Nigel Watson

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UFOs are the key to discovering Heaven and Hell.

It is appropriate that our modern technological societies have incorporated the old Gods and religions into 'new' technological belief systems. Since the 1950s the question 'Was God An Astronaut?' has been put forward and popularised. From there it didn't take a genius to equate reports of UFOs in our own time with The Return of the Gods. The 'scientific' ufologists have usually wanted to ignore such elements, whereas from the very beginning, the beings encountered by the contactees are thinly disguised religious entities who make bland religious statements that will help 'save our planet'. Even those who have only seen lights in the sky have often reported numinous feelings that can easily lead to more complex encounters.

The mastery of space exploration and the culminating Space Race quickly made us wonder if we were evolving into Gods ourselves. In Kubrick's 2001. A Space Odyssey humanity's technology leads to evolutionary change, in TV's Star Trek we would become secular rulers of the universe (and spiritual leaders in The Next Generation). By the early 1970s people felt that poverty, famine and disaster could be eradicated if as much effort was put into these problems as the Apollo moon project. The power of money, science, technology, indeed the whole military-industrial complex, also had its dark-side that revealed how false these hopes were; that dark-side was the

Vietnam debacle. Watergate only emphasized that the forces of human Government were conspiratorial and far from democratic.

It is no wonder that virtually all 1970s movies had to have gloomy, down-beat endings. Nature and science seemed to conspire against civilisation, the common person was trapped in a web of conflict and disaster. In the cinema, the answer was to look to the skies. Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind showed the emptiness and superficiality of suburban existence which is contrasted by the power and majesty of the UFO craft and their benign Ghandi-like occupants. At the same time Star Wars showed that life amongst the stars is adventurous and dangerous. Luke Skywalker, the main protagonist, has to learn the difference between good and evil. Star Wars clears the slate of modern-day anxieties and puts us in a period where there are obvious goodies and baddies - a concept that was to be Reagan's main inspiration.

Andrew Britton puts it this way:

The Reaganite space and horror cycles...answer to one another. In the one case, Good is affirmed through the spectacle of its robustness and it's pre-given triumph, and in the other through the spectacle of its terrible vulnerability to appalling alien forces or the punishment of deviations from it. The banality of the films derives from the undialectical conception of Good and Evil, and the reduction to the level of routine of the contest between them.... (1)

This regeneration of belief in space exploration and contact with extraterrestrials is highly paradoxical since in reality the Space Race was the direct outcome of the Cold War and the race to develop ever-more powerful and sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. The same can be said of Ufology in general; we believe in the absolute power of these spiritual saviours from the skies who treat us like easily duped children (or cattle) yet they use vehicles that are always falling out of the skies. Our new Gods have feet of clay. Indeed, our ability to build space craft and atomic bombs seems like a route to understanding or at least invoking these Gods. We can learn from the new Gods who have perfected their technology without killing themselves off. Equally, we can learn from the Gods who have ruined their own planet and plan to invade our blessed planet (as in Wells' War of the Worlds or the 'factual' case of the Janos People).

The UFO movement and Science Fiction religion

UFO enthusiasts are mostly New Agers.

The saucer is a Jungian archetype, a symbol of a god, which appears during times of stress in a society. The UFO movement "exposes the inadequacy" of the government, science, and the military. This symbol has silently undermined the credibility of our leading institutions, leaving them open to New Age attack.

As for new myths, what could be more natural, in an age of scientific marvels, than
Erich von Däniken's Ancient Astronaut theory, stories of space gods arriving in flying saucers, symbols of transcendent technology?

C. G. Jung pointed out that the astrological transition from the age of Pisces (fish symbol) to Aquarius has deep symbolic significance for the unconscious mind, regardless of whether or not one believes in astrology, and in so doing he predicted something akin to the New Age movement.

Since it is probable that extraterrestrial life exists somewhere else in the universe, New Agers have taken this idea and transformed it into a myth of superhuman sky gods who will save humanity from its shortcomings, even from self-destruction. This is an example of a myth which has at least a tenuous level of support from science, unlike the Christian myths and those of most other religions.

D. Curran says that all of the ufo "messages" follow the J-C tradition. However, the inclusion of Christ among the "Space Brothers" suggests that he has been transformed into a pagan god. Both New Agers and Christians are into the UFO movement.


