Page Four

"Don't Need a Weather Man to Know Which Way the Wind Blows"

A Series of Innocuous Blogs for Vainglorious Edification.

A Matter of Moral Authority
February 26, 2007

Late night radio has for many years brought a delightful mix of fact, fiction and soporific entertainment.  We have long been indebted to Art Bell and his Coast to Coast overnight show.  While Bell now hosts the program only on weekends, he still brings his unmatched curiosity, style and charm to the show.  He is, to say the least an intrepid soul who has been called to task for his unflinching investigations of politics, government and the edgy world of metaphysics.  Literally millions are grateful for his work, and we count ourselves among them.

Art’s guests often explore the shadowy spheres of alien intelligence, UFOs, ESP and all manner of metaphysical phenomenon.  His recent guest, a man named David Sparks claims to be the survivor of near life long “close encounters” with alien beings.  His story, like that of so many “abductees” is filled with gaping holes as to the probability of his claims.  But Art likes his testimony more than others because he speaks so unaffectedly about his often traumatic experiences.  Not to say that if any of his claims were true, he would be a more deeply troubled a person - rather that Sparks appears to have made a kind of peace with his metaphysical experiences, regardless of their physical veracity. 

What we find interesting in Sparks’ and similar stories is the purported purpose of such “close encounters.”  According to Bell who has interviewed hundreds of “abductees,”  Sparks’ descriptions of alien intentions, appearances and processes match those of many others.  Sparks claims that his abductions have been to bring him to a cosmic place (factual dimensionality of which matters not) where he was “educated” about the ways human beings are destroying themselves and the planet they live on.  This claim, while straight out of the benevolent ET playbook, is on the face of it laudable.  What better way to awaken an entirely delusional civilization than by enlightening a few key messengers?  For ages those of us following faith traditions have believed that guardian angels, gurus, adepts, Saints, etc., fulfill a similar purpose.  But here is where the greater questions arise.  If as so many  of these “abductees” claim, they have been taken - against their will and without consent of any kind - does not benevolent intent fall sloppy dead?

The fascination of this discussion is to understand how a highly evolved race of beings could harbor benevolent intentions yet use violent method to enact them.  If a man kidnaps a child and forces it into a special school of higher learning - can he expect the child to excel?   If the school’s criterion is to instruct in the ways of prudence, equality, compassion and justice, can it do so without asphyxiating on its own hypocrisy?   The issue of great worth is to consider under what moral authority does the taking of another ever occur?   It is a theme we have explored before and shall over and again until there is satisfactory illumination of its implications.   To our mind it is beyond any stretch of imagination to justify abducting, kidnapping, enslaving any person for a supposed “benevolent” purpose.  The moment a sentient being is taken, unwillingly, out of their natural environment, they have been assaulted.  It is an assault morally no different than a man with a baseball bat behind the local tavern.  It is similar to humans capturing a whale and installing it in a thirty meter tank in San Diego’s Sea World.  Did not the whale live in a pod?  Did it not have a family, perhaps friends and acquaintances, perhaps loved ones?  Under what moral authority does any being abduct another and claim benevolent purpose?  We think there is none in heaven or earth and that to do so is to deny divine providence.

Let’s assume for the moment that higher powers and purpose so far elude the limited faculties of human beings that they could never fathom the “moral authority” of an evolved intelligence.  The whale who is going extinct doesn’t comprehend its abduction as an unfortunate but necessary act to save its species.  Now then, let’s apply this scenario to a man and his dog.  He loves his dog.  He will do nearly anything to see that his dog is protected, healthy, happy.  His dog takes ill one day and being concerned, his owner bundles him off to the veterinarian.  He has not asked permission of the dog to carry him to a car and drive him to an uncomfortable encounter with the vet.  He does not seek his dog’s consent before helping it.  His, and our assumption is the dog is not a sentient being and therefore would never understand the logic or need behind the action.  The dog is terrified, depressed by his apparent failure to please his master.  He knows only that he feels bad, his master is taking him somewhere that smells foul and a foreign man is going to painfully poke and prick at him under the glare of antiseptic light.  It is a comprehensible scenario.  But what happens when we suddenly discover that the dog is somehow sentient?  The dog can understand us.  Now what? 

Do we now have a moral obligation to explain to our dog each and every step of what we are doing?  Knowing as we do that we are dealing not with a dismissively lower being but a lower being with some higher attributes - should we not exercise the gift of intelligence mysteriously given our dog and engage it in our process?   Would not this represent a breakthrough of significant proportion in inter-species communications?  Isn’t the action that we must take upon learning of even primitive sentience the very action we wish to teach in our school of enlightenment?  Compassion, justice, equality?  Are these the things we truly stand for and represent in the universe?  Or do we take the selfish, ego-threatened detour and secrete our sentient canine in a maximum security laboratory?  Do we hide it from even the scholars and scientists and humanitarians of the world so as to leverage our own powers? 

It is said by the faithful that God has a special place in his heart for children, drunks and the poor.  It is an eternal mystery of the divine that He instills His greatest gifts in these, apparent misfits of human endeavor.  Yet somehow, over and again we see extraordinary gifts given to utterly ordinary men and women.  Even to irascible men; men who should be of no consequence outside their freakish ability.  Yet in this mystery lies the very thing that we must invoke in order to commune with the wisdom from which gifts come.  It is to find in our hearts, minds and behavior the moral authority to take any action.  Lacking that, we must rethink who we are and why we are doing that which removes from us the very things we wish to give to others.