Because last week’s reblogging of Robert Anton Wilson’s rather harsh critique of Carl Sagan resulted in a rather spirited dialogue on my Facebook page (friend me), I did something weird. I decided to take some of my fans advice and actually read a bit of Sagan’s work, which I admitted in the post that I’d never truly done. Sadly, since I spend half my life working a soulless day job, I don’t normally have much time to commit to researching things I intentionally avoid for impromptu rants. But I quite quickly found a PDF of the Demon Haunted World, which is the book several people over the years have told me I absolutely need to read, because it WILL convince me I’m not psychic or something. Ugh, I don’t know what to tell you. I got through eight chapters or so and found myself utterly perplexed and a bit disgusted.
First off, what’s compelling from a psychological perspective is that part of the reason that post resonated with peeps had to do with a lot of them growing up a huge fan of both R.A.W. and Sagan. How could one not like the other or vice versa? In reading the Demon Haunted World, this rift is pretty glaringly obvious. Sagan might have done some amazing shit is his day, but that book is fucking terrible. It’s anti-UFO propaganda, pure and simple. I mean, that’s what it is. Completely devoid of any sort of concrete facts or critical thinking, dead set on pegging all sorts of wide ranging phenomenon to the distinct mental realm of: things Joe Sixpack doesn’t have to think about. And that gets pretty meta because the title of the book involves the catch phrase: “Science as a Candle in the Dark.” Yet it’s entire purpose is to keep the hoi polloi completely in the dark regarding the potentiality of their own inner microverses. Probably so demons can feed off their suffering and malaise or something. You’re guess is good as mine on that front but if it did serve that purpose you’ve got to admit it’d be pretty genius comedy with the title and all.
Moving on. It’s impossible to look into UFO phenomenon extensively and not come to the conclusion that something supremely freaking weird is going down. There are just so many odd and varied aspects to it all. Let’s go the Occam’s razor route per Sagan’s advice (and lord, soooooooo many people have tried to argue the inverse with me over the years and made zero sense in the process, I had no idea this concept either started with him or at least reached a large audience through him, sad). I can offer a comprehensive explanation of crop circles, UFO’s, remote viewing, supposed alien contact experiences, cattle mutilations, out of body experiences, psychedelic life transformations and what not in one pretty simple sentence: Consciousness can do a lot of excessively strange shit that we can’t currently explain because we haven’t bothered to study it. It takes Sagan eight freaking chapters to quite poorly convince us of the inverse i.e. that all of these phenomenon aren’t things that need to be understood, because they don’t fit into our current materialistic model of reality. The one thing I have to give good ol’ Hot Carl credit for is pointing out how complicated this shit is, which is sort of why it’s such a deranged argument.
For those not in the know, what you’re running into with alien contactee phenomenon is that it seems directly tied to UFO anomalies in some fashion. So it’s simultaneously an internal and external thing which Sagan intentionally ignores. The implication is that there are forms of conscious intelligence out there that rather than advancing well past us from a materialistic technological perspective, have progressed aeons ahead of us spiritually. Rather than building super weapons that can create mega space wars or take down planets or whatever, they figured out how to master the life death process, separate their souls from their bodies, re-incarnate at will, etc. I’d be compelled to say these things probably created us in the first place which puts them in the realm of what we would call gods or demons rather than extraterrestrials. Sagan readily acknowledges this but then quite manipulatively follows with barbs like this:
“The form of the supposed aliens is marked by the failure of the imagination and a preoccupation with human concerns. Not a single being presented in all these accounts is as astonishing as a cockatoo would be if you had never before beheld a bird.”