The important thing to see is that the UFO is at least ostensibly science based, however tenuously. We in everyday life do not realize how deeply this myth has taken hold in our society. TV constantly bombards us with images of UFOs and UFOnauts. Even a beer commercial shows little ETs enjoying the product.

The myths will be the same old ones dressed up in modern technological garb, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, coming under the general heading of "Science fiction religion". It will force the development of new myths to facilitate the union of man and machine, a combination of the Space Brother and a computer


Having lost faith in our own leaders the space visitors represent new leaders who can show us how to use advanced technology without destroying our planet. This blind belief in the space visitors reverts us to an immature level as defined by Immanuel Kant in his attempt to define 'What is Enlightenment?'. He wrote:

'Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity...Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another'. (2)

By extension the belief in UFOs represents an immature view of the world which denies us the ability to resolve our own problems. In our increasingly compartmentalised and alienating societies we feel powerless to change things, it's far better to leave it to the space visitors to save us.

As Keith Tester notes:

If enlightenment means making sense of the world for oneself, without a belief in ghosts in the machine, then the operation of the culture industry means that a belief in such ghosts increases.'

argument is that the culture industry (newspapers, TV, radio, films, books, etc.) has a tendency to be barbaric in a moral and cultural sense. The culture industry revels in rendering its audience to the level of immature imbeciles. We are not meant to think, we are to indulge in the passive absorption of media images to pass the time and escape from the cruel realities of day-to-day life. The only response that is required is to keep viewing and buy the products advertised.

UFOs fit neatly in this scenario. In terms of the culture industry UFOs are an entertaining sideshow. The cheap tabloids shamelessly exploit the popularity of such subjects and the broadsheets stay aloof. Criticism and analysis is at best ill-informed. This is especially true of the broadcast media which is more interested in debating whether 'they' are true or not. This constant emphasis on 'believers' and 'sceptics' misses the opportunity to look at the subject in a wider context.

The bottom line is that books, articles and programmes have to play to the believers; they are the ones who are willing to part with their cash. The sceptics can say that such material is rubbish but they are usually buried under the banner headlines and sensational snapshots of alien autopsies. The few facts that do exist are the cheese in a media game of cat and mouse.

The culture industry takes the UFO cases away from the ufologists and turns it into sophisticated forms of high-action entertainment (The X Files is a good example of this phenomenon) or it dramatises this material , often with the help of ufologists, in 'factual' programmes or films (e.g. Strange But True, Fire In The Sky, Communion).

Ufologists are more likely to 'investigate' cases that conform to those already defined by the culture industry and therefore have the potential for exploitation.. In the rush for headlines any old rubbish will pass-muster if it feeds the media with sensational copy and (preferably) pictures (the
Roswell film footage springs immediately to mind). Indeed, many ufologists never publish any of their findings in any useful form, they are just publictity/money obsessed saucer chasers who enjoy playing with the media. Other characters are foolhardy enough to publish endless reports about their investigations which usually show how much they have distorted the facts to conform to their pre-fixed ideas. The whole subject is riddled with sad believers or cynical exploiters who justify their money-raking by saying that it will fund their more serious research endeavours.

The following statement by Adorno (4) is about astrology but it can be equally applied to ufology:

While the naive persons who take more or less for granted what happens hardly ask the questions astrology pretends to answer and while really educated and intellectually fully developed persons would look through the fallacy of astrology, it is an ideal stimulus for those who have started to reflect, who are dissatisfied with the veneer of mere existence and who are looking for a 'key.' but who are at the same time incapable of the sustained intellectual effort required by theoretical insight and also lack the critical training without which it would be utterly futile to attempt to understand what is happening.

This might seem unnecessarily harsh but with a subject like ufology we should be more critical of the evidence because it is so contentious. In reality the reverse seems to happen. You just tell a well-known ufologist that you have had an encounter similar to one in their latest book, and next thing you know, you're in their abduction support group or documentary programme.

What happens when your cast-iron evidence is proven to be as watertight as the Titanic? Does it sink without trace? Well, there are several strategies to cover this contingency, you can say that you were just presenting the facts in good faith and were not aware of any duplicity. Usually the faith in the reality of UFOs is unbroken because there are millions more cases out there that will provide the necessary proof. Another tactic is to say it's part of some plot to discredit yourself and the witness(es) and that it's all true, honest. You either believe or you don't, any evidence pro or con seems irrelevant, since there'll always be new twists to the UFO stories to titillate the public.

