How Ethical are Extraterrestrials?

We often hear that someone or other has been abducted by an ET and the event called an ‘abduction’, and rightly so. To take someone against their will is an abduction. The person is not asked first whether they want to be taken from their bed while asleep, while driving their car, or returning home from a long weekend. Furthermore, in some cases, people claim they underwent a medical examination during their abduction, taken to see another planet, or told a story about planet Earth. The medical examination was said to be highly traumatizing. For some people, they are thoroughly unhinged. This paints a thoroughly unethical picture of ETs. Some people, however, are not ‘abducted’, so they claim, and say they willing allow themselves to be taken by the ET, wherever ET wants to take them and whenever the ET calls. How true it is that people initially willingly go with an ET is something that needs to be verified. I’m going to try here. Regardless, such people have had an experience, both physical and psychological – being taken will cause psychological affects, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Some say they have a pleasant experience, while many say they have an unpleasant experience. I don’t know the percentages, but I know I’ve read more accounts of unpleasant than pleasant experiences. Either way, such people have been labelled ‘abductees’, if taken without permission, while the others, as they haven’t yet been labelled, I will call them ‘consenters’, because they claim they willing go with an ET when beckoned. Why they willingly go is an irresistible question, but that’s another story.

What really happens when an ET visits someone in the middle of the night? As I discuss this issue I will use the generic ‘ET’ to refer to all visitors to Earth (until provided evidence to the contrary – if we’re not talking about ETs, we’re talking about something else). And in discussing the psychological events associated with visiting ETs, I will only discuss the highly controversial experience of telepathy. The presence of ETs physically and telepathically on Earth is viewed as an arrogant, intrusive act on the part of ETs. And this highlights an important issue with ETs that in my opinion goes unacknowledged in Ufology circles, that of ethics.

Rich Hoffman recently reported on a shift in MUFON, for instance, where in the above scenarios the emphasis will not be on the ET side of the event but on the human side. Instead of saying an ET physically took someone, whether willingly or not, the emphasis will be on the human having some kind of experience. All types of experiences (discussed below) will result in the person being re-classified an ‘experiencer’, whether or not their experience is a happy one. I will discuss only three.

The shift in focus from the ET to the human is meant be an attempt at being ‘politically correct’, says Rich Hoffman. But is it? I don’t think so. If someone is taken against their will then they are an ‘abductee’, they’ve been abducted. Pure and simple. If someone is ‘contacted’ by an ET, then they are a ‘contactee’. Sure. I accept that. But being contacted is problematic too, and here’s why. Normally, when we talk about being contacted by someone we talk about the manner of the contact, e.g. by phone, by email, by letter, or indirectly through another person. For example, John makes contact with Susan through Margaret. One example of being ‘contacted’ by an ET in a conventional manner would be this: an ET knocks on your door and says he’s from the star Vega, he was in the neighbourhood and just wanted to introduce himself. This is an incidence of being contacted. Exaggerated on not. But this is an instance of being contacted in a conventional, acceptable manner. Though some people might say if the ET knocked on their door, they’d think they were salesmen or something, and not view it as polite. Being contacted by an ET, however, is often far from conventional.

So there are three main types of experience being discussed here. 1) Being taken against your will. 2) Being invited to go with an ET. 3) Being contacted by an ET, directly or indirectly, and the manner of the contact. Why would you classify the first event as merely an experience, rather than what it is, an abduction? Being abducted – an abduction; being contacted – a contactee. Why would you classify someone who’s been abducted against their will as someone who merely experienced something? MUFON is trying to be politically correct, and mishandling it. By saying the abductee is an ‘experiencer’, in my view, makes it easier to reduce the abduction experience to a psychological event rather than a physical one. In this way, MUFON can be inclusive when investigating events out of the ‘normal’ and into the ‘para-normal’. I think this is going beyond the realm of reason and the rational to the irrational and the fantastical. If MUFON thinks the UFO phenomena is beyond the ‘normal’ then it will end up in a bog with no way out. Placing UFO phenomenon in the realm of the paranormal places it in the realm of the uninvestigable. It is impossible to sensibly investigate the paranormal.

But I’m not so concerned here with labels and classifying, though I’ve done that and discuss it elsewhere. What I’m concerned with is the manner of these experiences. And why we shouldn’t merely label them all simply ‘experiences’. If an ET comes into your house at 3am to make ‘contact’ with you, it is not an incidence of being ‘contacted’, in my view, in a conventional manner. It’s an incidence of home invasion. The ET was not invited. The ET has violated your sovereignty; invaded your privacy, even if the ET seems polite and friendly as she takes you against your will on an air-conditioned journey to the planet Saturn to observe the beauty of Saturn’s rings. This event is at best problematic. Why?

