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UFOs: Lifting The Veil


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Freedy Johnston

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Leslie Kean, author of the New York Times Best-Seller UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On The Record. The book is the result of a ten-year investigation in which Kean gathered the first-person accounts of over a dozen high-ranking military and government officials, including generals from five countries.

In a field notoriously polarized by uncritical believers on one side and dogmatic debunkers on the other, Kean'sUFOs stands apart for its loyalty to hard data from highly credible sources. Beginning with a foreword by former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, 'UFOs' maintains a sober approach throughout, allowing officials to speak for themselves and letting the evidence stand on its own.

Leslie Kean advocates agnosticism, asserting the need for serious long-term investigation, balanced with an appreciation of how much we simply do not know about this universe, in order for us to approach the enigma in a more meaningful way. To her, the operative word is 'UN-identified'. Although patiently sitting in the unknown has not exactly been a hallmark of humanity, Kean's work sets a fine example.

Whether you want to believe or want to roll your eyes at the mere mention of the word "UFO", this provocative discussion might be just what the doctor ordered: a healthy dose of ontological shock. You can listen to our discussion here for free.

The following is a companion blog on the subject:


Whatever our respective beliefs about UFOs may be, in one regard we are all in the same boat: We are contending with a lot of data. Tens of thousands of sightings and encounters.

In fact, the type and source of data have changed dramatically. The field of UFOlogy has long been plagued with sloppy research and slippery testimony from sketchy sources. But in recent years it has transformed, reshaped by first person testimony from high caliber eyewitnesses. Hundreds of top-ranking military officials, powerful governmental figures, pilots, astronauts, and former covert operatives with secret clearance have come forward and provided video-taped testimony on their firsthand experience with UFOs. They originate from all corners of the globe, and put their names—and sometimes their lives—on the line in order to reveal what they generally describe as a tragic, calamitous cover-up.

Even a cursory survey of Leslie Kean's book, UFO's: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On The Record is a wake up call. Whatever the 5% of genuinely unexplainable UFOs are, they are no longer the province of speculation from the periphery of pseudo-science. Exemplars of reason, experts held in great esteem in their fields, are coming forward in droves to say we are really missing it. "It"being the ostensible reality that an intelligent presence of unknown origin is operating—with apparent impunity—over our military bases and soveriegn air space.

There are numerous ways to interpret this information from hundreds of military and government officials (leaving out the tens of thousands of civilian encounters). But the nature of WHAT we are interpreting has changed. We are no longer merely trying to make sense of strange lights in the sky, or surreal encounters with objects we can't explain. We must now make sense of (as I see it) two major bodies of information:

The first-person testimony from high caliber "expert" witnesses. This category includes many hundreds of military and governent figures who claim direct experience with that 5% of truly UNidentifiable objects.

The first-person testimony of tens of thousands of people who describe (with alarming congruence across cultures and continents) encounters and abductions at the hands of alien entities. These "experiencers" are adamant that these encounters are not dreams, or night paralysis, or hallucinations. They state repeatedly they know the difference, and this experience occupies its own ontological bandwidth. They have been shown to be no more prone to psychosis than the general population.

I can see five very generalized categories of explanation:

Explanation #1: People are reporting honestly, but understanding incorrectly. Maybe these trained figures experienced something, but they are misinterpreting it, or they are engineering a story around it. There are events, but the events are uniformly misunderstood by the people experiencing them. In other words, there is a natural, terrestrial explanation for these events.

Explanation #2: There are UFOs, but they are human in origin. There is simply a level of technology which is so secretive, so hidden, that not even these military officials, Pentagon figures, or governmental leaders are aware of it or allowed access to it. Therefore, when they experience it firsthand, it appears so radically exotic that the most rational explanation available is that it is alien. Alternately, perhaps they do know it is terrestrial in origin, and they willfully lie and misrepresent the truth in order to advance a top secret government agenda. It's just so sensitive, it trumps the constitution and society.