Andrew Britton makes this statement about contemporary cinema productions:

Entertainment tells us to forget our troubles and to get happy, but it also tells us that in order to do so we must agree deliberately to switch life off. (5) This can be easily changed to state that 'UFO stories are there to forget our earthly troubles' in the sense that we are not expected to do anything about the problems of the world because the UFO entities have absolute control over us and our Governmentts. As Britton goes on to argue:

Entertainment asks us to believe that it is supremely wonderful, as it must do if its main claim to represent one of the capitalist system's rewards, one of the tokens of that system's superiority to other systems, is to carry weight. (6)

By the same token UFOs are used by the culture industry to show that it is one with popular beliefs and it rewards us with wonderful visions of UFOs on our TV and cinema screeens. In this sense Britton's statement that 'Entertainment helps one to feel normal'' is helpful with regard to UFO material, as it shows that you are not mad if you see, or believe, in UFOs.

The culture industry gobbles-up UFO material that is shovelled into it by willing ufologists, then it is crapped all over us whether we like it or not. As such the very spirit of wonder and defamiliarisation with the everyday that UFOs might inspire only serves to feed the dominant socio-economic structure. Ufology is a proto-religion or techno-religion that has sold its soul to commerce. UFO material can then be regarded as nothing more than a product to be consumed rather than as something to be analysed and studied.

At this stage it would be easy to invoke capitalism (which is at the root of the culture industry) as the nasty Devil that has corrupted ufology and brought the space Gods crashing down to earth. That is an easy line-of-thought but like most aspects of ufology things are more complicated and paradoxical. In our society we all need money and if research or sightings of UFOs can generate it, that is obviously helpful to the people concerned. That doesn't mean to say the research or the sightings are invalid, though it does provide a powerful incentive for elaborating UFO cases for the sake of financial gain. This is obviously a greater motive in the

USA than anywhere else (in Britain very little money is earned from Ufology - ask my bank manager for ample evidence of this!).

A greater motive, I think, is that the investigator or witness has a strong belief that they want to promote to the world at large. The belief is that there is something beyond everyday reality but the problem is that the believer cannot quite put their concepts into an adequate structure. That's why most messages from the space visitors are garbled reflections of our own worldly concerns. In contrast, the scientific investigator believes they are presenting hard-won facts to the scientific community when they wouldn't know 'science' from a plastic Trogg. Indeed, I prefer the contactee-type cultists in the sense that they at least try to peddle some sort of message for the greater good, whereas the abductees and the rest of the abductee industry tries to sell us the idea of nasty, merciless space beings with all sorts of hidden agendas and preconceptions mixed-in for good measure.

The will-to-believe in visitors from beyond our everyday realm is strong but at the same time it takes us into the grip of the culture industry that firmly imprisons us in the everyday. The beings that pilot the flying saucers are as substantial as today's headlines.



Britton, Andrew, 'Blissing Out: The Politics of Reaganite Entertainment', Movie, Winter 1986, No 31/32, page 11.

2. Kant, Immanuel, 1970 'An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?' in H.Reiss (ed.), 'Kant's Political Writings', Cambridge University Press, page 54

3. Tester, Keith, 1994, 'Media, Culture and Morality', Routledge, page 49.

4. Adorno, Theodor, 1974, 'The Stars Down to Earth, The Los Angeles Times Astrology Column', Telos, No 19, pages 87-88.

5. Britton, ibid., page 4.

6. Britton, ibid., page 4.


Scott Corrales is a frequent contributor to Fate magazine. He is the editor of Inexplicata: The Journal of Hispanic Ufology. 


UFOs and the Evolution of Man

by Scott Corrales

Visitors to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History often find themselves standing in front of the “evolutionary column” or “geological column” to ponder the development of life on Earth—from protozoa to Homo sapiens—passing through a motley and often terrifying array of prehistoric creatures such as eurpteryds, dinosaurs of various kinds, and carnivorous mammals. Humankind sits at the very top of the column, its eyes on the stars and with no predators to fear, aside from its fellows.