I guess he just conveniently forgot about the part where they penetrate your soul with their telepathic eyes and bombard you with ribaldry beyond your wildest imagination. He claims to have read Streiber and Mack after all. Now, growing up in western society the idea of spiritually ascendant beings completely conflicts with everything we’re raised to believe. I understand this better than anyone. After experimenting with things like psychedelic drugs and astral projection, I was pretty much in completely denial about the supposed “reality” of the things I’d encountered for years. One day I just snapped, but that’s another story. Sagan is using his intelligence and writing skills to spread ignorance, solely because his ego can’t deal with the quite logical idea that maybe our minds are capable of way more than we give them credit for and there is in fact something to this implication of spirit science lurking behind all this UFO weirdness. How in the fuck would we know? We don’t study this shit. That’s always been my angle. Because of religion’s collusion with the military/police state, we’ve been prevented from exploring this avenue of inquiry in any logical manner as things like DMT are the most logical means and they’re illegal. Sagan is merely a puppet of that religious collusion between those forces of repression and that’s where I get confused with his existence. I’m not sure if this slander writing is a witting or unwitting thing in his world. I can’t actually tell whether he believes his own schtick here. I think the dude very well could have been far more of a cold hearted propaganda writer than a scientist when you get down to it. He did have military ties and some pretty hefty corporate backing in Parade magazine, which certainly raises eyebrows.
Since I’m mentioning the influence of religion on the state, I should probably point out that playing into the sexual repression that religion has imposed upon humanity is one of Carl’s Jr.’s greatest tools in bashing UFO people. He comes back to it over and over, here’s one sample:
“A larger but similar being, evidently some kind of physician, takes over. What follows is even more terrifying.
Your body is probed with instruments and machines, especially your sexual parts. If you’re a man, they may take sperm samples; if you’re a woman, they may remove ova or foetuses, or implant semen. They may force you to have sex.”
He later refers to them as “alien sexual abusers” among other emotionally inciting lingo. It’s his favorite trick. Yes, that is in fact a prototypical alien abduction recounting. The implication is obvious and it’s how this phenomenon has been discounted in most people’s minds for years because we’re so sexually screwed up as a culture. Let’s just put this to bed once and for all. If there was a higher form of life, say, existing in such a vastly different world to us that it would seem alien, why wouldn’t they be involved in our sex lives? That they wouldn’t be doesn’t make any logical sense. Here’s a picture of my dog:
Adorable right? You know why he’s that adorable? Because we’ve been involved with the sex lives of pugs for thousands of years now. Of course from an Occult perspective you’d conclude that this is metaphorical, and that’s why this insistence that the universe can be understood solely by replicating patterns of shared perception while ignoring internal reality blinds one from rather obvious conclusions. You can be a genius scientist and have that sex/genetics aspect of the phenomenon somehow not add up to you when it’s the most rational thing ever. It’s astounding that people can be this dense, but ultimately, it goes hand in hand with what we know about psychology. If people have a very deeply held belief, supplying them with evidence that conflicts with this deeply held belief actually strengthens it. You need to see this stuff for yourself by venturing inward or you’ll never understand. Under a pseudonym Sagan even talks about being unable to comprehend art until he started getting high, and if you can’t understand art, you’re never going to get spirituality. Which is where the preternatural denseness of Sagan is mind blowing. He spends a lot of time attributing alien abduction to sleep paralysis but never makes any mention as to why science shouldn’t be studying sleep paralysis. Here’s a clue, sleep paralysis is actually the first step in an ancient spiritual technique called astral projection, which can be easily replicated in a laboratory setting but isn’t due to the biases religious repression has imposed on modern science. Fuck, I did it using these tapes. Sexual invasive encounters with odd spiritual beings? Yep, wrote about it here, and because of that I can say that if Sagan tried it, he certainly wouldn’t be singing this conservative tune.
Sadly, as much as I respect his pot advocacy, it’s impossible for me not to hold a little bit of hostility to the guy after reading what I did of the book. He talks extensively about the danger of witch hunts and then basically wages one against the late psychiatrist John E. Mack which is just fucking pathetic. Let me remind you that Sagan is an astronomer who has never worked directly with alien contactees and is arguing against the research a Harvard psychiatrist actually managed to conduct on the topic. If his witch hunt was logical I could deal with it, but it doesn’t actually add up:
“John Mack is a Harvard University psychiatrist whom I’ve known for many years. ‘Is there anything to this UFO business?’ he asked me long ago. ‘Not much,’ I replied. ‘Except of course on the psychiatric side.’ He looked into it, interviewed abductees, and was converted. He now accepts the accounts of abductees at face value.”
