I know that most of my friends are somewhat alarmed at my recent interest in UFOs, are even embarrassed for me. My skepticism in this and related areas of thought had been long-standing.

Confession: What I realized, a few years ago, was that my skepticism was cheap, based mostly on a lack of knowledge — a nescience rather like that demonstrated by all those folks who scoff when they hear about comparative advantage and the case against protectionism: ignorance.

A profound ignorance coupled with a deep anti-intellectualism and lack of curiosity.

My excuse was understandable, because my past skepticism rested, in great part, on a common-sense heuristic in which I outsourced my judgment to experts. I had personally experienced no paranormal events, hallucinations not counting. Unfortunately, those experts in whom I had placed my trust engage in a pattern of evasion which, once you notice it, proves hard to unsee. Worse, the authorities who shored up and encouraged my sort of skepticism were incoherent, inconsistently pushing obvious disinformation one instance, and then acting as if what they had said were the opposite of the truth.

Then, when I took step back and scanned for a meta-view of the subject, its history, and my variety of skepticism in the context of the wider visions, I noticed that my skepticism served a social function.

That social function had nothing to do with a search for truth.

Worse, it became apparent that my sort of skepticism could easily be manipulated to serve a nefarious purpose.

Part of its social function was to shore up a class system based on belief, particularly meta-beliefs, which in turn tied to an agenda that had been pushed for over a hundred years: the establishing of a cognitive elite that would secure advantages for its credentialed members gained at the expense of people who could succeed without benefit of formal education.

I have been reading far and wide on subjects related to UFOs, recently. And Richard Dolan is one of the few ufologists whose stance in the discipline . . . exhibits epistemic discipline!

In this talk, which is sensible and worth considering carefully, he gets down to the central, core issue that may very well be the key to understanding the rationale for keeping secrecy going: what if the truth about the subject would be too unsettling for many to handle?

At 12:34, Dolan speaks of the “many hints” about the “deep, deep nature to this secret” that “would be too hard for the world to know.” Dolan says that someone whom he regarded as reliable told the tale how when President Carter was told the Big Picture Truth, he wept.

Indeed, that image, of James Earl Carter, Jr., crying upon learning a truth about our world, is what I have suspected for some time — and which crystalized for me when I extrapolated from what I was learning about the end of the Ice Age.

Most of the myths of the ancient religions — the in-toto rejection of which began our science and our general secular perspective — were not just human fantasy. They were half truths at the very least. And the half that is true might be as deeply unsettling to materialists as to the devout.

Which could be why Carter wept — if he had indeed learned anything.*

Concession: I do not know what the disturbing truth is.

Has our race been manipulated for eons by some Alien Intelligences, as Erich von Däniken famously pushes? Are we Non-Playing Characters in a vast holographic Simulation? Are time travelers from our distant future seeking to save their kind by learning where things went wrong in ours? Has there been a space-faring crypto-terrestrial civilization here on our planet for millions of years, often working behind the scenes? Or are we now witnessing a “breakaway civilization” that started in the 1850s, or the 1940s — the latter, perhaps, with stolen Tesla-tech?

Surely there is nothing to Sitchen’s Niburu!

Or Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision!

Or that bizarre little book, The Adam and Eve Story!

All that just seems too stefnal.

Yet we live in a stefnal world, as Thomas M. Disch argued in The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of (1998). Disch himself would not be pleased with my recent speculations and doubts-about-doubting, for he regarded the UFO biz as just a bunch of lies. Nevertheless, when he confronted his own truth, whatever that was, he did not merely weep, as Carter is said to have done. Disch killed himself.

There are terrors everywhere.

At my level of knowledge, I cannot dismiss the vast amount of testimony and data about what seems to us as alien phenomena. Neither my youthful bigotries nor my adults ones can really be allowed to dominate.

This notion of a Deep Unsettling Truth is occult in some surprising ways: for its newness seems old-fashioned. In the Epistle to the Ephesians there is a passage that might give a hint about why Jimmy Wept:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

It is worth noting, my anarchist friends, that the original Greek for what has been translated as “the authorities,” in the above, has itself an ominous ring: “The Archons.”

According to “The Hypostasis of the Archons,” a gnostic text, the “reality of the rulers” is a complex affair.

From The Nag Hammadi Library in English (Harper & Row, 1977), James M. Robinson, ed.**

And if any of that bizarre assemblage proves true, I can see why Carter might weep and Disch would blow his brains out — the latter event having taken place eleven years ago today.


* From other sources I had been informed that, unlike Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan, Carter had pointedly not been briefed on the UFO situation.

** The introduction to the translation of this text is worth reading: