The Stock Market, UFOs and Religious Experience

by rthieme on May 23, 1994

The Stock Market, UFOs and Religious Experience

reflections on a speech I have given for investment analysts,  religious seekers, and other interested parties …

As a consultant and public speaker, I address a variety of issues: leadership, the uses of power, and the transformations of organization; diversity, conflict reduction, and team-building; and ethics. But I am asked frequently for “the UFO talk.” No one has ever asked for “the stock market talk” or the “talk on religious experience.” It’s always “the UFO talk. The other day I listed the various topics I address to a new acquaintance over lunch and she spent the rest of the hour asking about UFOs. When I pointed out that she, like so many others, found the subject fascinating, she said that she didn’t know much about the stock market or religion. But she didn’t know much about UFOs either. Why are people so fascinated by UFOs? The answer to that question points toward the common denominator shared by each of these phenomena that I have linked in a seemingly improbable series. Each of these phenomena elicits power projections of the human soul; those projections provide the means for exploring what is otherwise too elusive to be scrutinized.

Projection is an unconscious and automatic process, a primitive defense mechanism which enables us to place “out there” on others the qualities we are reluctant to acknowledge as our own. Negative projections account for scapegoating, which enables us to blame and judge others for behaviors or feelings which we cannot identify as our own. Positive projections, full responsibility for which we are reluctant to accept, result in our belief that our leaders have those larger than life qualities of courage, vision, or decisiveness which are actually our qualities as well but for which we are afraid to accept responsibility. Thinking of the political leaders you love or hate, or the movie stars that attract your adoration or contempt, or the animal you think you would be if you were an animal are all ways to begin to access your projections. Those figures symbolize qualities you have. A popular gestalt technique for opening workshops used to be to ask participants to choose an object in the room, then explore how that object symbolizes themselves. That may sound extreme until you have listened to two people in the same room discuss why one picked a chair and the other a goblet.

Unconscious projection is of course the source of much of our self-righteous judgment of others. The Christian admonition not to focus on the tiny little speck in your neighbor’s eye when there is a great big 2×4 coming out of your head is encouragement to withdraw our projections of self-righteous judgment form others and see that that which we condemn most energetically is deeply true of ourselves as well. Withdrawing the projection disarms our rant and enables us to distinguish ourselves from the person or thing onto which we have been projecting.

It is deeply empowering to distinguish the deepest contents of our selves or our souls from that onto which they have been projected. To see and know the difference between what we really see and what we thought we saw is one path to integrity and personal empowerment. It might even be said that one definition of empowerment is to distinguish ourselves from what is not ourselves. This is a distinction that makes a difference.

Carl Jung observed that is impossible to measure, weigh, or confine the souls that we are, since those souls are immaterial and incorporeal. We can discern the highly active soul, however, when secrecy, fascination, and high energy are present. The intensity of those qualities is a good measure of the soul projecting its contents into the world.

An ideal projective medium in which to observe this happening is money. Money is the ultimate projective medium because in and of itself money has no value whatsoever; it is literally not even worth the paper it is printed on. When we were children, it was a kind of game of becoming conscious to try to imagine how money, which was cranked out through a printing press, had ultimate value. We would kind of grasp that its value came from everybody agreeing that it had value, then in the next minute we would lose that insight as the money seemed to have the value we projected onto it. The distinction flickered back and forth like a hologram, the dollar bill in our hand now a dollar bill worth a dollar’s worth of goods, now a piece of printed paper worth next to nothing. We could see that we agreed to make up money as a medium of value, then forget that we made it up and sustained it by mutual agreement so we could play the game of life with genuine self-forgetting.

The qualities of secrecy, fascination, and high energy are part and parcel of money and people who have money. Take secrecy. I often make the point that we guard our money-worth absolutely and without qualification by asking the members of an audience to turn to one another and disclose (1) their current net worth and (2) their net income as reported on last year’s 1040. There is a moment of hesitation as people grasp what I am asking, then laughter. There is always laughter as people confront the unthinkability of telling a perfect stranger or a good friend how much they are worth. It is easier to lead a group to disclosing their deepest sexual secrets than to tell one another how much money they have.

