This article was first submitted as a paper in May 1995, at the When Cosmic Cultures Meet International Conference in Washington, D.C. Edited especially for Perceptions, it is even more relevant today in light of current social and political events. As a clinical and developmental psychologist also trained in cultural and psychiatric anthropology, and as a researcher into extraterrestrial encounters, I believe that psychology and anthropology give us tremendous insight about the effects on humanity of the public disclosure of Extraterrestrial (ET) contact.
Let us start this examination of the effects of ET contact with what I call the "pre- contact" phase, the natural, self-centered perspective from which we humans tend to operate. It is widely accepted that somewhere on the long chain of evolution from simple primate to homo sapiens sapiens,1 our development passed from pre-human (or proto-human) to fully human, at the exact point that man became conscious.
Webster defines consciousness as "perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation," and "capable of or marked by thought, will, design, or perception." Inherent in these definitions is the idea that consciousness is self-awareness that is under the control of the aware person. While modern comparative psychologists have conceded that the faculty of consciousness is not limited to humans but is also shared to some degree by other animal and even plant life, it is the degree to which humans are self-conscious, purposefully reflective, and able to elaborate our ideas into complex actions and new creations, which marks our distinctive consciousness.
When we consider the other members of the animal kingdom, we have almost universally arrived at the conclusion that we are, perhaps through no merit of our won, at the pinnacle of animate life. What places us there, we deduce, is precisely this consciousness that lets us step back, evaluate all other species and conclude that none is as conscious as we are. We act on this superiority-consciousness, treating other species as inferior, and "obviously" here for our use and domination: We ride horses, butcher cows and pen up gorillas in zoological gardens for our amusement or education. We eat chickens and fish, keep birds in cages and confine cats and dogs to our homes as companions. Aside from the anomaly of the "neurotic" Venus' flytrap, we give hardly any thought to the consciousness of plants.
Naturally, we equate our superior consciousness with superior intelligence. Because the way we are aware is apparently unique, we conclude that the way we process information and organize data makes us the most intelligent species. Whales may have larger brain mass, but, as we proudly point out, no whale ever produced a Lamborghini.
Again, because we place ourselves at the pinnacle of not only consciousness but intelligence, we assume that the rest of the less-bright natural order is putty in our hands, to be manipulated by our intelligence into useful and creative forms. Human consciousness, we also assume, is inherently an individual matter. We each have our own thoughts, plans and imaginations.
Having individual control of these, we derive security from the notion that thoughts belong to the one who thinks them. Our cultural behavior is built on these assumptions. As an example, consider the reaction of a 14-year-old girl discovering that her parent have read her diary. This is not the way with every culture on Earth, and most certainly not with the off-planet culture contacting us.
The first morning ritual of one tribe in the East Indies is to gather and share their dreams of the night before. The content of these dreams is seen as a valuable, shared resource, to be used by the entire tribe for instruction, prediction and understanding - how different from the jealously guarded, individual thought-domains of us Western individuals! Since psychologists and anthropologists generally agree that the natural condition of humankind is social interdependence, the tendency in modern society to isolate ourselves from each other may be seen as unnatural and dysfunctional.
Moreover, we humans cannot attain our highest and best potential imprisoned in our cells of "rugged individualism." ETs accomplish their communication telepathically. Also, because of the shared, outward-radiating nature of telepathy, they operate in a collective mind-field, a sort of shared mental "commons," like a community meeting room. Because of their heritage of cooperating in this mind-field, ETs have developed cultures that emphasize collective purpose, group will and the presumption of mutual support and aid.
Furthermore, the ETs' degree of collective consciousness has opened them up to the presence of consciousness throughout the universe and, to a greater or lesser degree, in all things. Besides, their metaphysics seem to hold that consciousness is at the foundation of the universe as its supreme source. Rethinking and Retooling Our Awareness As a result, one impact on the traditional cultures of Western industrialized societies will be a radical revision in the way we understand consciousness.
As we develop more experience in dealing with ET consciousness, we will have to abandon what we will come to see as our distorted view that consciousness is completely individual. We will have to expand our understanding to create a permissive context for shared mental communication and group consciousness to be allowed to take place among us. Abilities that we now think of as possessed only by psychics, such as mind reading, will become commonplace. Moreover, such consciousness-sharing will not be seen as impolite; in the mental "commons," no one is an intruder; each has a place.
