Cosmic Scapegoat Wanted (Perceptual Warfare 15)

“Autism is worse than cancer in many ways, because the person with autism has a normal lifespan.”
—Parent of a high-functioning autistic man, testifying in the Auton case in Canada, 2003. The autistic man had already graduated from high school with a University scholarship[i]

There is an infamous speech given by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985 (at the Fallston High School in Maryland) in which, referring to a meeting with Gorbachev, Reagan speculates wistfully about “a threat to this world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe.” The wonder of such an event, he goes on to say, is that “We’d forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries . . .” Reagan was criticized for drifting into la-la land, but in a way he was right on the money. By expressing the need for an “other” for all humanity to focus its attention on, he was calling to the heavens for a cosmic scapegoat to save the human tribe from the curse of mimetic violence.

For obvious reasons, the strange has always been associated with the supernatural, and more recently, the extraterrestrial. Strange and supernatural parallels with autism can be traced through history, most eerily in the faery lore of changelings. And the use of an alien invasion as a metaphor for otherness has been around for almost as long as Hollywood (which was Reagan’s first home). In the 1950s, the fear of a Communist takeover was rife, and the worst part was that it wasn’t possible to tell who was a Communist and who wasn’t. “They’re everywhere!” Kevin McCarthy rants at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the 1957 classic film in which human beings are replaced by perfect replicas from outer space. The movie has been remade a total of four times since then, not including all the homages, spin-offs, and variations on a theme,[ii] so clearly the lurking paranoia — the dread of difference — which the films play upon hasn’t diminished since then. Social commentators suggested at the time that the alien invasion of the film was a metaphor for the Communist threat, or alternatively, for the McCarthy “witch hunts.” But the truth is that the paranoia must always precede its supposed object. An anxiety deep within the American psyche was seeking — has always been always seeking — a tangible object to project itself onto. As with all such projection mechanisms, however, the result is to obscure the actual nature of the “threat.”

As long as we’re exploring the ways in which an irrational fear of autism was surfacing in popular fiction… While nearing the end of this piece, I was researching the infamous Auton case, in which several parents of autistics (including the Autons, hence the weirdly apt name of the case) brought action against the British Columbian government for not funding ABA “intervention.” If they had won the case, it would have made it mandatory for all autistic children to receive ABA therapy, which is why Michelle Dawson (herself autistic) fought so hard to prevent it (she succeeded). When I went to Wikipedia, the first link I found was for something entirely different, characters from a TV show I grew up on!

“The Autons are an artificial life form from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and adversaries of the Doctor. First appearing in Jon Pertwee’s first serial as the Doctor, Spearhead from Space in 1970, they were the first monsters on the show to be presented in color. Autons are essentially life-sized plastic dummies, automatons animated by the Nestene Consciousness, an extraterrestrial, disembodied gestalt intelligence which first arrived on Earth in hollow plastic meteorites. . . . The typical Auton does not look particularly realistic, resembling a mannequin, being robotic in its movements and mute. However, more sophisticated Autons can be created, which look and act human except for a slight plastic sheen to the skin and a flat sounding voice. In Series 5 of the new Doctor Who series, they are shown as being able to create fully lifelike human replicas, able to fool other humans.” [Emphasis mine]

I remember the Autons vividly from my childhood: we called them “shop window dummies.”

File created with CoreGraphics

[i] “The parents of several autistic children brought an action against the British Columbia government for failing to fund Applied Behavioral Therapy (ABA/IBI), a form of treatment for autistic children. For several years previous to this case the government had been funding ABA/IBI treatment for autism, however, for financial reasons and due to the ethical controversy surrounding the methods of treatment, they ceased the funding. Both at trial and in the British Columbia Court of Appeal the Court found that the children’s equality rights (under section 15) were violated.”  The infamous cancer quote is taken from the transcript of a court hearing, here.
[ii]Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, directed by Phil Kaufman), Body Snatchers (1993, directed by Abel Ferrara), The Invasion (2007, with Nicole Kidman), and Invasion of the Pod People (2007 direct-to-DVD adaptation).