Take fascination. I remember walking out into the church I served as a priest in Lahaina early one morning and finding two people sitting there. One was well-dressed and well-groomed, looking very prosperous and respectable. The other had wild stringy hair going in all directions, a dirty sweatshirt, and an unmistakably unwashed odor. Without even thinking about it, I approached the well-dressed person first when a church member watching from the rear rushed up to whisper that I had better not neglect the “bag lady,” who was in fact a woman worth millions of dollars, whose family had tried without success to put limits in her ability to spend her money with abandon, and who from time to time arrive on Maui for a few days of sometimes outrageous generosity. I remember distinctly finding her immediately fascinating – what an interesting eccentric! – and the only difference was that now I knew she had a lot of money. The most boring people acquire interest and generate high energy when we find out they are “soap dish” queen or the “underwear king” worth millions of dollars.

In the many sessions of marital and pre-marital counseling that I did as a priest, it was apparent that conversations or arguments about money were never really about money at all. They were always about power, self-esteem, autonomy, the desire to dominate or avoid being dominated by another, but they were never about what they seemed to be about. Once the couple knew this, they heard their own voices echoing with a different meaning, because they were learning to listen to the subtext of their projections inherent in what they were saying. They learned that money was a projective meaning in which their true values and stance toward the world were always revealed. The best way to identify what they really valued was to read their checkbooks, because wherever their money flowed, their hearts of necessity flowed as well. Of course, I am not really talking about “them.” I am talking about you and me, especially me.

The Stock Market is About Money

Because the stock market is about money and nothing but money, it is a perfect medium onto which to project our inner lives. I love reading the comments of gurus and pundits in The Wall Street Journal or Investors’ Business Daily because the remarks so often reveal the inner state of the person doing the talking.

“The market had a little bit of a hangover,” one said. “It was a good excuse to take a breather.” (Of course the market doesn’t drink or have hangovers, much less need breathers. Sounds like the analyst did, though.)

“This is a market of over-reaction, an ultra-sensitive market. It looks like it has shingles.” (Markets don’t get shingles).

“This market has completely divorced itself from reality.” (The analyst has completely divorced himself from the reality of the market).

“The market looks tired. The data are flat, anemic. People are starting to say, ‘Why am I buying stocks?'” (This was printed the day before the market began its rally in the summer of 1993. It went straight up for the rest of the year and never looked back. So who was really tired? Who felt anemic?

“You burst up for a day, then have to go in for R&R.” (Who else but a middle-aged person feels like that?)

These quotes which could re reproduced by the hundreds reveal that managing money is not really about managing money but about managing our emotions, in particular fear, greed, and envy. It is well known that markets rise about two-thirds of the time, but go down much faster than they go up, because fear is more powerful than greed. Stock prices require buying power to rise, but they fall of their own weight. How we believe, feel, and act in relationship to money and the markets is a mirror of who we are and therefore an opportunity to see and know who we are. Why should we bother doing this? Withdrawing our projections from the markets as from everything else enables us to integrate into ourselves those things we have been unable or unwilling to experience and acknowledge as ourselves. This is the highway to personal freedom and power. When we remain unconscious in our projections and respond automatically as if they are “out there” instead of “in here,” we are at the mercy of those projections. It is as if we are the fish hooked on the line we have baited and cast into the lake. When we withdraw those projections and grasp them immediately and intuitively as aspects or dimensions of ourselves, we experience greater wholeness and peace. The reins of our lives slip more securely into our own hands. This is why all spiritual traditions include self-knowledge through self-examination and confession as one essential step. Confession is necessary because our propensity to avoid clarity about ourselves – manifest often through the defense mechanisms of rationalization, minimization, and denial – can be overcome as we explore our inner selves through disclosure, receiving the feedback that nudges us a little closer to our own center or more toward that plumb line that hangs true from the center of our own souls.

Know Yourself

It wasn’t just something we had to learn in Philosophy 101, then, that injunction to know ourselves. To know where we end and everything else begins is the origin and goal of that recursive process which enables us to know ourselves through and through with clarity and rigor. When we are no longer distorting the world through the fish-eye lens of our egotistical distortions, we can see what is and what isn’t. Although it sounds trivial, to see and know that what is, is, and what isn’t, isn’t, does anchor one of the dimensions of enlightenment. We are set free from wasting energy trying to turn what is into what isn’t and what isn’t into what is. What a relief to allow the data of the stock market and our lives speak for itself, informing our paradigm of reality rather than being forced into it, and to allow what is to be the way it is. Aligning ourselves and our energy with what is is like catching a current when diving or a thermal when hang-gliding. The effort is effortless.

