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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Anthony Lane‘s review of Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” [New Yorker, May 2nd, 2011, Page 88 ff.] abutted, for this writer, a paper, discovered among others, entitled Speculations on the First Contact: Encyclopedia Galactica or the Music of the Spheres? by Guillermo A. Lemarchand of the Instituto Angentino de Radioastronomia [CONICET], Buenos Aires.
The movie review (by Lane) deals with how director Herzog presents his vision of the cave drawings on a wall in the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, in the Ardèche reagion of France.
The Chauvet-Pont wall of drawings, from about thirty-five to thirty-eight thousand years ago, is more “cinematic” (says Herzog) than those at Lascaux, and should be compared with the shapes found at Swabia, four hundred miles away.
Lemarchand’s account of a Seminar on the Cultural Impact of Extraterrestrial Contact (sponsored by the Foundation for the Future) addressed the hypothesis that an extraterrestrial civilization worthy of contact would be much in advance of Earth, technologically, but that wouldn’t be the best premise for contact.
Lemarchand writes that mankind here has provided an advanced form of culture as represented by the art found in caves, such as Lascaux or Chauvet-Pont, and an alien civilization would have a similar esthetic culture, which any civilization of long-standing would have since they didn’t wipe themselves out with wars or cataclysmic accidents.
Lemarchand also thinks an alien culture/civilization would have a moral or ethical stance, not unlike that of the philosopher Immanuel Kant (but that’s not my point here).
Lemarchand’s paper dismisses the idea that the best way to contact alien civilizations is not by mathematics or technical formulae. Such abstract devices would not be as developed as would art (or music), which would, if the alien culture is extant, have evolved much in the way that Earth’s art (and music) has evolved, from the art of the cave(s) to what it is today. (Although I think that art has devolved from that of the caves, but that’s a matter for another time and discussion.)
Earthlings, writes Lemarchand (from ideas of Carl Sagan), are members of a Technologically Adolescent Society. Thus, communicating with a more advanced alien society would then be problematical, as we’d have a difficult time understanding advanced technological information, whereas understanding an artistic image of an alien culture would not be difficult.
Lemarchand points out that there are several patterns in art and nature that can be considered as universal as mathematics in interstellar communication attempts” (von Hoerner, 1974; Lemarchand and Lomberg, 1996).
And using artistic symbols would be a better mechanism for an interstellar communication than SETI’s mathematical approach, which is what Sagan was striving for with his golden disk attached to the Voyager spacecraft(s).
Lemarchand’s paper is rife with intellectual insights about alien communication, humanity, the arts, and science. (I can’t provide a link as the paper was found among others here, and has no provenance, although I imagine it was printed out from our Sage Publications account a few years ago. Interested parties might seek it out via Google.)
Now let me get to the point from which I have egregiously digressed….
And this point has been made before, earlier at this blog and elsewhere in our internet outings.
Nowhere has art or music been noted on (or from) UFOs.
Yes, there have been symbols or insigniae, as mentioned in the post preceding this one, but those have not been artistic or esthetic, as the drawings on the wall caves, or other human pictorials are.
No UFO or flying saucer reports have identified music as endemic to the sightings. And no art, aside from those militaristic or corporate-like insignia/symbols, has been registered – none like that which Lemarchand thinks would be intrinsic to an advanced extraterrestrial race.
What does this tell us about UFOs? That whatever they are, or whomever “mans” them, are either not advanced in a way that would include moral imperatives (as Lemarchand articulates) nor are they as advanced in even a small way as that of the Neanderthals or early man was, as indicated by the art in the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet-Pont d’Arc.
This means, for us, that UFOs are either created by Earthlings or are artifacts without a cultural or living species origination – a physical manifestation of some kind -- or UFOs belong to a race or races that are without moral imperatives (ethics) and refinements which would ameliorate contact between us and them as (we hate to note) some abduction accounts seem to warn.
I’ve gone far afield here, and have departed from any cogent hypothesis. But I’m hopeful that some readers might comprehend that UFOs present alternatives to thought besides the usual cavil that permeates discussions here and all over the UFO community.
And that a civilized discourse might take us into new directions, away from the classic, banal UFO cases that usurp innovative energies and keep us mired in obsequious back-and-forths which lead nowhere and have for a long time now.
We can hope….