So you told the guy he should be researching a topic and then when he did, you proceed to slander the fuck out of him publicly because you didn’t like his findings. Yeah, that’s scientific and/or rational. Guess what, Sagan later repeatedly conflicts this claim of John Mack taking these accounts at face value with quotes from the man himself that he included on purpose:
“I don’t know why there’s such a zeal to find a conventional physical explanation. I don’t know why people have such trouble simply accepting the fact that something unusual is going on here . . . We’ve lost all that ability to know a world beyond the physical.”
“When abductees call their experience ‘dreams’, which they often do, close questioning can elicit that this may be a euphemism to cover what they are sure cannot be that, namely an event from which there was no awakening that occurred in another dimension.”
Those are John Mack quotes that he intentionally includes in the book where he’s arguing the point that Mack believes he’s studying flesh and blood aliens. If you’ll recall, Mack was put on academic probation at Harvard for insinuating that his research is suggestive of revising science to include inner experiences. If he would have concluded that it was just another mental illness they would have been cool with it, but that’s going too far. That’s how much of a bias there is against this stuff. Leary and co. got kicked out of Harvard for insinuating similar shit if you’ll recall. I repeatedly heard Dr. Mack state that if he knew the insane amount of negative energy that would have been directed towards him because of his research, he never would have conducted it in the first place. Fine work with that Sagan devotees. You’ve effectively made it impossible to study a growing and largely misunderstood avenue of human psychology to preserve your flat earth society. Fine work indeed.
All in all, I’ve got to give Robert Anton Wilson credit once again (his birthday’s coming up on Saturday which is always a good time to read some R.A.W. by the way and also birthday shout outs are in order my brother who’s birthday he shares, will make it up to Deadmonton again here soon). In reading some Sagan I found his critique of Hot Carl to be entirely on point, at least in the case of this particular book. The guy goes on and on convincing the reader that he’s an expert in a bunch of areas where he possesses exactly zero expertise. The implication is that he’s studied them so you don’t have to. It’s a shameless tactic that priests use all the freaking time. Trust me, I’m a scientist, not a propaganda writer. Trust me, I’m your preacher. Who cares if I know what I’m talking about or not. Take it on faith.
You know what else? He never even addresses any of the ancient alien conundrums. Just doesn’t bring it up at all and insinuates that all UFO sightings started in the 1940s, which is demonstrably nonsense. When he tries to debunk crop circles he actually trots out Doug and Dave, which is nuts. So, a guy who spread the phrase: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is somehow oblivious to the fact that the idea of two old dudes making all the crop circles in UK over a 15 year period is a pretty goddamn extraordinary claim. Oh, and one that requires no proof because you desperately want to believe in it so bad. We’ll just ignore the fact that their alibis didn’t check out and they were proven to be fraud’s not the crop circles they claimed to make. Moreover, Sagan believes in aliens, he just thinks that UFO sightings, inner alien contact experiences, shamanic initiation rites, and crop circles have absolutely nothing to do with them and he knows, because he’s an expert remember. Yep, you contact purely physical aliens which probably exist and have nothing to do with any of that stuff by shooting radio signals into space. That’s what he thought and it got massive funding with very little resistance. Oh hey, let me get on my radio telescope and get to the bottom of how that’s been going? Wait, we barely even use the radio much as a means of communication just a few decades later. Obviously a species far in advance of us would communicate through interstellar space in this manner. Obviously.
One last point, some people take an affront to Carl Sagan as an affront to science in general. All I’m saying is that rather than giving the transformative godhead experience to the public which would seemingly be fairly easy to accomplish if we put any effort into it, modern science is quite literally building murderous robots and wealth gouging algorithms instead. Just your friendly neighborhood Occultist reminding you that maybe, just maybe there’s something supremely fucked about that. Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.