According to Karl Jaspers, the individual is a creature of culture inherited through tradition and society. Community is the vehicle for the transmission of culture to the individual. Furthermore, the community and social situations are significant for defining mental illness because civilization creates physical and psychological conditions that restrict and define behaviors and beliefs.
Collective culture and individual experience also have a dynamic, deeply connected relationship. Transformation in one generates transformation in the other. Sixty years ago, reacting to an extended period of heightened UFO sightings, the mainstream media began to tread cautiously in reporting stories related to possible extraterrestrial visitation. Today, the media's extraterrestrial comfort zone includes coverage of scientifically examined UFO sightings along with intimate stories of individuals whose lives were transformed not only by craft sightings, but also by direct extraterrestrial contact experiences that involved telepathic communication and development of advanced paranormal abilities. Within this culture of contact, humans find increasing acceptance of their extraterrestrial-like consciousness, defined as exoconsciousness.
This essay discusses the concept of exoconsciousness within the framework of Karl Jaspers' General Psychopathology (1913) making a case for the reclassification of UFO extraterrestrial experience from pathological to normal. The recommended reclassification is based on psychiatric advancements in Jaspers' psychopathology that lead to acceptance of quantum-based conceptions of exoconsciousness. A physician and philosopher of his time, Jaspers' psychopathology fits comfortably into a Western Newtonian and Kantian dualistic orientation. And yet, by identifying psychiatric and philosophical limits and dilemmas, he creates an intellectual framework for the possibilities inherent in quantum science. By identifying the importance of the cultural context in defining psychopathology, I argue that he provides the necessary opening for redefining the UFO extraterrestrial experience as normal within the emerging 21st century culture of contact.
The UFO extraterrestrial experience remains outside the boundaries of believable Western reality. It does not yet fit the ordinary and customary behaviors and thinking about a healthy and acceptable reality, especially among health professionals. When consulted regarding a potential client presenting a UFO extraterrestrial experience, highly regarded practicing psychiatrists have a tendency to made quick diagnoses of delusional and/or psychopathological psychosis, perhaps a bi-polar disorder. Additional mainline psychiatric diagnoses of UFO extraterrestrial experiencers include: delusional, hallucination, neurosis, anxiety, trauma, sleep paralysis, hysterical attention-getting, hypnagogic phenomenon, and a disassociate response of multiple personality or satanic ritual abuse. Jaspers aligns with these contemporary psychiatric diagnoses, placing supernatural experience under the category of psychotic experience defined by symbolic, magical, primitive, and related to dreams.(1)
And yet, within this psychiatric culture eager to label experiencers as pathological, there are earnest, healthy individuals enthusiastic to understand and integrate their UFO extraterrestrial experiences without the intimidation of mental illness. This growing population of experiencers accelerates the necessity for a conceptual means, grounded in authentic experience, to describe these anomalous phenomena. To address the needs of this population, I have created the concept of "exoconsciousness" to further the study and integration of the UFO extraterrestrial contact as a healthy, normal experience.
As craft sightings gain prominence through Internet databases and political discussions, individuals increasingly gather empirical evidence of extraterrestrial visitors, possessing advanced hardware and technology. These visitors may be observing, in some cases landing, and even crashing on planet Earth. In some cases, they leave behind artifacts, some of which may have led to the back engineering of today's weaponry, computer, and aerospace technology. While continuing empirical investigation of craft sightings is necessary and essential for understanding the UFO phenomenon, alongside the database of scientifically researched sightings there is another database of individuals whose lives are suddenly impacted by either a craft sighting or an extraterrestrial visitation. This exoconscious database entails the application of social science research—psychology, philosophy, sociology, religion, and history.
