The Thing from Inner Space (Prisoner of Infinity XIII)


[Much of this chapter has already appeared at this blog but I include it now for the sake of continuity. As of chap 14, next week, the material will all be new/previously unseen.]

“Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not.”
—Julian Jaynes, The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind

In Jaynes’ influential work, he presents evidence for the idea that, in terms of conditioned learning, not only is consciousness unnecessary, it actually prevents learning from occurring. The more conscious we are of being conditioned, Jaynes points out, the less susceptible we are to it. This brings us back to the question of belief, and how the idea that we have consciously chosen to believe something is, nine times out of ten, an error. We believe or disbelieve because, at one time or another, it was necessary to do so.

In Jaynes’ book, he describes how, when a person is asked to say words at random, if the listener responds to certain words (say nouns) with a nod, a smile, or some other approving gesture, the subject will unconsciously begin to favor that particular class of words. Another example Jaynes gives: members of a psychology class were told to compliment anyone they saw wearing red; within a week, the place was ablaze with red. In a similar experiment, students paid rapt attention to their professor and laughed at all his jokes whenever he was on the right side of the room. He was unaware of anything unusual, but the students reported that they were “almost able to train him right out of the door.” Such incidents indicate how susceptible we are to suggestion and how powerful the unconscious is, not only to shape our perceptions but to influence and even determine our actions. The proof Jaynes offers is that these kinds of experiments cease to work the moment the subject is made aware of how he or she is being conditioned.

A final example from Jaynes is one the reader can try for him- or herself. Take two identical glasses or mugs and fill them with unequal amounts of water. Move them around with your eyes closed until you are unsure which is which. Keeping your eyes closed, pick them up and judge which is heavier. You will probably find it easy to do so. Now look for what is making the judgment. The assumption we make is that our mind is making the judgment. In fact, our mind is not “doing” anything besides reporting what our nervous system has already done. Jaynes uses this example to point out how the entire basis for believing our judgments are based on mental processes is inaccurate. On closer examination, the mind may not really be doing much of anything besides skewering the evidence—and keeping us sufficiently unconscious to be conditioned.

Despite all of this, the idea that we are what we are conscious of being seems to have gained predominance in the Western mindset over the past few decades (not counting the preponderance of New Age ideas, which often seem more like compensatory “make believe” than real understanding). Ray Kurzweil is busy promoting technologies which he promises will extend human existence into the infinite, by way of replacing biology with hardware and consciousness with software. Kurzweil believes he can resurrect his dead father by gathering enough information, samples of DNA from his disinterred corpse, memorabilia, photographs, and his own memories about him, and converting it all into digitalized form. He believes (or pretends to believe) that all there is to his father is a set of specific characteristics making up a visible personality, a social identity, which can then be reassembled in this strange fashion—by adding all the parts together like Baron von Frankenstein with his creature (or the Kabbalists and their golem) and zapping it with a bolt of lightning. Bizarre as this scenario may sound, the thinking behind it appears to be becoming more and more prevalent, not only in transhumanist circles but everywhere.

Such beliefs can only arise from a denial of the existence of the unconscious and a raising up of the conscious ego mind to the throne of being. But if the ego mind is all the things we know and believe about ourselves, our memories, opinions, preferences, character traits (real or imagined), etc., needless to say this changes over time and varies from person to person, sometimes extremely. Not to mention that, at different times during the day (most obviously when we sleep), our conscious (or semi-conscious) minds are filled with different elements, all of which we identify as “ourselves.” Everyone knows that, to some degree at least, we respond to far more than we are consciously aware of. We all know what it’s like to experience irrational anger, to fall into despair for no apparent reason, or to find ourselves doing things with no idea of why we are doing them (and sometimes no memory of having done them). We are all, to one degree or another, aware that there is far more to us than we are ever able to observe, much less categorize or explain, with our conscious minds. Yet we are also able to conveniently—and somewhat miraculously—ignore this fact throughout most of our lives.

