COPYRIGHT CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
INTERVIEW WITH PETER ROJCEWICZ
Well it ws 1980 and I was just beginning formal academic investigation into the UFO phenomenon and I was in a research library in Philadelphia United States and I was probably two hours into this present session of reading and I as looking through some fo the literature on UFO's and at the time it was in the fall and it was already getting dark, sun had set and it was a strange day high erratic winds, clouds, rain then it would, the sun would come up very unpredictable weather patterns for the day and as I recall I was sitting reading and at one point I looked down and all of a sudden I saw a pant leg, black shoe, black pant standing next to me and I looked down and I said oh to myself oh boy here I am choosing a quiet part of the library and now somebody is going to come by and sit next to me or bother me. SO I never looked up immediately and I saw this individual move around to the table, and ah sit down and he was ah, having with him three or four books. And he put them in front of himself and I never looked up at his face at this point but I saw he was all dressed in black, black suit, that is to say a black jacket, black pants, white shirt, had a black Texas like string tie, ah, and sat with his hands folded didn't say anything for three to five minutes. Eventually engaged me in conversation asked me what I was doing. I told him I was beginning an investigation into the UFO phenomenon, feeling a little bit sheepish about mentioning that to anbody, ah, since I had no point of view or attitude or whatsoever, it started as an academic excerise. And at a certain point he said well do you believe in the reality of UFO's and I really wasn't into having a conversation with anybody at this point once I get into this study mode I like to plough ahead and so I said to him I gave him a kind of a classic anthropological social science answer, saying well I don't have to be interested in whether they're real or not I'm just interested in the stories behind them. At this point the individual became highly volatile, highly exciteable, even ah, angry. And he yelled at the top of his lungs "UFO's are the most important fact of this century and you're not interested." And I looked up at this individual and he was very, very gaunt, he was probably about 6 foot one and weighed if anything 130 pounds at most. His black suit looked like he had slept in it for the last week, very unclean he had deep sunken eyes oily hair, ah it was combed back and a deep resonant voice that struck me asbeing European but I couldn't locate the country, very, very articulate. At that point I calmed him down thinking surely he was going to be asked to leave the library but no one every came around which was a little bit strange. Eventually he got up and when he got up it was very mechanical like, as if he was lifted from a crane, everything was straight and his body didn't show any kind of natural movement to it and he walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said to me "Go well on your purpose" and I just figured he was some kook, maybe some fraud you know religious individual proselytizing and he walked out. As soon as he left I had this intense feeling of fear, I mean really absolutely immobilizing fear. I had a sense that this person was not just what the eye led me to believe, another weird individual off the streets of Philadelphia and I had the sense of real, real horror. I got up out of my chair and walked around the books, the stack of books to the research section and normally there are three librarians there to meet the needs of graduate students, there was not anybody behind the desk. The guards that are normally are by the door weren't there, there were no graduate students, this is about now quarter to seven pm on a weekday in a very in an Ivy League library. There was someone always there at least guards at the door. There wasn't a single person in the library and at this point I panicked, this wasn't reality that I knew I went back to my chair I was hyper ventilating and it took me about 45 to 50 minutes before I could get up again, get the courage to walk once again around to the research library desk and as I did fifty minutes later, everybody was in its place, must have been 50 to 60 students, librarians there, the guards at the door. And nothing. Very very strange. At this point I must point out that I had not read or heard or otherwise encountered anybody who had what is called a man in black experience which is probably the most cryptic and strangest side show of the overall UFO experience so it wasn't a matter of my being predisposed towards it, I had just begun in a matter of days of looking into the UFO experience and I had no knowledge of these intimidators if you will who often meet, come to investigators, people who have had UFO experiences and so when that happened to me it was only about three months later that I came across some of the literature about men in black experience and at that point I said to myself hmmm this is very interesting, perhaps there is something here more than you know psychosis.
it seems to me that whatever the men in black are, whatever the reality of the men in black are they seem to be a kind of embodiment of antithesis, that is to say, they seem to negate or play the opposite role of the individual's attitudes or belief, or consciousness and so here being a kind of agnostic at the time, I don't know if they're real and I don't even care. He chose the other point of view. What I find interesting is that in the men in black cases that I know both through my own investigation and in the literature it seems that if the experience evokes terror in an individual if you play into that fear it seems as if you're feeding the phenomenon, as if you're providing it a reality frame for it's continuation. IF however, you starve it by showing its opposite face, I'm not interested it seems as if rather than feeding it you force it to feed upon itself and that it starves and dissipates and there are a number of individuals who I respect in the scientific community in the academic community who have said the same thing basically. That if you can short circuit the phenomenon rather than feeding into it it seems to go its own way with out any negative effect upon the experiencer. I think this is what happened here It was a matter of a kind of short ciruit.