Inherent in the developing database of individuals with UFO extraterrestrial experiences is the concept of exoconsciousness, which describes the extraterrestrial legacy, dimensions, and abilities of human consciousness. This concept characterizes the innate ability of our human consciousness to communicate, travel, and use extraterrestrial abilities such as intuition, telepathy, astral travel, remote viewing, manifestation, and teleportation. Humans experience their extraterrestrial legacy of exoconsciousness as they communicate and travel among dimensions that are inter-connected and multi-dimensional. Specifically, the field of exoconsciousness incorporates the study of extraterrestrial contactees and experiencers as it relates to the meaning of consciousness. It incorporates biological research into the possible extraterrestrial imprints and properties in human DNA. It also incorporates religious, mythological, and historical research of ancient and ongoing extraterrestrial contact; as well as contemporary consciousness and brain research.
The work of John Mack, psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School, provides the foundational research validity for exoconsciousness. A Pulitzer Prize winning biographer, Mack became a leading authority on abduction, meticulously researching and publishing case studies. His research established the validity of UFO extraterrestrial contact within the confines of normal experience and also strengthened beliefs about the spiritual, transformational effects of such an encounter.
Reviewing over 200 cases with accompanying psychiatric evaluations and psychological studies, he found no consistent psychopathology in his subjects who were diagnosed as being clinically normal and able to function well in society. Furthermore, he found that the proliferation of UFO extraterrestrial contact reports from throughout the world presented information that was consistent in detail with his own research.
Mack repeatedly dismissed the psychopathological diagnoses of his professional colleagues regarding contact experience.(2) His clients were not only normal; for the most part they were gentle, quiet, withdrawn individuals who led normal, uneventful lives. Regarding the diagnosis that the experiencers created a fantasy delusion of extraterrestrial contact, he maintained that the experience did not relate to other aspects of the client's personality or emotional life. Dismissing the claim of neurosis, he stated that the subjects did not present the usual intense personal conflict. Furthermore, the dissociative diagnosis was not representative because the experiencers wanted to discuss and recover their memory to integrate it into their lives, not repress their memories as a coping and survival mechanism. Experiencers were neither hysterical nor attention getting. Instead, they related highly personal stories of contact, often risking social ostracism and professional ridicule. Mack attributed the element of memory loss and fragmentation to repressed memory, and not a physical brain dysfunction or epileptic seizure.
And yet, despite solid counter arguments and evidence, the UFO extraterrestrial experience and the concept of exoconsciousness remain outside the boundaries of Western reality. This is in large part due to the deeply rooted cultural and scientific allegiance to a Newtonian Western mindset that is linked to the limits of believability in the five human senses as well as a misplaced belief the scientific ability to obtain uncontaminated, objective empirical evidence. This view reverberates with a random, mechanical, billiard ball, dramatic big bang cosmology. It masquerades as two-faced, eternally split, subject-object mask of tragedy and comedy. As such, objective data is held in high regard as scientific and verifiable while the subjective is confined to feelings and floating. This artificial split engenders feelings of separateness, stereotyping, and dramatic irreconcilable viewpoints. Throughout human history it has been abused and used to dominate, manipulate, exclude, and control as well as to launch the human species into a technological golden age of medicine, technology, and space flight with an accompanying high standard of living.
Karl Jaspers maintains a strong scientific allegiance to the empirical, Newtonian worldview, the need to adhere to concrete findings, and espousing a distinction between the linear and logical as opposed to and the non-logical and pre-logical (GP 738). And yet, his philosophic mind perceives the limits, dogmatism, and dangers of this worldview. As such, within empiricism he posits a much more complex biological and phenomenological framework. He perceives life as "biological, not mechanical…an infinite living network…of reciprocal entanglements" (GP 453).
Jaspers' biological worldview is an important step in softening the complete dependence on the Newtonian frame of reference necessary for the adoption and experience of a quantum worldview. This quantum worldview is essential not only for investigating and understanding UFO extraterrestrial experience and data; it is essential for the advancement of technology and human evolvement through the 21st century. Quantum science, though a nearly a century old, has barely penetrated the edges of the general population and academic environments. The quantum mindset is revolutionary, unsettling, and foreign. It removes the stability of a Newtonian five-sense safety blanket, substituting spooky entanglements, here one minute, gone the next.
