"Truth comes in three phases.   First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, and then it is self-evident."

The Leadership Crisis in UFOlogy

Dr. Jospeh Burkes

There are few leaders in the UFO/truth Movement, mostly celebrities.

In the paper "Role of a Power Structure Analysis in Ufology" I put forward the proposition that the ET presence threatens all terrestrial power, military, economic and religious.  If true then the de-facto secrecy campaign and the ridicule of UFO witnesses is the logical results of elite forces acting to maintain the status quo.  I proposed the creation of a mass movement to work for disclosure.  A campaign that hopefully will represent the interests of the majority of people on this planet, rather than those of elite groups primarily focused on defending hegemony by denying what appears to be an extra-terrestrial presence. The risks of creating such movements are numerous.  Perhaps the most daunting is its susceptibility to co-optation by corrupt leaders - those who would eagerly use "the power of the people" for selfish purposes.

This certainly has been the familiar pattern of the radical left and right movements of the 20th Century.  Whether fascist or communist, the sad legacy of charismatic leaders has been monstrous wars and savage political purges resulting in the death of millions of innocents.

In order to minimize the damage done by corrupt leaders, such a proposed campaign will need to incorporate strong spiritual values into its program.  This became even clearer to me after the draft of the "power structure analysis" was first circulated on the Internet in the fall of 1998.  I soon received a number of responses that emphasized the spiritual issues posed by allegations of ET spacecraft visiting Earth.  One letter in particular asked the question is our involvement with this issue "to serve others", or is it "to have others serve us."

As applied to the leadership crisis in UFOlogy the absence of an ethic "to serve others" leads to a host of problems.  A number of observers have complained about the backstabbing and egoism exhibited by prominent investigators.  To a certain extent such attitudes are driven by the market forces in the cottage industry environment created by UFOlogy.  Here the ethic of "have others serve us" is manifest.

Those UFO experts who are compelled to work "the meat and potatoes" circuit of expos and book signing sessions, are all struggling within a rather small marketplace.  In a field rife with uncertainty, they, the "experts" must appear to the "ones who really know." Otherwise why would anyone bother to listen to them and buy their wares?  Since an essential part of sales must be appearing to "stand on the cutting edge," UFO leaders must constantly come up with new and exciting information about, and solutions to, this mystery.  The need to appear better than one’s fellows, and to attack the competition, feeds the tendency towards shameless personal attacks.

There are however more profound sources for the egoism which cuts a destructive path across UFOlogy.  In my opinion more potent than economic competition are the psychosocial factors.  Let’s face it, UFOlogy has been relegated to the fringe by the powers that be.  For any self-respecting professional to profess an interest in a subject so marginal is to risk loss of social standing. Very powerful emotions experienced during normal child development may come into play here.  Our susceptibility to shame starts in childhood.  During early emotional development, frustration about one’s relatively helpless condition coexists side by side with the growing need to be accepted by other children.  Being "small" and not being able to do what the "big kids" do is a constant theme throughout childhood.  Teasing and being excluded by older children is a harsh lesion we all must experience.

I believe that every individual must carry these concerns over into adulthood.  The social sentiments of the mainstream culture are such, that to simply profess an interest in UFOs, often triggers smirking from friends and co-workers.  Much is at stake psychologically. To become a leader in UFOlogy ups the ante considerably and there is a very high probability of social ridicule.

In order to stand against the currents of the dominant culture that dismisses UFOlogy as terminally kooky, an individual must surely have a strong sense of self.  I believe it requires a determined and hopefully healthy ego, to openly defy conventional wisdom.  This force of conviction flowing from ego, in its most extreme form, can become transformed into a sense of self-righteousness.  This tendency to become self-righteous, unfortunately in many UFOlogists, results in self-aggrandizement and egoism.

Economic sacrifice and even hardship are often the rewards of trying to "make it" as a professional UFOlogist.  The difficult economic conditions make for frustration, anger, and perhaps even bitterness in some individuals.  If a UFOlogist can’t receive payment in real money, then perhaps a salary in "ego dollars" might suffice.  Real dollars are, of course, the preferred compensation.  In the UFO field unfortunately there are few enough to go around.  Thus many researchers, I suspect, demand ego gratification as a substitute for financial reward.  The personal attacks rampant in the field, are in my opinion the products of those who seek ego gratification at expense of others.   In-fighting and the mud slinging which abound in UFOlogy, should therefore be viewed as the logical outcome of a group of researchers who have been marginalized by a larger society.  They sadly vent their frustrations on one another.

This analysis is rather preliminary, but I hope it provides a framework for a more detailed investigation of the psychosocial causes of the leadership crisis in UFOlogy.  My concerns are more than theoretical. It is my sincere hope that we can create a mass movement to work towards disclosure of the ET presence.  To do so will require a great number of enlightened leaders.   Individuals who are able to work together cooperatively and hopefully minimize the destructive effects of egoism.  Here again there is much room for exploring the spiritual/ ethical dimension. I ask again whether we struggle to serve others, or do we attempt to compel others to serve us?  It is my hope that this future crusade will be based on the high principle of altruism combined with honesty and humility. A tall order no doubt!  Only time will tell whether UFOlogy is up to the challenge.

"Truth comes in three phases.  First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, and then it is self-evident."

Back to Article Index
Back to the Paradigm Clock

Copyright 1999 Joseph Burkes. MD.  All Rights Reserved.


"Let’s face it, UFOlogy has been relegated to the fringe by the powers that be."

"It is my sincere hope that we can create a mass movement to work towards disclosure of the ET presence."