The Problem of Non-Contact
Flying Saucer Review – Special Issue “The Humanoids”, October-November 1966
Our Contributor is author of those two excellent books
The Truth about Flying Saucers and Flying Saucers and-the Straight Line Mystery.
In this article, I shall take the word contact not in the restricted sense used by Gordon Creighton — a brief and limited intellectual exchange between a few individuals — but rather in the basic sense of an exchange as complete as possible between communities, at all levels and in all imaginable fields. The contact to which I refer is, for example, that which exists between two peoples whose countries are members of the United Nations Organisation.
(1) The first obvious fact that we have is that such a contact does not exist between humanity and the “X” system or systems responsible for the UFO phenomenon or phenomena.
(2) A second evident fact is that this absence of contact is itself the No. 1 problem presented by the phenomenon. “The greatest mystery of all is this: why don’t they show themselves to us openly?” (Charles Fort).
(3) A third evident fact is that they are here, in our world, and that we are not there in theirs.
(4) A fourth evident fact is that, if the “X” system is a multiple one (if there are several origins or responsible parties), then they all obey equally, insofar as our observations permit us to gauge, one single law on one precise point, and that is abstention from contact.
(5) A fifth evident fact (demonstrated by the existence of the problem itself) is that physical contact is possible. Indeed we see them quite often, we sometimes hear them, and some of us have touched them.
(6) All our speculations on Charles Fort’s “greatest mystery of all” spring from the confrontation of these evident features, among themselves, and when set against the facts (known, probable or possible).
(7) From (3) we must deduce that “they” are superior to us on one point at least: technology.
(8) Can we add: and science? It seems probable, though not evident. The fish Gymnarchus Niloticus “knows” how to make his way through the muddy water of the Nile by using the electrical tensions between his own body and the obstacles. We do not understand how he does it, although we know the laws of electricity and he doesn’t. The grain-gathering ants “know” how to stack the grains in a hot, humid atmosphere without their germinating, and yet it was Fleming who discovered how antibiotics work, and not the ants. There are countless such examples in Nature. Bionics is the technique of utilising these non-human processes which were being used by Nature before their invention or discovery by man. The field of Bionics is immense.
(9a) We can find herein, if we wish, a primary explanation for the absence of contact: we have no more contact with them than we have with Gymnarchus Niloticus, because they do not possess (any more than the fish does) a discursive type of thought. They dominate us only to the degree that the microbe dominates us when we are ill.
(9b) I will refrain from developing this hypothesis any further, being well aware that we could go on discussing it ad infinitum. As a bit of fuel for the fire I will point out that if, as some people believe, the religions of the Bible are the religious transformations of a genuine extraterrestrial contact (see the books of Brinsley le Poer Trench and Paul Thomas), then the Egyptians, for their part, deified Gymnarchus Niloticus, and for the same reason: the apparently supernatural nature of his behaviour.
(10) A more sophisticated form of (9) is as follows: the beings who are really responsible for the UFO phenomenon are never there, and nobody has seen them, ever. All that we see are robots (either biological or not: see particularly, for this latter hypothesis, case No. 23 in Jacques Vallee’s article on page II (reported in detail in my book Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery — as well as the Cisco Grove case, in Coral Lorenzen’s article). These robots are made for a certain task, just as we have produced milk cows, watchdogs, setters, race horses, draught horses, etc. The task (unknown to us) for which they are destined would not comprise contact with us.
(11) Among the arguments in favour of such a hypothesis, we might recall, depending on the case, that in the Mosaic books of the Bible, Yahweh is he whom one cannot look at face to face without dying (though indeed Moses looked and did not die); that he never has contact with men except through intermediaries; that these intermediaries are either men (Lot, etc.), or humanoids (Ezekiel); that they are capable of interbreeding with mankind (the origin of the Giants); and that consequently, according to the accepted norms in Biology, they belong either to mankind or to a species very close to mankind and of similar origin.
(12) One could also point out that in most cases the operators seem to be either human (see the table given by Gordon Creighton in his Introduction) or humanoid; .that the small humanoids (very many cases, but see particularly, in Lorenzen, the case at Globe, Arizona, on June 9, 1960, so extraordinarily similar to the description given on July 1, 1965, by the witness at Valensole[*], that both speak of a pumpkin (courge in French and cougourdo in Provencal, this latter being the word that was used at Valensole) — that these small humanoids, as I say, usually fit in with the idea of an interpolation, in the future, of the past evolution of mankind (intensified cephalization, i.e. growth of the size of the head; regression of the vegetative organs, i.e. jaw, mouth, nose, and so on). In other words, just as though a biological and genetic technique had “done a job” on human nature in the very simplest manner, contenting itself with “stepping up the performance” in those features peculiar to it (which are linked to the use of the brain), and artificially accelerating the natural rate of evolution of mankind.
