Taking UFOs Seriously
A new book by D.W. Pasulka. Polls indicate that more than a third of Americans believe in extraterrestrial life and UFOs. The percentage of believers is much higher among people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. And among people who think aliens are “out there.”
In American Cosmic, D.W. Pasulka, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, draws on a six-year ethnographic study and the work of Carl Jung (Flying Saucers) and Jacques Vallee (Passport to Magonia and The Invisible College) to explain the widespread belief in aliens. Pasulka identifies three aspects of UFO inquiry: physical evidence (crash sites and artifacts); testimonials made by experiencers; and the persistence of belief whether or not there is verifiable evidence to support it.
UFO sightings, she argues, often change lives, in ways akin to religious conversion experiences. Like some religious traditions, including Zen Buddhism, UFO logic is not always rational; at times, it relies on nonsensible narratives and mystical experiences to tame normal consciousness and stimulate enlightenment.
More than half of American adults and more than seventy-five percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. American Cosmic examines the mechanisms at work behind the thriving belief system in extraterrestrial life, a system that is changing and even supplanting traditional religions.
Credit: Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D., Psychology Today - February 5, 2019