In this quantum worldview of information and energy, all is deeply connected. The universe is intelligent and connected, non-local, and non-linear. It pushes our mindset far beyond its narrow Newtonian dualistic harbors and launches us into limitless potential. In the quantum worldview, where matter is wave and particle, the mere act of observation impacts and changes the observed, as Heisenberg famously remarked. Free of observation, matter is wave, observed it becomes particle. Quantum science repositions the scientific power place of objectivity and redefines subjectivity. This repositioning of subjectivity within scientific protocols is essential for understanding the UFO extraterrestrial experience. Mack referred to this as "legitimizing the witness." Through Mack's heightened regard for subjectivity—the client's story, experience, and reality possess an authenticity, free of labels and diagnosis. In paranormal research, self-experimentation is gaining professional acceptance. Where it was once unthinkable for a neutral scientist to engage in experiences related to his or her research, it is now increasingly permitted.
Within a quantum worldview, the power of human consciousness adopts uncharted power and potential. In the quantum world, human consciousness not only projects power—linking through entanglement, or what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance"—it also creates a deep bond between related particles such that stimulation of one is discernible in the other. Ongoing experiments are also validating the power of the conscious mind to exert the force of intention on waves in order to create particles. The magical force of words, sounds, and thoughts, when brought to bear on a wave reality, can be harnessed and birthed into a particle reality. The implications for art, healing, technology, and human evolution are vast. Furthermore, in quantum science, the boundary between the micro and the macro disintegrates. The universe and the brain may be viewed as a hologram, where each part inherently possesses the whole. For example, in 1946 Pribram and Lashley's rat maze experiments verified that memory was not localized in the brain, like a book on a library shelf, but rather is spread out, distributed through the brain as a whole. According to Michael Talbot, the brain is a hologram, enfolded in a holographic universe where humans have the ability to perceive deep, complex dimensions.(3)
Quantum reality also seems to indicate the possibility of parallel universes and experiences in multiple dimensions. This possibility goes a long way toward explaining and positioning the UFO extraterrestrial experience as believable and normal. As scientific instruments catch up to measure quantum mathematical hypotheses, evidence of parallel realities and multiple dimensions are likely to emerge. Experiments slated to commence at CERN, the Swiss particle physics laboratory, may provide quantifiable evidence of parallel realities as the supercollider simulates the big bang.
As this quantum revolution continues to seep into human consciousness, it upsets the order of culture, granting a nod of recognition and acceptance to anomalous, UFO extraterrestrial experience and contact. So how do we process in this time of transition from one worldview to another? The ability to even consider a quantum view requires a shift in consciousness and the adoption of advanced mind abilities. Many are now living in the quantum reality, but most are not. So for now, humans can stay balanced with feet in both worlds: Newtonian and quantum.
Stepping Into the Mind Field
Through quantum science, researchers delve into the human brain as a path toward understanding consciousness. As a scientific psychiatrist, Jaspers validated psychopathology as a neuropathological disease of the brain. It was one way to understand the workings of the mind. As a philosopher, Jaspers also comprehended the limits of a brain orientation when dealing with localizing mental illness and psychic phenomena to the brain. Beyond brain research was the frontier of the mind and the biography of the individual within his or her community and worldview.
It is my contention that mathematics, neurology, physics, and advanced technology provide essential information on the workings of the brain and consciousness. And yet, most theories seem wedded to the technological advancements of the times. As such, researchers need to take a step back from drawing absolute conclusions from models of the mind. Science and technology are evolving too rapidly to draw definitive conclusions. One contemporary mind model perceives the mind as a computer—data in, data out, binary codes. This model has haunting parallels with the movie The Matrix.