Explanation #3: UFOs are terrestrial and extra-governmental. That is to say, there are trans-national, secret organizations which have supplanted the power and authority of World governments, including the U.S. and its constitution. They strive to implement some inscrutable theater of UFO operations, presumably toward the goal of a New World Order or nefarious grip over the planet. In this scenario, our government and military officials are as frustrated as the general population, and any secrecy that exists arises from them not wanting to "lose face" in admitting they do not control the air space over our nation, much less surrounding our planet

Explanation #4: UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin. In this scenario, the hundreds of military and government officials coming forward are taking bold steps to lift the veil on a clandestine pilfering of our human endowment. The most astounding discovery in the history of humanity is being kept from us. For various reasons—many of which are easy to understand—the reality of this intelligent presence on our planet has been obscured, distorted, and covered up by governments and other unseen powers. Perhaps it began as a short-term response to an event (Roswell, etc) which authorities believed was too profound for the public to absorb. Perhaps they believed, with good reason, that civilization, or the geo-political balance of power, was too fragile or unpredictable to risk unveiling such a reality-altering truth. Whatever the case, this cover up had to be maintained and expanded as the UFO episodes continued. The cover-up necessarily grew ever more bizarre and circuitous. Decades later the phenomena and its endless encryption via distortion and secrecy are unrecognizable even to those complicit in its continuance.

Maybe you work at the Pentagon, or maybe you're the President, or maybe you're a two star General; this doesn't mean you will be able to gain access to, or an understanding of, the Reality Behind the Appearances. In this scenario, it is also quite possible (and is reported by those 'in the know') that a significant portion of those extra-governmental operatives administering this 'cover up' are sick of it, and want it to end. In that sub-plot, there is a fracturing occurring even within the ranks of those maintaining the Lie. But the stakes have become so high, and so bizarre, that it triggers a kind of default paralysis in the Body of Deceit.

Explanation #5: UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin, but the features of these phenomena have been intentionally distorted and blended with human-made and human-engineered items which mimic or masquerade as extra-terrestrial phenomena. In this scenario, secret powers have managed to abscond with extra-terrestrial craft, artifacts, or even bodies. They have succeeded in reverse-engineering (or mimicking) some of the technology, and while disguising the true nature of the phenomena, they opportunistically seize on public confusion and ignorance to advance their own agenda. Presumably again, this agenda has something to do with power over the planet and its resources. A measure of this meddling and disinformation is either tolerated by or irrelevant to the Phenomena.

A brief tangent-

What is often perplexing about human beings is what we include and exclude. By that I mean any given human being is born with the capacity to include and inhabit an astounding reach of inner and outer Reality. But we also demonstrate an incredible resistance to doing so. We're born with the Key to the greatest mysteries, but we can't seem to be bothered with turning it. And that disinclination can be exploited to unbelievable ends.

Maybe our recent history is less a matter of being manipulated by malevolent forces and more a tendency to forfeit our own powerful nature. The invitation to evolve is most often refused. Evolution, or 'awakening' in spiritual parlance, is messy, painful, and god-damned inconvenient. But, ironically, what may be even more off-putting or intimidating about evolution is its annihilating Light. When we first encounter the prospect of inhabiting our nondual nature (Godhead, or Source, or the Absolute), we are apt to mistake it for a choice.

Because we are temporarily afforded the sanctuary of a discrete, unique self, it's tempting to think we can opt-out of a Kosmic awakening, that we can avert incineration of this ephemeral assembly of qualities and preferences we call "I". The story of 'me' takes over, and pretty soon we are defending, maneuvering, and expending nearly all our energy toward the preservation and protection of an identity. What we include is 'I', what we exclude is 'it', or 'they', etc. This opposition of inner vs. outer, including vs. excluding, is one of the assumptions we inherit.

Nonduality is the simple experience of Being that does not collapse itself into binary positions. Qualities and preferences rise and fall within it, but a nondual awareness does not identify with a preference, or quality.

