Just as the magic structure cannot be represented but only lived, the mythical structure not represented but only experienced, and the rational structure neither lived nor experienced but only represented and conceptualized, so the integral structure cannot be represented but only awared in truth.
—Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin pp,. 267-268
In a previous set of pieces I’ve explored the traditional mystical map of the three worlds (gross, subtle, causal, and nondual) and its relation to the UFO phenomenon. My contention is that the majority of the UFO phenomenon takes place within the psychic, i.e., the mystical or numinous (or highly strange and weirdly natural) dimension of the gross realm.
I detailed numerous points of alignment as evidence of that assertion: the overlap between the jinn, the fairly folk, and UFOs; the anti-gravitic and meta-materiality of craft sightings; the methods deployed in the human initiated contact experience movement; the initiatory/shamanic-like nature of many UFO encounters; the increase in psi phenomenon as a consequence of encounters; the mutual resonance between UFO encounters and Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and contact with the dead more generally, and so on.
In that analysis I investigated what are known as states of consciousness and the quality of their various embodiments: as realms with characteristic entities, moods, and methods of invocation.
In this piece I want to look at the corresponding dimension of the structures of human consciousness and their relationship to the UFO phenomenon. While states tend to come and go, structures–as the term implies–speaks to a more stable, (quasi)permanent architecture of thought, feeling, and sensations, perception, and experience.
Our companion in this excursion will be Jean Gebser. Gebser posited that human history has taken place along a series of four structures of human consciousness which he termed archaic, magic, mythic, and mental (rational). For Gebser each structure has both an efficient and deficient phase. The earlier phase climaxes in the heights of creativity and expression within that structure while the final phase becomes a period of decline and ossification leading inevitably to the breakdown of that structure and the subsequent emergence of the next structure. Those structural emergent dynamics he labelled mutations, i.e., as forms of evolution. Gebser's model was not of a linear progressive variety where magic was better than archaic and mythic was progressively better than magical and so on. He saw each mutation and each structure as having its own strengths and limitations.
He further argued that the 20th century revealed that the mental structure which began at least as far back as The Axial Age and had reached its flowering in the Renaissance and early modern period was now in its deficient period of decline. Gebser hypothesized that the next mutational structure of consciousness would be what he termed the integral-aperspectival. He offered examples in art and music and literature as potential harbingers or embodiments of this new structure. The integral-aperspectival would be in some sense totally emergent and altogether other while at the same time he imagined it would be the simultaneity of all the previous structures co-arising and co-existing, i.e. archaic, magic, mythic, and mental in a transparent, integrated whole.
Gebser’s work is staggering in both scope and execution. The breadth and depth of his insight is unmatched. He fills page after page of his work with incredibly detailed and nuanced articulations of the core themes of these various consciousness structures. He offers example after example of art, architecture, music, philosophy, science, ethics, drama, literature, religion in light of the structures. So this piece is by no means going to cover the breathtaking lucidity of the man. The point here is more to hone in on the correlation between the states of consciousness and their structures as they have played out through the history of the UFO/Contact movement. In particular I maintain that the UFO phenomenon may be revealing some of the core qualities of Gebser’s hypothesized integral a-perspectival structure.
In order to flesh out that argument, I need to add one further piece to the puzzle via the philosopher Ken Wilber. Wilber argued that states of consciousness are always embedded within structures of consciousness and that the predominant structure of consciousness interprets or frames states of consciousness (both ordinary and non-ordinary states). This point may seem a bit abstract at the moment but it will be crucially important in what follows.
To reiterate and summarize: the states are: psychic/gross (nature mysticism); subtle (deity mysticism); causal (formless mysticism); and nondual (essence mysticism). The structures are: archaic, magic, mythic, mental, and the (potential) integral a-perspectival.
In other words then it is possible to have psychic, subtle, causal, and/or nondual states at each and every one of the archaic, magical, mythic, and mental structures (for more information on this idea, see the Wilber-Combs Lattice).