14 thoughts on “Cosmic Scapegoat Wanted (Perceptual Warfare 15)

  1. That’s funny, I was thinking about commenting on aliens as a scapegoat mechanism just before you posted this. It’s interesting that the Autons (on the show) are run by an ET intelligence. Because the word Auton is also connected with autism, I was reminded of a theory in alien conspiracy lore: What are called ‘star seeds’ (ET soulled humans) are said to be ‘misdiagnosed’ as autists, (which I think may be related to the plasmate) and according to the theory, a group of maleovolent ET’s will be false saviours. One way of getting humans to devote themselves and align their will with the aliens involves the aliens telling people that a lot of the children have special alien genes in them, the starseeds (possibly high functioning autists) who would then be elevated to ‘royal blood status’. If parents rejected the aliens they would thereby be rejecting their kids.

    I like sci fi and reading about aliens and conspiracies and sometimes it’s difficult to tell if you are getting at a meaningful truth, or if you are just indulging in escapist fantasy and projection, by projecting your darkness onto an imagined malicious alien or government. And I do believe that ET’s shape world events by manipulating people’s perceptions through various means, as well as influence our personal lives in some cases, as well as angels and demons. This might be kind of off topic but I was wondering what your thoughts are on the alien phenomenon. Are ET’s too much for us to comprehend? Maybe the universe is full of beings, like us in some ways and different in others. While we may not be able to understand them completely, we might be able to judge if they are good or evil (subjective to our well-being) possibly by looking at the mass of alien propaganda and analyzing the media messages, channelers and contactees to see what message is being given to us, as well as what the alien abduction research has evidence of.

    Is it worthwhile to try and understand the bigger picture and the origins of evil by researching the alien phenomenon, or should we focus more on our own lives? The truth must be told, evil must be acknowledged within ourselves and in the outside world in order to be healed. I believe that a lot of forces that influence us are beyond our comprehension, but some things, like aliens we might be able to. Well, whatever is going on with our world alien-conspiracy-wise I’m not entirely sure, but at least there is value in the alien conspiracy theories, how the thought of an outside threat would be a huge motivation for humanity to work together and stop killing each other. It’s a humbling thought.

  2. This may seem strange, or contrary, but I don’t really see so-called “information” about ETs, etc, as any more valid or useful than what comes to us via fiction. In a way, I’d say it’s less helpful, at least if you are going to give it more credence just because it’s claiming to be factual. We live in an information age, but beyond that, we are made of information. To that extent, we are what we eat, or take in (take to heart). Even tho belief doesn’t shape reality, it can and does shape our experience of reality and our responses to it.

    You posit angels & demons in the same breath as you do ETs, and both belief systems stem from the same schism in the psyche, reflecting a soul divided against itself. It’s this collective dementia that creates belief in an all-good God who damns souls to Hell, or an all-powerful God who has an equally powerful adversary. (D’oh!). And it’s a similar sort of craziness that imagines that an ET race could be “good” or “evil” – as if all the members of that race were interchangeable. (Even Nicaraguans or Iraquis don’t make the mistake of thinking that all Americans are evil!)

    The value of observing any of this is in noticing a process at work – and that process is primarily within the psyche, ie, yours. The biggest weakness of all these researchers, IMO, is that they don’t read psychology. Or if they do, they don’t apply it. Read Jung! Learn not to confuse psychic forces with physical facts. ETs are not physical reality – yet – at least not in the way that a table or chair is. They don’t hold still long enough for us to get to grips with them at that level.

    You may have very real physical experiences of them (I am not denying that), but that makes YOU the only authority of your experience, not any of these supposed sources of information.