The problem of ET abduction and contact is ethics. This is what is missing from the discussion of ET abduction and ET contact. Ethics is the study of moral values and rules (principles). It is also a system of principles governing morality and acceptable conduct (behaviour). The principles that govern behaviour. The ethics of ET abduction is obvious: taking someone against their will is wrong, pure and simple. The ethics of ET contact is not so obvious, if ‘conventional’: an ET comes knocking on your door, do you invite a stranger into your house, even if they’re from Alpha Centauri?

“An ethical dilemma is a complex situation that often involves an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another.”

Source: Wikipedia, Free Encyclopedia.

If an ET is an ethical being, they will have a system of principles governing morality and acceptable behaviour, similar to humans, maybe even superior to humans. I don’t think they are morally superior, by the way, and I’ll show why. Firstly, an ET should respect the rights of human beings, just as humans should respect the rights of ETs. Right? But it’s not always clear cut. It isn’t always obvious that ETs respect our rights, even at the best of times. Let me explain, by way of examples. An ET drops in on Arizona, flies around the state in his sporty spacecraft a few hours and while doing so sees a lone driver heading south on highway 285 and decides to follow him for 15 minutes before zipping off home or to some other place.

Has the ET shown that they are ethical in the above scenario? The answer is no, not really. Firstly, the ET has violated a few of Arizona’s laws, if not the laws of the entire USA. The ET has breached Arizona’s air space and flown Arizona’s skies without permission. They have caused aircraft in the area to take evasive action, jeopardizing plane and passengers. Secondly, the ET has spooked the hell outta some guy on the 285. Intruding in the driver’s ‘personal space’ has caused the driver some concern, caused the driver to drive cautiously, if not erratically, jeopardizing his car and his safety, if not that of other drivers on highway 285.

We can use a few true historical events to emphasize the point. In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were allegedly abducted while driving home on Interstate Route 3 from a long weekend in Montreal. In 1986, Japan Air Lines flight 1628 en route to Tokyo from Paris was forced to change its altitude and flight path dramatically to avoid a collision with a large UFO. In 2006, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, was buzzed by a disc-shaped object causing pilots to take usual steps to avoid a collision. Here are just three historical events involving ETs. Firstly, the ETs breached New Hampshire’s airspace, breached airspace somewhere between Paris and Tokyo, and breached Illinois’s airspace. Secondly, the airspace breach put lives at risk.

In each case of airspace violation, the ET did more than breach our laws and ethical principles. The ET committed a criminal offence. If I fly my turboprop Dornier 228 through New Hampshire’s airspace at 2am in the morning without permission, I’m quite sure I’ll be confronted with more than dark skies. I’ll have broken the law, and the US Air Force will intercept me with some angry F-16s and force me to land at the nearest airport and arrest me. Entering a sovereign state’s airspace without permission is a criminal offence. ETs are clearly not behaving ethically when they breach the airspace of sovereign nations on Earth without express permission. Even if invited to by the local ET Contact Team.

In abducting Betty and Barney Hill, the ET did more than breach their value system. The ET committed a criminal offence. But, how does one arrest and prosecute an ET? The same way a sovereign nation prosecutes a non-citizen who has committed a crime within their sovereign borders. The ET’s behaviour presents us with an ethical dilemma. It also makes us question the ET’s ethical principles if not their value system. By breaching the air space of sovereign states, the ET has shown disregard for the laws of humans. In abducting people, the ET has shown scant regard for human value systems. This is a problem.

If humans are inviting ETs to come visit, they are inadvertently showing scant regard for others, if not the laws of the sovereign state or country where they live. If the ET accepts the invitation to come visit by, say, an ET Contact Team, for instance, the ET will violate the air space of whatever sovereign state the ET Contact Team is camped eagerly awaiting the crafts appearance. Even if someone wants an ET to come and speak with them, in order for the ET to visit, the ET will invariably breach the immigration laws of whatever sovereign country the person making the invitation resides eagerly awaiting the arrival of the ET from some far-off star system (or dimension). The ET may bring unwanted pathogens that may harm humans, and that would be disastrous.

