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DAVID GOTLIB On th Banks of the Charles
We collect a lot of case studies which are are interesting they are anecdotal they can interest people in the field and bring them in but they don't prove anything and if all we do in the next five years is collect more case studies we're not going to convince anybody except the people that are already convinced.
the scientific way to approach it is to study the phenomenon in a rigorous way with investigators pool the results so you can ask questions about the phenomenon.
SO YOU'RE ARGUING FOR WHAT A MORE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THE REPORTING OF THE INCIDENTS.
To everything, not only to the reporting of the incidents but to which incidents are studied. It's important that if you're going to exclude certain cases from being studied you decide beforehand how you're going to do that and it's in a way that makes sense. If you narrow the focus so that all your investigating or a particular narrow characterization of cases then that's all you're going to learn about and you may be excuding a whole bunch of other cases that may be relevent to your understanding of the wider phenomenon but you're not going to study them because you've decided that they don't effect what you're looking at.
SO WHAT HAS TO CHANGE TO YOU THINK I MEAN HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT NOW?
I think there needs to be a set of standards and practises there needs to be an agreed upon protocol for investigation and for therapy and I think that everybody that's working in this field has to subscribe to it has to abide by it and I think people after having collected the information in the same way with a mind to respect of the experiences and the help that they're rendering put all this information into a common data base. So that meaninful questions can be asked, questions that will address sceptical concerns like are these people fantasy prone, do a large majority of these people have sexual abuse in their background that kind of thing. It would be simple to answer those questions if we had a data base of information that was collected consistently across experiences that we could access. Right now we don't this guy has 20 cases that guy has 50 cases, they probably didn't ask the same questions or collect it in exactly the same way we don't know where their people came from it's all fragmented.
All of us in the conference agree that well all of us except one anyway that it is a valid experience the question is what is the nature of the experience. What we want to do is learn more about it we're not out to validate or invalidate we just want to know what is it how can we describe it better how can we understand who it's happening to who it's not happening to how does it affect them, how does it not affect them, how can we help them? What should we not do?
WHAT IS THAT EXPERIENCE I MEAN YOU'VE SEEN CLOSE TO 40 PEOPLE NOW. ARE THERE COMMON THREADS IN THEIR EXPERIENCES OR IN THE RESULTS OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT YOU SEE?
In the results of the experience. There is an element of fear, especially to begin with there's a fear, there's a sense of isolation people are sure that this ting happened to them but they can't tell anybody and when they do try to tell people they get even more alienated and isolated. Once they find a safe unity a safe place even just one person to talk to to talk to that person about the experience I've observed a sense of assimilation that comes slowly. In some people it progresses to an acceptance and to a I would almost use the term enlightenment. It's a perception that there are dimensions to themselves and dimensions to the universe that are beyond what they had formerly believed a loit of people become more ecologically conscious or socially responsible they manifest that in their personal lives and they take on tasks relating to changing society and changing our attitude towards the environment. I think that it can be a very powerful transforming experience. But a valid scientific question is is that just my projection of my own hopes and dreams on the subset of people that I've worked with I would be perfectly happy to see and participate in the study that asks the question here is a group of experiencers. Now let's take some of them and have them work with a therapist or investigator who has disbelief about it and tries to do therapy with them on that basis, now let's take another group where the therapist or the investigator believes that aliens are invading our planet and doing awful things and then let's take another group and have them work with a therapist or counsellor or investigator that has genuinely no position on this but just serve as a control group and then let's look at outcome studies which people end up being more highly functioning at the end? Which people subjectively and objectively are better afterwards and if it turns out that the people who have gone through this scenario where aliens are doing bad things to our population where they actually function better that's fine I'll accept that but I'll have to see it first.
BUT MAYBE YOU'LL NEVER SEE IT, MAYBE NONE OF US WILL EVER SEE IT.
BUT I MEAN SOMETIMES I SUSPECT THAT IF THE ATMOSPHERE WAS SUCH THAT IT WAS PERFECTLY ALRIGHT TO SPEAK ABOT THIS KIND OF EXPERIENCE AND THAT IT WAS ACCEPTED AND WAS NOT RIDICULED OR FEEL LIKE YOU HAD TO CUT YOURSELF OFF FROM EVERYTHING, THEN MORE PEOPLE THAN NOT WOULD COME FORWARD WITH STORIES, DO YOU THINK?
Sure, absolutely. But the problem isn't that the Ufologists are promoting a negative view of it it's that I think the disbelief of it the fear that it engenders, the threat to our world view to our own identities exists throughout society. Ufologists are finding one way to create a framework in order to understand it, I don't think they can be faulted for that.
BUT IT'S POSSIBLE THAT WE'LL NEVER KNOW THE ANSWERS?
It's possible, people have been doing this work for decades and the answers always seem to be just outside of their grasp.