The transformational implications of this paradigm shift cannot be ignored. At a nude beach, visual openness among people tends to create a social spirit of relaxation and trust. Mental openness and exchange will help us foster mutual acceptance and respect, appropriate trust and the abandoning of antisocial behavior based on deception and the abuse of power. A telepathic, mind-field commons leaves no place to hide dark thoughts of greed, hate, aggression or deception. Society's collective consciousness exerts a pressure on the individual to abandon such thoughts and to operate in ways that work together for the greater good of all. Based on our "highly developed" consciousness and intelligence, we assume that we stand at the pinnacle of evolutionary development. This assumption is due for a rude revision once the reality of ETs emerges into public awareness.
Their consciousness is not only different from ours, it seems to be, typically, much more developed. Features of such advanced-consciousness development include: less reliance on material artifacts, greater reliance on metaphysical and spiritual perspectives in planning and decision making, treating individual beings and planets from an integrated-systems perspective, and an appropriate subordination of personal motivations and will to ethical and spiritual considerations derived from an awareness of the intrinsic sacredness of all creation. ET intelligence is certainly not only greater than ours, but arranged differently.
Compared to human IQ (an inadequate but familiar yardstick), the most prevalent visiting ET rase has an average IQ of 300. Their intelligence, operating in conjunction with their advanced consciousness, develops much more thorough, systemic and integrated comprehension and problem-solving than is common in human intelligence. Another paradigm shift awaiting us, therefore, will force the discarding of our self- assigned title, "most advanced beings in the universe" and to place ourselves instead in a more modest, but more accurate position somewhere along the spectrum of intelligent, conscious life forms.
Focusing On the Big Picture A corollary revision of human thinking involves the realization of the cosmic dimensions of the community of intelligent life. We humans will have to make the leap of awareness that not only does other intelligent, conscious life exist in the universe, but that it is common and widely distributed. Further revision of our perspective will be needed as we come to see that intelligence and consciousness form a community in the universe.
This community is due not just to the common sharing of intelligence and its effects on consciousness, but, more radically, to the nature of intelligent consciousness as the primary constituent of the universe. We must also accept that consciousness is intrinsic to the nature of matter and energy. Another challenging area for humans will be rethinking the current assumption that each of us is a unique identity, consisting of a one-of-a-kind consciousness/personhood/soul, operating in one lifetime only. ETs know better.
Each of us is unique, of course; we are not interchangeable clones, but our uniqueness does not lie in being separate from the community and collective consciousness. It is only within such shared awareness that we derive our sense of being, our understanding of our special role and contribution, our realization of the heritage from which we are derived, and our appreciation of the future into which we can take our personal and community efforts. The individual has no meaning divorced from his or her community of origin and community of participation. ET cultures have long since mastered this understanding.
Their members operate from a communitarian perspective and derive their sense of worth and belonging from their contributive roles. Furthermore, when we view the situation from the ETs' perspective, we see that, while we may think of ourselves as unique individuals, each with our individual allotment of intelligent consciousness, actually the reverse is true: Intelligent consciousness is distributed widely and generously throughout the universe. Of that "consciousness matrix," we are somewhat individuated, yet connected actualizations. This is also why each of us does not die and, indeed, cannot die.
Since the matrix consciousness is forever, so are those connected with it, though they may be temporarily individuated. The human idea of a soul going through a single lifetime, after which it will be judged on how well or evilly it acted, is thus simply a misconception. Human spirituality, at least in Western cultures, has historically involved a cosmology built upon the assessment of how the conscious self/soul behaved.
Furthermore, our morality has been built on the proper exercise of the faculties of motivation and will, the hand-maidens of individual consciousness. Each of these religious and/or moral assumptions will be challenged to its roots when humans, individually and jointly, confront the paradigm-shattering implications of the public, worldwide announcement of ET contact with Earth.
A disconcerting notion for many Westerners will be the ETs' metaphysics, which includes the awareness that the "flame" that defines a person, the spark or soul, does not die, nor is it burned out after one lifetime. Instead, it remains lit and can, and often does, choose to burn on in another body and go through another lifetime. Indeed, ETs tell us, certain such flames, which lived in an ET body previously, have later volunteered to experience a human lifetime, and have entered a human embryo and been born as humans.
This "missionary incarnation" is apparently designed to help spread ethical consciousness, as we humans prepare for the transitional times which are upon us. Such serial-incarnation histories for a particular soul may help explain why certain contactees believe that, although human, they have an ET heritage and, for some, even an alternate ET consciousness which breaks through occasionally. Religions, Psychology and Metaphysics Revised It follows, then, that the perspective of a unique soul being judged for all time at the end of a single life must be changed.