With even a glimpse from within our larger, Native Awareness, we may be shocked to discover the innumerable assumptions which operate invisibly 'as' our experience. These unseen filters don't just interpret reality, they can actually determine it. For instance, people at distinct levels of development don't just interpret reality differently, they experience different realities. Magic may seem like a novelty to you or me, but to someone with a genuinely magic World view, it IS reality. People live and die because of it (take for example the mass killings of Albinos in Tanzania which are committed in order supply Witches and Shamans with organs for use in religious rituals).

Spiritual technology

How does that relate to UFOs?

One of the unexamined features in the UFO arena is our own level of development. There is a lot of curiosity and fascination surrounding the technological part of this subject. In most sensible explanations, people at least admit there is a technology in play that far outpaces our conventional, public technology. But there is another technology we're leaving out: Spiritual Technology.

Any capacity can be trained and developed, whether it is a facility with external devices and objects (building a space craft), or the ability to cognize and apprehend internal features (conducting emotion, thought, or spirituality). There are inner and outer capacities. And I would say not only can they both be developed, but they should be developed. And they arise together, in concert (as Wilber would say, these realms of inner / outer / collective / individual tetra-arise). Further, the more we develop one of our dimensions without cultivating the other, the more lop-sided and imbalanced we become. And we have become quite imbalanced.

Have you ever seen the photo of the guy who just lifted weights with his one arm? He has a huge, ripped right arm, and a comparatively tiny left arm. It's bizarre and grotesque. And it's us right now.

Humans have managed to make speedy progress in terms of external capacities. Nuclear weapons, space travel, etc.—our internal capacity to oversee and manage those technologies has not kept pace. Our ability to intimately connect with the hearts and souls of EACH OTHER has languished behind, receding to a remote after-thought as our infatuation with ungoverned technology has grown.

And this turns out to be quite central in our consideration of UFO phenomena. Because, while we're enrapt with wonder at this spectacle and its outward technological implications, we skip over the inward imperative it imparts: to EVOLVE.

Our spiritual technology is lagging behind, and until we choose to develop its capacities, we are doomed to project our anthropomorphic, pedestrian interpretations and agendas onto a realm that may or may not have anything to do with them.

Spiritual technology includes the capacity to take the role of other, the capacity to assume perspectives from multiple altitudes of consciousness, the capacity to make any subject in our awareness an object in our awareness, thereby kick-starting the conveyor-belt of inward development. There, we remain in unknowing in the face of compelling, seductive decoys.

We have to consider not just the data, not just the evidence, but what level of World View WE are interpreting it from. Because there are many World Views available to human beings, and they are NOT equal. A human being may inhabit World Views which are Magic, Mythic, Rational, Pluralistic, Integral, or beyond (to use just one example out of many which describe the vertical chain of World Views).

So, before we begin teasing apart the multi-dimensional knot that is the UFO phenomena, it's incumbent upon everyone to examine their own developmental frame of reference. Not just what we're looking at, but WHERE are we looking from? Where are we on the vertical ladder of perception? What World views are operating, unexamined, in our relationship to the evidence? Let's commit to developing the spiritual and intellectual technology necessary to meet the Riddle on its own terms. This is a puzzle that begs us to grow into It.

So, that out of the way, I want to offer my two cents on these subjects. I'm not sure what developmental level I'm at, but I can promise you it's not the highest one, or even a high one, when we consider the enormity of the subject. I am committed, through meditation, contemplative practices, intellectual inquiry, debate, research, and deep un-knowing, to make myself available to this Riddle. I invite the enigmatic Reality of Love to lead me, change me, and make me capable of participating in a helpful way.