So bringing the earlier assertion that the UFO phenomenon is principally of the psychic state then the question is: how does that primarily psychic experience become embedded and interpreted through the various structures of consciousness? What do the structures of human consciousness look like and how might we might be able to chart these experiences?
I want to explore each of Gebser’s already existing structures (archaic, magic, mythic, and mental) in relation to the UFO phenomenon and then conclude with some very speculative thoughts as to how the UFO phenomenon may well already be expressing aspects of the integral-aperspectival.
The archaic structure is the least well known and the hardest to articulate though I do believe there are some possible points of “contact” (pardon the pun) between it and the UFO phenomenon. Gebser cites only two statements that he believes give a legitimate glimpse into the nature of the archaic.
The first comes from Chuang-Tzu: “Dreamlessly the true men of earlier times slept.”
The second involves a statement by scholar Richard Wilhelm on early Chinese chromatic symbolism:
“At that time blue and green are not yet differentiated. The common word Ch’ing is used for the color of the sky as well as the sprouting plant.”
(both citations found on p. 44 of Gebser's The Ever-Present Origin).
Commenting on these two statements Gebser writes:
“Dreamlessness means, beyond doubt, an unconcerned accord, a consequent full identity between inner and outer, expressive of the microcosmic harmony.…The identity of earth and sky is an expression of the macrocosmic harmony; taken together, microcosmic and macrocosmic harmony are nothing less than the perfect identity of man and universe.” (Ever Present Origin, p.45)
What Gebser means is that in the archaic there is not yet separation or differentiation (and hence suffering) from one's environment. "Dreamlessly they slept" indicates that there was no "excess" psychic content for such individuals that would have needed to be processed in dreams. When it is said that green and blue had no yet been differentiated in early Chinese color, then there was no difference between earth (green) and sky (blue), only one uninterrupted conscious plenum.
How might this archaic structure then apply to the UFO phenomenon?
Gebser writes of the archaic:
The initial, archaic structure is zero-dimensional; it is spatial and temporal, although our present mentality, if it grasp this at all, will see in this a paradox. It is origin; only in a terminological sense is it a first structure emanating from that perfect identity existing before (or behind) all oneness or unity which it initially have might represented. It is akin, if not identical, to the original state of biblical paradise; a time where the soul is yet dormant, a time of complete non-differentiation of [hu]man and the universe. (Ever Present Origin, p. 43)
Applying those insights to the UFO phenomenon some potentially interesting lines of flight emerge. I don’t claim for these to be fully established but possible realms of inquiry. Gebser speaks of the archaic as “zero-dimensional” which is interesting given the nature of the UFO as a very likely embodiment of what some term zero-point energy (aka “free energy”). Zero-point energy in the UFO phenomenon deeply relates to the realities of anti-gravitic field-propulsion, whereby a UFO makes complete turns at right angles or propels itself vertically without any rocketry or known thrust.
It is an odd and interesting connection between the statement about early Chinese language having no differentiation between the color of the sky and the earth, given that Kenneth Arnold originally stated that the craft he witnessed seemed to skip or skim across the sky as if like disks on the water, which is where the term "flying saucer" originated.
If the anti-gravitic field propulsion and free energy aspect of the UFO links up with the zero-dimensional spatial coordinate of the archaic structure, a second area of potential connection involves the zero-dimensional temporal quality of the archaic. UFO researchers from Budd Hopkins onward have studied the phenomenon known as “missing time”, whereby contactees/abductees have missing chunks of time during which high strange encounters have very likely occurred. Could it be that these individuals returned to a principally archaic (zero-dimensional) structure of consciousness but because it is so latent typically in our society it is not recognized as such and therefore the experience of linear time is temporarily completely “lost”? Just like Chuang Tzu’s said, “Dreamlessly did they sleep.”
The third and last potential point of intersection between the archaic structure of consciousness and the UFO is based on Gebser’s intriguing suggestion that the archaic is very similar, if not identical to, the Biblical Eden. Edenic here means a state of pre or non-differentiation between the human and the universe (cosmos). This hypothesis may well shade more over into the magical (and mythic) properly but I believe it’s worth considering in light of the archaic.