Gerald Edelman, 1972 Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist, uses magneto encephalography, a non-invasive technique, to explain the workings of our brain in Wider Than The Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness. He measured tiny electromagnetic currents in small groups of neurons to develop neurological correlates of consciousness. He determined that there is no one location in the brain where consciousness takes place. No command center. There is a wide variation in neural response among individuals responding to the same stimulus or scene. Finally he determines that the brain is not "software." His research points to the possibility that our working brain was not designed, but evolved, as he postulates a "neural Darwinism."(4)
The promising model of anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff and mathematician Roger Penrose proposes that quantum computation occurs in cytoskeletal microtubules within the brain's neurons. They base their research on a quantum view of the brain that consciousness self organizes and forms patterns of reality. "Brain stimulates reality based on sensory input and is also intimately connected to that reality at the quantum level."(5) Though theories of the quantum properties of the brain are far from garnering mainstream scientific acceptance, they are gaining respectability. Scientists are leery of granting the biological workings of the brain a sub-atomic quantum quality. Much of this is due to the lack of instruments to measure such minute sub-atomic movements.
Brain research also plays a significant role by providing explanations for UFO extraterrestrial experiences. Sleep paralysis is one such brain-oriented explanation. According to researchers such as John Mack and Budd Hopkins, contactees report phenomena and sensations similar to sleep paralysis: a humming or buzzing sensation, intense light in the room, and strange beings. They also report floating down the hallway, sighting of a UFO, and dreams of being taken to a ship.
Harvard professors Susan Clancy and Richard McNally attribute abduction to simple brain functions. Clancy relates abduction memories to the tendency of traumatized individuals to create false memories with sleep paralysis.(6) In sleep paralysis, upon waking, disturbing hallucinations are generated by our brains.
Clancy's sleep paralysis explanation weakens with the evidence that the UFO extraterrestrial contact of many individuals takes place during waking hours: walking, driving, working. According to Spanos, 60% of his investigation group had night encounters, leaving 40% outside the explanation of sleep paralysis.(7) While Clancy's research has come under question by ufology researchers, the scientific study of brain function in anomalous experience holds promise. Humans are more than neurological wiring. And yet, a comprehensive theory of extraterrestrial contact must integrate the findings of trauma research in contemporary neurology.
Another research field that holds promise for integrating the UFO extraterrestrial experience with the workings of consciousness and the brain is Michael Persinger's work with the temporal lobe phenomenon. This temporal lobe phenomenon produces what he terms the visitor or "sense of other" phenomenon. This usually happens between two and four in the morning when the subject is suddenly awakened and receives visual information at the edges of their visual field indicating the presence of another. Subjects report shadow entities that may communicate. Many subjects hear that they have been chosen for a particular destiny. Most believe that what they experienced is real. Persinger found that stimulating the temporal lobe created a similar visitor presence sensation and visualization. He drew parallels between this experience and persons with limbic seizures.(8)
Persinger's brain research holds promise, yet not all UFO extraterrestrial experiences occur at night. Furthermore, most experiencers are not having seizures nor do they have a history of epilepsy. Most experiencer testimony entails a lengthy narrative about their encounters and accounts of repeated visitation. It is more than a mere shadow apparition. The accounts of sleep paralysis and temporal lobe induced visitation possess striking similarities to the feelings induced by astral projection. In astral projection an individual learns to leave his or her body, gather information, communicate, travel, and then return safely. Often the memory fragments of their journeys linger once they reconnect with their body.
In conjunction with brain research, the fields of trauma research and technology assisted consciousness hold the potential for understanding the UFO extraterrestrial experience. Since culture, often under the auspices of religion, demonizes most extraterrestrial encounters, experiencers must hack through the thicket of judgment, fear, and ostracism. As a result, often these visitations are experienced as traumatic. Visitations as trauma experiences are experienced as external, frightening forces that penetrate the subject's reality and are beyond their control and comprehension. Unfortunately, UFO extraterrestrial and psychic experiences may activate trauma. Some experiencers, certainly not all, have abusive, violent childhoods. It requires a deeper, longer leap for these experiencers to integrate their anomalous experiences with their life trauma. Frequently during the integration phase, the subject begins to comprehend that they survived by straddling two worlds—the abusive, violent environment of this world and the safety and protection of the UFO extraterrestrial environment.
