Reply to Dr. Joe Burkes Commentary

R.K. Bremer ( writes:

I was very impressed with Dr. Burkes' comments regarding the leadership crisis in ufology. There are so many places around the world where good people are trying to overcome bad situations but are ineffective due to conflict with like-minded people. It's easy for us to look from afar and think "if only they would work together". However, the reality and dynamics of the situation is always more complicated than it appears.

Most of us in more traditional societal roles tend to forget that those few brave folks who devote much of their lives to ufology do so at great risk to their personal security (financial if not physical) and emotional well-being. Burnout happens in all professions, but try to imagine the pressure that these people must be under when they are constantly held up to ridicule by government agencies, the media, Pat Robertson, or their next door neighbors. How many of us who follow their work would be willing to make anything like such sacrifices?

I suspect ufologists, like any other profession, align themselves in somewhat of a bell curve from the exceptional on one end to the fraudulent on the other. Those on the good side of the curve undoubtedly are following a passion that they themselves can't quite explain. A passion for anything, if accompanied by wisdom and integrity, will lead to excellence, particularly if that passion is aligned with a moral CAUS that's higher than oneself. Regardless of which end of the curve the individual falls into, however, he or she is still driven by the need for recognition and security. These drives naturally lead to the conditions described in Dr. Burkes' position paper.

Dr. Burke calls for "individuals who are able to work together cooperatively and hopefully minimize the destructive effects of egoism" in order to lead the mass movement toward disclosure. This is a "tall order" indeed, but one which must be addressed constructively if we are to have any hope for a cessation to the policy of secrecy that is so obvious in our government today. So, how do we accomplish the task at hand?

There are spiritual ways of dealing with the destructive power of egoism. These paths, unfortunately, may also not be the prevailing way our society deals with conflict. However, group prayer and meditation by the masses of us interested in these vital issues should not be ignored as a proven means to effect change.

Of course another answer to the problem is lots of money. With unlimited resources, supposedly, unlimited things can get done. Certainly, freeing up the researchers from constantly worrying about a roof over the heads would lead to positive results. But, there is always a dark side. If the money were to come from just a handful of wealthy individuals (e.g., Firmage and Bigelow), their own individual interests and opinions, no matter how well-meaning, could drive the whole movement. Enlightened dictatorships, with a benevolent dictator, probably is the most efficient means to accomplishing good things. If this were an election that had our media pursuing the candidates, we probably would end up knowing more than enough about them to make such a choice. Most of us, however, would not elect a U.S. President solely based upon who had the highest net worth among the candidates.

Another problem we would face, assuming the money was there, is who decides who gets it. I'm certainly not in a position to place people on the curve. I would be swayed by such things as who has made the most outrageous claim today rather than based upon a scientific knowledge of research techniques and research integrity.

A proposed solution might be to: 1) provide the funding through a massive, ongoing campaign in support of a private foundation (not-for-profit, if possible) which solicits contributions from me and all the others out there who subscribe to CAUS, listen to Bell and Rense, or are otherwise interested in finding real solutions; 2) solicit a Board for that foundation consisting of the best and brightest people who are both willing to have their name associated with the endeavor and have proven themselves to be successful in their own chosen scientific, business, or education professions; and 3) let qualified ufologists self-select themselves for funding eligibility by being willing to work cooperatively with other researchers under the auspices of the foundation. The foundation would not only fund research projects but actively engage researchers in coordinated efforts while serving as a focal point for delivering their research results and getting the message for full disclosure out to the public.

This certainly is not a new model for funding research projects. And, yes, I know there are lots of problems inherent in such a model. The biggest ones I see are who and how the Board is selected and the willingness of the researchers to vie for funding and cooperate with their peers under the oversight of such a Board. However, I can't help but think the money would be there if a momentum could be built.

One way to deal with these problems is to let the current leading ufologists themselves chair a selection committee. Interested potential Board members could submit their names for consideration, major contributors to the Board could be granted a seat if they met reasonable tests of character, or exceptional individuals could be identified and solicited directly. After the Board was selected, future selection committee members could be selected by the Board so long as a majority of the committee membership was comprised of researchers. This might provide some assurance that the Board would always have the best interests of the researchers at heart.

There are undoubtedly many other ways to address Dr. Burkes' well-reasoned concerns. I just want to thank CAUS for providing the forum to discuss these issues.



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