No one lifetime is definitive for a soul. Indeed, soul continuity allows for each of us to develop in our consciousness and spirituality, as a result of the various lifetimes we have undertaken. Traditional, Western "Judgement Day" mentality must give way to a more highly evolved understanding, the "Pilgrim's Progress" of the journeying soul. (Such spiritual metaphysics also underscores the folly of those U.S. military divisions that wage covert war on the Visitors in their craft. They are attacking what may well turn out to be family.) As a corollary, evolution will now be seen not merely as a doctrine of physiological development, but spiritual and moral as well.
Traditional notions of "divine creation" will have to yield to a richer understanding that the Supreme Source continually creates, and recreates, throughout successive lifetimes. On the other hand, no modern psychology or metaphysics would be adequate if it remained a mere conceptualization, not translated into practice. Let us examine some practical implications of this.
The World Is A Ghetto For background, the evidence suggests, as James Deardorff notes, that Earth has been in galactic isolation to prevent contact with other civilizations for a long time. This quarantine is about to be lifted - not because we have been good, but because time is running out for Earth and for the human species.
While we deserve a galactic conservatorship, we are fortunate enough to have a galactic partnership offered instead: to save the planet, to abolish weapons of mass destruction, to work together to assure fair access to resources for all and to acquire the information we need to develop further mentally and spiritually, so as to become fit to join the other intelligently inhabited worlds. In response to their lifting the quarantine, we will need to develop a truly planetary, single voice in addressing the Visitors.
The shape and function of our future global-governing structure will be whatever we make it. We can draw some inspiration for this structure from the knowledge that America was founded on principles which remain the inspiration of peoples around the world. It is not time to re-examine the founding principles of our country - the rights to human equality, to life and property (right livelihood), and to pursue personal goals and objectives within the context of social responsibility (the pursuit of happiness)?
We must add to the Founding Fathers' list of basic rights the others which we have agreed to, which are included in the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights. We will also have to temper the American historical preoccupation with rugged individualism, by reflecting that, contrary to what Cain said about his murdered brother Abel, we are our brothers' - and sisters' - keepers. Paradoxically, coming cataclysms will force each of us to reach deep inside and remember what is basic and best in each of us - just as, during the recent American floods, we saw society women and cleaning ladies, banking officers and farm hands all pulling together and filling sandbags while standing in the rain. After all, the community threatened belonged to them all. We need to keep that consciousness and spirit alive for the near future as we rebuild human society from the refreshing perspective of knowing that we are cosmic citizens. There is more. As we become aware of the
Visitors from afar, not just as curious interlopers, but, quite literally, as our distant cousins, our whole sense of reality will change and, ideally, improve. While it may shake many to learn that ETs have repeatedly intervened in our evolutionary development, we can use this knowledge to build bridges more quickly to our galactic relatives. We have always risen to new challenges, and mastering them has always made us stronger and wiser. This moment in our history, as the truth about ET contact appears, will prove no exception. We can, and we will, arise to the challenge of confronting cosmic citizenship and interstellar family ties. When the official meeting with our cosmic
Visitors takes place, we can make it more than an historic event, recognizing that it is truly a family reunion, an occasion for great joy. What are the implications for mankind that, finally, the global manifestation of ET reality is arriving? How will that change us as individuals, as a society, as a planet? Each of us will have to answer these questions personally, but here are some suggestions.
The ETs' advanced development can inspire us to reach beyond our own current horizons. It can and will challenge us to develop ourselves mentally and spiritually, and to stop worshipping material progress for its own sake. The ETs will challenge us to confront - honestly, effectively and unflinchingly - the ecological crisis our world is in, and to turn the damage around now, before it is too late. When their selfless outreach across millions of miles of space to raise our consciousness, they can set an example for us to extend renewed caring to the less fortunate members of our own race and to see our basic solidarity as one human people. Finally, the ETs can make us aware that the precious gift of life is not confined to one planet, one galaxy or one age, and thus give us a better understanding of what the source of life is and on what our human destiny is grounded. One age is passing; a new one is being born. Let us welcome it.
1 Human beings.
2 Deardorff, J.W. "Possible Extraterrestrial Strategy for Earth," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 27 (1986), pp. 94-101. (Reprint, Perceptions, October/November 1996 Edition)
Article by Richard J. Boylan, Ph.D. Dr. Richard Boylan is the
author of Close Extraterrestrial Experiences: Positive Experiences
with Mysterious Visitors, based on his debriefing of people who have
been contacted by extraterrestrials. A clinical, research and
consulting psychologist in Sacramento, California, his is also a
frequent contributor to Perceptions.
Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.