Early writers and thinkers of the UFO phenomenon rejected the role of evolution in humanity’s appearance on this planet, suggesting the belief that extraterrestrials either biologically engineered prehistoric apes to produce us or brought us wholesale from another world to this one. Landmark books, such as Brinsley LePoer Trench’s The Sky People and Otto Binder’s Unsolved Mysteries of the Past, were joined by the collected works of Erich Von Däniken and more recently those of Zecharia Sitchin.


An even more disturbing hypothesis concerning the presence of non-human visitors in Earth’s past appeared in the mid-1970s in Gods of Air and Darkness by Richard Mooney (Fawcett, 1976). The author suggested that the creatures considered monstrous in terrestrial traditions—ogres, satyrs, werewolves, vampires, and so on—appear to originate from a single source at a given time in history, much in the same way that religions show a commonality. Mooney posits that these aberrations may have been caused by proximity to a starship’s nuclear-powered engines.


Inconsistencies in evolutionary theory’s explanation for the vast diversity of life forms are perhaps responsible for this attempted revisionism. The belief that nonhuman intelligences steered evolution to give rise to intelligence on this world was fueled by humanity’s own power to direct genetic development in recent times. The alleged aliens would have deposited certain species on Earth that eventually led to the early hominids or somehow “triggered” intelligence some 20,000 years ago in likely, pre-existing candidates. Reports of UFO activity throughout the ages were then construed as efforts by our creators to monitor our progress—especially as our ability to destroy their careful handiwork became evident.


But are humans truly the end-all and be-all, the terminus of an evolutionary process, or has obsolescence been built into us? Or more tantalizing still: what order of beings will replace humans on this earth?


About Gods and Demigods


In recent years, authors like Salvador Freixedo and Juan G. Atienza have written extensively about the possibility that certain forces are trying to cause humanity to evolve for their own reasons. In La Gran Manipulación Cósmica, Atienza refers to the notion that there may be “bellwethers” among us who are the spearheads of evolution, moving among us in secret societies to avoid detection and perhaps annihilation by their less-advanced fellows, much like missionaries dealing with primitive cultures. It is also possible that advanced beings, whether human or not, have been in contact with certain gifted humans throughout time, inspiring new ways of thinking and inventions that have helped humankind up the evolutionary ladder. Late medieval tradition made much of beings of light in shining garments who would visit alchemists and occultists and discuss at length matters of science, theurgy, and philosophy. Were they space visitors, time travelers, or fictional sources of inspiration created by the medieval mind?


Jacques Bergier suggested an even more daring theory than Atienza’s bellwethers. In his Extraterrestrial Visitations from Prehistoric Times to the Present (Signet, 1974), the French scientist speculates that at some point in the 18th century, one such advanced human (or nonhuman), whom he identifies as “information source X,” began the dissemination of concepts in chemistry and physics that would spur the Enlightenment.


Salvador Freixedo’s ¡Defendámonos de los dioses! (Beware of the Gods!, translated by this author and still unpublished) takes a different approach. Freixedo begins by acknowledging the existence of noncorporeal intelligences far greater than humanity whom we have chosen in our ignorance to dub “gods,” and who have played a role in human evolution for their own ends. “Gods are not human,” he writes. “Some have the ability to manifest themselves as such and have in fact done so on numerous occasions, and have even lived intimately among us when it suits their enigmatic purposes, but as soon as their mission is accomplished, or their wish fulfilled, they return to their own plane of existence, where they can live more naturally and according to their own psychic and electromagnetic qualities.” To say that these non-human intelligences come from another world therefore does not mean another planet in space, but an entirely different kind of world, as Whitley Streiber has observed in his works—levels of existence coexistent with or even overlapping our own.


These “gods”—Freixedo is careful to differentiate them from the Creator God of the universe—can create what we would term “supermen” by endowing ordinary humans with unusual powers to perform specific assignments on this world. These beings become known to us as avatars, messiahs, and so on. Superficially this may appear to be a positive thing, but Freixedo is of the opinion that this meddling in human evolution has been largely unwholesome.


Freixedo points to cases in UFO literature in which the development of an individual human has been tampered with by supposedly alien creatures. In the 1970s, Freixedo researched the experiences of Heriberto Garza, a man from the Mexican city of Puebla who had allegedly experienced repeated contact with extraterrestrials. One evening, Garza was confronted within his own home by a slender blonde figure with feminine features that addressed him in Spanish. The nonhuman explained that it could walk through solid matter, and that its reason for visiting Garza was to give him “an experience that many would wish to have.” The entity claimed the planet Auko as its place of origin.