Around the time I was becoming less and less interested in UFOs, I developed an interest in autism. This was not entirely coincidental, because there are some very obvious correlations between the two fields. Autistic people are often seen (and even describe themselves) as like alien beings; some of the more New Agey literature even suggests that autistics are literally extraterrestrials, walking unrecognized among us. Old faery lore, on the other hand, which has well-known correspondences with modern UFO lore, is filled with accounts of “changelings” being left in the place and likeness of a human child. Similarly, autistic children often seem perfectly normal until their second or third year, at which point the “symptoms” begin to show and parents may feel as if their child has been replaced by an alien imposter.

Autism relates to specific behaviors that are the result of a radically different way of perceiving the world. Autistic children, for reasons still unknown (it has to do with their brains having larger neural networks), seem to be hardwired in such a way that their senses function in totally different ways to ordinary children. One result of this is that they may fail to develop the kind of social identity which children are expected to develop. Autistic children are unable to imitate the behaviors of other children (or adults) and so to assume, or adopt, a socially acceptable “ego-self.” They are not able to learn, or rather, they can’t be conditioned. Our western bias (“neurotypical” is the word autistics have for it) assumes that this incapacity to “learn” (i.e., be conditioned) is due to a lack of consciousness. As Jaynes and others have shown, however, the reverse may more likely be the case. To the extent that autistic children are more conscious than ordinary children, they do not “learn” in the normal sense of the word, because, as Jaynes demonstrates, consciousness resists being conditioned.

Another of way of saying that autistics are more conscious is that they don’t suppress or shut down their perceptual awareness to the same degree as other children. This would mean there is less of a clear dividing line between their conscious minds and their unconscious psyche (or what quickly becomes unconscious in “normal” children). Hence, they are often seen as “aliens,” psychics (Indigo kids), and, more commonly, as retarded, brain-damaged, dysfunctional, or handicapped. This is an inevitable presumption if all there really is to us is our conscious minds—what else are we to make of autistics who haven’t developed such a mind except to presume that they are “non-beings”? In fact, in many cases that’s exactly how they are treated.

Very often, low-functioning, non-verbal autistics who have been diagnosed as severely retarded are discovered to be above average intelligence once someone finds a way to communicate with them.  If we find it so difficult to understand an autistic human or communicate with them, what are the chances we would understand something truly alien if we encountered it? If we aren’t able to recognize or communicate with the psyche (or “the alien”) when it wears our own biological form, what chance do we have when it’s zipping around the sky or materializing as an uninvited goblin in the dead of the night?

All of this points to our own lack of awareness as to the nature of the unconscious, i.e., that it is incomprehensible to the conscious mind except through letting IT tell us what it is. And to do that we first of all have to learn its language.

Ditto the UFO. The psyche is the greater reality we are none of us aware of save in a superficial way, and the UFO experience cannot be approached as a superficial question. To try and interpret the UFO material without applying psychology is, to paraphrase Charles Fort, like trying to ride an imaginary camel through the eye of a hypothetical needle that was lost in a haystack that never was.


“When trauma strikes the developing psyche of the child, a fragmentation of consciousness occurs in which the different ‘pieces’ (Jung called them splinter-psyches or complexes) organize themselves according to certain archaic and typical (archetypal) patterns, most commonly dyads or syzygies made up of personified ‘beings.’”
—Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defense Systems of the Personal Spirit

All that we know of the UFO and the alien—outside of any direct experiences we might have—comes from stories, i.e., from accounts of eye witnesses and experiencers, some of whom have, I think beyond all doubt, experienced something. These partial descriptions of unclear perceptions have then been collected, organized, and interpreted by researchers and, over time, been turned into hypotheses and, in most cases, articles of belief.