One of the leitmotifs of Ufology has been the question of whether the human race was genetically engineered by an off-world and/or interstellar and/or higher dimensional advanced species. It’s very interesting that so much of the alien abduction lore consists of experiences of genetic experimentation (again with missing time often resulting!) on the most foundational, or primal/archaic, aspects of humanity, e.g. reproductive organs. If there is indeed some form of “hybridization” or engineering of humanity by some other species it would be at this most archaic level of human consciousness.
Or perhaps as scholar Joshua Cutchin has pointed out, maybe hybridization is a metaphor of some form of non-ordinary, possibly even spiritual (at least in some cases), form of connection. This possibility segues us nicely to the next structure of consciousness: the magical.
When we turn then to the magical structure of consciousness the parallels within the UFO phenomenon become more apparent and easier to grasp for the psychic state is very much at home in the magical realm (aka animism). In regards to the UFO phenomenon this shows up as magical interpretations and means of invocation of the phenomenon. “Aliens” or “ETs” corresponding with jinn, fairy folk, and other elementals would be another key aspect here. Animism teaches various ways of encounter and relational ethics between various entities: called ayni in Quecha. The aformentioned Joshua Cutchin’s studies of the food and drink offerings, as well as the smells of cryptids and fairy folk (and “aliens”) is central in this regard.
Peter Levenda’s suggestion that the UFO itself might be a kind of ritual circle created within which to magically bind humans (abductions) would also fall into this category. As would the interrelated highly strange nature of crop circles and cattle mutilations, both of which have been tied to the UFO phenomenon. Crop circles are in a sense their own kind of magical sigil whether placed by “us” or “them”. Within the magical structure we also have the initiatory/shamanic-like elements of the UFO phenomenon as articulated by Whitley Strieber and movingly portrayed in the documentary Witness to Another World. The profusion of pendants, amulets, crystals and so on in the UFO culture is another sign of continued existence of the magical structure of consciousness. These are just some examples; the list could be much longer.
As the great Ufologist Jacques Vallee pointed out, the UFO phenomenon (whatever else it is) is a psychotronic reality. The UFO phenomenon affects conscious at a distance (though to what end and intent is very much an open question). The UFO is a psycho-spiritual technology and as such leads to altered states (principally though perhaps not exclusively psychic) which will inevitably be interpreted through Gebser's structures of consciousness. As more and more of such experiences occur individuals seek to create larger overall narratives to make sense of such experiences and that brings us to the mythic structure.
The mythic structure creates binaries/polarities of light and dark and plots cosmic-scale narratives of cycles of the repetitive play of these polarities. In the Western tradition this mythic structure lead to the formation of the apocalyptic worldview. The vast majority of contactee literature takes place within the mythic structure—even if it is rooted in genuine transpersonal states of consciousness. Carl Jung who who offered the first serious reflection on the UFO phenomenon in light of its effect on consciousness argued that the UFO phenomenon would become a new religion (read: mythology).
Prof. Diana Walsh-Pasulka has shown in her recent excellent book on the subject American Cosmic that Jung's hypothesis is becoming more and more apparent by the day with the rise of a UFO-based religion/new mythology especially among Silicon Valley type elites. UFO cults and religions—like the Raelians, Heaven’s Gate, The Nation of Islam, Scientology—are all variations of a mythic structure with “aliens”/intergalactic beings standing in for many traditional theological symbols or entities. Most ancient alien discourse is itself mythically rooted: see for example David Wilcock’s The Ascension Mysteries, the subtitle of which is Revealing the Cosmic Battle Between Good and Evil. The battle between good and evil is the mythic polarization/narrative again.
The entire Ascension and Channeled “ET” literature movement is itself a mythic interpretation and embedding of this trans-rational phenomenon. Individuals from traditional religious backgrounds—particularly Protestant Christian evangelicals—treat this phenomenon as consisting either of angels and/or demons, again a mythic construct overlaid onto this phenomenon, perhaps in ways helpfully and perhaps in ways less than helpfully. That doesn’t make it wrong but it does need to be understood as such. Otherwise New Age fundamentalism is just like any other kind of fundamentalism—misapplying the mental structure to mythic elements thereby taking those mythic descriptions too “literally” and “factually.”