I recall a man in a seminar I attended who was well-dressed, clearly pleased with his accomplishments, and eager to tell us about how he made his first million. He was working on his second million (this was when a million dollars was a lot of money) and clearly intended to work next on his third, and fourth, and so on. The seminar leader asked him how much he would need to have in order to have enough. He was stopped in his tracks. He didn’t know. He asked to think about it. He thought about it the rest of that weekend and well into the second weekend. At last he raised his hand and asked to be allowed to speak. He had realized how much he would need, he said. To have enough, he would need to have … all of it. He would need to possess everything there was.

That was a wonderful metaphor of a man in pursuit of his own soul. The soul is that which, once you possess it, you have enough. When the contents of the soul are projected outward onto money or some other idol or fetish, one engages in a lifelong pursuit of that which, however much you have, is never enough. Your life becomes one long drink from a dribble glass. You drink and drink and are never satisfied. When we are “self-possessed,” however, we are complete. We “get it together,” as my children you to say. Perhaps this is akin to that Buddhist image of a man riding a water buffalo in search of a water buffalo. That which you ride is the self that you are, in search of the self that you are. Or to put it another way, what does it really profit us to gain everything in the whole world, really to have all of it, if we lose our own souls in the process?

In short, enough is a feast, when we have experienced that contextual shift from a condition of scarcity to a condition of abundance. When we come to the world knowing there will be enough, we always have enough. When we come fro fear that there will never be enough, there never is. Parables such as the story of the loaves and the fishes point toward this essential truth.

UFOs

Another sign that a particular medium is a vehicle for eliciting powerful projections is that all of the statements made about the phenomena come out of the starting gate at the same time, that is, credence is given or presumed given by the speaker to any statement about the phenomena as if it has a priori credibility. I have noticed this phenomena at gatherings of people interested in UFO phenomena. Statements are made which to the uninitiated sound absolutely outlandish but which the speaker presumes to have am obvious claim to be taken seriously.

UFO phenomena are by definition anomalous phenomena, that is, experiences which do not readily lend themselves to integration into the “life worlds” or belief systems of persons having the experience. It is fascinating to observe the belief system negotiate with the anomalous data as it struggles to include in some category of experience that which has never before fit into any category. (HOPE)

Some of the testimonies are, on the face of them, less credible. I was once told, for example, that “walk-ins,” that is, beings form other planets who have been planted on earth for unknown but important purposes often have a noticeable gap between their front teeth. I have been told that someone curled in a fetus position drifted through the night air out of a high window in a beam of light into a waiting spacecraft. Once, when a person paused and cocked their head during a conversation and asked me to wait just a minute, then resumed conversation a moment later, and I asked a third party what all that was about, I was told that my conversational partner was receiving a telepathic message from a mother-ship in orbit around the earth and was waiting to clarify what she was asked to do before speaking further. And on and on. The point I want to make is that, in such circles and gatherings, anybody can say virtually anything and claim that it is the truth.

Now, I believe that people reporting anomalous experiences are reporting a genuine encounter with a phenomena, even if that phenomenon is “merely” a cognitive or linguistic phenomenon and not an event demonstrably external to themselves. Because such reports are sufficiently self-similar to be noticeably uniform across cultures and sub-cultures, they are worthy of attention if for no other reason than to ask, what is going on here? What is the nature of the phenomenon? How can we distinguish the signal from the static?

One of the ways to answer the last question is to listen to the data being reported with as open a mind as possible, in order to to stay with the data and allow the data ultimately to speak to us who are using a belief-system as an inevitable lens through which to see what is happening. Through any paradigm shift, once the anomalous data has been noticed and we know we can no longer fit it into the old model of reality, our best bet is to gather data and suspend both our disv\belief and our conclusions as we allow the data to speak to our need for a more inclusive map of reality. Throughout this time of transition, it is necessary to know that the phenomenon appears to elicit projections and radical distortions, often calling forth religious or quasi-religious interpretations or archetypal material from our souls, and part of our task is to distinguish as much as possible the archetypal material which forms, distorts, and interprets the phenomenon from the phenomenon itself. At the very least, we must acknowledge that this outpourings from our depths are not spontaneous but are elicited by a genuine phenomenon, even if we do not know how to describe or interpret that phenomenon.