My own investigations—partially reported in Part One—lead me to the following hypothesis: it is not possible to separate the faculty of perception from the element of belief, because we not only develop beliefs based on our perceptions, but our perceptions are, to an unknown degree, limited, directed, and shaped by our beliefs. Both perception and belief develop in human beings at an early age, at a pre-rational stage of development. During this early stage of development, there is a primary experience of powerlessness and of the corresponding potential for trauma. There is also the near-inevitability of at least some degree of trauma informing our psychological development, limiting our abilities to perceive and giving rise to a certain set of beliefs. To an unknown degree, both our perceptions and our beliefs are shaped early on, then, to protect us from the full traumatic brunt of reality, and from being overwhelmed by a feeling of powerlessness.

The depth psychological view sees early trauma, and the resulting psychic fragmentation and dissociation, as at base of all our subsequent experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. This is most evident in the way we encounter divine or transcendental realities, for the simple(?) reason that the way we deal with early trauma is via dissociation, by calling upon and/or withdrawing into the realm of phantasy. Through phantasy, the greater, more transcendental part of the psyche intervenes and rescues us from intolerable reality by “abducting” us into its realm. This is not an unreal realm (the psyche is real), but it is a dissociated one. An experience of the psyche that isn’t grounded in the body cannot become fully real, because it will always be diluted, or polluted, by the defensive fictions that have arisen to keep the trauma out of our awareness. These “crucial fictions” extend to every aspect of our existence (starting and ending with the ego itself), and the UFO is a perfect opportunity to map the ways in which such fictions are created and made “crucial,” i.e., become articles of faith, fanaticism, irrational conviction, and out-and-out obsession.

What I discovered in the writing of and dialogues around the first part of Prisoner of Infinity, and which I hope is being communicated to at least some of my readers, is how the experiences of Strieber (and by extension other abductees), whether phantasy, reality, or some little understood combination of the two (the model I lean towards), are filled with very clear “symbolic” elements. These symbolic elements point towards early childhood trauma (possibly universal) that the psyche is attempting to address and integrate through psychic re-enactments. This requires re-experiencing trauma in an unconscious attempt to make conscious the original experience. If psychology is accurate about this, then early trauma is the basis, the driving factor, not merely behind UFO encounters but all human history and experience, at least until that early trauma is made conscious and can be integrated.

The purpose of the UFO experience, then, like all other traumatic/transcendental encounters, is a re-experiencing of trauma to bring about healing in a conscious, contained fashion. This can be compared to the many types of initiation through trauma found in shamanic traditions, and even in Masonic and other western forms. However, it’s essential to point out that it is not the trauma per se that allows for integration, but the erasing or dissolving of previous “traumata” trapped in the body, by way of the “traumatic reenactment.” If this subtle distinction is missed, new trauma is caused, and what occurs is merely a new layer of conditioning to override the old, likely only to bury it still deeper in the unconscious. This can appear to be effective, however, because experiencing a new trauma will sometimes re-activate the dissociative mechanism developed in childhood to escape the original trauma. The person may then have a “transcendental experience”; but if so, the danger is that it will take them further from embodiment, and not closer to it.

I have come to see Strieber as a clear example of this in the way that his later trauma at the hands of human agencies and/or “the visitors” can be mapped onto (and feeds into) his earlier Catholic conditioning. (And many of Strieber’s experiences, both early and later, entail out-of-body journeys, which seems to mirror the early experience of dissociation.) In the case of many other abductees also, I would suggest there’s more evidence for the experience being unbalancing and deranging than “initiatory.” It may activate “psychic potential,” as many experiencers report, but activating psychic potential, also from what I’ve seen, is as often as not deranging rather than conducive to a person’s psychic wholeness or embodiment.

It’s here that the alien abduction lore overlaps with that of the infamous intelligence programs such as MK-ULTRA, which often entail, or at least hint at, the conditioning-via-abuse of children (which Strieber also believes he was subjected to). Such programs are aimed at tapping into the psychological survival mechanism of dissociation, by which the psyche summons “daimonic complexes” from “the Beyond” (the deeper unconscious) to bring about some kind of healing intervention for the child. If so, it may be that Strieber, along with thousands of others similarly interfered with (and not necessarily by government), has unwittingly summoned his own “visitor” phenomena, one which is both highly personal and, paradoxically, universal—since the human psyche reacts to trauma in more or less the same way every time.