Aside from personal invitations to ETs to physically visit, there is also the problem of telepathic communication. Say an ET decides to telepathically communicate his existence to someone in the early hours of Monday morning, say around 3am. Has the ET violated that person’s ‘mental’ space? If the telepathy is unsolicited, the ET has breached the person’s sovereignty, as well as their privacy. Uncalled for telepathy presents us an even greater ethical dilemma than breaching a sovereign state’s airspace, jeopardizing air planes and their passengers. Even if seemingly less intrusive. There’s the psychiatric side, which I won’t discuss here but you can imagine the effect. And that resides in the realm of psychiatry and psychology to manage, and not MUFON.

Interfering in a human’s life (without their express permission) is a breach of that person’s sovereignty. Doing so is unethical; an immoral act. Whether it is non-violent or violent. Unless the person has given the ET permission to invade their personal space and life, then the person, state, country, etc, hasn’t given the ET the right to do anything. If ETs are ethically principled, as we assume them to be, then their behaviour toward humans should be respectful. If it isn’t, then we have grounds to question ET ethics. Just like we claim the right to question the ethics of every other human on planet Earth when they do things we find objectionable.

Categorizing someone an ‘experiencer’ does not address the issue of ethics. It merely re-categorizers someone, perhaps with a hidden agenda. Has any ‘experiencer’ really, honestly, invited an ET to physically breach their sovereignty? Does Dr. Greer realise what he does when he invites ETs to visit him and his ET Contact Team? He is inviting ETs to break the law. Whether intentionally or not, Dr. Greer invites ETs to also behave unethically. He forces an ethical dilemma on the ET. If the ET is an ethical being living by ethical principles, then the ET’s ethics are being compromised by Greer’s ET Contact Team simple because his Team is inviting the ET to visit (without going through the proper channels). Dr. Greer, in fact, forces an ethical dilemma on us all when he invites us to make contact with ETs. Perhaps ‘contactees’ do the same when they personally invite an ET to visit. If they do, that is.

Some people will scoff at my questioning ET ethics. But by doing so, they will have missed the point. As ethical beings, we should question the ethics of everyone in the universe, not because it’s arrogant but because it’s the right thing to do. If an ET enters your life without your permission, telepathically sending you messages or physically entering your home without your permission, intent on taking you for an unauthorized medical examination, the ET has behaved badly. If the ET behaves badly then they cannot expect us to show them any respect. We frown on humans who behave badly, if criminally, we incarcerate them, so why should we smile if an ET does the same things? What would you do if a human stranger entered your house in the middle of the night? I bet you’d call the police, or take out your .38 and make a citizen’s arrest.

So how can ETs ethically endear themselves to us? By sharing their technology? No. That’s commerce, and commerce is rarely ethical. ETs must show they respect our sovereign right to be politely contacted, whether through old technology, an open letter, or some other polite way of introducing themselves. If you say I’m being rude, you’ve completely missed the point and don’t understand ethics. So far, the ethical track record of ETs hasn’t been all that good. Show me an instance of an ET being ethical?

If you say ETs are morally superior to humans and therefore deserve our respect without question, you better provide evidence that ETs are morally superior. If you want me to agree with you, that is. If you say ET technology makes them morally superior, you’re delusional. That’s exactly the thinking of the world’s superpowers. The world’s superpowers are militarily and technologically superior, and often say (to weaker nations – even to each other), that they are morally superior and just in their stance toward weaker nations say so show us respect or else. This a form of neuroticism. And some UFO-believers show deference to ETs purely because they’re technologically superior. That is questionable behaviour.

My feeling is that we have put ourselves and ETs in a tight spot by openly inviting or indirectly inviting ETs to visit, we force ETs to comprise their ethics. By wilfully breaching our ethical codes, ETs have demonstrated they can be capricious, mean-minded, and stupid. Whether it is deliberate or not, is difficult to know because they don’t communicate in conventional ways. If deliberate, their ethics are questionable. If not, then ETs are ethical beings but are for some reason breaking theirs and our ethical principles. We’ve seen how they can be violent and stupid. We’ve also seen how they can be enigmatic. I think ETs are as fascinated by us as we are of them. But let’s not ignore ethics as we investigate, study, and invite ETs to interact with us. And by no means give them the impression that they are morally superior to us just because they possess more exotic technology and have engineered their way among the stars or dimensions.


Author: Robert M. Easterbrook

I'm one of those tall thin guys who looks around a lot and keeps to himself. I've recently completed a PhD, thinking it might be useful for something. I'm also a dreamer, because dreaming is far more interesting than the mundane.

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