That said, here's my best guess on the subject of UFOs at this point:

Explanation #1 (people reporting honestly, but understanding incorrectly): seems pretty far fetched to me at this point. The volume and variety of UFOs reported by pilots, military figures, government leaders, secret operatives, etc, is just too overwhelming to make this plausible. These are not just witnesses. They are witnesses of the highest caliber. Of all the people we can depend upon to describe what they've seen, these folks are the pinnacle. And the number of cases, now well into the thousands, that utterly confound any conventional terrestrial explanation, is silly.

Once thousands of expert witnesses describe in alarming congruence encounters with objects they swear could not be terrestrial in origin, it's time to get over it, and listen. In at least a significant percentage of these cases they are seeing something. It's insulting to these authorities to dismiss it.

Explanation #2 (There are UFOs, but they are human in origin): Certainly a great number of UFO events are terrestrial in origin. Who among us doubts that our government has technologies in play that would astound us?Surely a majority of these episodes have natural explanations. 95% of the general UFO content is in this domain. However, that leaves the other 5%, and that's where the action is, and that 5% is what I'm characterizing here as the evolutionary imperative, the developmental hurdle for humanity.

Explanation #3 (UFOs are terrestrial and extra-governmental): There's probably some of this going on. Some extra-national organizations exist. Perhaps they have interceded and managed to develop craft that people perceive to be alien. An elaborate hoax and disinformation agenda seems inevitable, as low levels of consciousness with access to high levels of technology are going to do their thing. Clearly the planet is also stumbling toward some form of global governance, and along with that come new forms of pathology and corruption. To put it succinctly, whatever level people will be at, there will be sick people at that level. Tribes? You'll have tribal warlords. Nations? You get despots. Planetary alliance? You get some Messianic devils. And so on. I say not to worry (in the big picture). If there is an extra-national conspiracy, it is riddled with the same conflict and divisions that beset any organization of people. They will disagree, fight, fracture, and unravel, only to be superceded by the next incarnation of dip-shittery.

Explanation #4 (UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin): Simple intuition tells me this is part of the mix.

Explanation #5: (UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin, but have been intentionally distorted and blended with human-engineered items): Also part of the mix.

In short, I think a blender has been grinding for decades around the World. Distilling the objective truth of what's transpired up until now may never be possible. But personally, that's not where my curiosity lies. I think we're at the beginning. What I see as our greatest liabilities are:

Our anthropomorphic assumptions and filters. The first imperative of the Enigma is to EVOVLE, engage in a deeply intentional development of our spiritual capacities. When we have managed to raise the center of gravity (and stabilize it) in our collective, we will find the very nature of what we're asking will transform. We are being invited to OURSELVES. And to date, we've declined. If we continue to decline the invitation to inherit our full being, we will gradually phase ourselves out of use and relevance to the planet and the community of entities that populate the Mystery. We are not yet mysterious enough to inhabit the congenital unknowing of these phenomena. Until we can manage the respiration of qualities and forms instead of setting them in binary opposition, we're locking ourselves out of the Gift.

Fumbling the interface. What may be the biggest irony here is that the extra-terrestrial enigma is an intra-subjective invitation to the inter-subjective party. That means, there is a dimensional facet which is waiting on our capacity to navigate INNER space. The interior labyrinth which abides in each person, and among all people is where the Wonder awaits. It is also the last place we seem to be able to hold our focus. The Kosmos is as big and wonderful on the inside as it is on the outside.

We gotta outgrow our allergy to context. The real context we're working in is not one of dominion and power, it's precarious privilege. We just popped up, and far from having dominion, we could pass into vapor in moments, without so much as a sigh from our neighbors (corporeal and otherwise). It's been a blink, a test drive. Before we congratulate ourselves on the marvels of man, let's just get squarely planted in the reality that our wispy presence could vanish like the speck it is in an instant. To luxuriate in oblivious arrogance is to court that loss, tempt that end. For some reason, we find ourselves in the miraculous procession of this Mystery. Let's live up to the invitation.

We're not alone. That much is certain. But that doesn't mean we've earned the right to meet our neighbors....

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