As it pertains to the mental structure of consciousness we see a number of classic developments in the UFO field. First we have the “nuts and bolts” researchers who began applying rational scientific empirical research models to investigate the UFO phenomenon. The debunkers/skeptic counter-field within UFO technically also fits within this structure—though it ideologically disallows and or screens out the possibility of the psychic state upon which this whole edifice is actually constructed. The extra-terrestrial hypothesis with its emphasis on physical craft, actual biological entities from concrete other planets, etc. is another variation of the mental rational structure grappling with this greater than rational phenomenon.
Therapists like Dr. John Mack who brought the traditions of humanistic psychology to abductees constitute another branch of this mental structural tree. Project Stargate—and all other similar type forms of covert paranormal research—which studied the effects of remote viewing and psi capacities within a controlled set of experiments according to the scientific method would be yet another example.
Again those examples are by no means exhaustive for each of the structures nor all of them but should be seen as representative. A lot of the confusion and internal battles within the field of Ufology can be understood as worldview clashes. Consider a nuts and bolts mental structure advocate arguing with an Ascesionist mythicist: they are speaking entirely different languages from entirely different structures of human consciousness. The likelihood is high that there’s going to be some conflict and mutual misunderstanding there.
For Gebser one of the most important keys to bringing forward the integral aperspectival was to "concretize" each of the previous structures–that is make each of the structures self-conscious (what Gebser called "diaphonous"). This review of the various structures and the way in which Ufology has framed these experiences upholds (I believe) Gebser's overall model. It was also intended to concretize (or make diaphonous and transparent) each of these structures so that we might move into more speculative territory on the possibility of the UFO phenomenon expressing the integral aperspectival.
In order to grasp something of the switch from the mental to the integral aperspectival it's important to note that the mental structure of consciousness works by creating a synthesis (or 3rd) point in relationship to the dyads of the mythic structure. Hegel’s dialectic would be a classic example in that regard. For Gebser the possibility of moving beyond the mental structure involves essentially allowing the ambiguity to remain and not immediately trying to find another exterior “solution” or meta-perspective that will solve the inherent tension or polarization. For Gebser this was a harbinger of kind of intermediate step towards the potential new structure of the integral-aperspectival.
Within UFOlogy there are three names who stand out as classic representatives of this very approach, of letting the strangeness be and not trying to “solve” it right away rationally (two of whom I've already named): Jacques Vallee and Whitley Strieber. The third (not yet named) is John Keel.
As previously stated, Vallee argued that the UFO phenomenon was a technology that affected human consciousness. It was therefore materiel and psychic simultaneously. Vallee also understood that the current version of the UFO phenomenon is but one manifestation of a long lasting phenomenon throughout time. (I would add to that a phenomenon that was inevitably interpreted via the then existing structures of consciousness, mostly magic and mythic.)
John Keel similarly saw the UFO phenomenon as interrelated to stories of fairies and jinn as well as ghosts, hauntings, precognition, crypto-zoological beings, and the psychic or “paranormal” broadly speaking. The research of Dean Radin as well as the Edgar Mitchell Society’s FREE research project both have deeply confirmed that insight.
Strieber, particularly in his work with religious scholar Jeffrey Kripal, is core to the development of weird naturalist thought, particularly and most especially in relationship to the UFO phenomenon. It was Strieber who began suggesting parallels between abductions and shamanic initiations. It was Strieber (echoing Vallee) who claimed that the phenomenon was both real and unreal simultaneously in the sense that, like ghosts (a la Keel), “The Visitors” moved in and out of walls. Craft dart in and out of radar and make maneuvers that violate the current public version of physics.
These three each argued for letting the weirdness stand. Strieber called this “living the question”.
