Spotting UFOs

Issue 57 - 08 June 2021 (6.5-min read)

This week in The Global Tiller, we are hunting for UFOs. Or as they are now called, unexplained aerial phenomena. We take a look at why everyone is talking about them now. Are we really getting visits from some other lifeforms or are they just some military gadgets gone awry?

For quite some time, we have dismissed stories about UFOs and other lifeforms as some delusional fantasies of conspiracy theorists in tinfoil hats. But, lately, this has not been the case. Senior government and military officials have come on record to talk about UFOs. The US Congress is actually expected to release a report later this month that will neither confirm nor deny strange phenomenon observed in the skies by Navy pilots. This report includes footage showing Navy pilots discussing objects flying in space at supersonic speeds and ones that rotate by themselves.

Discovering odd objects in our skies is not a new development. A prominent ufologist claimed in 2001 that untold numbers of alien craft had been observed in our planet’s airspace. Some of these extraterrestrial spaceships had been “downed, retrieved and studied since at least the 1940s and possibly as early as the 1930s.” Some aficionados even believe that UFOs have been documented in Biblical times.

These sightings are certainly not limited to the United States either. There have been several such sightings recorded in 1990 in Scotland, the German city of Greifswald and Saint-Germain in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. This came to light when France released its UFO files to the public in 2007 while Britain started doing so shortly after. Across Europe, the Norwegians, the Danes and the Italians have all released some files making Germany the only exception. Germany has not declassified its UFO files, insisting that there aren’t any in the first place.

It is not exactly clear if there are more UFO sightings in recent years or if we have progressed so much in technology that we detect them far more. But global powers are increasingly concerned about the frequency with which military aircrafts and fleets are reporting strange objects in the skies. In fact, China has tasked AI to interpret data sets related to UFO sightings since they were receiving a high number of reports from scientists and civilians, both. China’s only confirmed UFO sighting took place in 1998 when its military jets chased down a low-flying object above the airbase. Before it could be intercepted, the object climbed at astonishing speed before disappearing off the radar. 

The fact that the likes of global powers and space agencies are giving serious attention to UFOs shows that we’ve come a long way from the time in the 1960s when the media was enlisted to debunk outer space phenomenon as something silly or a mishap by a rival country. Even if there is no proof that little green men with antennas are scoping our planet for a hostile takeover or a friendly outreach, there are enough unexplained events to create the possibility of another life-form — one that supersedes us in terms of technology.

How can we prepare ourselves should a time come that we get a visit from the little green men? How transparent should our intelligence communities be when it comes to sharing credible information on UFOs? How does it impact our trust in our governments when declassified reports reveal information that officials have long dismissed as mere conspiracy?

Let us know your views on the latest buzz around UFOs and what would your reaction be if an alien comes knocking on your door?

Until next week, take care!

Hira - Editor - The Global Tiller

If you’d like to read our previous issues, you can access our archives here.

Let’s take a step back and wonder why we haven’t found clear evidence of life out there as we did for black holes and other space phenomenon?

Here’s a quick and synthetic reflection from TED-Ed told in the inspiring voice of Chris Anderson:

Our new episode of the Pacific Toks is out! Listen to our conversation with Keoni Lee, CEO of Hawaii Investment Ready, on entrepreneurship in the Pacific Islands and post-pandemic economic reconstruction. If you’re looking for ideas on how to orient our economies after this global crisis, listen to Keoni’s vision shared in this episode!

Listen to the Pacific Toks

…and now what?

“I want to believe.” If you’re a fan of TV shows, you know exactly where this quote comes from. If not, let me enlighten you: this comes for the now legendary show ‘X-Files’ which, at the end of the 90’s, told the story of Mulder and Scully in their quest to prove that UFOs were a thing, aliens were among us and many other similar theories, fringing on the field of conspiracies.

In 2021, X-Files is a real-life experience: QAnon-ers are entertaining out-of-fringe theories while the US government is now in the open talking about UFOs. The Cigarette smoking man must be rolling in his grave.

This fascination for UFOs, whether in stories or in reality, is a characterisation of a question asked by humanity since the dawn of time: are we alone in the universe? Lost that we are on this small blue dot in the vast infinity of space, we dare to imagine that somewhere, someone is asking the same question.

It reminds me of the story ‘The Little Prince’ where, while looking at the stars, St Exupéry is inviting us to remember that you have a friend, up there, somewhere, looking at you, thinking about you.

I, for one, firmly believe that were are not alone. The Drake equation proves it quite simply and poetically: as there’s at least one case of life in the Universe (namely Earth and its living diversity), then the probability of life elsewhere cannot be 0.

If we find this out with certainty, I feel it would help us understand some things about our own life. This is the message shared by the movie ‘Ad Astra’ that shows us how the vastness of space can make our daily struggles so insignificant. When we know there’s someone else, would we finally unite as humanity? Maybe, but will we be following the same old pattern of being united against a common enemy?

Alien life has always been a representation of ‘the other’. In the 50’s those monstrous robots or alien life forms from the ‘Red Planet’ were a caricatural representation of the fear of… not Martians, but Russian communists! In the 2000’s, alien became an allegory of nature taking revenge on us after imposing climate change on it.

So what will happen if one day someone comes? Well, if history is of any help, we’ll do as we’ve done when crossing mountains or oceans and meeting a new culture: we’ll fight. As long as we continue to see our perspective and our interests as superior to those of others, that’s how it’ll go. It won’t be too different than how we qualify immigrants as ‘aliens. 

I believe, more strongly than Mulder, that we’re not alone in the Universe. But we’re not alone on Earth as well, yet some of us act like we are: they gather wealth for themselves, not caring about their poor neighbours, others are destroying the environment for their own short-term interests without caring about those coming after. So even if we know that we’re not alone on Earth, we still don’t know how to share life, how to share space (as in Space and also as in the space around us). 

So whether we’re alone or not, whether UFOs are proof of some kind of other life-forms from here, there or elsewhere, how about instead we ask the question: how are we in the universe and on earth? Much like we prepare to receive guests at home by cleaning the rooms, dressing properly and putting up our best behaviours. So let’s clean up our room, dress up properly and show every day the best version of ourselves to make sure that, every day, we’re ready to welcome new guests in our home. 

Philippe - Founder - Pacific Ventury

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