(13) A nod, in passing, to the old and still healthy hypothesis of the Man of the Future visiting his own past. It fits in perfectly with this particular aspect of the UFO problem (the small humanoids with large heads). For all the variations on this theme, see the countless Science Fiction stories that elaborate upon it, and notably the books of Poul Anderson.
(14) But there aren’t only the small humanoids with big heads. There is a whole aberrant fauna of varying sizes and shapes, in regard to which the two hypothesis (10) and (13) seem to be applicable with equal force. If it is a question of an invisible and never revealed “System X” which operates through the intermediary agency of biological robots, this System could have drawn upon the species found on Earth, but also from anywhere you like elsewhere. And we cannot see what would prevent our Brave Man of the Future from doing likewise. Why shouldn’t he?
(15) In either case, it is vain to speculate about the “reason” for the non-contact, since the motives of this behaviour lie hypothetically beyond the reason, which is the psychological tool of contemporary man. The weight of the human brain is about double the weight of the brain of the most evolved living primate. Is it semantically possible to express, at the level of that primate, the motives which cause me to write these lines? Now the law of the index of 3/2, applied to the relative dimensions of the “encephalon” seen at Valensole and Globe and elsewhere, and applied also to the human brain, suggests that we should have to attribute to the brain of the little Valensole man a mass of over eight or ten pounds, that is to say at least three times as big as ours. And since we are only speculating, let us suppose that this encephalon is composed, as ours is, of neurons, and neurological units. We possess at least 2 x 1010 of them. The pumpkin-headed humanoid would have, let us say, 6 x 1010. A question then to put to the cyberneticians is: how many interconnections can result from 6 x 1010 neurons? the answer:
Immensely more than three times what we have.
(16) Let us note that if these speculations are valid, then they are valid in all the hypotheses, and -not only in cases (10) and (13). Even if he is neither the product of special breeding nor a man of the future, our humanoid pumpkinhead presents an “encephalon” at least three times as massive as ours.
(17) In Man’s prehistorical past we find a parallel evolution in techniques and in the weight of the encephalon, the sole exception being Neanderthal man with his voluminous skull (but the exception disappears if we consider only the neo-cortex). The technology of the UFOs and the dimensions of the “head” of the pumpkin-head humanoids agree with this law. The establishment of this point is an argument in favour of the super-human nature of the thought that propels at least some of the UFOs.
(18) I have been assuming from (10) onwards that contact did not exist because the real responsible agent or agents were invisible or absent. One frightening form of this hypothesis would be that “System X” is not a living being at all, but a machine. A colossal robot endowed with powers and knowledge formidably superior to those of mankind might, for a long time past — or indeed perhaps since the very beginnings of life — have been in orbit, or on some uninhabited planet of our solar system. It would observe, act and manipulate events and beings through the intermediary of the UFOs and of living creatures that have been built or bred. The processes of biological evolution, so difficult to explain, could have been produced by it, and consequently man himself too. This is an unfounded hypothesis, but in Ufology the rule is to think of everything and to believe nothing, Everything must be thought of, including the little phantom planet seen so many times in the XIXth century beyond Mercury that Le Verrier calculated its orbit. Then it ceased to be seen, and Asaph Hall perceived, around Mars and unseen until then, Phobos and Deimos, the orbits of which cannot be explained by celestial mechanics, and which the astrophysicist Shklovskiy holds to be artificial satellites.
(19) Let us now envisage the alternative hypothesis: that the operators seen on the ground are indeed themselves the agents responsible for the UFO phenomenon. They are in fact System X.
(20) It is at this point that we should examine the allegations of the “contactees”. Adamski, Menger, Kraspedon, Angelucci and others assert in fact that the pilots of the Flying Saucers are also their builders. They are the prime movers of this unknown civilisation which is visiting us. And, furthermore, they have contacted, and are contacting, certain men (the alleged witnesses).
(21) An initial difficulty is that the testimonies given by these witnesses do not agree with each other, which suggests that at least some of them are false. It is consequently necessary to have recourse to the critical method and to analysis, in order to discern the genuine ones, if any there be.
(22) Without pronouncing an opinion as to the value of the analyses and criticisms that have already been attempted (including my own), it must be stated that they have led the students of our subject almost unanimously to sceptical conclusions. Those who believe in one (or several) of these contactee accounts are a very tiny minority of Ufologists, who in turn are themselves a very tiny minority of mankind. We are consequently brought back in any case to our first hypothesis, namely non-contact. If contact exists, then, virtually the entire human species is, in effect, excluded from it. The contactees can speak, if they so choose, of their own personal contact with the Extraterrestrials, but for mankind as a whole this contact is avoided.
(23) I say that it is avoided by them, and not by us, for if you can land at Socorro, you can land in front of the Palace of the United Nations too.
