the focus of a gyani, who sees all beings as
manifestations of Shiva. On the other hand, to be an advaitin does not mean to
have no interest in the world. Even Sri Ramana read the newspapers and kept up
with current events. The Advaita viewpoint is to see the world accurately,
fearlessly, in its true sacred significance. That means to see the world sub specie aeternitatis, as Schopenhauer
put it. The world is unreal as a phenomenon detached from its Source. But it is
utterly real as a manifestation of Brahman, the Absolute. And there is much to
be learned from examining the world as a dream in the cosmic mind of Brahman.
Just as psychoanalysis has learned much about the human unconscious from
studying human dreams, we can learn a great deal about the unconscious of God
from studying the cosmic dream.

The question, then, is not whether to study the alien phenomenon, but how to
study it. We must make use of what the great ethnopsychoanalyst George Devereux
calls complementarity. That is, we must study the phenomenon simultaneously in
at least two different frames of reference, if we wish to understand it
accurately. Otherwise, it is inevitable that investigators will fall into
errors of judgment. The lack of complementarity, or what Karatani and Zizek
refer to as the parallax principle, is what leads to collusion with delusion.
When we interrogate the Real, we must do so as a team of blind people would
interrogate the phenomenon of an elephant. No single perspective can capture
its essence. If we fall under the spell of a single discourse, especially if it
constitutes a kind of master's discourse, as outlined by Lacan, then we will
soon find ourselves either in a ufo cult situation or functioning as a cynical
psi-cop closed-mindedly denying the phenomenon any space from which to
influence our consciousness.

But we must not only study this literally earth-shaking phenomenon with respect
for differential frames of reference that must be integrated, but with an
authentic devotion to the sacred significance of all arisings in our universe.
We must transform our frames of reference into flames of reverence. When our
sciences realize themselves as true forms of bhakti yoga, devoted to the Real
of Brahman appearing as Nature, Cosmic Nature evolving itself into ever new
forms, Natura Naturans as Spinoza put
it, and that we ourselves are participants in the unconcealing of the miracle
of Being, then the objects of science will reveal deeper aspects of their
transfinite essence, no longer anchored to the merely experiential or
phenomenalistic level of their Being, but emerging undefinably, rhizomatically,
through planes of immanence that cannot be limited by any logic or discourse of
a priori validity.

There is far more at stake in the alien phenomenon than most people are ready
to recognize. The advent of the alien has the potential to blow apart our
cultural world, and possibly even our physical planet — or to help us restore our
human world to a higher level of health, from the physical health of our biosphere
to the spiritual health of our noosphere and its mediators. Because to the
aliens we are the aliens, there is an inevitable inmixing of projective
identifications between us, which is most often expressed delusionally, but in
delusions that contain far more truth than do the conservative skeptical
denials of conventional scientism. The aliens constitute for us a new Other;
whether they bother to exist as factual entities is irrelevant.

Now, regardless of our views on the subject, the alien Other is making an
unprecedented demand upon us. We must reckon both with the jouissance of the
alien and the lack expressed by this new Other. We must traverse the fantasies
that have transmitted our own lack to the aliens, and which  have thus
moulded the contours of our relations. It is not enough to diagnose hysteric
psychosis as the context of an alien abduction, although that may represent one
dimension of the alien abduction scenario. But since the stakes transcend mere
seduction and castration, which limit the ordinary hysterical event horizon,
and throw the dice of a  wager called hybridization, then even if it is a
hysterical hybridization, it signifies an unprecedented transformation of
consciousness is already underway. And for those on the path of conscious
Self-realization, the stakes of the alien arrival are even higher. So let us
explore the seven stakes of the alien. The seven stakes, which are the frames
of reverence in which the alien reveals not only its nature, but our own
nature, are as follows:

1. the alien as object of science
2. as object of psychoanalysis
3. as object of religion
4. as object of sociology, politics, and aesthetics
5. as object of philosophy
6. as non-object of intersubjectivity
7. as avatar of the Supreme Real