Shortly after this encounter, Garza began to be bombarded by telepathic messages from the non-humans at all times, to the extent that the man was forced to seek out psychiatric help. When Garza was visited by UFO researchers Ian Norris and Jorge Reichert, he told them, “I want to show you what is happening to me,” and proceeded to unbutton his shirt. The researchers were astounded to see a number of nipples growing randomly across Garza’s abdomen, some of them small, others larger and with abundant hair. Reichert and Freixedo would later conclude that the man’s DNA had been tampered with, but a more thorough study of the case became impossible after the experiencer “vanished,” a casualty of tampering by an uncaring higher intelligence.


Not all physical transformations induced by involvement with nonhuman presences have had such a catastrophic result. Whitley Streiber mentions a young man whose night vision was completely changed after an abduction experience, making it possible for him to see clearly in pitch blackness (Confirmation, p.129). Others have acquired new sets of teeth and enhanced mental ability, such as in 1972’s Ventura Maceiras case.


Freixedo mentions interference by another diminutive blond entity in the life of a young Mexican businessman known only as “José Luis,” whose education, marriage, and career choices appear to have been guided by a being he has come to know only as el rubio (“the fair-haired one” or Fair). In his evaluation of the life of this young human, Freixedo suggests that his nonhuman mentor has even resorted to causing the deaths of those who may have stood in the way of his protegé—sheer fantasy, or proof of the capricious nature of these “gods”?


To Replace Man


Certain contact experiences with nonhumans straddle the uncomfortable divide between contactee lore, eldritch being folklore, and bona fide extraterrestrial encounters. One such case, little known in the United States, involved an encounter with a blond, androgynous entity in the 1950s in the Pyrenees Mountains which separate Spain from France.


The protagonist’s name was legendary in European UFO circles for many years: Jaime Bordas Bley (rendered in French as “Jacques Bordas”). A former meteorologist, Bordas turned to the management of a bed-and-breakfast known as Hotel del Isard in the village of Casteil, at the foot of Mt. Canigó.


In the summer of 1951, in a Europe recovering from the Second World War, a strange character wandered into Bordas’ life. The man greeted him courteously in French while the hotelkeeper rested in his backyard. Bordas would later describe the man as unusual in his dress, wearing skin-tight clothing of an iridescent, unclassifiable color (resembling the properties of modern Lycra-based sportswear half a century later) tucked into calf-high boots. The man spoke in resonant tones that did not match his delicate appearance and platinum blond hair; but even more striking were his long, almost feminine hands.


Bordas invited his unexpected guest to join him; the man accepted politely and made a request: would it be possible for Bordas to supply him with milk and bread on a daily basis? He professed a lack of identifying documents, which would represent a source of trouble if he procured these items in town. In a continent filled with displaced persons after the war, Bordas did not find this request unusual and agreed to it. However, when he asked the blond visitor where he came from, all he would reply was “from above,” evidently not referring to the mountain villages high in the Pyrenees.


Much more could be said about the fascinating exchanges between Jaime Bordas and his visitor (the unusual “campsite” resembling what we would term a flying saucer, the advanced ideas offered by the stranger, the photos taken of the “visitor” by Bordas’s son, which came out blank upon developing, and the gold nuggets he would give Bordas as a reward for his assistance), but what is of interest to us in this article is their disturbing conversation regarding the future of mankind. The text of their conversation appears as retold by Bordas himself to the late Antonio Ribera, who featured it in his book De Veras Nos Vigilan los OVNIS? (Barcelona: Plaza y Janés, 1975).


“Man considers himself to be alone on Earth,” said the man, “and is not aware that he is one of evolution’s many elements. With his boundless pride and alleged wisdom, he does not know that there exists on Planet Earth an animal that will replace him in the fullness of time. He cannot imagine that something that will surpass him is currently being prepared.”


When Bordas, his curiosity piqued, tried to find out more about this revelation, the strange being gave him a glance that silenced him—the only mention of a sense of menace in the entire strange experience. After a while, the nameless man offered the following by way of explanation: “Man has been given many extraordinary attributes to dominate a vast array of extraordinary forces, but he does not know this. If he misuses them, he will not only bring about his own holocaust, but also the appearance of this thing which shall come afterwards. Man must wait. He must learn to mark time without burning stages futilely. Only then shall it be possible for Man to establish a link with that future thing.”