Living the question requires not immediately falling back into prefabricated mythic narratives: ancient alien, Ascensionist, angels and demons, etc. It’s too strange for that. It’s also to understand that core to the phenomenon—whatever else it is or isn’t—is the reality of psychic capacity and insight, without necessarily falling into an overly complexified magical system in order to “bind” or “control” the phenomenon. It’s also to recognize that because the phenomenon is weirdly natural, it undercuts our entire understanding of what is “natural” or “real”, thereby deeply undermining the core of the mental structure of consciousness.
That is the kind of ambiguity and complexity that must be held. It requires incredible psychological strength to hold to this in-between place of “living the question.” It creates the tension necessary to force the alchemical emergence of an entirely new structure of consciousness, i.e. the integral a-perpsectival.
The Integral A-Perspectival
So what then might we say of this integral-perspectival and how might the UFO phenomenon, as I believe it is, be pointing to this reality?
Here we need to bring back Ken Wilber into the conversation. Wilber in his book The Religion of Tomorrow make his own speculative case for structures of consciousness beyond perspectival mentality. Wilber hypothesizes four possible structures which he correlates with the four states of consciousness: psychic, subtle, causal, and nondual. Basically his proposed future structures of consciousness are the states manifest as structures. For Wilber this is because in the earlier structures—like magic and mythic—the states were fused with the structures. In the mental structure the states and the structures can be differentiated but tend to remain fragmented. So a post-perspectival structure of consciousness would reunite the states and structures in a non-conflated manner. I think of Wilber’s proposed future structures of consciousness less as four discrete structures and more as one a-perspectival structure with four elements or “movements” but that’s a bit of a quibble. Regardless, the crucial point here is that the psychic state would become the first flowering of a post-mental structure of consciousness (i.e. the integral aperspectival).
If the UFO phenomenon is primarily of the psychic state-realm as I’ve been arguing and if the next structure of consciousness (or first phase of it anyway) would be the psychic state manifest as a structure, then the study of the UFO phenomenon would be literally “back to the future” or “the history of the future.”
In other words, the UFO phenomenon may already be existing as the psychic state manifest as a structure. The UFO phenomenon may be an incarnation of the integral aperspectival already in existence. Or again at least aspects of the aperspectival already manifest. This possibility would line up with Strieber’s point that the UFO phenomenon is "the force of evolution upon the conscious human mind," i.e. the force of evolution upon the mental structure of the human mind. For Gebser recall new structures of consciousness arise via mutations. The force of evolution of the UFO phenomenon may be inducing a mutation in human consciousness, i.e. an emergent novel adaptation in response to the evolutionary stress of the phenomenon.
If that were so, then the UFO would be an initiation by any other name. As I’ve written about elsewhere however initiations can fail. Failed initiations whether individual or group, leave the failed initiate in a haunted no-man’s land, a kind of zombified existence, neither living nor fully dead either. If this analysis holds any water (or space) then the UFO is a human species-wide initiation and if humans fail it then humans will, as a species, enter zombie status. (One might argue this is collective zombie-like status is already well underway).
The UFO phenomenon is, as Richard Dolan brilliantly argued, the hidden force driving the development of the national security state during the Cold War and therefore its offspring, the surveillance state. Former US Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts and Dr. Joseph Farrell have furthered that point showing the UFO phenomenon is core to the collateralization of space and the global hidden black market economy. As Dolan also eloquently argued whatever physics is behind the UFO phenomenon it is not powered by petroleum nor even (one would imagine) by renewable energies like solar or wind or geothermal but rather through some type of zero point or “free energy” (aka "over-unity"). Hence the revelation of the UFO phenomenon is core to the destruction of the current energy monopolistic military-industrial-intelligence-bankster-big oil breakaway civilizational complex.
Furthermore, as mentioned, Jacques Vallee argued the UFO phenomenon is a psychotronic reality. It is a large scale form of social engineering of human consciousness. This effect points once again to the UFO as evolution upon a conscious (mental structure) human mind. The UFO is the stress necessary (potentially) to cause a mutation in human consciousness—ideally to an a-perspectival formation. But we need to be open to the possibility that it could be a “regime of control” (as Vallee wondered) and build up such stress as to lead to the breakdown of human consciousness.
