Monday, January 8, 2018

Contact in the Desert, a Cultural Ethnography - Pt 3

In the pre-installment of this series: Contact Aftermath …we drew a quick sketch of our experience of Contact in the Desert 2017. During that event, the ever-enigmatic Agent 87 and I shared many meaningful coincidences… occult encounters… esoteric conversations. We were able to meet some of our favorite luminaries and make new friends, amidst the desert sands and cosmic debris.

In the first proper installment of this series: Contact in the Desert 2017 – A Cultural Ethnography, we “fleshed out” the set and setting of CITD, being held on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Forest. Considering JTNF and having spent much of my adult life in the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, calling this desert terrain a “forest” …is a bit of a stretch. Having also however, spent a good deal of time in the deserts of the “Great Basin” territory of eastern Oregon, I was somewhat prepared for the arid environment of the Contact venue.

As reported in part 1... 87 & I spoke with, or saw speak, the likes of Jacques Vallée, Graham Hancock, Laura Eisenhower and Andrew Collins. We also reported that the interests of the various sub-cultures present, expanded well beyond mere ET and AAT theory (or theology), simply because the idea of extraterrestrial contact cannot be confined to pop-cultural representations. We touched on a broader understanding of UFOlogy culture, and our attempt at developing a UFO cultural Ethnography. We examined the community’s deeper, mythic, psychedelic and shamanic aspects, as well as other seemingly disparate topics such as crypto-currencies.

In part 2 of our series: Contact in the Desert 2017 - A Cultural Ethnography - "Fear & Loathing" ...we touched upon the then current hot-button topics within UFOlogy, such as Disclosure, Artificial Intelligence and off-the-books space programs. Through our first-hand observations, we recognized a sub-cultural, conspiratorial angst surrounding Disclosure, A. I. and/or Break-away Civilizations. These understandable fears have surfaced in the hearts and minds of many, in a world where what was once considered the wildest of conspiracy theories of the 20th century, proved to be all-too-true in the 21st century. What was once science fiction of the last century has become dystopian fact, in our Brave Noö World.

In retrospect, framing part 2 of our series around CITD’s proximity to Area 51 and Las Vegas… using Hunter S Thompson’s “Fear & Loathing” as metaphor… took on a hauntingly synchronistic, surreal and downright bizarre significance after the subsequent deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas on the night of October 1st, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. As that story (in some measure) unfolded, facts surrounding the mass shooting became increasingly bizarre. It was reported that the shooter, in addition to targeting the crowd below his vantage point in the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, also targeted jet fuel tanks just beyond the festival grounds at McCarran International Airport.

These jet fuel tanks were reportedly associated with “Janet Airline” a highly classified Airforce passenger fleet that services, among other classified sites… Area 51. In the months that have passed since the most deadly mass shooting in US history, this story seems to have fallen off the radar of the pop press and mass media franchises… despite bizarre rumors surfacing of multiple shooters, including shots from circling helicopters, as well as mysterious deaths of vocal eye-witnesses. To date, the official version of events surrounding the Route 91 Harvest is shamefully lacking in detail, motive… and most importantly… believability. Whatever went down… it bore the distinct odor of some black op gone awry.

But events were to get even more bizarre...

As the horrific year that was 2017 drew to a close, Disclosure and Las Vegas were synchronistically back in the news cycle with a (and at this point I must apologize for my repeated use of the word) bizarre breaking news story of an off-the-books, 22 million dollar UFO monitoring program, secretly funded by the pentagon… as well as a black-ops research facility, run by Bigelow Aerospace. It was reported by the NY Times that: “Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Once again, Las Vegas was front and center in the unfolding cloak and dagger disinformation blitz surrounding UFOlogy, Disclosure and now the apparent reverse-engineering of UFO materials. Interestingly, Jacques Vallée’s CITD Saturday lecture was entitled: What do we know about material composition of UFOs? …where he went into great detail about the mysterious properties of materials “recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.” In retrospect, his presentation was more central to the larger narrative around the UFO question. It was as if his information was a crucial puzzle peice that only now makes the narrative more understandable.