When E. F. Hutton Listens, Everybody Talks

Cocktail party chatter about the stock market is remarkably similar to gatherings of persons interested in UFO phenomena in this way, that here too we can hear people say anything, anything at all, about the markets and claim that their opinion has a claim on our credulousness and on objective truth. Anybody can say anything at all about the markets and be treated as if they are making a point to which we might bend our ears and pick up a tip or two. It is inevitable therefore that statements about the stock market and, on a macro level, explanations or theories about the markets, can be both contradictory and mutually exclusive of one another, i.e. the essence of paradox, and yet at the same time can grant sufficient access to the realm of the phenomena itself as to be of value in trading or investing successfully. How can this be?

Paradox is the language of the unconscious. Those anomalous or complex phenomena which elicit the unconscious or archetypal contents of our souls call forth contradictory and mutually exclusive statements or descriptions of reality which cannot logically all be true but which in that symbolic calculus of th soul. which is meta-logical can nevertheless be held in complex tension. The statements or descriptions are not “true” as exhaustive and complete descriptions of the phenomenon which map the reality once and for all, so that between the map and the territory there is as good fit as we can ever have. Each one of those descriptions tells only a part of the story, because the markets in their aggregate are too complex, too full of contradictory data, to be grasped or explained in their entirety, because every level of abstractio0n as we travel up the ladder from particulars to general observations, falsifies, distorts, or omits something true and essential. But — and this is a big but – each of these descriptions may still be “good enough” to provide access to the phenomenon that is “good enough” to enable to succeed in relating to it successfully, that is, understanding enough about what to do next to wind up successful at a speculation or investment.

Here are a few quotes culled at random from the Wall Street Journal and the Investors Business Daily which tell us that anybody can say anything about the market.

“A lot of these stocks are making nice moves if you know what pockets to be in. I think we’re looking at a slight upward trend, but we won’t break out for a while.” (Translation: If we knew which stocks to buy, we could make make some money here. Some of them were certainly go up, but I don’t know when.)

“The market has been one of crosscurrents lately.” (As opposed to what?)

“We have a potentially volatile week here. If the numbers are favorable, we could have an upward burst. If the numbers are bad, we could race back down.”

“I don’t think the market is sending the right message. The question now is, will the broader market catch up or the Dow roll over?” (translation: the divergence between the broader market indexes and the Dow concerns me. Either one will go up or the other down, but I don’t know which.)

In short, anybody can say anything about the market and claim to be saying something credible because it is beyond our power to grasp something so complex in its entirety through analytical logical language or through symbolic logical language. The language of paradox, and that language alone, is up to the task of responding linguistically to the reality we try to tame and make manageable by calling it “the market.” Giving something a name may tame our anxiety in the face of what we know we cannot grasp, but it does not tame the reality itself, whether that reality is “out there” or “in here.”

The American Experiment and the New World Order

We live in the United States in a plurality of social and religious “life-worlds,” each one kept warm and dry under the overarching canopy of a belief system shared by a community of sameness, enforced by internal thought-police, and sustained by agreement. From the beginning of our country, we have tolerated diverse religious communities co-existing side by side, although each generation has had to stretch the limits of that tolerance to include more and more diversity of behavior and thinking. We know the tensions that exist between our communities built through consensus and agreement and the anxiety created by the knowledge, which it is difficult to avoid, that all around us are communities which are bonded by different agreements and have a different world-view. That tension is held in creative and reasonable check because we concede tacitly to the need for order in our world the existence of rules which transcend those by which we claim to live.

That rule is never stated as a principle yet it underlies our ability to co-exist without killing one another over our religious beliefs. If it were stated, it would be something like this: all religious communities have a right to believe whatever they want, and to behave in accordance with those beliefs, so long as they don’t get too far out of line.