Another name for chronic and intense stress is trauma. What we do know for sure is the UFO phenomenon is a mass scale form of trauma and not being dealt with accordingly. I’ve proposed some possible remedies along those lines elsewhere in my writing. In other words, the phenomenon is only potentially initiatory (or mutational in Gebser’s language) to the degree that trauma is understood and methods of alchemical transmutation of the trauma are widely available. The good news is that the understanding of how to work with trauma is already understood. To the degree the trauma is not transmuted then it is simply brute traumatization.
This potential for disempowerment and disinformation is why it is so crucial to understand the structures of consciousness and see how they are replicating themselves in the UFO context. As I've speculated elswhere on the site, the same potentially initiatory or mutational reality of the UFO phenomenon could be hijacked to insidious ends by politilcal forces hell bent on domination.
Too quickly trying to reduce the high strangeness of this phenomenon by placing it back within a preset worldview—either magical or mythical—raises serious questions of viability and again huge potentials for social engineering by more sinister forces.
If Gebser was right—and I believe that he was—then the integral a-perspectival structure will need to incorporate elements of magic and myth (as well as rationality and the archaic) but it can’t simply be a return to them either.
The UFO is a violation of the mental worldview from top to bottom. It violates the principle of humanistic orientation as Peter Levenda perspicaciously remarked. The abduction phenomenon violates the principle of autonomous bodily sovereignty and integrity for many. The craft violate the publicly stated version of physics. The craft (or whatever they are) reveal an occulted form of energy (and hence physics & tech). We might even say that the Visitors are already living out Game B.
Some speculate that UFOs are us from the future in a more literal sense (which could be true). At minimum, whoever “they” are, we can definitely say that they are from the future in a consciousness sense. The UFO is, as Vallee argued, an impossible reality, though impossible only to the mental structure of consciousness.
This intrinsic and thoroughgoing structural violation of rationality is why the UFO topic is so deeply taboo in mainstream discourse. It’s simply overwhelming. It melts brains like some Lovecraftian monster. It’s a hyper-object in Timothy Morton’s language…maybe the hyper-iest of all hyper objects. Even when the UFO phenomenon does leak into mainstream discourse, as it has done recently, it is shot through with psychological operations, disinformation, limited hangouts and all the rest. Unconsciously re-adapting earlier structures like the magical and mythic are too constrictive, effectively “crunching” the phenomenon in ways that are problematic (see UFO cults for example.)
The danger is not necessarily “they” are going to come down one day and blow up the White House or whatever. That meme itself is excessively beholden to a mental construct shaping (warping?) the phenomenon. The deeper danger (and potential opportunity) is that the phenomenon violates the currently dominant structure of our consciousness, i.e. of our entire human meaning-making structure of comprehension. Which is why too many then fall back into various pre-scripted structures and stories of myths and magic to seek to control or at least understand what may be, at root, incomprehensible.
The UFO I believe will remain incomprehensible until an entirely new structure of human consciousness might mutate and evolve in response to that evolutionary violation/pressure: that structure would be the integral aperspectival.
The psychic state and its manifestation are the clues, the harbingers to begin to orient ourselves in relationship to this phenomenon. That includes the psychic or highly strange nature of trauma.
Intentionality and psi phenomena will be seen to be real, but maybe not in the way historically framed by most traditional magical systems. There will be I believe a larger arc to this story, one that will have deep cosmological, ethical, and spiritual import, just as Joseph Campbell said all myths reflect. But it won’t necessarily simply be a “new religion” or “new mythology” a la Jung. It will have rooting in empiricism, investigation, and the need for “street smarts”, as in the mental but it won’t be perspectivally based.
The moving in and out of radar, going in and out of walls and so on only are a violation given that we’ve constructed (literally and figuratively) a world based on perspectival-based mental rationality. If and when a future integral a-perspectival (and a-waring) structure of consciousness mutates then the physics will change (as Vallee himself has proposed) in which case the “through walls” quality of this phenomenon will be, if not perfectly understandable, then at least contextualized and hence normalized.
And if that were to happen, well then all bets are off.