Open Minds UFO Radio: MJ is a writer, blogger, and researcher who critically and philosophically examines the modern UFO phenomenon, and other strange Fortean subjects. With a background in Critical Theory, History, and Cultural Studies, he enjoys exploring all things weird and anomalous. He is a field investigator with MUFON, has been featured on multiple podcasts, and writes for Mysterious Universe, RoguePlanet and the Deep Talk Radio Network.
In this interview, we talk about MJ’s latest article on the disparity in UFO belief systems, and the middle ground. We also discuss the philosophical aspect of UFO research.
For more about MJ, visit his website at TerraObscura.net.
Wow– this was the best conversation on philosophy in ufology I’ve had the privilege to hear. Great to listen to a ufologist who approaches the field from a philosophical perspective and has obviously been educated and engaged in philosophical discourse. Just for transparency, I have a similar background to MJ as a doctoral candidate in cultural studies and strategic communication, and more generally in conducting qualitative research (as opposed to quantitative, i.e. the “nuts and bolts”).
I just wanted to chime in about a particular part of the talk around the 40 minute mark through 50 minutes or so. I had an experience with UFOs about 2 years ago, where I saw what appeared to be multiple crafts in broad daylight appear and then disappear in the clear blue sky. Before this encounter, I had been actively meditating on the idea that the things we perceive in our world are interpreted by our preconceived notions of them, and perhaps in reality the things around us are far different then we perceive them.
Well, low and behold, I have this experience where I see these unidentifiable objects in the sky only minutes later. Ever since I have wrestled with the notion of whether meditating on this idea influenced my experience. Would I have seen them if I hadn’t been actively trying to challenge my interpretation of the physical world around me? Would they have been seen by others if anyone else had been around? I’ll probably never know. But I think these sorts of questions, regarding the role of consciousness, culture, etc., are important to ask in modern ufology. As MJ discusses in this section of the interview, maybe I witnessed something more “mystical,” and my brain merely interpreted it according to my preconceived cultural notions of UFOs.
Like MJ, I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of UFOs and “the extraterrestrial question.” However, I never expected to have my own experience. I do lean toward believing that I saw physical UFO crafts, and witnessed a display of technology guided by an intelligent “other.” But that’s just my interpretation 😉