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This section was my workspace for philosophy essays between July 2006 and April 2008. I call this "Prehistoric Kilroy" because it gave me practice for more disciplined essays in Kilroy Cafe. Also see my philophical blog and Twitter feed.

Issue #8, 8/23/2006

The Alien Metaphor

By Glenn Campbell
Family Court Philosopher

There is something in my past I am not not entirely proud of. I had hoped to keep it secret from the courthouse, but I can see that the rumors are beginning to swirl. The true facts of my background are probably being distorted, so I think it is best if I come out of the closet.

I was once a UFO researcher.

As a child, I had a secret collection of UFO magazines under my bed, and they were the source of many illicit fantasies. I secretly hoped that the aliens would take me away.

Later, when I felt more comfortable with my feelings, I took special field trips. I went to the places where encounters had supposedly taken place, and I hunted for evidence. I recorded data. I developed theories. I tried to find the smoking gun that would prove once and for all that UFOs existed.

I never found it.

I must confess that I never had much interest in the aliens themselves. Whoever they are, they're not bothering us much. Sure, they may abduct some of our women and perform unspeakable gynecological experiments on them, but they always bring them back by morning. By and large, these are low-impact, non-interventionist aliens, and you got to respect that.

Aliens, I realized at an early stage, were NOT RELEVANT TO OUR LIFE ON EARTH. Yet still I proceeded with the hunt. It was the pursuit that interested me, not its outcome.

I am kind of embarrassed now that I spent so much time on such a useless activity. Even if I were to find them, it would have been meaningless. Sure, I might prove they are here, touching down occasionally at Area 51, but what am I doing about the problems on Earth?

It is quite evident at this point that the aliens aren't going to help us with our problems. They seem to respect the "Prime Directive," which is the Star Trek principle that you should leave well enough alone.

Even if we are not alone in the universe, we are still alone in dealing with our own problems. The aliens aren't going to reorganize our society for us or solve our child welfare dilemmas. The most we can expect from them is to come here, take what they want, then split, leaving us alone once again.

The one positive thing that I took away from my UFO experiences is something I call the "Alien Metaphor."

This is the notion that we are all aliens, plunked down on this planet against our will, inserted into bodies that are strange to us, and struggling to get by in these bizarre circumstances.

There is, in fact, a whole subculture of humans who believe that they are aliens. I have met a number of them. They can usually tell you exactly what star system they came from, and sometimes they want to break into Area 51 to catch the next spaceship home.

A few, I am sad to report, have given up. They know they don't belong here, but they also know they are never going to get into Area 51. They are just going to have to stay here, on this troubled planet, trapped in this imperfect body, grappling with all the mundane problems other humans face.

"I'm married now," one alien told me. "I have a kid. I just can't be dreaming these things anymore."

I'm thinking, Welcome to the club!

The Alien Metaphor is another way of describing existentialism. Human consciousness is something fundamentally unexplainable and "alien". Sometime around the time of birth, it is inserted into a human body. From then on, the consciousness has to deal with this strange body as though it were its own.

If we begin to think after a while that our bodies are "us", it is a delusion. We are all fundamentally alien, or in the terminology of UFO research "walk-ins".

A walk-in is an alien presence that has "walked in" to a human body and taken up residence there. This is especially disturbing if YOU are already occupying that body and the alien is intruding on your turf. You want to tell them, "Hey, I got here first!"

You want to say, "This is my body!" Well, that's not exactly clear. Yeah, it's the body you got assigned, but do you really own it, or are you just renting? I mean, if not for a few genes switched around, you could have been occupying Mr. T or Anna Nicole Smith. Pretty frightening, eh?

The Alien Metaphor says that we will never really know where we came from or who we are. We have to make accommodations with our body and the planet we landed on. We have to experiment and see how things work. We have to do the best with what we have.

There's not much point in breaking into Area 51, because in all likelihood there aren't any spaceships home. The funniest thing about this whole cruel joke is that you will probably never be rescued. You've been randomly assigned this laughable body on this primitive planet, and now you have to use it.

More on my alien adventures: I Was Abducted by Aliens at Area 51 (unfinished book)

Reader Comments

“clue: SETI did receive data at OHIO STATE!” —human from the 3rd rock of your sun 3/25/07 (rating=2)

“I am very glad i have read this essay, now i will write song about the concept.” —felix (18) 8/12/07 (rating=5)

Ratings so far: 5 2 5 (Average=4)

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