Feature Article

Meme Wars: We Have an Agenda

A Fortean Essay in Story Technology
Colin Bennett

Part Two

Weaponising the Big Sell: the Product is a State of Mind
Thus do stories like the Roswell “event,” the jailing of Paris Hilton, and CHAD move into the infrastructure of perception. They move like Fort's "damned" events and the fairy-children of Plato’s story-shadows: some are almost solid, others quite vaporous; yet others move in our changing perceptions as we verily perceive, indeed. Like a newspaper under heavy rain, all UFO forms are shot through with the amnesia of decay; some stories remain almost complete; others suffer different rates of deterioration, remaining as half-recalled hallucinations.

Using these ideas and principles, it is possible to construct a kind of dialectical-penetration software using CHAD-like images just as high-powered salesmen do it with hard goods, but on the imagination

The originators of both SERPO and CHAD want an audience to imagine. They want us to process these stories using an array of story-images as designer-consumables. They are playing with what what Jung called Archetypes. These are the controlling centres of all psychologies. Depending on the array and patterning of archetypes and the strength of the conditioning. it is possible to make someone fall in love with Hitler, kill their own mother, or even possibly write the plays of Shakespeare, though not necessarily in that order.

In this case however there is no physical product; the product is a state of mind.

Into the Matrix: the Need to Disbelieve
Here are two of the "alien objects" that Isaac says he worked on. (part 1)
But if we think that aliens make castings, windings, and machine-tool objects which look like Grand Prix super-carburetors, we are fools. Aliens will have long past such practical-looking mechanisms. As far as light electro-mechanical engineering is concerned, this particular "motor" and its constituent parts look very low-tech indeed. Such things were being made and sold in 1890.
On the other hand, these bits and pieces could be concept-art from a Photoshop expert. Alternatively, objects like this can be made up easily from sewing-machine parts by any SF film studio. In any case, the item seen is an image from an electro-mechanical Past. If even 20% real, it probably smells of graphite bearings and 3-in-one oil. Such technology will have long gone from extraterrestrial cultures as sail and steam have gone from our own.

If this is truly an alien object then it is part of a deception within a deception, and we must not discount the crazy possibility that it may even be an alien joke. The greatest fear of bourgeois scientists and historians is that history may be more like a Jerry Lewis film than they would ever like it to be. We discount that possibility if only because the serious-minded bourgeois intelligentsia like to people their universe with things that are complimentary images of their clever and precious selves. But we have our own trash culture, and the possibility that we may meet the alien equivalent is not an idea MUFON would relish. So, just as with the corn circles, many claim that CHAD objects were all made by human beings. That way at least we get some sleep at night. This is the Fortean view of all "explanations" - that they are camouflage, essential for that time when the roof of the firmament is lifted too quickly, we close our eyes and put our heads deep into the sand.

But try to talk about such hot-rod techgnosis to Victorian Station Masters and tool-room Commissars of Old Ufology, and their eyes go glazed. Most Old Ufology is stuck in a mechanistic age when Bob Hope was on the road to Morocco. Extraterrestrial aliens will have long left mechanism behind. They will have transformed to pure media dimensions, and any show of "mechanism" (control panels with dials and slider-potentiometers etc. seen by George Adamski and Betty and Barney Hill for example) may well be retro Matrix skunk-smoke. I described this in detail in my George Adamski biography Looking for Orthon. As described by John Keel and George Hansen, mischievous entities love these quadruple-take trickster games of which both SERPO and CHAD could be examples.

But trying to work out what SERPO and CHAD are is far less important than to investigate just what is their effect upon us.

CHAD as a Tlön object: Deception as Art Form.
CHAD is a Post-modern construct. It is a new form of Matter and idea, a liminal object rather like an Escher construct consisting of deliberate distortion of perspective as regards the way we process information, visual, intellectual, and technological. It consists.

The display of many skills involved indicates that the whole package is designer-stamped. We have a nicely balanced trail of clues, complete with still photographs, video, turned, cast, and milled parts (probably in light alloy or high-impact plastic) laid out in kit form. We have a Web site, broadcasts, and links to other Web sites which are anxious to joint the liminal game and manage the Fortean percentages of the real.

In the Post-modern game, it really does not matter that the above may be fakes, for in terms of Fortean percentages what is a fake? Is what many sceptics call a "complete imposture" ever that complete?
The CHAD alphabet alone comprising of imitation of imitations rather suggesting that a group of Post-modern professionals in high-tech arts and media have constructed a complete package to be released rather like blown seed-pods. Some might object, they might say that several CHAD-type UFOs have been seen by other people at different times and places. Of course they will be seen! This is the entire object of the exercise. We must remember that the folk who panicked during Orson Wells' famous broadcast swore that they saw and heard the Martians! This was/is not so much a demonstration of fact versus fiction so much as demonstration of the interpenetration of minds and worlds. The "Martians" represented a temporary world, a bubble full of low percentages that prevailed for a time but whose tracks were detected rather like a fast particle whose half-life is (a percentage if ever there was!) hardly measurable.