We all live with this reality, which of necessity generates tension, because many of our religious belief systems continue to claim exclusivity for themselves. That is the difference between believing “Jesus is THE way, and THE truth …” and believing that Jesus is A way, and a manifestation of the truth, … etc etc”

The world is now discovering what Americans have discovered, that those who concede to other religious groups a right to exist share with those other groups an abiding belief in the principle of self-transcendence, the ability to live in a kind of meta-community with the relativization of our own beliefs is not a primary threat because we long ago conceded that we were living in a bridge time between one paradigm and another, and while we know we can no longer claim excluisivity for our point of view, so nuanced has oit become by jostling upa against myriads of persons with other points of view, neither can we say exactly what this new pointn of view really is. It is in the process of being midwifed by the singular civilization, with interlaced economies, communications, and political realities, that we have already become but which it is difficult to describe in the old paradigm, using the old language. We know too from the ferocity with which ALL religious groups speak from behind their self-chosen ghetto walls, whether those walls contain Hasidic Jews, or Mormons living in polygamy in rural Utah, or fundamentalist Christians, or “fanatic” Moslems, or whoever, is indicative of insecurity and self-doubt on the part of all those groups, not the certainly and clarity which they each claim for the own way of seeing things. This is the modern condition and we live with it, like it or not. We are all “contaminated” in a sociological sense of the word with the need to transcend ourselves, or lock ourselves in the dark cellar with our besieged brothers and sisters like the animal in Kafka’s “The Burrow.”

This condition has led us to a broad tolerance of religious beliefs which in some ways is like that which we find in the worlds of the markets and UFO phenomena. Anybody can say anything and require that he/she be respected for having a credible point of view.

On the radio the other day, for example, I heard a preacher discuss the coming end of the world. Like so much religious discourse, the biblical statements about the end of the world are taken either as a code signifying specific events or a symbol disclosing open-ended and multi-faceted truths about history and its relationship to ultimate meaning. This particular preacher obvisously expected the end of the world sooner rather than later. This did not surprise me, habituated as I am to various interpretations of the book of Revelation competing on the airwaves. What caught my attention was his statement that the world would be ending after roughly 13,000 years of existence. When he said that, I realized that he and I inhabited distinct and fundamentally different cosmos’, with different understandings of our place in it, its size, its way of being real.

Last year I read of conferences and workshops focused on the current interest in some quarters in angels. I read of the growing collections of people who came together to “access” the wisdom of the angels which have guided them since birth and will continue to guide them through their transition at death to the next world. I reflected on our need for intermediaries between us and a God apparently too huge for many of us, with the positing of discarnate entities who are benevolent, of surpassing intelligence, committed to our well-being, and who take the edge off the anxiety of living with their informed support of our lives’ endeavors.

I thought of that again when I read of a workshop using the messages of whales and dolphins for engendering trans-species and trans-dimensional communication, taking the need for a web of intelligent beings in another direction, but promising to mediate, again, a world of friendly entities with whom we are in unconscious communion.

Of course, these examples could go on and on, from my observation of the place of saints in the lives of Madrilenos when I lived in Madrid in the 1960s, to the reverence for ancestors and bonding with spirits I noted in the Hawaiian islands when I lived on Maui in the 1980s, to the cosmos inhabited by the Mormons among whom I lived in Utah for seven years, with spirit children waiting to become incarnate, a planet promised as the reward for males who earned salvation through good works, and who could populated that planet as ours was populated by a god who was exactly as we are and like whom, if we are industrious and good, we will become. In every instance, parallel universes are inhabited by people who have learned to allow one another to say absolutely anything about the cosmos and their relationship to it and to concede to each belief system a claim to truth that is out of the starting gate at the sound of the gun.