WHAT HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT IN THE LAST 12 YEARS? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
Well one of the first things I figured out I think that a sense of humour is absolutely a critical tool for anybody looking into these anomalous experiences and I don't mean that to be funny in a sense that I think a sense of humour is crucial. When you laugh at something you're both involved and invested and into the experience but by laughter also brings you back a step, you're also detached and objective and can pass some judgement on it so that's one thing I've learned is to ah to laugh and to ah, be open enough to not take it all too seriously.
** SO WHAT'S THE JUDGEMENT THAT YOU'VE ARRIVED AT? WHERE ARE YOU NOW IN UNDERSTANDING?
It may sound like small peanuts to someone who is a true believer but I am at the point now where I believe that the UFO phenomenon is an authentic experience it is a real authentic powerful emotional experience for people that cannot be easily explained by the usual scientific approach. Whether or not it's extra terrestrial, whether or not it's actually a piece of physical hardware from some other planet remains to be proven but my feeling is at this point that there's something quite anomalous and I feel that the reality is, is a paradoxical one and neither wholly objective and concrete and real but neither is it wholly subjective and imaginary and therefore unreal. IT is a kind of experience that combines both of these objective and subjective realities in one hybrid kind of reality and I think this is probably the key to what the purpose if there is one, or design if there is one, behind all of these transpersonal experiences, behind these anomalous experiences to it's as if there's a cosmic tutor out there and at different times, and at different places taking on, on different shapes that tell us something crucial about what it means to be human that we are both objective and matieral and flesh but we also have a consciousness a psyche and therefore we have a transcendent nature and both exist simultaneously and how to live in a reality frame called the human and how do we live in a reality that is neither totally objective nor totally subjective but omnijective if you will, to use a term that my late friend Michael Talbot used to use, you know how to live that kind of world.
WHAT WHAT CONFUSES ME IS THE NOTION THAT THIS IS, THIS IS A MODERN FORM OF AN ANCIENT MYTH. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT MEANS THAT IT'S REAL -- OR THAT WE'RE JUST MAKING IT UP?
To say that the UFO phenomenon is a modern form of an ancient myth is full of dangerous words. First of all the word myth is precarious today. When we use the word myth we usually use it as a synonym for falsehood. For non-factual, for distortion for error. But the word mythology has, comes from again, a hybrid of two kinds of realities: mythos and logos. Mythos basically meant a story anything muttered from the mouth of a man or a woman an account, a narrative an experience. And logos had something to do with a verifiable . reality a kind of fact, and mythology is the fusion of mythos, a story and account, and some kind of reality that's ascertainable, observeable and even recordable.
THAT'S INTERESTING WE BELIEVE IT TO BE JUST THE OPPOSITE.
THAT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FACT.
And therefore we have distorted view of reality. IF in fact, much of our, if, if life is a kind of combination... whose life is it -- a fusion of accounts, stories, of things that are so true so verifiable that words fuse it, words are almost impotent to describe it. We all have experiences. Love for example, I mean no matter how much we try to describe something like love or virtue or consciousness we can't. No words are adequate to describe it. These are the mythological dimensions, it's the dimension of meaning of our lives, of quality, of values in our lives and I think what the phenomenon is saying is that we need a kind of mythological perspective again, to get back to that original idea that there are some realities and some truths which are so profound that normal language or the the materialistic bias of our scientific paradigm are not sufficient to get at these things. And so I think that we're suffering from a kind of, of failure to observe and realise reality.
HMM BUT THE SPACESHIP TODAY IS IT THE SAME DOES IT COME FROM THE SAME SOURCE SAY AS THE FAIRY DID FOR THE IRISH?
Well these are, you're asking big questions here, that is to say what is the source the ultimate source, the trigger.
WELL I GUESS I'M WONDERING IF IT'S US? AND IF EACH CULTURE DEFINES THE SYMBOL AND HOW THE MESSAGE IS DELIVERED?
