Collection Finding Our Place into the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond

Collection Finding Our Place into the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond

When you look at the 1940s and 50s reports of “flying saucers” became an american phenomena that are cultural. Sightings of strange objects in the sky became the materials that are raw Hollywood to present visions of potential threats. Posters for films, like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers from 1956 illustrate these fears. Linked to ongoing ideas about life in the Moon, the canals on Mars, and ideas about Martian Civilizations, flying saucers have come to represent the hopes and fears regarding the world that is modern.

Are these alleged visitors from other worlds benevolent and peaceful or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power regarding the Atomic bomb called into question the progressive potential of technology. Concern about the options for destruction within the Cold War-era proved fertile ground for terrestrial anxieties to manifest visions of flying saucers and visitors off their worlds who could be hidden among us in plain sight.

Aliens in our midst and Fears for the Other

If UFOs were visiting our society, where were these extraterrestrials? Could they be hidden in our midst? Comic books and television illustrates how the chance of extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of that era.

The 1962 comic There are Martians in our midst, from Amazing Fantasy #15, illustrates the real way concern about extraterrestrials could reflect Cold War anxieties. Into the comic, a search party gathers around a landed craft that is alien nonetheless it can find no indication of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to stay indoors. The action shifts to a husband and wife as he prepares to leave their home despite a television announcer’s warning to keep indoors. He reminds his wife to stay inside as he waves goodbye. The wife however decides to slip out to the store and it is attacked and dragged off. The husband returns home and finding it empty runs towards the phone in a panic. The anxious husband reveals that he and essay writers his wife are the Martians in a twist.

Driving a car that there could be alien enemies in fears of soviets to our midst resonates and communists through the McCarthy era. Ultimately, in this story, the humans are those who accost and capture the alien woman. The shift in perspective puts the humans when you look at the position associated with the monsters.

UFOs as Contemporary Folklore

In addition to depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be element of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part of this mythology of America. You can find documentation of the forms of experiences in folk life collections. An interview with Howard Miller about hunting and hound dogs, collected as an element of Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia collection, documents an individual’s experience with a UFO that is potential sighting.

In A mysterious light, a segment of an ethnographic interview, Miller describes a strange light he saw once while hunting together with dogs in 1966 “All at I looked up to see what happened once it was daylight, and. There was clearly a light about that big, going up, drifting within the hill. It just faded out when I looked and seen. I am in the Marines, and know what airplane lights look like, plus it was too large for that.” When asked it was he offered, “I’m not sure what it had been” but went on to explain, “If there is any such thing as a UFO that’s what that has been. if he knew what” This unexplained light on a walk when you look at the woods is typical of many stories among these forms of encounters. It is not only the media that tells stories and represents these kinds of ideas, documentation of this experiences and stories Americans tell one another is similarly essential for understanding and interpreting what UFOs meant to century that is 20th.

Scientists and astronomers express varying examples of enthusiasm when it comes to chance of intelligent life within the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the proven fact that there are aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision associated with Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the options of alien people to Earth, and suggests that there is reason that is good be skeptical of them. Most of Sagan’s work focuses on debunking folk stories and beliefs and tries to encourage more rigorous and thought that is skeptical. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors in his earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle at night.

This criticism that is zealous of in UFOs from Sagan, who had been well recognized for his speculative ideas about the likelihood of alien civilizations, might seem to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated from the likelihood of visits by ancient aliens inside the essay through the early 60s Direct Contact among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.

How do we reconcile Sagan the skeptic utilizing the imaginative Sagan? Not even close to a contradiction, both of these areas of Sagan’s perspective offer a framework for understanding him together with interchange between science and myth about life on other worlds. Skepticism and speculative imagination come together as two halves of the whole. It’s essential to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while in the same time testing and evaluating the validity of those ideas.