Having spent most of my lifetime as a ufologist, I have had the pleasure of working with so many incredible ufologists over five decades. My admiration of these people who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of personal time, finances, and more towards the UFO subject is endless. Even more, there are many people who do the hard work and go unrecognized. To them and others, I extend a big thank you.
Ufology is a very rewarding venture. Not only can it propel you in many directions that you would not have previously decided to venture into, but these ventures are life altering and create a new reality that you personally adopt about the world around you. As we all know, there are many ufologists who do not share the same beliefs and notions about the UFOs and the occupants that many claim to have seen or experienced personally. To some, a UFO or related event may have brought you into this field of study in the first place while some of us, have never seen a UFO, either believe or do not believe or are highly skeptical of the claims around this subject.
For me personally, I am saddened by recently ever increasing trends on social media to see interested parties splinter into groups that are like-minded and help perpetuate divisions within ufology. I also continue to see more aggressive behaviors such as bullying come into play. It seems that the current anger being mentioned in the Political spectrum is exhibiting itself in our world. I also see a lack of tolerance towards those who express a reality different to our own. While I may not readily believe for example, that contactees are communicating with aliens, I do not see a need to bash or bully them for this. I can express my belief civilly, which may be counter to theirs.
A big trend is to label people. Recently I am seeing more and more the need to declare people “debunkers” just because they express a counter position to yours or present facts that call into question yours. Just because you may have an education or experience with the subject, you are a debunker. I saw an object in 2012 that later turned out to be a secret Google Balloon (aka Project Loon) and identified it to be such after it had crossed multiple states and witnessed and photographed by a few dozen, I was now a “debunker.”
There is a need for a more unified ufology movement. One that recognizes that courteous behavior is important; that diversity of opinions is a good thing; that one’s experience may differ from another and this does not make them a “bad” person or an enemy to our group think we have fostered on our Facebook or other social media forums.
Recently I gave a presentation to an honors college class at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The professor asked me to help him teach these students critical thinking skills. I was at one point in my career an Assistant Regional Director for the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). We had completed a study and found that this skill is diminishing at an alarming rate in our younger generations and that should we not address this, problems could arise in the future. Today, it is ever present. We see many who knowingly accept at face value everything that is on the internet, on TV and every news story out there. There is no investigation or inquiry whatsoever. It is all fact. We see the rapid acceptance that the YouTube video showing a mothership over the White House as being yet another event that the government is covering up.
If ufology is every going to solve the many questions that remain unanswered about this phenomena, it has to come together through appropriate behavioral modeling by its leaders, meaning, that discipline is needed along with the things I mentioned above. How many of us see inappropriate behavior on our sites? How many of us divide the people around us into camps? How many of us are skeptical to an excess and turn conversations into a debate that ends up with further divisions and yes, how many of us are hell bent on “it’s either my way, or the highway?”
It is my hope that before I pass, that ufology can become a respectable and professionally-based movement. I believe that more can be achieved and accomplished when people and organizations work together. It’s time to bury hatchets and certainly no time to be building walls. I prefer the bridges and people are the ones to build them and enjoy the walk over them. Thanks for all of your dedication to ufology, regardless of your label, beliefs and reality.