I don’t really know how to distinguish the reality experienced by people of such diverse beliefs from one another. It is easy to distinguish the beliefs from one another, but are people experiencing something fundamentally and essentially different, when they are gathered in small groups to (1) access their Native American or Buddhist ancestors, (2) commune with the saints of their Roman Catholic tradition, (3) interact with the angels which their Jewish ancestors assure them abound, (4) close their eyes and listen to the sounds of humpback whales or (5) channeling the wisdom of a discarnate entity with an interesting name that is never Bobby or Joe or Betty Lou? I don’t know. But I do know that in every case, there emerges a belief which transcends the common language of the isolated tribes, which is this, that if you ask, you do receive,m if you seek, you do find, and if you knock, doors are opened. The experience of spiritual seeks in whatever communities of faith are testimony to the transcendent reality that this is the way the universe is reported to work by diverse seekers and finders. In short, something works about each of these approaches which gives the diverse believers access to that domain of religious experience from which they derive genuine benefits. That there ways of describing that domain are contradictory and often mutually exclusive does not seem to affect the potency of their modus operandi. Our religious traditions serve as institutional frameworks which enable us to hand down the symbols of possibility and promise which all of our traditions retain. Those symbols adhere in the stories we tell within our communities of sameness and because they lead to experiences which are self-validating and have predictive value, we believe those stories are true. In fact, they are “true enough” to work, and in this, our religious experience is similar to our experience of the financial markets. The stories we tell need only be good enough maps to open the doorways to the reality to which those stories, like fingers pointing toward the moon, are directing us to take our wills and our emotions. Ultimately, those descriptions do not reveal nearly as much about God as they do about us. What we say about God is invariably going to be true, but it is more proximately true as a projection of ourselves. This neither denies nor undermines the existence of that being we call “God” – it merely asserts that we can never say, within the domain of language, anything that is going to be ultimately true about that experience. This should not make us stop speaking, only remind us that there are domains of experience which can be usefully distinguished, and those who know in one domain do not speak, while those who are speaking in another domain know that what they speak is not what they really know.

Our statements about the markets often reveal more about us than about the markets. When we withdraw those projections, then we can see more clearly what is there to be seen. Then our decisions about those markets are more likely to be congruent with the ultimately unknowable reality that they are because we have (to the degree that we are able) removed or minimized the distortion caused by our projections. We have incidentally also drawn into ourselves to be integrated those emotions or beliefs projected onto the markets, thereby ensuring our movement toward greater integrity, wholeness, and therefore peace, the peace that always comes with increasing wholeness. This is why our relationship to the markets is ultimately a spiritual reality: we are learning to manage our greed or fear or envy when we trade or invest; we are learning, that is, to manage ourselves in the face of the crosscurrents of fear and greed that distort our perception and throw us off balance. All spiritual tools are ultimately tools for restoring balance or “truing ourselves” when we have gotten off balance. That is why being off balance is no sin; the sin lies perhaps in knowing what to do to restore our balance and refusing to do it.

Whether we are dealing with the financial markets, our religious experience, or UFO phenomena, we are better off when we stay as much as possible with the data in front of our faces. The data will speak for itself over time and teach us what we need to know. We can trust the process of life, then, as a self-correcting way of tacking back and forth across the winds of ultimate truth which, while they determine the direction of our journey, are never a direction in which we can go in a straight line.

In every case. there is “something real” out there, a phenomenon that is genuinely experienced by people who respond with energy, fascination, and often secrets, a phenomenon which elicits deep and archetypal descriptions of what it was that happened but which descriptions distort the data, even though they are the only way we can at the data. Perhaps our descriptions of these diverse domains of experience are, as Marianne Moore described poetry, “imaginary gardens with real toads in them.” Our task is to go for the toad.

So What are UFOs, then? Are you saying they’re real?

My experience tells me that UFOs are many things, none of which fit easily or cleanly into current paradigms of reality. Some are common celestial or man made phenomena. Some are in all likelihood aircraft of our own making, such as the Manta or the Aurora project, which do not “officially” exist. Some are nothing but projection onto a blank screen. Some are phenomena which none of those explanations cover, which sometimes act according to laws of physics we do not understand and sometimes act as if they craft bringing visitors from other planets or dimensions.

Because UFO phenomena elicits such a powerful response, it is not surprising that stories are often deeply religious in form and content. They often reflect the “ascending/descending savior” archetype which is part of Christianity, i.e. a divine or superhuman being descends from above bearing truth which is essential to our wellbeing in a time or urgency and peril, delivers that truth to selected disciples (often the message is some form of “love one another” or “stop making atomic weapons”), then returned to the sky, (sometimes killed and transformed there by resurrection), leaving behind a ladder of teachings up which disciples climb toward the heavenly realms. True disciples know the truth because they recognize the truth when they see it. Clearly, whatever it is such people are experiencing, that archetype which informs Christianity as a foundation pattern of telling the story of the meaning of Jesus for his followers, those people have experienced something that elicited the projection of the archetypal contents of their souls.