    If you had only read the Bible, you would have one interpretation; if you had only read Whitley Strieber, another; if you had only read Jung, a third. But you could read everything ever written and have the most informed interpretation possible for a human being to have, and, guess what, it would only be an interpretation. It would NEVER match the reality.

    Maybe your idea is that a better understanding will help protect you from some of this “darkness.” That’s true, but only if it’s a better understanding of yourself and of the psychic processes underway, But if you are trying to understanding something you think is “happening” outside of you, so as to better handle it, then all your understanding is only going to trick you into thinking that something is happening that isn’t. The truth is, nothing is happening.

    You are not even being processed by these forces – because “you” are nothing but a process.

    A surfer doesn’t direct the waves, and he doesn’t need to understand them either. He only needs to ride them.

  3. Hey thanks for the lengthy response. I will be rereading it again tomorrow.

    I think I get what you are saying. We can’t rely on other people’s stories to discover what our reality is. And our reality is usually a projection of what we have inside of us and until we clean that up it will be extremely diffcult to see what the objective reality of the world is.

    I’ve had what seemed to me at least, very real experiences of aliens and demons. And I believe in god’s helpers or angels, based on hearsay and examples of miracles or like as a religious faith. But I’ll keep in mind not to get carried away and try to base my life on what I really know from my own experiences. My weird experiences are what encouraged me to go deeper into the alien/fringe lore. I like to read other people’s stories that are similar to mine and try and make some sense of it all (who wouldn’t?). The more you read other people’s stories the more REAL the story becomes, and you can generate a fantastic story that is not at all entirely supported by your own unique experiences, and those are the only ones you can trust. But I really wonder when I read stories by Fore and other contactees… I don’t know for sure much of the reality of aliens and demons, but I guess I don’t know for sure about the reality of Jesus, or Hitler because I never met the guys.

    I’m definitely not speciesist or racist, so I hope it didn’t come off that way. Good/Evil have different definitions as Positive/Negative. We’re seeing more alien stuff in the media like we are being primed for disclosure of aliens so IF aliens become more of a physical reality in the future then I guess we can talk more about it.

    Again, thanks for the response. Going to take more of a psychological perspective on things. When I read of aliens, demons I will take it as like inspiring entertainment, maybe like when I read into stories about God because we can’t really understand God. But I have faith in God or some sort of higher power or creator. It’s best not to take things too literally (see religious genocides) and keep them to ourselves a lot of the time and just live the best way you know how, based on your own experiences.

    Ride the wave, don’t get hung up on stressfully analyzing things that don’t matter, it’s just not how it works.

  4. btw, in case anyone who happens to be reading these comments is of the kind to laugh at or criticize paranormal experiencers as crazy, mentally ill or beneath them in some way, just remember to have some compassion. No one has to agree with anyone’s ideas or beliefs but keep in mind that many good people struggle day to day trying to explain their experiences. It’s very difficult to reconcile especially when you have physical evidence. Encountering a ‘thing’ that we call an ‘alien’ or ‘demon’ is enough to seriously unhinge the most confident and self-assured man. Life is made hard and difficult for paranormal experiencers and autists alike by this arrogant and dismissive attitude. People like myself struggle to fit in, and question and test their sanity as best as they can. Everybody means well in their own way.

  5. That’s called a preemptive strike!

    I doubt if too many consensus reality addicts are following this blog and if they are then they are probably getting paid for it.
    : D

    IF aliens become more of a physical reality in the future then I guess we can talk more about it.

    Been waiting my whole life for that.

    Patrick Harpur put it well, comparing faeries to aliens. Faeries are always on their way out but never quite gone. ETs are always on their way here, but never quite arrived.

  6. >ETs are always on their way here, but never quite arrived.
    Well there are a lot of interesting contact cases that are reported. Not on the nightly news, but it’s up to you to figure out if it is worthwhile to investigate, and figure out who is lying, what are the motives etc… I’ve always been amazed how quickly people dismiss the reality of ET’s, as if we are the only life in the universe. The heavens are most likely saturated with life and I’ve always thought that so it’s not a big stretch of the mind for me to believe that maybe some of these contact cases can give us maybe at the least a tiny clue.