The Metaphysics of Imposture
Let us consider the following argument concerning the action and effect of imposture in a particular context.
X (a physically strong man with a good constitution) is in a room with Y, who is a bit of a joker. Y goes out of the room, and in jest, screams back along the corridor that the entire building is on fire and they are both trapped. The result is that X, frightened to death, has an immediate heart attack and dies. We start with an image and we end with a death. Somewhere along the line of information-exchange the image has become corpuscular, and the "real" world has been changed by an act of imagination.

Therefore when we say CHAD (which is as yet a mere image) is an imposture, that may be true, but deny it as we may, we cannot help our imagination being wonderfully stimulated by such a complex multi-media operation. Another analogy. Water engineers use a harmless dye to trace leaks. This is another way of looking at CHAD. Someone somewhere is taking note of every single reaction to the CHAD Phenomenon, including this one from yours truly. SERPO was a crude prototype. It didn't work because as a metaphysical engine, its absurd scope was unacceptable. The gang got the scaling wrong. But as a lesson learned. the CHAD operation is light years ahead in complexity and power. It is subtle, structured, and represents the boundaries of the just-possible. Almost all Ufological discussions lack humour, and to try and put a smile on the face of the severely depressed old-fashioned “scientific” puritans of Old Ufology, I would like to add that CHAD represents a techno-eroticism equivalent to the old Startrek movies. Yes, they are using this element as well as the magical appeal of the boxed game and the CD. The creators know exactly what they are doing.

Whether we like it or not, CHAD is part of the new Matrix High Frontier. It is but a small part of a struggle for political control of a sector of highly specialised sector of mental Prime Time and you don't even need a set! Strange, but Hollywood has not got onto the concept of meme-wars yet. I suspect it will in the very near future.
Meantime there are a group of physicists headed by Jack Sarfatti and Hal Puthoff, who are working on the physics of possible UFO propulsion such as Warp Drive and Zero Point Energy, but such people do not appear at MUFON conferences. Neither are Post-modernism, techgnosis, Information Theory, Web Theory or memology discussed. The result is that MUFON “science” is something that Wells or Verne would have recognized.

Ufology is in desperate need of updated reconstruction. One thing is certain. The CHAD phenomenon cannot be dealt with by the boiler-house science of the Victorian Station Masters who dominate Old Ufology. CHAD, being a UFO, represents the debut of a New Model Ufology. Yes, CHAD is a synthetic UFO, but "real" UFOs might be equally synthetic from quite a different point of view. If we are ever to begin to understand both artificial intelligence and possible alien psychology we had better start thinking right of that very box and not keep on piling up case-histories like some gone-mad grocer out of a Norman Rockwell painting of Old American grocery store.

Inside the CHAD Engine: Tlön Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
The CHAD phenomenon cannot be dealt with by the methods of Old Ufology. We need a New Ufology for a New Age. Using the ideas presented here in association with Borges' story Tlön Uqbar, Orbis Tertius it is possible to lay down the foundation of a New Model Ufology before Ufology itself descends to the blushing enthusiasms of Coney Island Roswell.

In this story, Borges as Narrator and bibliophile discovers some very odd volumes that cannot be anything but brilliant forgeries.

Borges finds that the partial and fragmentary texts he has found are the work of a secret cabal of scholars whose forgeries have been carefully built over hundreds of years by generations of dedicated and specially chosen disciples. These scholars have left fragmentary footprints of their terrifyingly detailed labours in sole support of the idea that only the utterly astounding is in any sense “real.” This is the complete reversal of the present modern sceptical position: that everything “real” must be of a mundane nature. This singular binding idea of Tlön culture supports both morals and mathematics, and the view that metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature. This leads to a hair-¬raising view of the theory of Tlön literature:
“In literary practices the concept of plagiarism does not exist: all works are the creation of one author, who is atemporal and anonymous. The critics often invent authors: they select two dissimilar works - the Tao Te Ching and 1001 Nights, say - attribute them to the same writer and then determine most scrupulously the psychology of this interesting homme de lettres...”
But to what point, other than demonstrating an entertaining (but a little precious) cleverness as regards the theory of Literature and the creative Imagination?

But let Borges continue his tale.

He tells of the purchase by a certain Princess Faucigny of a strange compass whose needle “longs for magnetic north” but will not point in such a direction. Around the concave (!) metal case is inscribed the alphabet of Tlön. Some months later, he comes across a small metal cone dropped by a dying drunk outside a primitive lodging. This cone is impossibly heavy, and such cones in the “fictional” country of Tlön are “images of the divinity in certain regions of Tlön.”