If we're dealing with the reality that is omnijective, that is if the UFO phenomenon is truly paradoxical in the sense that it deals both with objective, physical properties, as well as mental slash psychic properties, then to say is it, does the UFO experience have a source in ourselves is to miss half the reality the answer is yes and no. Ok that is to say, the UFO experience I believe involves an interplay between both mental aspects and physical properties.
do UFO experience have a source in ourselves the answer is yes and no. What do I mean by that? There is a field of study called depth psychology which people like C.J. Jung and James Hillman who went beyond Jung in many respects, posit that there are certain structures in the human mind which you can call archetypes that organize our experiences. And they, they create in us a kind of threshold of experiences so that human beings feel, fantasize imagine things or act within a certain range, that we call the human. Towards the end of his life Jung started to believe that these archetypes not only existed in the mind but under certain conditions, under certain, what we call states of consciousness, could in fact, transgress the psychological field of experience and actually manifest themselves, however temporarily in a physical state in the outer world it is quite possible he said, that there is some level of our human mind that overlaps with outer reality as if there was a doorway between the inner life and the outer life, and it may well be that UFO's and apparitions and experiences and encounters with the men in black are in fact archetypal insofar as they share this common background, they come from the transcendent background where the nature o fmind and the nature of nature overlap, and so to ask is it in here, out there is really be talking about an objective or subjective world, when the world in fact may be a combination of both omni objective.
Quantum physics suggests that the world is trickier, that reality is not compeltely concrete and physical and as material as we thought, that the actual scientist entering into the level of fundamental reality may affect it change it by virtue of trying to control it and record it objectively. So Heisenberg's theory of uncertainty I think applies that our own tool of measurements as we try to measure anomalous phenomenon or subatomic particles, in order to measure it the scientist has to see it, in order to see it the scientist has to bring in photon and photons are energy and they bombard the very electron that we want to isolate and locate precisely and so it's the entrance of this tool of measurement which becomes an active participatory element inside the experience.
That is to say whatever that reality out there, that factor x, which seems to repeat throughout the course of human history, all through the human adventure, reasonable people, intelligent people have been encountering this factor x and it seems as if there is a kind of element within the phenomenon, it updates itself as if it is trying to communicate something of its nature with us and says if it uses what is important in the cultural world view at the time to communicate itself. So that the faeries in fact were this, were a form of this anomalous reality, that human beings encountered in the past and UFO's today have experiences, have close resemblences to the fairy encounters that the faeire is themselves have strong resemblences to the alleged or presumed extra terrestrials of of modern day UFO lore. To say that they have resemblences is not to say that I'm reducing UFO experiences to fairy lore, they are discreet but related, they are separate but not separated we see a kind of updating every evolving phenomenon I feel that that has existed always.
I think it's a great mistake from my point of view, to think that the abduction experience is something that happens in the 20th century. I think that one who is conversant with the literature of world folklore and religion and philosophy can in fact find that the abduction experience is one of those ah, back through time. Ah, for example, if you look through world folklore you will find for example that the lore about ah, witches are such that they ah, often will abduct individuals and carry them with great expanses of land -- the devil of tradition also is known to be able to carry away individuals. Incubi succubae, and various kinds of enigmatic spiritual beings also have the same ability to carry people away.
But perhaps the strongest comes from the fairy lore and the fairies were known to abduct human beings, children, men and women for various purposes. One of the strongest parallels has to do with the children. Fairies were often believed in the lore of British Isles and western and eastern europe to steal children very early out of, out of the womb and they would steal these children and leave in their place often weak or sickly fairy facsimilies and they would often die and beliefs around crib deaths were perhaps the source for the story of the changelings. But perhaps there was something else there. The children were often said to be carried away by the fairies, they were taken by the good people you call them the good people because you fear them and therefore you don't want any retribution to fall upon you. And the idea was that the fairies needed human beings to invigorate their blood line, that there was a kind of need on part of fairy fate to have human warmth and human blood ah, as if there was a kind of cross species inter species relationship going on -- very much like what we find today in the abduction lore.
I WAS GOING TO SAY, YOU COULD SUBSTITUTE ALIENS FOR FAIRIES THERE AND THE SENTENCE WOULD BE AS CORRECT.
That is to say there are many similarities, there are some differences too, and it would be incorrect to say that one is merely a synonym for the other. I think it's an ongoing updating phenomenon, but I think what we're seeing here is something that has a common source through time and space, even though at the surface there are culturally specific details that change from time to time from culture to culture. It still seems to me that the core experience of this human confrontation with an apparently non human entity results in the individual human being being taken away is there in constant.
DO WE KNOW THE SOURCE? I MEAN DO WE KNOW WHERE IT COMES FROM?