The first stake concerns the alien as an object of science. This is the
nuts-and-bolts level of ufology. The problem in studying the alien on this
level is the issue of secrecy. Governments have classified most of the
information potentially available. Moreover, there has been a disinformation
campaign as well. But credible researchers have established at least a baseline
of commonly accepted information. A newcomer to the field would do well to read
the works of such mainline ufologists as Donald Keyhoe, Linda Moulton Howe,
Stanton Friedman, and Richard Dolan. One will come away with a sense of the
overwhelming amount of evidence that exists to support the fact of the presence
of alien spacecraft in our skies and under our oceans, and perhaps in
underground bases, as well as on bases on the moon and on Mars. There is very
persuasive photographic evidence from Nasa cameras and Soviet space probes as
well to support the empirical reality of the UFO phenomenon. But the actual
relationships that human governments maintain with extra-planetary powers
remains a mystery. Many theories abound, but unless one has a very high secrecy
clearance from the U.S. Government, there is little hope of advancing beyond
speculation-unless one has friends among the aliens, of course.

And this is where the field becomes very muddy, indeed. Because many people do
claim to have friends among the aliens. Some have been contactees — people like
George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, or more recently, George King, Sister Thedra,
and Rael — and some have been abductees, like Whitley Strieber and the many
thousands of clients of hypnotists like Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and
psychiatrists like the late John Mack.

This is where we must trifurcate our approach further, to see the alien
simultaneously in three further discordant frames of reference: as a
psychoanalytic object, a sociological object, and a religious object.

Lacanian psychoanalysis is the most advanced mainstream intellectual framework
from which to critique the alien abduction phenomenon. Jean-Claude Maleval is
their point man. He has revived a concept that derives not from Freud, but from
Pierre Janet, the overshadowed hero of abnormal psychology. Other great
non-freudian thinkers of the logic of existential delusion include Karl
Jaspers, Gaetan Gatian de Clerambault, and Georges Canguilhem. Their insights
have finally been retrieved from forgotten archives of human knowledge and are
part of the creation of a new syncretic understanding of non-ordinary
realities. From this emergent perspective, the typical abduction narrative
definitely possesses all the indicia of hysterical or psychotic delirium. Yet
it is not so simple as that. To an observer not identified with the
psychoanalytic model of reality, it is always an open question if any particular
case of abduction is genuine. And if we give any credence to the paranormal, to
the possibility of unseen dimensions of reality, to archetypal imagoes, or to
the existence of actual intelligent creatures from other worlds who are not
carbon-based organisms, then we must inplore (rather than explore) the subtle
dimensions of contact that defy the usual subject/object and external/internal
dualities of being. Even if we can pigeonhole an abduction narrative as a
delusional effort to overcome the lack of a sexual rapport between human male
and female otherness, or the castrated helplessness of the ego in the face of
the jouissance of the Other, that is only one layer of unconscious
significance, and should not elbow out of consideration the rapport that it makes
possible with the interdimensional Other that may just be the herald of the
second coming of the Self.

The whole question of the ontological (not merely the psychoanalytic) status of
delusion must be re-thought in the light of quantum dynamics and interdimensional
realities. On what ground does one stand when asserting wholesale ontological
claims regarding the experiences and imperiences of others? The field of
abnormal psychology must undergo a rite of passage into a new and more complex
frame of reference in which the concept of normal is non-normativized,
relativized in the context not only of parapsychological sensitivities and
deliberately imposed disinformational cryptomnesia, including multiple-layered
screen memories to trick the analytic mind, but also of plasma physics and
parallel universes, temporal feedback loops and colliding spacetime matrices.
Normalcy is not relevant to such events as an alien abduction. But it is highly
relevant to know whether the event is produced by an unconscious psyche that
requires a delusional narrative such as an alien abduction to cover an abyss of
unbearable knowledge. If so, the unhuman screen figures must be traversed so
that the more profound dread can be encountered. What is important is that we
not stop there, thinking that the mystery has now been solved.

Simultaneously, we must examine the alien from the sociological perspective,
since it is yielding new social networks and forms of organization, new
religious movements that are growing by leaps and bounds, that have their own
logic and consequences for our rapidly morphing social reality. The
sociological dimension includes both the political and the aesthetic, since
these are determined as part of the social matrix. The alien arouses potent
emotional forces, both of a primitive sort that supports nationalistic
reactivity and aggressivity and also the sort that brings out the best in
ourselves, in terms of compassionate longing for friendships that span the
universe and overcome all barriers of otherness. The alien is already present
in our arts-not only in films and literature, but most visibly in
architecture — and is opening portals to new kinds of collective consciousness,
harkening back to our own ancient tribal beginnings, based on identification
with the stranger on a strange planet.