Both the extraordinary compass and the super-dense cone are breakthroughs in part of the world of Tlön, appearing in our own world just as certainly as a foot is put through a faulty floor. But like Bigfoot and apocryphal UFO “physical evidence,” these are objects that do not behave completely consistently in our world, their geometry being, like the diagrams below, a liminal or Escher configuration rather like Bigfoot or the UFO. The liminal event is a snowflake event, a “fast transient” rather like the “partial reality” of the drawings of Escher:

Borges finds himself in the middle of an interpenetration of worlds, the kind of thing that we are now gingerly approaching “legitimately” by tentatively constructing or rehearsing (for all “experiments” scientific or otherwise, are essentially rehearsals) such ideas as “quantum entanglement.”
Of course once the hair-line cracks appear in our primary world, greater penetration follows. Borges continues his story by saying that “Around 1944” a researcher for the newspaper The American eventually brought to light in a Memphis library the forty volumes of the First Encyclopedia of Tlön. In these volumes, the fantastic aspects of the previous descriptions of Tlön culture have been toned down somewhat. “It is reasonable to imagine,” says Borges “that these omissions follow the plan of exhibiting a world which is not too incompatible” with that world we ourselves experience as “real.” Suitably modified and re-designed, effective seeding of the interpenetrating world of Tlön does indeed take place:

“...the international press infinitely proclaimed the ‘find.’ Manuals, anthologies, summaries, literal versions, authorized revised-editions and pirated editions flooded and still flood the earth.”

Here then, is the direct analogy with the MJ-12 papers, and CHAD manuals:

“Almost immediately reality yielded on more than one account: The truth is that it longed to yield.”

And here is Borges’ version of the rituals of that god-game called “presentation of the evidence.”

Borges concludes by giving us nothing less than the theory of conspiracy theory brought to its ultimate conclusion and summed to infinity. Already he says, the history of Tlön has wiped out the history of his childhood: Perhaps, for the gradual invasion of Tlön we may read Ufology’s progress through Adamski via von Daniken to Area 51 intrigues. This voyage-in-progress comes complete with the equivalent to elliptical compasses, super-heavy cones, hieroglyphics on Roswell debris, alphabets on CHAD structures, and very strange crash-retrieval manuals arriving as if from nowhere:

“. . . a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty - not even that it is false.”

This is an anticipation of both the formation of MJ-12 and Eisenhower's early warning (in his retirement speech) about the power of scientific elites, and it was published at exactly the same time as such elites were being formed. The structure of such elites (such as present Neocon groups) was indeed a kind of mimicking simulcra of what Borges prophesied:

“a scattered dynasty of solitary men has changed the face of the world. Their task continues.”

Against this, to have a Ufology based on the assumption that a clue to extraterrestrial contact might be found in dusty document boxes of long ago is ridiculous. It has reduced Old Ufology to a mundane clerking exercise.

Product Mystique: the Alien Arrives on the Production Line
Already the “alien” is “breaking through” or “being constructed” in the manner of an object from Tlön. Perhaps gung-ho “alien base” believers are not right or wrong, but have seen too far too soon. The alien as Tlön artifact can only intrude first in a version that is psychologically scaled down, such as the heavy cone or CHAD parts, none of which is of any use to anyone. Even the most conservative of scientists admit that yes the alien is there, but is impossible to get at - they exist millions of totally inaccessible light years away. Then, as cultural time passes, the alien life form gets nearer: the alien is now small, a bio-particle in the frozen waters of Mars, perhaps. As the metaphors expand further (and metaphors are the purest form of show business) the USA (officially) prepares legal grounds concerning alien rights (and we are not talking about the Mexican border here). At the same time as we do this, Australian scientists--prepare to demolish the space and time separating aliens and humans by (at first) teleporting a laser beam.

Thus the very gradual approach to the acceptance of the alien idea: we partially “accept” covertly and otherwise rehearse a series of scaled-down models in the manner of the “teleportations” (Charles Fort’s word) of Tlön, of which the UFO could just be an example. Each scaling stage represents a careful management of wonders and involves inducing that intellectual eroticism absolutely essential to all significant discovery and experience. Thus the proper answer to Fermi’s question “where are they?” is that "they" are in the wings. They are being costumed for that wonderful cultural pantomime (the final stage of the psycho-social equation ignored completely by its protagonists) called Factual Solidity, which is the greatest star prime-time performer of all. This is the final stage of a program before the “system” is forced to change its paradigm from billiard-ball atoms through molecules and quarks to the “arrival” of the alien form itself, the perfection of Alchemical consumerism.

July, 2007 for UFO Magazine
Colin Bennett
Author, London,
The New Fortean Times

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