The danger in this is obvious. People who have suffered such early fragmentation, by whatever outside agencies (I include myself in this camp), and who are then exposed to the alien abduction literature, are likely to reframe their trauma within the new context, as a way to re-experience it “safely.” As a result, the phenomena will then, over the generations, become “viral” and, as already suggested, generate its own proofs.[1]

This may all be part of the larger plan, and it’s certainly worth looking into for anyone who wants to get to the bottom of the UFO bottle. But what’s more interesting to me, at this stage, is how all of this can be seen to demonstrate the way the psyche works. Because if the UFO is evidence not of outer but inner space, then the psyche becomes, almost literally, the creator and destroyer of worlds.



To read full essay, order Prisoner of Infinity: UFOs, Social Engineering, and the Psychology of Fragmentation

16 thoughts on “The Thing from Inner Space (Prisoner of Infinity XIII)

  1. comes to my mind the Saharasia hypothesis, recommended reading on RAW’s site. Have it here, but haven’t digged it yet. Seems related to your position, IMO.

  2. I continue to remain intrigued but skeptical when it comes to UFO’s. Your writings are the closest explanation to the UFO abductee phenomena I’ve found yet.

    I relate personally to your own experiences, and in my recent random yet connected selection of readings, I’ve found evidence of The Process Church-type programming techniques in both Castenada’s “The Teaching of Don Juan” and Sander’s “The Family”. The intentional use of mind altering drugs combined with behavioral conditioning techniques seemed to be a trendy thing back in the swingin’ 60’s.

    If the non-gov agencies had access to brain washing, could the general public,(or more specifically my family members) have access to these techniques? How much knowledge of behavioral conditioning was made available to the general public by way of novels, non-fiction war stories, non-fiction how-to’s on influence, persuasion, and child-rearing? Kind of scary.

    Thanks for providing me with another angle of approach to my Family Of Origin (FOO) issues. Coincidence that FOO-fighter was an early term for UFO? Perhaps, maybe, not.

  3. I think it becomes innate; I just started reading Troublemaker: surviving Hollywood and scientology by Leah Remini, & she begins by saying how, when she watched certain TV shows, she felt something, and wanted to make others feel the same way she felt (hence became an actress). She doesn’t even seem aware of how strange it was that she needed to watch TV to feel something. In Friedkin’s bio, which I just finished (terrible writing, no guts or soul to it), he mentions early on how the experience of movie-going terrified him as a child, and how he wanted to make others feel the same.

    I think maybe it’s the inverse of what you’re suggesting, & that MKULTRA, Process, Co$, etc, learned the techniques of trauma-programming by watching what happens in “ordinary” families, and then amping it up & turning it int a science. & since cultural engineering was the aim, it created a positive feedback loop.

  4. Reading this , the things that spring to mind are ” the biblical fall”, and ” the abduction of Persephone ” .
    Assuming i am a chimp who has somehow come to believe its separate from the biosphere from which it arose . Surely my main mission is to repair this schism, and become more like my cat , who doesnt seem so separate , and in fact is quite instinctive , intellgent and intuitive . The way back to the round blue ball is via the body , and inventing offworld fictions to reshape the archetypal experience of abduction is surely a way to ensure that the path back to embodiment remains barred and controlled by other chimps . Using tech to set various traps and snares to gather wounded people would make sense to the controller chimps , for it is the wounded who are the most likely to embark on such journeys . Perhaps creating structures designed to wound and then ensnare , like MK Culture , is simply another level again of fiendish chimp ingenuity . But the blue ball has its own life and agenda and chimps may not even be the main game at all, so relax .
    The concept of ” psyche ” is undoubtedly a magical metaphor useful for beginning to build a bridge back to oneself . Pentagrams and Hexagrams are also commonly observed in the human DNA molecule , as i think you pointed out in ” Serpiens “..

  5. Jasun, this rocks! Hats off to you for wrestling with all this very difficult material and pulling together such an extremely cohesive and useful study.