(24) Several European ufologists of very great competence (although not known to the public), noting this refusal of contact, interpret it as an act of contempt as regards human dignity and human consciousness. They hold that the repeated assertion of the U.S. Air Force that “the UFOs do not constitute a threat to our security” is false and dangerous, and that a fresh examination should be made of the question of whether our attitude towards them ought to be friendly or not.
(25) One allegation, often repeated, even by scientists, is that “these beings, since they possess so advanced a technology, are bound to be rational beings like us, and that therefore, if we had the opportunity, we could easily establish contact”.
(26) Let us note, however, that no scientific definition of the word “reason” exists. The history of techniques, from the Pebble Culture to the rocket, shows no discontinuity revealing the appearance of “reason”. It is difficult to see why the continuous variation that, from Australopithecus onwards, has arrived at us, should stop at us, since it has never stopped until now and has indeed done nothing but accelerate. And if it is to continue in the future as in the past, one cannot see why it would not end up by producing differences in the level of the psyche which would be even greater than those differences which separate us from Australopithecus and the primates of the Tertiary Period. The idea mentioned in (25) is consequently a pseudo-idea, a phrase devoid of any meaning.
(27) Although we all willingly admit that Ufological activity reveals a level of thought that is superhuman, it seems therefore that the majority of us persist in not seeing the inevitable implication of such super-humanity: namely that it will always include a part that is incomprehensible, and will always display what to us are apparently contradictions and absurdities.
(28) Perhaps this is the reason why the Ufological material gathered over the last 19 years so greatly resembles the madman’s dream which the psychiatrists are always tempted to interpret in terms of psychiatry: the dream is in fact the only available specimen of a thought that is more spacious than the thought of the human consciousness. The dream was the only specimen of such a thought available until the appearance of the UFOs.
(29) Recognising the super-human character of the thought that propels the UFOs is not a defeatist, but a realistic attitude. It is better to know what you are dealing with than to refuse to look.
(30) Since the very earliest times of mankind, there has existed a particular mental attitude on the part of man as regards the existence of a thought supposed to be superior to his own: this is the religious attitude. Until now, human thinking has never been applied to a category of thought supposed to be super-human other than in a religious context.
(31) Perhaps this fact explains at one and the same time both (a) the religious deviation of “contactee Ufolatry” and (b) the psychological block of a-religious rationalism. These two categories of minds recognise alike in the UFO phenomenon the operation of a super-human thinking, which is considered with delight by the first category to be a religious action, and is regarded with horror by the second.
(32) The particular difficulty of Ufological research is, consequently, the difficulty of applying oneself to a super-human phenomenology merely with the methods of science and excluding all mysticism.
(33) The first consequence of (27) is that neither the absurd nor the contradictory must ever be excluded as such. When they appear, we should record them, just like the rest. The examples of apparent absurdity are very numerous, and we even find almost always one or two absurd details in every well reported case, especially in the Type 1 category. Some cases, like the Kelly-Hopkinsville farm affair, are veritable festivals of absurdity. It must never be forgotten that in any manifestation of a super-human nature the apparently absurd is what one must expect. “Why do you take so much trouble about your food and your house?”, one of my cats asked me one day. “What an absurd lot of upheaval, when everything can be found in the dustbins, and there is good shelter under the cars.”
(34) Perhaps the contactees themselves ought to be studied afresh from this angle. If contact is avoided (and it is), would not the best method of hampering the investigators be to make absurd contacts.
(35) The mimicry in the Type 1 cases ought perhaps also to be studied along these lines. During the Wave of 1896-97, the objects seen on the ground seem to be have been arrived at by hybridization between Renard and Krebs’ dirigible balloon (1884) and a small locomotive of the Far West (See Flying Saucer Review Vol. 12, No. 4, July/August 1966, cover illustration).
After 1947, the fashion in UFOs was for Aerodynamics, as on Earth. Since 1964, it has once more been the Baroque. At times, too, they exhibit craft that sport terrestrial signs and markings. Certain cases have been checked and found to be perfectly authentic. But they are so absurd (because they are mimetic) that folk do not dare to talk about them. No useful research can ever be done so long as absurdity produces complexes in us.
(36) We see then with what prudence we must approach the question: “What can be the object of all this?” In fact there is nothing to indicate that the final edifice of the phenomenon is not beyond all human thinking, including the idea of an object. However, it is perhaps not necessary to secure a knowledge of that final edifice in order to reply to all the questions that men can set themselves regarding the UFO phenomenon. The mosquito who settles on me knows nothing whatever about my structure and my thoughts. But he knows everything about me that can be of interest to a mosquito. He can even bite me with impunity.
(37) Anyway, all speculation about the UFO phenomenon can have but one single useful goal: to teach us to rid ourselves of all ideas, conscious or unconscious, in order to look only at the facts, and the facts alone. The rest is useless child’s play.■
* See Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 11, No. 5, September/October 1965; Vol II, No. 6, November/December, 1965; Vol. 12, No. 3, May/June 1966.