Fifty-three years later, we can only sit and ponder the meaning of this disturbing information, given by a being that Bordas realized only too late was not human and which Antonio Ribera compared to the Adamski-era “Venusians” in appearance and demeanor. Indeed, the fair-haired, effeminate visitor appeared to belong to the same androgynous coterie that brought grief to Heriberto Garza in Mexico.


Bordas himself was told many years later—through a telephone call from his mysterious visitor—that he would begin to undergo a mutation and cease aging altogether. An astonishing claim, to be sure, but Jaime Bordas had never lived the most normal life anyway. According to Jacques Vallée’s Messengers of Deception, Bordas had been an incredibly fat child due to a hormonal deficiency, but an encounter with a “being of light” who emerged from a “miniature airplane” changed the course of his life. He became strong, athletic, and a talented mountaineer. “Now that we have adopted you,” the being of light had allegedly told him, “we will never forsake you.” Was Bordas one of these humans whose development had been spurred by nonhumans? One of Atienza’s bellwethers or one of Freixedo’s unfortunate victims of alien tampering?


More importantly, what could this thing be? A mutation created accidentally by a laboratory? A new, improved human being produced as a result of scientific research into the human genome? Could it be the ubiquitous chupacabras, believed by many to be a genetic chimaera of uncertain origin, or even the hybrids produced from the blending of human and “Grey” DNA, reported so often in abductee accounts?


A nightmarish scenario could easily involve the 1.0 version of humanity turned into a servitor species of some sort, as in the worst science fiction nightmares, or else deleted altogether by the new dominant species. Colin Wilson believes that the alien Greys reported during the 1990s are actively involved in the creation of the new species, since they are themselves stuck in an evolutionary dead end.


Each hypothesis is more frightening than the previous one.

Alchemy and Transmutation - Changing and Creating Things and People


For centuries, scientists and pseudo-scientists alike dreamed of transforming base substances into valuable ones -- alchemy. Alchemists tried to turn lead into gold, for example. It never worked. But now science seems to have developed the tools that will enable the realization of the alchemists' dream. We will be able to accomplish transmutation. We will actually turn elements and materials into something entirely different.


By changing a material's atomic structure, which nanotech makes possible, that material can be transformed into something else, with new properties, some of which have never before been seen in nature. Some physicists have even created a new form of life -- globs of gaseous plasma that, like any other life form, can grow, replicate and communicate. Others have applied electrical signals to quantum dots to create programmable matter such as wellstone iron, which can be morphed into substances such as zinc, rubidium or impervium. By rearranging the placement of atoms, scientists can create entirely new fabrics and ceramics. "Bio-fortification" can create new and more nutritious crops.


But it is not only inanimate elements and other substances that can be transformed by science. Human beings can, too. Many scientists are eagerly exploring how people can be transmutated into some superior form of humanity through the convergence of nano-bio-info-cogno technologies. The hope is not only to improve humanity but to more firmly control human evolution in order to create bodies and brains that are more durable, easier to repair and more resistant to disease, stress and aging. By merging biology and electronics, bioartificial replacement parts for the lungs, pancreas, kidneys and limbs can be created. Artificial muscles can be made out of electro active polymers. Biogerontology will result in the reversal of aging -- "engineered negligible senescence." We seem to be moving with surprising speed toward what Ray Kurzweil calls "Human Body Version 2.0" -- the new re-engineered human that will eliminate or overcome "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to."


More and more scientists are working toward, not only more and better understanding of the human brain, but transformation of it. Consciousness is becoming an academically respectable field of study, and it includes altered states, religion and spirituality. There is a continuing explosion of research on the brain and how it works, how to access its thoughts and patterns, and how it governs behavior and beliefs.


As a result of the growing understanding of the mind, the lines between man and animal are blurring. For example, scientists are on the threshold of creating a mouse whose brain will consist entirely of human cells. Now, there is a mounting acknowledgment of the intelligence of plants and the specter of human-plant chimeras, whereby, for example, a person's cells could be transformed into pharmaceutical plants. One of the most challenging dilemmas facing the Patent Office is, and will be, what is too human to patent in the world of the laboratory.