    “But then as far as I know almost no one has looked into the possibility of social engineering that goes back as far as history, and so might in some sense encompass the UFO phenomena entire, and faerylore too.”

    I seem to have a lot of projects on the go. 🙂

    I’m studying Homer’s stories of Odysseus (considered to be one of the first works of western literature). Odysseus is a central character in “The Iliad” and the main character in “The Odyssey”. I think I’ve found pretty good evidence that Homer had Odysseus suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Singling Odysseus’ story out, the two books read like the tale of a soldier’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Odysseus did not want to go to fight the Trojans. Having a wife and a new born boy, he feigned madness to avoid being conscripted. He was found out and made to go. He performs well in the war but observes and is involved in many traumatic events – and is injured himself. After the war, as is told in “The Odyssey”, he becomes lost.

    In “The Odyssey”, Homer understood what he was writing about. Homer did not write Odysseus directly experiencing all those magical events that happened to him as he tried to make his way back home to Ithaca. Homer, instead, had Odysseus recount his adventures in RETROSPECT to the court of the Phaeacian KIng. That is, all those mythical creatures and adventures (or more correctly, mis-adventures) were only from Odysseus’s memory (a memory, to my mind, which was probably suffering from PTSD).

    Later, when he returns to Ithaca, Odysseus repeats his experienced violence when he rids his house of Penelope’s suitors – this time bringing his son Telemachus with him through the fight.

  6. On the edge of my seat. Reminds me of this:

    “At the forum where I was discussing the series, someone commented about the drop-off in veracity in the mid-section of the series, suggesting that “episodes 5 and 6 were so cinematic because the characters were basically dissociating into a Heroic Journey narrative rather than facing how fucked they were. [Episode seven] was the reality check.”

    On True Detective 2:

    @Kutuman: MK-CULTUR, phrase coined! 🙂

  7. John, your “The Odyssey” ideas are really intriguing! Well played. The other detail is how Odysseus’ trauma then becomes a mult-igenerational toxin. First, he becomes an absentee father and abandons his son and family when he goes away to war. Then when he returns he recruits his son into joining him in acts of violence.

    To then somewhat tie this to Jasun’s comment above–this also seemed to be one of the main themes of True Detective Season Two. The multi-generational nature of trauma and how it is passed from “infected” parent (specifically, but not exclusively fathers in TD2) to children All the main characters were damaged as children (something that was either implied or, as in Anni’s case explicitly stated) and in turn we infer that their offspring will most likely inherit the trauma.

  8. Jasun, you are my new favorite thinker, hands down. Thank you for all you do!

    Two items that come to mind as I read and think about POI:

    1) The “Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram” seems designed to train one to dissociate from “undesirable” aspects of one’s psyche/personality- to externalize and anthropomorphize/”demonize” these fragments, does it not?

    2) The so called “cry it out” method currently being promoted by mainstream parenting advice dispensers may be a part of the picture. If you aren’t familiar with this, parents are being encouraged to leave their infants to cry alone in their cribs at designated nap times and at night. The panic escalates until the infant withdraws into a dissociative state (termed “self-soothing” by CIO advocates).

    This method is so counter to all parental/mammalian instincts, yet it has somehow gained a foothold in popular thought through the apparent promotion of experts, which draws my suspicions, particularly in the context of your explorations. Interestingly, some researchers are theorizing that this practice may have a connection to autism:

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this stuff if you feel inclined!

