Re: virus: Rationality in the Cave

Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:30:12 -0800

David McFadzean wrote:

> OK, let me ask another question that should shed some light on what
> I'm thinking. There have been tens of thousands of UFO sightings. How
> many do you think were observations of real extraterrestrial spacecraft?

If by extraterrestial spacecraft you mean a vehicle built by intelligent beings who share no history or kinship with humans in another solar system which those aliens then piloted from their star system to ours in a way that makes sense to us (i.e. the ET (movie) scenario) then I think the chances are pretty slim. If it were a "guess how many jelly beans are in the jar and win a prize" kind of contest, then my guess would be zero.

> UFO enthusiasts often make the claim that since all haven't been
> explained then at least *some* of them must be real, therefore we
> are being visited by ETs. Do you agree with this line of reasoning?


> OK, so it is possible that "outside the cave" is "all in the mind"?

If by "all in the mind" you mean to say that the experience is something that is known, familiar, mundane and devoid of serious implication, then no, I couldn't sign on, even tentatively, to the idea that experiences of being "outside the cave" are "all in the mind."

> Wilbur's analogy is superficially persuasive. Maybe meditation is
> an instrument that reveals heretofore unseen worlds. Maybe drugs
> are too. No doubt mentally ill people experience a world
> significantly unlike our own. Maybe my analogies are unfair, but
> I'm really interested in finding out if there is any way to tell
> the difference between these kinds of realities and hallucinations.

I share your interest. I'm also interested in what we might be able to learn from hallucinations.