These were headlines right out of the X-files. What began in May of 2017 as an Odyssey to Contact in the Desert, spiraled out of control as the topics covered at that conference, increasingly imposed their High Weirdness upon an unsuspecting public at large.

However, even more, mind-bendingly synchronous events were in store for Agent 87 and I, as 2017 got weirder and weirder. In part one of this series, I had made an innocent pun involving 1987’s (take note 87!) harmonic convergence. What has unfolded since, can only be described as a convergence (harmonic or otherwise), as unrelated information streams encountered at CITD, began to converge in the pop media. In November of 2017, I posted a piece entitled: Singularity Unchained – Artificial Intelligence & Crypto-Currency. The post dealt with advancements in Blockchain technologies and their integration with artificial intelligence. The curious are encouraged to check out that post and subsequent posts on the topic.

Back in May, we touched upon the robust “ascension movement” community present at CITD. Within this movement, there is a clear conspiratorial distrust of the Technological Singularity and the rise of Artificial Intelligence. This mistrust took on a dichotomist form of human ascension vs A.I. assimilation. Now at the time, neither 87 nor I knew that much about crypto-currencies or blockchain technologies. However, we were visited at the Tek-Gnostics booth (#23) by an articulate young man in his 20’s, who knew a great deal about the subject. He visited our booth several times during CITD and enlightened us on the virtues (in his opinion) of crypto-currencies.

At the time, the various thought streams presented to us seemed quite divergent. The significant events that have unfolded since that time, demonstrate a convergence of information. What was then unrelated, now begins to become clear. Again, during the course of Contact in the Desert, multiple, seemingly disparate information streams were being presented by seemingly disparate characters. The archaic was dutifully represented by “Old Scratch” (see part one of this series). Blockchain technologies were represented by the delightful and highly intelligent millennial from the East Coast. The dichotomy between Gaian energies and AI technological singularity was imminent within the very fabric of the event.

The subsequent “disclosure” reported by the NY Times, of an off-the-books UFO research project, and by inference, an off-the-books space program, were adamantly and enthusiastically predicted by many UFOlogist factions in attendance. Interestingly, the recent disclosures could fit many different scenarios presented at the conference, including a break-away civilization narrative, as well as a hoaxed extra-terrestrial “event” as predicted by Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun, on his deathbed.

The break-away civilization narrative is especially resonant in these days of mistrust, cynicism and suspicion directed toward our political apparatus and the 1% or as we like to call them… the American Archons. The exploits of Bigelow imply nothing less than the reverse-engineering scenarios that have been prevalent within the UFO community, ever since the Roswell incident. One thing that the NYT report clearly demonstrates… the US military apparatus has been actively researching UFO phenomena, uninterrupted, ever since Roswell.

The convergence of these topics… UFOs & disclosure, A. I. & blockchain, the ascension movement vs transhumanism & singularity… all point toward some nexus point… as yet unclear. Stranger and stranger...

In regard to a Cultural Ethnography, I will relate one last event that took place at CITD. On Saturday night, the organizers of CITD, orchestrated by a certain “Dr. Dream” conducted a 333 Tibetan healing bowl ceremony and guided meditation. This was performed at the main, outdoor stage. The event was packed with attendees, vendors and guest speakers alike. As Dr. Dream led us through guided meditation, the emotional intensely grew. By the time the ceremony concluded, Agent 87 and I were renewed and rejuvenated. The power of so many people, sitting and chanting together in ceremony was profound.

By the end of the CITD conference, and in the ensuing months, my impression of an emerging ethnography is this… the communities that come together at events such as CITD… asking the big questions that they do… demonstrate diversity, creativity, curiosity, savvy, mentorship, insight, and intelligence (both intellectual and emotional). Taken as a whole, this community also demonstrates a certain naïveté that is apt to evoke a certain amount of ridicule from the larger population. Most importantly, they demonstrate a need to know, but also a reassurance that in time, all will become clear. The community gathered at CITD, coming together in ceremony, instilled a sense of hope for our shared future.

In conclusion, I once again return to the quote from that old heretic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.”

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