Chance Harmonies

I wear it as a badge of honour that the perspective I take here at Skunkworks is unique.

I am aware, nevertheless, of at least some whose interests are close. There’s the second, more theoretical, part of M. J. BaniasThe UFO People: a curious culture (glowingly reviewed by no less than Thomas E. Bullard, here). Gittlitz is, to my knowledge, the only person to reflect on the pertinence of Marxism to ufology (he is presently promoting his new book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism). Recently, too, I became aware of Luis Cayetano, whose website “Ufology” is corrupt” is concerned more with the social, political, and psychological aspects of ufology than with UFOs themselves, a description that could be applied to what goes on here; however, Cayetano’s stance is much more vehemently skeptical and dismissive (along the lines of what one reads at author Jason Colavito’s blog).

Occasionally, however, I chance across the likeminded. Among these, I was happy to encounter Doug Johnson, who recently published the article “Decolonizing the Search for Extraterrestrials” in Undark. Here, in much the same way that I criticize certain unconscious colonialist strains in ufological discourse, Johnson shines a light on the same orientation in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Johnson’s article is thorough, unmasking the colonialist language of space exploration, the indifference of SETI researchers to Indigenous perspectives, conflicts between SETI research and Indigenous peoples (e.g., the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii), and the speciesism and Eurocentrism that underwrite speculations about “intelligence” and “civilization”, longstanding themes here at the Skunkworks.

You can read the article—which I urge you to do—either by clicking on its title, above, or at the link just under the picture, below.

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