    Thank you again for your writing and podcasts; I dread the day when I’ve read/listened to everything…

    • Thanks AG. But don’t dread that day! I may outlast your interest. These seem like relevant questions, for a future podcast perhaps. The uneasy overlap between psychology & occultism… the disowning of the crying “fragment”

  9. Hi A.G , i have been thinking a lot about those symbols myself lately ..
    The hexagrams seem common enough in cellular structures, which could be a good thing , if somewhat materialistic
    The pentagram ritual seems to me to be more along the lines you describe ..
    I would suggest if you are something of a mess and in deep psychological doodoo , the LBRP could bring short term relief in the form of blessed dissociation , but the catch is that long term you cant run very far or indefinitely , hence the need for some form of integrative process
    I guess its just one key in one particular system ..
    Other systems use ritual bathing , laughing , eating etc to “banish”, but none of those things will make your dissociated shards disappear either …
    I would love to hear what Jasun says also ..
    I practiced occultism for a while but pretty quickly found myself confronted by the full array of my own splinterings , and so ran screaming to a good Jungian analyst like a sensible boy . I found myself terrifying . I still do practice but strictly for theurgical rather than thaumaturgical purposes. Its much safer once you have figured out whats hiding in your own didgeridoo. I guess i just got lucky as the Zurich Jungians are lovely people who arent conspiring to enslave the masses ( or should i wait until i’ve dinished POI?)

  10. The pentagram inside the circle suggests fragmentation of the psyche, dividing the circle into various compartments in order to have control over it. On my most life-changing DMT experience (what I later called my red pill experience), the vision began with me gazing onto infinite whiteness seeing these thin-lined boxes superimposed onto it, feeling boundless horror & despair at the futility of my thought-based attempt to fit the infinite into these boxes,. Perhaps it was my mind scrambling to survive the white-out of a full-on encounter with the psyche/unconscious… and failing?

    This led to a period I don’t recall much of in which apparently I was screaming loudly while, in the vision, I encountered godlike beings who were weighing my life’s actions to determine if the sum total was fair & just or not, like a cosmic law court. Negotiating with the disowned aspects of my total psyche. The end of the vision I was gazing not with my eyes but my total body onto a raging sunlike sphere that was also an opening, surrounded by smaller spheres. So I went from squares to circles.

    Are there straight lines in nature? The mind which is linear-based and compartmentalizes, places things into boxes, only comes about via the fragmentation of the (circular) psyche, the straight edges of the fragments being like the lines of the pentagram perhaps? A banishing ritual is the opposite of the Chon ritual which znore speaks about at the end of tomorrow’s podcast. & what about easter eggs vs. crucifixes?

  11. The overhead tracking shot of this series. While it is all well and good, though, to call infantile behavior exactly what it is, especially when when it is exhibited by adults, calling every adult struggle for recognition ‘the frustration and torment of a child, unable to get its parents (or other adults, if the abuse or neglect is by the parents) to see what’s happening to it’ could be used equally well to de-legitimize adults who endured the sorts of childhood intervention documented or hypothesized by Cannon. Cannon, in the text you cite, called these ‘prejudices…regrettable.’ Examples multiply quickly when the present ‘paradigm’ is justly invoked.

    • I am not aware of that sort of contextualized ever being used in that way; it would be erroneous if it were, since repetition compulsion (unconscious re-enactment of trauma) is part of this same complex. So a person wouldn’t simply be acting out unconscious patterns from the past but also magnetizing circumstances that mirror the ones that originally imprinted them.

  12. Am reading a Mark Stavish book on Freemasonry , he quotes Agrippa
    ” a pentagram….. Hath a very great command over evil spirits , ( shards??) , so by its literature , by which it hath within five obtuse angles , and without five acutes , five double triangles by which it is surrounded .”
    So in Cabalistic terms it ought to give the operator control over the spheres ” beneath the abyss”, the more egoic , accessible realms of the psyche , coming from a position within Geburah , Mars ( if you subscribe to that stuff) . (Or if you cock it up Mars could end up controlling you ! )
    Stavish goes on to say ; ” Elsewhere , Agrippa illustrates that man – the human body – is the perfect pentagram and within the human bodies are energies that are in harmony with the invisible energies of the planets and the stars under the direction of divine providence .” And from masonic lore
    ” pentagram, sign of microcosm , or universe , called in the Gnostic Schools , ” The Blazing Star ” …. All the mysteries of magism, all the symbols of the gnosis , all the figures of occult philosophy , all the kabalistic keys of prophesy are summed up in the pentangle , the greatest and most potent of all signs ..”

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