THE LEADERSHIP CRISIS IN UFOLOGY
Joseph Burkes, MD
In the UFO/truth movement there are few leaders, mostly celebrities.
In the position paper “An ET Presence Terrestrial Elites, but not the Earth’s People” I put forward the proposition that an extraterrestrial presence likely threatens all terrestrial power, military, economic and religious. If this is true then the de-facto secrecy campaign and the ridicule of UFO witnesses are the logical results of elite forces acting to maintain the status quo. I proposed the creation of a mass movement to work for disclosure. A campaign that hopefully will represent the interests of the majority of people on this planet, rather than those of elite groups primarily focused on defending hegemony by denying what appears to be an extraterrestrial presence. For that article please go to the link below.
CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP CAN EXACT A TERRIBLE PRICE
The challenges facing such a mass movement for disclosure are numerous. Perhaps the most daunting is its susceptibility to co-optation by corrupt leaders, those who would eagerly use “the power of the people” for selfish purposes.
This certainly has been the familiar pattern of the radical left and right movements of the 20th Century. Whether fascist or communist, the sad legacy of charismatic leaders has been monstrous wars and savage political purges resulting in the death of millions of innocents.
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IS IMPORTANT
In order to minimize the damage done by corrupt leaders, I imagine such a proposed campaign will need to incorporate strong spiritual values into its program. This became even clearer to me after the draft of the above-mentioned position paper was first circulated on the Internet in 1997 and 1998. Soon after its circulation I received a number of responses that emphasized the spiritual issues posed by allegations of ET spacecraft visiting Earth. One letter in particular asked the question whether our involvement with this issue was “to serve others”, or is it “to have others serve us.”
THE UFO RESEARCH INDUSTRY
As applied to the leadership crisis in ufology the absence of an ethic “to serve others” leads to a host of problems. A number of observers have complained about the backstabbing and egoism exhibited by prominent investigators. To a certain extent the market forces in the cottage industry environment created by ufology drive such attitudes. Here the ethic of “have others serve us” is manifest.
Those UFO experts that are compelled to work “the meat and potatoes” circuit of Expos and book signing sessions, are all struggling within a rather small marketplace. In a field rife with uncertainty, they, the “experts,” must appear to be the “one who really knows.” Otherwise why would anyone bother to listen to that person and buy her/his wares?
Since an essential part of sales must be appearing to “stand on the cutting edge,” UFO leaders must constantly come up with new and exciting information about, and solutions to the flying saucer mystery. The need to appear better than one’s fellows, and to attack the competition, feed the tendency towards shameless personal attacks.
THE ROOTS OF SHAME GO BACK TO CHILDHOOD.
There are however more profound sources for the egoism that cuts a destructive path across ufology. In my opinion more potent than economic competition are the psychosocial factors. Let’s face it; ufology has been relegated to the fringe by the powers that be. For any self-respecting professional to profess an interest in a subject so marginal, is to risk loss of social standing. Very powerful emotions experienced during normal childhood development may come into play here.
Our susceptibility to shame starts off in childhood. During early emotional development, frustration about one’s relatively helpless condition coexists side by side with the growing need to be accepted by other children. Being “small” and not being able to do what the “big kids” do is a constant preoccupation throughout childhood. Teasing and being excluded by older children is a harsh lesson unfortunately we all must experience.
I believe that every individual must carry these concerns over into adulthood. The social sentiments of the mainstream culture are such that to simply profess an interest in UFOs often triggers smirking from friends and co-workers. Much is at stake psychologically here. To become a leader in ufology ups the ante considerably and some degree of social ridicule is nearly certain.
In order to stand against the currents of the dominant culture that dismisses ufology as terminally kooky, an individual must surely have a strong sense of self. I believe it requires a determined and hopefully healthy ego, to openly defy conventional wisdom. This force of conviction flowing from ego in its most extreme form can become transformed into a sense of self-righteousness and self-aggrandizement.
DOLLARS $ VS “EGO DOLLARS”
Economic sacrifice and even hardship are often the rewards of trying to “make it” as a professional ufologist. The difficult economic conditions make for frustration, anger, perhaps even bitterness in some individuals. If an ufologist can’t receive payment in real money, then perhaps a salary in “ego dollars” might suffice. Real dollars are of course the preferred compensation.
In the UFO field unfortunately there are few enough of the greenbacks to go around. Thus many researchers I suspect demand ego gratification as a substitute for financial reward. The personal attacks rampant in the field are in my opinion the products of those that insist on having their egos gratified at the expense of others. The in fighting and the mud slinging that abound in ufology should therefore be viewed as the logical outcome of a group of researchers that have been marginalized by a larger society. They sadly vent their frustrations on one another.
THE ROAD AHEAD
This analysis is rather basic and I hope it provides a framework for a more detailed investigation of the psychosocial causes of the leadership crisis in ufology. My concerns are more than theoretical. It is my sincere hope that we can create a mass movement to work towards disclosure of an ET presence. To do so will require a great number of enlightened leaders.
This will involve many individuals that are able to work together cooperatively and hopefully minimize the destructive effects of egoism. Here again there is much room for exploring the spiritual/ ethical dimension. I ask again whether we struggle to serve others, or do we attempt to compel others to serve us?
It is my hope that this future campaign will be based on the high principle of altruism combined with honesty and humility. This is a tall order no doubt! Only time will tell whether ufology is up to the challenge.
“Truth comes in three phases. First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, and finally it is declared to be self-evident. “