As a child I was fascinated by the idea of aliens.
I was sure they existed. I first got the idea from television; Saturday morning cartoons like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, and in the afternoon there were the black and white monster movies. I must have figured it was all made up. I mean, I understood the difference between monsters and real life. I didn’t think monsters and werewolves were roaming the neighborhood. And of course there were many examples of aliens in the comic books.
It was a book I found in the school library when I was in the 7th grade. What drew me to the book was that had a UFO drawn on it. There were black and white photographs of alien space craft in the middle of the book. God dang, this was interesting. When lunch break was over, I was in my science class and must have said something to Mr. Getty about flying saucers.
“Flying saucers do not exist,” he said.
“Yes they do. I saw a bunch of pictures in a book!”
“Darryl, flying saucers are fairy tales. They don’t exist.”
“But Mr. Getty, they do exist. I’ve seen-”
“Darryl. Go down to the principal’s office, right now.”
That wasn’t fair! I could show him the book with the pictures in it and everything. But I was a little scared sitting in the hallway waiting for the principal to come. Finally he showed up with a bunch of papers in his arms.
The principal looked slightly annoyed. “What are you doing down here? Why aren’t you in class?”
“Mr. Getty told me I had to see the principal because I said UFOs are real.”
“Get out of here. Go back to your room,” and he went into his office. When I got back to the room, I was surprised Mr. Getty was still looking at me in anger. I guess he really didn’t believe in UFOs while upholding the grand tradition of being a science teacher and all.
I decided to look up the subject at my favorite place in the world, the library, There I found more UFO pictures and stories like Barney and Betty Hill, a couple abducted by spacemen! I just knew aliens were real now. But I didn’t really think about it much after I got into high school, although I read a strange book (the title I have forgotten) by some person claiming to be living simultaneously on two worlds: on Earth and on Mars. I didn’t know what to make of that.
Fast forward many years to my halcyon days hanging around Bowling Green State University. My interest in the paranormal intensified after having a “mystical” experience with the White Light. Ancient cultures, religious writings, channeled material and New Age fluff were things I was interested then. All of these interests percolated into an impulse to create a comic strip I that I drew called, The Alien. I actually managed to get the strip published in the Isla Vista News weekly paper for two months before it closed down for good. The whole zen of the piece was following the Alien into common place earthling activities with hilarity ensuing. It was actually born from a very vivid dream I had where I saw a huge, ginormous space ship crash into the Earth and people everywhere freaking out because their stock in GM was now worthless. Yes, these are the kind of dreams I have.
Anyway, I continued to draw the strip hoping to get it into a comic book. The only story that came out that was any good was when the Alien gets mixed up in a channeling cult. Now, part of the joke in the strip was that people didn’t know my character was an alien. They just thought he was a skinhead (he looked sort of like a cross between a Grey alien and the Pillsbury Dough Boy). Anyway, the head of the cult channels the ancient Sumerian god, Enlil. (To my Desteni posse, true story). Enlil of course sees the Alien and everybody tries to kill him, but he gets away and everybody dies in a fire, the end.
I told you all of that to tell you this: belief is a strange thing. I didn’t know if UFOs were real and neither did my antagonist, Mr. Getty. But we each defended our belief as if we had the truth. I guess when you really look at it, everything a human being thinks about is one form of belief or another. It’s ludicrous to take the stance that by virtue of a belief, an opinion or a statement that I hold and agree to be true, it is true. We don’t see that there is very little within what knowledge can show us to be true. It was believed (lol) that there was a universal substance that was behind the visible world. Now it seems that quantum theory suggests that there is no “field” or substance – everything apparently can be broken down to discrete points which seem to disappear into nothingness – at least that’s what we believe the instruments science has created to measure such stuff tells us.
I just want to put it out there; that belief is not the same as truth. Truth is very hard to come by, for the principle of truth means it is absolutely “true.” Let’s be careful at not confusing belief (which is the acceptance or desire of wanting something to be “true”), and truth, which is completely in accordance to reality in all ways. The mistake I made was looking and seeking for that truth outside of me. I couldn’t imagine I would find the truth in one forgotten place: that as who I am, within myself. May it be so for us all, so we can know ourselves and not blindly lose ourselves by chasing after the exotic and unusual.