By Richard M. Dolan
©2004 by Richard M. Dolan. All rights reserved.
UFOs have been in our public consciousness for six decades.
During the first century of our modern era, most, if not all, of the adherents of the "Jesus cult" believed that the Second Coming of Christ was at hand. They didnít look upon this event as something to occur in the distant future, but within their lifetimes. The return of Christ, also called the "parousia," was believed to be imminent, and would signal the end of human history as they knew it Ė something those early Christians fervently wanted.
Except that nothing happened.
As the years and centuries passed, Christians had to modify their views somewhat. Eventually, as one would expect, beliefs became diversified and messy. The Second Coming was still coming, but as to the timetable, well, there might be some disagreement. Meanwhile, it was more or less agreed upon that all the saved souls would wind up in heaven, either immediately upon release from their mortal coil, or at least eventually.
As with all belief systems (and romances), the initial period is always the most interesting, and the most exciting to those involved. Thatís because boundaries have not yet been imposed. Anything seems possible. Eventually, reality sets in with its inevitable disappointment.
Thus, if you are to maintain your belief Ė or love Ė you have to adjust your attitude. As the older and more experienced among us like to remind us, you have to grow up.
This is true regarding the modern era of UFO belief. In the 1950s, when all this seemed to be a new thing (in retrospect, it wasnít), it was reasonable to suppose that flying saucers were piloted craft, with "men" of some sort flying them. What were they doing? Judging by what appeared to be a certain coyness on the part of the mysterious UFO pilots, several analysts opined that the aliens were probably conducting some sort of surveillance of our world, presumably in advance of establishing open contact Ė or invading.
Itís not hard to understand how one could believe this, as long as one accepted that UFO reports were valid in the first place. Through the 1950s, certain researchers and organizations made it a point to track UFO reports, especially noting instances of what appeared to be metallic craft and the like. The great early writer of UFO books, retired Marine Corps Major Donald E. Keyhoe, believed that our civilizationís interaction with UFOs was in a crescendo phase, and that something big was going to happen very soon.
That was then, and things are rather different today. Still, the belief hasnít quite gone away, mostly because so few people in the field have much of a sense of history. Thus, we recently (2001) experienced the build-up for the UFO "Disclosure" press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, an event that many argued would be the final bit of artillery needed to break down the wall of secrecy. In case you werenít there, the conference didnít do it.
As we continue to live and learn, itís becoming increasingly difficult to hide the obvious: this phenomenon has been with us for a long time. It surely doesnít appear very credible to argue, as Keyhoe did, that "they" are still conducting surveillance of our planet, especially when our own technology has advanced so much in fifty years that we realize that you donít need big metallic craft to swoop near Earthís surface to get a good idea of whatís down here.
Of course Iím not suggesting that we deny the phenomenon, simply because it doesnít accord with our earliest ideas. Our throw-away cultural mentality might encourage such a response, but that doesnít make it right.
No, what is necessary is to continue learning, to continue evaluating with fresh eyes and ears, and to continue to challenge oneself. And there are indeed those in the UFO research field who do this, often quietly and diligently asking new questions.
After working on this topic for ten years, there is still a great deal I do not know. Yet, I feel confident in saying a few things:
1. UFOs are real.
2. Some are alien, and some are classified military projects.
3. There is extreme and extensive secrecy involved in this, not only from our military, but apparently from the aliens themselves.
4. The science and technology involved in alien UFOs probably exceed my wildest ideas at this point.
5. The intentions of these "aliens" are still not definitively known. They may be our space brothers, or we may be in their cookbook, or they may simply like the water here. Without true knowledge, caution is the only logical approach.
We live in serious and momentous times, and have genuine cause to worry about the future of our civilization. Within such a context, it would be surprising if the alien connection were not something of great importance.
Nevertheless, we should distrust sure fire answers. This applies not only to those who ignorantly debunk the subject, but those who, like those early Christians (and millennialists of today), tell us that they are certain of what lies just ahead.