Well it's at least partially from ourselves, and that is not to say we know anything about it, because the self is so alien the soul, the psyche, this inner world is so alien to our everyday ego, that it might as well be talking about something alien out there, you walk into any bookstore and you see the self help section it has nothing to do with self, those books have everything to do with ego. The self is a reality an experiential field that is so strange and so alien to our ego that to touch it brings about the same kind of feelings of awe, and terror and wonder and, and and even paralysis, as people who encounter UFO's, apparitions, men in black. If Jung is correct and there is some part of overlap between the human soul, the nature of our psyche and our consciousness and the nature of nature, then we know at least partially that reality, the reality of this phenomenon is not totally detached from us, that we do have some, some say in whether or not the experience is positive, whether or not the experience will facilitate further growth in our life, whether it'll expand our perception to see beyond our limitations or whether or not our life will become ah - ah useless to us or failed or whether or not we will become you know people in crisis, that the consciousness and the attitude I feel, that you have, plays a great part in whether or not this experience, the experience with an anomalous reality becomes positive, or negative because at least part of the source is ourselves..
AND THE OTHER PART IS. . .
Ad the other part is factor x
THE OLD FACTOR X.
Factor x. So this is important because most people will say ah, he's merely interpreting this experience in psychological terms, and I'm not, or I'm doing it in a very precise way, as long as we understand that part of our psychology may in fact materialise even in the form of a physical space craft, as wild as that seems, as long as we understand that part of pur psychology is always outside of ourselves always behond our understanding, always alien to our ego on the one hand, and the other sense that it's that that ah, we know so, very little about self, you know and reality at the same time so I'm not, so psychology and, I'm not merely saying that it has to do with hallucination. There are parts of the psyche that psychology has no understanding about -- and perhaps there are reality states that have their source in a human observer and witness and yet still have a reality however temporarily in the other world.
WELL MAYBE IT'S IT'S TIME JUST TO LEAVE ROOM FOR MYSTERY. MAYBE THERE ISN'T AN ANSWER, MAYBE THEY WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND, IS THAT BECAUSE IS THAT A COP OUT, IS THAT AN EASY WAY OUT?
the 20th century with such wonderful developments in science and medicine and technology we think that we pretty much have reality covered, yet the strange thing is the more we learn about the you know the fundamental nature of reality the more we find out we really need to know. And I think there's something about a world view that is to say the world view that we have, the cultural lens that we have to, to encounter reality is very crucial to whether or not we become happy people, useful people, productive people, psychologically you know, viable people, and I think what the phenomenon may be saying to us in some respect is that reality is much larger than what we come to believe it is and that we're doing ourselves damage, both physically and spiritually and cognitively by reducing the human spirit and the human, and the human psyche to too small an area of expression. And it often fills with demons if you regulate the human, the human impetus for wonder in exploration and for questing, what is the quest of modern men and women, what questions are we asking about who we are and where are we going, and what does it mean to be a human being, perhaps this is some kind of imperative both from within and from without and in an omni-objective world there can be no distinction between in and out, but a reality that's asking us to renegotiate our relationship with our own selves and its place in the world.
why some people have an encounter with the men in black, why some people see a UFO experience why one person is, is you know one of many witnesses who see apparitions of the virgin Mary and (unclear) ...Yugoslavia, it's hard to answer. IT has, it seems it has nothing to do with gender, has nothing to do with money in the bank, has nothing to do with whether or not you're a prominent person, it may have something to do with the fact that some people are more predisposed to entertain things outside of their inherited world views. IT may be that some people just happen to have a serendipitius experience with the wall of their reality frame cracks for a moment and through the crack they can shimmerings of another experince, of another reality and for one moment, just for a moment, there's enough doubt about the view of reality that they've grown up with for them to see thrugh it in wonder, and that might change their life to go on the quest. What if science is only a synonym for reality. What if there is more to reality than science itself imagines?
even if we can find a natural or or, extra terrestrial or physiological explanation for UFO's it would still not answer that big question of meaning. In terms of meaning why thes common patterns, why the similarity in the motifs from account to account, what do they mean? And how do you explain the after effects that is the transformative experience the UFO experience or a near death experience have on people, what does it mean in terms of those common features. This common after effect, it helps some people, it destroys other people. How can you rectify that, what is a relationship betwen those common recurring after effects with that stable core of motifs and patterns of response that people have, these questions are there, in terms of the meaning of the experience, even if we do find a biological or natural or extra - terrestrial explanation for these things.
And for those people who are predisposed to see every moment of their life, however strange, however weird it is from your training or from your teaching your education but if you're truly able to see every moment of life, however strange it may be, as a potential difference to you, as potentially the difference to all mankind as a kind of tutor, I can learn from this it challenges me fine, i can learn from this, it terrifies me -- fine I can learn from this. And potentially whatever it is we've got something here that I think is worth our investigation.