Major strides in healing are realized with technology-assisted trauma treatment, such as Brain State Technology, founded by Lee Gerdes.(9) This technology balances and optimizes the brain's functioning using computerized feedback based on data collected via the individual's brain scan. During the protocol, electrodes are placed at specific points on the skull to read the brain's energy and then using sound or tones, the brain wave is balanced and harmonized.
Robert Scaer, MD and author of The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency, proposes that traumatic events often create actual scars in the neural network. Scaer and others believe that human psychopathology and disease is rooted in trauma. During a trauma event, the brain scars in order to survive. These scars inhibit optimal behavior, yet the brain survives and life continues. Through sound technology protocols, like that of Brain States Technologies, the traumatized neural networks, lured by tones, relax and create new neural pathways around the old scarring. These new neural pathways create new balanced, optimal brain functions. As the scarring is bypassed, the trauma memory is released. As such, it falls away from the subject's perceived reality. The storybook of the subject's life closes when the scaring is detoured.(10)
It doesn't take long to surmise the cultural and medical impact of these technology-assisted brain inventions. Pharmacological and therapeutic interventions must quickly adopt on a new partner who offers rapid, long-lasting health, without chemical side effects and numerous therapy sessions. One will not replace the other, but technology-assisted brain inventions will continue to have a dramatic impact on the treatment of mental illness, trauma, and physical disease.
These emerging technologies, based on quantum theory, redefine not only the workings of the brain but also the understanding of consciousness. Jaspers and many philosophers maintain the subject-object split in consciousness: "the individual encounters Being in its reality…only as it appears and speaks to him in the subject-object division of general consciousness" (GP 759). Furthermore, Jaspers encounters the interplay of existence, consciousness, and mind as "rubbing against each other" not coinciding (GP 760). In quantum science—existence, consciousness, and mind—are perceived as deeply connected, entangled, and coinciding. In technology-assisted consciousness, the brain is believed to possess the quantum ability to not only perceive itself, but also to perceive it perceiving and thereby heal. There is no rub or conflict. Tones lull the brain back to health.
Culture of Contact
Like his psychiatric peers, Karl Jaspers identifies various mental illnesses as a by-product of the individual's inability to function in social cultures rooted in tradition. Mental health is defined within the framework of culture and community. Furthermore, he makes a connection between forms of mental illness and their cosmic context (GP 730). According to Jaspers, culturally sick people include those witnessing and experiencing psychic phenomenon such as saints, shamans, schizophrenics and, we might add, UFO extraterrestrial experiencers.
Within a Newtonian dualistic worldview, humans are relegated to a type of galactic solitary confinement, alone in the universe. Isolation and solitary confinement whether through cultural prisons, mental illness, or economic isolation breed depression, despair, anxiety, anger, aggression, and gang violence (terrorism). We here question whether the human species, living in an intelligent universe teaming with life forms, remains blind and therefore suffering behind a "wall of silence" regarding a legacy as members of a galactic culture. If so, do confining beliefs hold humans "hostage"? And, if so, can changing belief systems reconnect humans to sources of energy and information that will move the human species and their planet into a healthy, cosmic community? Imagine how quickly the psychiatric diagnosis of psychopathology transforms into a diagnosis of normalcy when technologically enhanced instruments are able to measure quantum changes and movement in the brain, human perception, and psychic ability; and when the culture of UFO extraterrestrial contact opens and addresses the years of political secrecy that surround our ancient and ongoing visitation. Technological advancements in instrumentation and measurement are advancing at an astonishing rate; and with this advancement, political intrigue and denial are rapidly disintegrating.
