Saturday, August 28, 2010

Truth and Accuracy 101, Part Three of Three

Increasing our knowledge about some of the more common explanations for reports of alleged alien abduction will assist us in identifying truth and accuracy. Obtaining a working knowledge of the following circumstances serves many productive purposes.

Physiological Circumstances

Some reports of alien abduction are attributable to physiological circumstances such as sleep paralysis and sleep apnea. Sleep paralysis is a natural and normal condition which occurs every time we sleep. It is upon waking while the body remains in paralysis-mode which has become the widely misunderstood topic of discussion within UFO circles. Symptoms include fear, disorientation, and hallucinations. This commonly includes perceptions of lights, intuitions that someone or something is present that should not be, perceptions of floating, and even perceptions of entities or similar such ominous figures.

Sleep apnea is a very common yet serious condition experienced by millions of people. Breathing is obstructed while sleeping, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain among other occurrences. The loss of oxygen may result in numerous adverse circumstances including hallucinations and a drastic decline in the ability to think clearly. It is therefore common that a person cannot accurately distinguish between circumstances such as what they are thinking, what they were dreaming, and objective reality.

Additional physiological circumstances which if untreated can result in situations that are no doubt being confused with alleged alien abductions include, but are by no means limited to, diabetes and epilepsy. Testimonies of seizures and disorientation associated with certain diseases are extremely similar to testimonies provided by alleged abductees. These testimonies may include the person experiencing memory loss, finding them self inexplicably in a certain location, and discovering bruises and similar body markings which they cannot explain yet in reality result from their seizures. If such a person happens to be interested in UFO lore to an inordinate extent, they may associate their experiences with alleged aliens rather than seek proper medical treatment. This will particularly be the case if members of the UFO community discourage medical treatment while reinforcing and supporting the belief that the individual is an alien abductee.

It should be noted that the above physiological circumstances by no means account for all reports, yet most certainly account for some. Certain credentialed researchers have attempted to make all reports fit into such explanations, understandably resulting in a backlash of criticism from the UFO community. While such research indeed indicates a lack of knowledge of some of the more interesting reports on behalf of the researchers, I invite consideration that the opposite extreme is no more valid. Certain explanations indeed apply to some reports, and certain explanations do not apply to some other reports.

Psychological Circumstances

Some reports of alien abduction are attributable to behavior and perceptions related to emotional trauma, various personality disorders, schizophrenia, and a host of additional psychiatric conditions, particularly if the conditions go untreated. As is the case with physiological circumstances, it is all the more likely that the suffering individual will continue to not seek treatment while trying to compile evidence of their supposed interactions with aliens if members of the UFO community provide positive reinforcement for the behavior.

A staple of schizophrenia, for instance, is an inaccurate belief that a malicious and covert conspiracy is being perpetrated that involves an implant. This commonly includes paranoia, an inaccurate belief in the existence of stalkers, inaccurate perceptions of telepathic messages, and that implants have been used to control thoughts and actions.

Similarly, mental health professionals are extremely well acquainted with numerous very common psychiatric occurrences that include inaccurate perceptions of a hidden group of stalkers that have some kind of perceived authority. This is a very common theme. Such occurrences are common to an extent that the suffering individuals are often able to reasonably function within society and with their conditions going relatively unnoticed for all practical purposes. However, the possible lack of an obvious psychiatric condition is by no means necessarily indicative of the extent that the individual silently suffers.

More About Extreme Emotional Trauma

It is difficult to overemphasize the relevance of extreme emotional trauma to the abduction phenomenon. Trauma is simply inherent among self-described abductees. This is particularly relevant in light of the established facts about the manners in which our current and future perceptions will be influenced by our previous experiences, particularly traumatic experiences.

Symptoms commonly include a lack of an ability to think critically, a tendency to over personalize various situations that are impersonal, and a tendency to suspect connections between various events of which there are in fact no conclusive connections. Additional symptoms include a lack of ability to recall events clearly, a lack of ability to recall events in an accurate chronological order, and a perceived loss of memories, both short term and long term. The significance of such symptoms should be readily apparent to those that are familiar with the abductee demographic.

This is by no means to imply that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater. However, a reasonably working knowledge of emotional trauma will enable the objective seeker of truth to surmise certain circumstances that are indeed relevant.

Among such relevant circumstances is that while any given self-described lifelong abductee may have indeed experienced one or more situations of interest, it is extremely probable that they have misinterpreted at least some of the circumstances and subsequent details. All of their experiences are not necessarily due to the same explanation. As a matter of fact, it is virtually impossible due to the nebulous and traumatic nature of the experiences. Multiple explanations as described above will simply logically apply, and the more familiar we become with such information then the more likely it is that we will recognize its relevance when applicable.

As members of the UFO community, each and every one of us have a personal responsibility to support truthful and accurate information, as well as a personal responsibility to minimize the demand for the supply of inaccurate information. Making a proactive decision to interact with qualified professionals, demonstrating a willingness to rationally consider viable information, and making a conscious decision to be part of the solution will only aid the objective truth seeker.