  7. Oh, you meant publically. That might be a while, if ever. My understanding is that personal, private contact cases have probably been happening all throughout human history with select humans up to this present day. I would say many groups have arrived long ago, just not out in the open. But I think this is getting too far off track from the theme of this blog…

  8. Thanks Dermott. I’m surprised [and secretly disappointed] that this blog isn’t generating much discussion. I’m not an educated person but it’s fun to write on the ‘net. Something good might come out and on the other hand you might say something stupid that someone might point out to you (that you might not otherwise notice) or help you frame things in a more appropriate way. Plus artists like feedback on their work (I know I do).

  9. Jasun,

    First of all, I am a huge fan of your writings; there is almost zero white space left in the margins of my copy of “Homo Serpians” due to all of my notes, scribblings, and musings inspired by the numerous “oh SH*T!!!” moments that book provided me with. Thank you for that… 🙂

    Your new website is providing me with even more nourishing food-for-thought. I’ve been quite interested for some time in the concept of neurodiverse people being utilized as a societal scapegoat. One particular theory of mine in regards to this has to do with the double bind many neurodiverse people face when it comes to communication, specifically the concepts of conflicting verbal vs. non-verbal communication. From what I’ve experienced personally as well as from experience gathered from years of interacting with others who are neurodiverse, well, we seem to have a keen nose for sniffing out insincerity, conflicting messages, and for dectecting when someone is just plain old full of sh*t. Basically, when someone says one thing verbally, but their energy, body language, and overall nonverbal communication gives an opposing message, hence the double bind. I believe that unfortunately, while many people who are members of the Church of Consensus Reality may be able to pick up on such things, due to their particular Church affiliation, they are bound to obey what is one of their central tenets of worship, namely, the Commandment of “don’t rock the boat/the emperor is indeed wearing clothes and thou shalt not think otherwise/that’s what the area underneath the rug is for – here’s a broom, start sweeping.” Since the members of this Church make up the overwhelming majority of the population, those of us who refuse to, or can’t fathom, obeying such rules become an easy and ready-made scapegoat. The links you provided of Rene Girard’s lectures are relevant to this – and thank you for providing them; from what I’ve listened to thus far, they are fascinating!

    Anyway, if I may return the favor, I thought you might enjoy the following website that speaks a lot about the topic of neurodiversity and scapegoating, written by Per-Erik Larssen:

    Hope you enjoy, and keep up the amazing work! 😀

  10. Hi Linx

    thanks for the post
    we seem to have a keen nose for sniffing out insincerity, conflicting messages, and for dectecting when someone is just plain old full of sh*t. Basically, when someone says one thing verbally, but their energy, body language, and overall nonverbal communication gives an opposing message, hence the double bind.

    Absolutely. I think this is the way that all children perceive (as well as animals), before they develop their “social shields.” It’s what makes innocence the natural target of institutional abuse: because they have no shields they see what is going on and hence present a threat (as well as reminding traumatized adults of their own vulnerability). And of course having no shields they are also more vulnerable to attack. There is a natural as well as cultural basis for this: the weaker animals are preyed upon by the stronger. But innocence cannot actually be preyed upon, it can only be stolen by terrorizing a person into adopting the social shields and becoming suitably predatory. Abuse is a way for the abuser to feel safe by forcing the abused to do what is safe for them (imitating the abuser).

    I looked at the Larssen link. Just skimmed it for now. This stood out:

    “My personal observations of society give support to the following theory for what schizophrenia is all about. The schizophrenic has the same basic function in society as a catalyst has in a chemical system. That is to make it easier to create certain behaviours in society that otherwise would have taken a longer time to establish. That means that the schizophrenic speeds up evolution.”

    Can you say what strikes you most about his arguments/what you’ve got from him?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s