What are some of the anomalous experiences reported to me by people who say that have encountered UFO phenomena?

+ A USAF Colonel (retired) who told me that his men in their fastest jets “chase them and can’t catch them.”

+ A reporter for a major newspaper who interviewed former astronaut Deke Slayton, who spoke at length about UFO phenomena he had experienced as a test pilot. The reporter was ordered to not write the story but has a letter from Slayton affirming the validity of what they discussed.

+ A USAF intelligence officer (retired) who told me of the fear of a friend of us, such that his hands were trembling so much that he couldn’t hold a drink, several hours after eight unidentified craft had come at him at speeds that made him think he was going to die but which parted into two groups, four going over him and four going under him, at the last minute.

+ An employee who never talks about their experience but “will never forget” seeing an unidentified craft hovering over a power station on a back road in North Carolin in the 1970s.

Reports like this can be multiplied many times over to establish a baseline of minimal credibility for the phenomena being external to the experiencer. My experience is that nothing is a substitute for having reasonable sane person after person tell you of the one experience they had which they will never forget because it was imprinted on heir psyches with which potency and emotion (like the Kennedy assassination, which we will remember with all its attendant trivial details). That experience discloses over time that there is a phenomena to which people are responding which elicits projection and the whole gamut of human emotions. It is not necessary to deal with esoteric manifestations of UFO phenomena (e.g. abduction reports) in order to find that there is data, the data is compelling, and the data does not fit into currently acceptable belief systems or models of reality.

Why do people ask, not for the “stock market talk,” but for the “UFO talk?” I believe it’s because UFOs are fascinating. There is certainly high energy in the room whenever they come up for discussion, and people believe there are secrets about them which someone has, and that someone might be you. Clearly, whatever else is happening, the contents of the soul are projected onto the UFO phenomenon. Perhaps as Jung suggested the circular luminous image of a UFO is a projection of the soul’s own wholeness, cast in a technological society’s only way of putting the object of our spiritual quest “out there” where we can see it and chase it. The frequent religious overtones of UFO experiences is consistent with this. Those overtones are also consistent, however, with a phenomenon that is not it in itself any more religious than Captain Cook was when he arrived in Hawaii in 1780 and the people of the islands learned that the Pacific islands of which they knew were not all there was to the world after all. Arthur C. Clarke observed that any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic to a civilization that cannot understand it. Magic is not all that far on the spectrum of responses from religious sentiment.

So far as secrets go, somebody is always looking for religious “secrets” that have been hidden for years, but the secrets of genuine spirituality are open secrets that anyone can learn. It is not a matter of learning something arcane but of doing what needs to be done. Similarly, in the world of the markets, there is certainly information which few rather than many people have, but as to what is needed by a reasonable person who is content to have enough, all the information needed to make prudent investment decisions in available in the public domain. And, while the evidence certainly points toward the government having much more information about UFO phenomena that has been public, there is sufficient data in the public domain for a conscientious disciplined investigator to move from ignorance into that confusion and uncertainty in the face of contradictory data which always attends a paradigm shift. Knowing that you do not know, instead of believing that you do know, is always the beginning of wisdom and growth.

The lessons from these domains of inquiry are several: Wisdom begins with knowing ourselves so we can distinguish what we think we see from what we do see. We are enjoined to have humility in the face of what we do not know because it is always so much more than we think. We must listen to the experience of others with an open mind, even when that experience sounds absurd, because there is something to learn from them, even if it is only how they feel and think. The extremes of experience and behavior have often revealed by contrast that which is the pattern of our everyday way of thinking and feeling. And above all, be open to the data given to us by the process of life itself. When the question is whether we are right or life is right, so far, life has been right. We can trust the process of life itself to bring us the data we need to make reasonable assessments of what we need and what we need to know, so long as we remain that enough is enough, more than enough, enough is a feast, and the feast is to be found in the encounter with the borderlands of our known worlds, beyond which monsters and fearsome creatures have always been rumored to dwell.

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