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

Within the 1940s and 50s reports of “flying saucers” became an American cultural phenomena. Sightings of strange objects into the sky became the raw materials for Hollywood to provide visions of potential threats. Posters for films, like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers from 1956 illustrate these fears. Attached 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 associated with world that is modern.

Are these alleged visitors off their worlds benevolent and peaceful or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power of this bomb that is atomic into question the progressive potential of technology. Concern with the number of choices for destruction in the Cold War-era proved fertile ground for terrestrial anxieties to manifest visions of flying saucers and visitors from other worlds who may be hidden in our midst in plain sight.

Aliens in our midst and Fears regarding 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 probability of extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of that era.

The 1962 comic you will find Martians in our midst, from Amazing Fantasy #15, illustrates the real way concern about extraterrestrials could reflect Cold War anxieties. When you look at the comic, a search party gathers around a landed craft that is alien but it will get no sign of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to stay indoors. The action shifts to a husband and wife while he prepares to leave their house despite a television announcer’s warning to remain indoors. While he waves goodbye he reminds his wife to remain inside. The wife however chooses to slip off to the store and it is attacked and dragged off. The husband returns home and finding it runs that are empty the telephone in a panic. In a twist, the anxious husband reveals that he and his wife are the Martians.

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

UFOs as Contemporary Folklore

Regardless of depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs will also be section of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part of the mythology of America. You’ll find documentation of the types of experiences in folk life collections. A job interview with Howard Miller about hunting and hound dogs, collected as part of Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia collection, documents an individual’s knowledge about 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 along with his dogs in 1966 “All at once it absolutely was daylight, and I looked up to see what happened. There was clearly a light about this big, going college essay writing help up, drifting up the hill. It just faded out when I looked and seen. I am in the Marines, and know very well what airplane lights seem like, and it also was too big for that.” When asked if he knew what it was he offered, “I don’t know what it absolutely was” but went on to describe, “If there is any such thing as a UFO that’s what that was.” This unexplained light on a walk when you look at the woods is typical of several stories of the kinds of encounters. It is not only the media that tells stories and represents these kinds of ideas, documentation of the experiences and stories Americans tell each other is similarly essential for understanding and interpreting what UFOs supposed to century that is 20th.

Scientists and astronomers express varying examples of enthusiasm when it comes to possibility for intelligent life in the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the indisputable fact that you will find aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision associated with the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the number of choices of alien visitors to Earth, and shows that there was reason that is good be skeptical of these. A lot of Sagan’s work focuses on debunking folk stories and beliefs and attempts to encourage more rigorous and thought that is skeptical. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors inside the earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle at nighttime.

This criticism that is zealous of in UFOs from Sagan, who was simply well known for his speculative ideas concerning the possibility of alien civilizations, may appear to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated on the likelihood of visits by ancient aliens in his essay through the early 60s Direct Contact among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.

Just how can we reconcile Sagan the skeptic with the imaginative Sagan? Far from a contradiction, these two components of Sagan’s perspective offer a framework for understanding him together with interchange between myth and science about life on other worlds. Skepticism and speculative imagination come together as two halves regarding the whole. It really is necessary to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while during the time that is same and evaluating the validity of the ideas.

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