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


Collection Finding Our Place in 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 in 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. Connected to ongoing ideas about life on the Moon, the canals on Mars, and ideas about Martian Civilizations, flying saucers have started to represent the hopes and fears for 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 of the bomb that is atomic into question the progressive potential of technology. Concern with the options for destruction within the Cold War-era proved ground that is fertile 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 for the Other

If UFOs were visiting our society, where were these extraterrestrials? Could they be hidden among us? Comic books and television illustrates the way the possibility of best college writing services extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of this era.

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

Driving a car that there can 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 woman that is alien. The shift in perspective puts the humans in the position regarding the monsters.

UFOs as Contemporary Folklore

Apart from depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be section of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part associated with mythology of America. You can find documentation of these forms of experiences in folk life collections. An 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 a person’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 together with his dogs in 1966 «All at once it had been daylight, and I looked up to see just what happened. There clearly was a light about this big, going up, drifting within the hill. It just faded out when I looked and seen. I’ve been in the Marines, and understand what airplane lights appear to be, plus it was too large for that.» When asked it was he offered, «I’m not sure what it was» but went on to spell out, «If there is such a thing as a UFO that is what that was. if he knew what» This light that is unexplained a walk in the woods is typical of numerous stories of those 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 important for understanding and interpreting what UFOs supposed to 20th century America.

Scientists and astronomers express varying quantities of enthusiasm when it comes to possibility of intelligent life within the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the basic idea that you will find aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision associated with the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the options of alien visitors to Earth, and shows that there is certainly 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 skeptical thought. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors in the earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle at nighttime.

This zealous criticism of belief in UFOs from Sagan, who had been well known for his speculative ideas concerning the possibility of alien civilizations, might seem to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated on the probabilities of visits by ancient aliens in the essay from the early 60s Direct Contact among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.

How do we reconcile Sagan the skeptic with the imaginative Sagan? Definately not a contradiction, these two components of Sagan’s perspective offer a framework for understanding him while the interchange between myth and science about life on other worlds. Skepticism and speculative imagination come together as two halves associated with whole. It really is important to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while during the same time testing and evaluating the validity of those ideas.