Mainstream media UFO coverage shifted dramatically during the October 2007 Democratic Presidential Debates in Philadelphia. Dennis Kucinich affirmed he saw a UFO and Bill Richardson stated that the government needs to "come clean" about Roswell. It was a defining disclosure event as reporters departed and combed presidential archives revealing UFO comments by former Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. Quickly, talk show host Larry King broadcast another program on UFOs while former Arizona Governor Fife Symington, a witness to the Phoenix Lights, held a press conference at the National Press Club with fifteen military and government officials from seven countries, demanding disclosure of UFO files. The United States will soon join the UK, Ireland, France, and Brazil, opening their classified UFO investigations to public investigation. Overnight, the culture of contact materialized in the mainstream and accompanying UFO extraterrestrial contact emerged as possible, probable, and even commonplace. Dennis Kucinich quipped that more Americans have seen UFOs than approve of Bush's presidency. According to a 2002 Roper Poll commissioned by the SCI FI Channel, a majority of Americans are comfortable with and excited about extraterrestrial contact and the possibility of life beyond planet Earth. They easily reconcile ET reality with their religious beliefs and want to be psychologically prepared. According to the Roper Poll,
Two-thirds of Americans say they think there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe and nearly half say they believe that UFOs have visited the earth in some form over the years (48 percent) or that aliens have monitored life on earth (45 percent). In fact, more than one in three Americans (37 percent) believe that humans have already interacted with extraterrestrial lifeforms.(11)
The adoption of a cosmic quantum worldview not only moves the UFO extraterrestrial experience into the realm of normalcy, it provides the context for furthering technology by encouraging experiments designed to surpass the speed of light, navigate worm holes to traverse space, use teleportation, zero-point energy, and research DNA properties capable of radical transmutation. As Colonel Corso stated, regarding the possibilities given to him by an alien, "humans are entering a new world—if they can take it."(12)
What consequence results if exoconsciousness is dismissed and the psychiatric profession continues to diagnose extraterrestrial contact as abnormal and pathological? What if Jaspers is right that "there are no ghosts" (GP 459)?
Continuing to hold UFO extraterrestrial experience at psychopathological arm's length avoids agendas clamoring to be addressed. Without acceptance of exoconsciousness, the human species will continue to rapidly colonize and weaponize space, carrying our destructive nature into a Star Wars scenario of interplanetary warfare. In this scenario, social and political pathologies define the future. Humans become actors in Halo3 video games, killing bad aliens, or become Will Smith characters in Independence Day, touting, "let's kick alien butt." As experiencers are affirmed, full galactic citizenship requires dropping these human pathologies at the threshold of the future. The familiar UFO dictum holds fast, "we go in peace, or we do not go." If humans are denied the right to envision themselves as extraterrestrial, capable of living and thriving beyond the bounds of earth, then realization of a futuristic space faring civilization is limited. Furthermore, this denial limits the possibilities of extraterrestrial-like DNA transformation necessary for prolonged space travel.
In a culture devoid of exoconsciousness, singularity becomes an acceptable script and the potential for human consciousness remains untapped. It is simply a matter of moments until technological advances in computers and DNA research create a race of hybrids. These hybrids are necessary for space travel, yet where does that leave humans and the gift of consciousness? Exoconsciousness emphasizes the quantum power of the human mind, far beyond the reach of human imagination.
Finally, the earth itself suffers from the ravages of a solitary confinement mentality. Deep connections—interplanetary and galactic—remain undiscovered and untapped. As well, deep connections between Gaia and the human species remain untapped. Nearly seventeen years ago, Vaclav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia, in his February 1990 address to the United States Congress, related our growing global crisis to human consciousness.(13)
Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed, be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization, will be unavoidable.(14) Along with Havel, Jaspers envisions the possibility of the innate human link to the stars and the angels: "Man is rather something unique; he partakes in the series of living things and in the series of angel, belonging to both and differing from both" (GP 766). Human exoconsciousness is our greatest natural resource. It is the potential accelerator and propellant for a peaceful, productive, healthy 21st century.