The alien also forces us to reopen the philosophical questions that materialist
science had hoped had been answered once and for all. The alien intrusion
creates an imperative to question not only our physics, but also our ontology,
our epistemology, our ethics, and our true place in the cosmic food chain. This
is but the latest chapter in the ongoing series of revolutionary shifts of
paradigm that have humbled the human ego, from the Copernican Revolution, to
the evolutionary revolution, to the psychoanalytic revolution, and now the ETI
revolution. It also raises the stakes of our scientific theories, that must
answer to the implications of superluminal velocities, wormholes in space, and
time travel, to name a few, and forces us to question our planetary politics
and how they can be made to mesh with interplanetary organizations, cosmic law,
trade, and perhaps, alas, warfare. New conceptions of value and exchange will
certainly have to supersede our current systems of economic, class, and power

But regardless of the ultimate ontological status we grant the alien (not to
mention what the aliens will grant to us), they are here as our interlocutors,
and we must be up to the challenge of greeting them from at least an
intersubjective perspective. No doubt they will be catalysts to the development
of latent powers that may emerge from within our own consciousness. The
potential for our transformation under the influence of the alien presence is
boundless and unknowable. Our self-image, our sense of being a separate
(homo-not-so-sapient-after-all) species, our relationship to Earth, our entire
post-humanistic imaginary, is on the point of dissolution, once the more
advanced alien intelligence is recognized by the human Other as its far greater
Other. A journey into new knowledge that will make all of us psychonauts, if
not cosmonauts, is being prepared for us, and has already begun. In
relationship with the alien, we are becoming aliens ourselves, to ourselves as
well as to them. Our fundamental frame of reference as human egocentric
entities has already begun to dissolve in the mirror of mutual

Last but not least, we ought not deny the spiritual (as distinguished from the
religious) significance of the alien. This refers to the transcendent/immanent
dimension of the Supreme Real. The recognition of the ultimate source of
intelligence, love, and Being will stand out in the uncanny strangeness of our
new situation, if we are willing to encounter this miraculous intervention in
its own terms. From aloneness in the universe, we must learn to accept our
all-one-ness. Our ultimate  genuine connection with the alien is our
mutual participation in the Sat-Chit-Ananda that underlies and permeates our conscious
existence. It is through the recognition of our oneness in the Absolute that we
will be able to catalyze the intersubjective potentials of our future
relationship. The necessity of seeing the divine in such unusual forms — and even
more important, of our divinity being seen and appreciated by this unexpected
new Other — will accelerate our evolution as beings of love more than any other
possible catalyst. Since neither fight nor flight is possible as a viable or
intelligent response to the alien visitors — though no doubt it has been
attempted, and may be in the future by those too stupid to know better — we must
live up to our own potential for love and wisdom. We must also re-organize our
own hierarchies to ensure that the wisest and most loving are in the decision-making
positions. The realization of Advaita, the nonduality of all that is, has
become the official passport to the future. No less coherent apperception will
pass through the capillaries of this cosmic, chaotic, osmotic ontologic
wormhole through which we are freefalling into a future utterly inconceivable
to a limited intelligence.

The stakes are indeed high in our dealings with the alien, and even delusion
may prove to be in the service of evolutionary growth and transformation. As
Lacan famously noted, it is the non-dupes who err. Perhaps it is better for us
to fall into imaginary collusions with hysterics than to close our minds and
hearts to dimensions of reality that our current concepts cannot encompass. But
better still would be to hone our symbolic, intuitional, and sublime feeling
capacities to encounter the akashic information stream that flows through our
noosphere, if we would only enter our visionary vimanas and return to the
cosmic kumbha mela that calls us to reunion with the deep interstellar void,
and to dip into that trans-egoic ganges of intergalactic savoir faire, in a blessed bhaktic baptism into the eternal
trans-phenomenal life of Absolute Being. Now comes the moment of our
unimaginable ascension.




Image by Roberto Verzo, courtesy of Creative Commons license. 

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