Blindspots…

A thought occurred to me while I was driving…

You know how we have these blindspots in our fields of vision?  When we’re driving, for example, just behind our automobiles, and to either side, there are these patches of space we can’t really see very well even if we turn our heads, because parts of the frames of our motorized carriages block our view…and even if we could see them when we turn our heads, we obviously can’t drive around town with our heads twisted all the way around like owls, striving to keep tabs on those blindspots to the point that we neglect what’s right in front of us.  So to help us out, we build various mirrors into our vehicles, and we train ourselves to scan them very, very regularly, even as we remain vigilant about what’s looming in the road ahead.  This is not new information.

Look at how many blind spots here -- a plague of blind spots!!  (image created by Stef Breukel)...
Look at how many blindspots here — a plague of blind spots!! (image created by Stef Breukel)…

But what occurred to me is this: surely we must also have other blindspots elsewhere, that are, in fact, so very blind, that we don’t yet (as a people) even know we have them…right?

I should elaborate…  I have this friend who lives in a town called Highland Park, not very far from my own home.  Highland Park is crisscrossed by a number of streets that are all named in the fashion of “Avenue XX,” with the “XX” part being filled in by various numbers: Avenue 36 or Avenue 43, etc.  As it happens, my friend lives right near an intersection at which her street is traversed by Avenue 51.  And for whatever Freudian slip kinds of reasons, my brain insists on always mixing this street name up with the phrase “Area 51.”  As you may know, Area 51 is a military base that’s long been conflated with notions about secret extraterrestrial activity…

Signpost outside of Rachel, Nevada, the nearest inhabited settlement to Area 51...
Signpost outside of Rachel, Nevada, the nearest inhabited settlement to Area 51…

So, back to blindspots…  When it comes to things like UFOs, alien abductions, extraterrestrial visitors here on Earth…well, I think it’s safe enough to say that we’ve never experienced anything so grand and sweeping in this realm that the majority of people on this big blue globe agree that it happened, and even agree on the specifics.  Far more common are the claims of lone people or very small groups about strange vessels or bizarre lifeforms popping into view, perhaps creating odd or unfathomable phenomena in their wake, and then disappearing back into the ether.  Any evidence these people can gather is rarely held up by authorities as proof positive of their claims, and many are dismissed as “crackpots.”

But does this mean that aliens haven’t visited us…?  Well…maybe.  Maybe people who would have us believe they were kidnapped and probed and such, really have fallen off the old mental balance beam, and maybe their claims do amount to little more than delusional ravings.  This is totally possible.

However…even if every claim of extraterrestrial activity on Earth is indeed without any basis in fact…that doesn’t rule out the possibility that there really may be aliens out there in space…or even right here, walking among us, as of yet unperceived.  What if there are aliens here at this very moment…but they purposefully remain in some blindspot that we all share as humans…??

Without even getting too metaphysical about it — so, let’s for the moment rule out suppositions along the lines of, “They sit in a pocket dimension that exists alongside our own, and watch us through peepholes!!” — imagine aliens that are physically right here with us, but only exist in, say, the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum.  We humans can’t see that stuff.  It’s like one vast blindspot for us.  Some birds and insects can see into the UV, but we can’t.  Aliens like that could probably walk among us, and only the kestrels would know.

The Common Kestrel can see into the UV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum...so what might this one be seeing that we can't...??
The Common Kestrel can see into the UV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum…so what might this one be seeing that we can’t…??

So if this kind of thing is possible, I can see humans as a species maybe evolving over time such that we eventually begin to conquer our blindspots.  Maybe those people who claim to have seen or been in contact with aliens are either anomalous individuals who just don’t suffer from the same blindspots that the rest of us share, or maybe they’re simply the forerunners of change, the first new possessors of perceptions that have been souped up enough to be able to take notice of our alien visitors.  The noted ethnobotanist and psychonaut, Terence McKenna, has popularized the idea that usage of certain psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and DMT can enable those under the influence to perceive and interact with presences that we humans can’t really perceive or interact with in our everyday, conscious states.  Some dismiss McKenna’s ideas, holding that things “perceived” in psychedelic states are phantoms, constructs of the drugs themselves that don’t really exist…while others hold fiercely to what they see as great truth in what McKenna believed, and swear that the presences are truly there, and we simply can’t perceive them most of the time because they dwell in places that are almost absolute blindspots to our conscious minds.

And I guess that’s the point here, of this post: it might benefit us to make more of a practice of acknowledging the fact that we do have blindspots, probably more than we can even recognize, and to then allow for strange and semi-unknowable things all around us.  The world is a mysterious place, in part because we simply can’t perceive all of its working components.  It could be that some people have managed to catch glimpses of elements that most of us can’t note at all.  It could even be that you yourself have been one of these people.  It’s easy to discount claims that UFOs have been active around Area 51, or elsewhere — maybe even around Avenue 51, in Highland Park! — but I prefer to allow for those possibilities, myself.  I like living in a world where I don’t/can’t know everything about everything.  Blindspots can be frustrating, but they can also prod us to find beauty and value in the things that we can see…

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