Clearly, this will not only apply to animal and vegetable, but to mineral as well. Robotics is advancing in all shapes and sizes, and is getting smarter. All manner of robots will be increasingly employed or engaged in sports, as pets and playmates, in war, medicine, business, entertainment, leisure, home care, and so on. These "artificial" minds will even replace humans as parents, when they monitor our children in cars and serve as interactive babysitters. Autonomous nanotechnology swarms (ANTs) -- nanobots -- will be highly intelligent and make smart decisions in many areas of application. Robots will even self-replicate, by cloning themselves out of whatever materials made them in the first place.


This movement of intelligence out of the human realm exclusively, and the shifting focus on the mind rather than the body, is already having important implications for the future of products, services, markets and overall resource usage. To entertain or caretake or employ humans requires a very different set of materials and energy than the entertainment, caretaking and employment of the mind. And since the mind can now be anywhere, and in anything, we are presented with fascinating prospects of what the resource allocations of the future might be.


The promise of improvement for both materials and humans seems boundless. It ranges from neutralizing radioactive wastes to making everybody a superior athlete. It looks increasingly likely that modern alchemy will help us to find substitutes for scarce materials, to overcome threats to the environment and to make almost everything better, stronger, longer lasting and more beautiful.


Is there a down side? Of course. We don't know what all the consequences of such revolutionary developments will be. New nanomaterials may well create new dangers to human health and the environment. And the new people we might create may have attributes that are not as good as hoped for.


Biocybernetics, in particular, raises many questions, including political ones. Integrating humans and robots, making robots more like humans and humans more robotic, creates whole new areas of concern. For example, if a computer attains human-like consciousness and intelligence, is disconnecting it murder or cruel and unusual punishment?


Industries based on natural resources, from oil to gems to logging, will need to anticipate what could be a very changed future. They could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, or they might gain an edge over competition by controlling the direction of development. Third world nations that heavily depend on current markets for natural resources could face economic disaster, increasing the possibilities of conflict and chaos. Conversely, the ability to create nutrients and water that relieve disease, malnutrition and drought is potentially the greatest advance made by humanity.


While most results of the new alchemy are many years off, especially those related to the transmutation of people, assessment of the possibilities and their consequences is an immediate need, as is the decision to fund or participate in the nascent areas of research related to each industry or organization. At the very least, manufacturing processes, supply chain valuation, risk and new product and market development are all areas ripe for exploration and assessment.


As we move from mankind to mindkind, products and services will shift to address the needs and behaviors of the mind, from emphasizing red uniforms as opposed to steroids in sports, to equipping alarm clocks with the ability to read brain patterns and wake us up during the proper phase of sleep. The resources that went into building a text world will yield to the visual patterning and graphic interfaces that are shaping the brain processing of upcoming generations.


Instead of hiring whole people for the more creative work, organizational resources will shift to hiring minds. Eli Lilly's website, InnoCentiye, has 70,000 registered "solvers" from 173 countries. Corporations post their biology and chemistry needs, hoping that one of the registered solvers will be able to provide a solution. Staples held a competition and received 8,300 submissions from customers who came up with new product ideas; BMW accessed customer creativity by allowing people to suggest ways on the company website to leverage advance telematics and in-car online services, while the BBC has announced its "Creative Archive License," providing public access to its full media archives so that individuals can participate in the production of entertainment. This reduces the need for bricks and mortar to house bodies, and all the overhead that comes with hiring people, while expanding the universe of potentially harnessable minds. Along with this, the focus will begin to shift away from managing people and toward project management -- putting together all the varied resources and components, wherever available and in whatever form, to accomplish the desired task or vision. As organizational energy input continues to migrate away from labor, and that which does depend on labor can seek out lowest cost providers, managing labor will be less important and managing minds will take center stage.


The major battles of the future will be for minds and not bodies. Campaigning to the so-called "red/blue" divide in the U.S., the proliferation of think tanks with an ideological predisposition, the proselytizing by factions of religion and spirituality, the seeking out of the best employees, the appropriation of others' identities in a world of virtual commerce, and diplomacy on the global stage, will add to everything else cited here. In combination, they will all shift resources away from the physical into the realm of the idea, the brand, the experience, the virtual and the perceivable. Women, animals, plants, children, thinking machines and people located in remote places will all take a more prominent position as what is considered humanity evolves through transmutation from mankind to mindkind.


Source: Innovation Watch