Most of you are familiar with Carl Jung’s book, Flying
Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky.
In it, Jung , on page 131 of the (paperback) Bollingen Series [Princeton University Press,
1978/1991], writes “ … in spite of the interest I have taken in the subject
[UFOs] since about 1946 …”
1946? What UFO (or
flying saucer) accounts were extant in 1946? The “Ghost Rockets” reported over
Sweden? (Jung lived in Switzerland.)
Then he offers “ … but I have found it impossible to
determine even approximately the nature of these observations. So far only one
thing is certain: it is not just a rumour, something is seen.” [Italics
This counters Zoam Chomsky’s “null hypothesis” argument that
UFOs do not exist and never have, but then Jung provides this:
UFOs are psychical projections, a manifestation of the
mandala, an “individuation” symbol, that derives from a myth, and is an
unconscious archetype. [Pages 20/23]
This gives sustenance to French skeptic Gilles Fernandez,
who insists that UFOs are mythic, aberrant cognition by “witnesses.”
Gilles may be right.
At the end of the 19th Century, time when great
composers, artists, and writers were dying off, and culture was heading into an
anxiety-ridden era – European upheaval, leading to World War I, and the
vicissitudes of the Industrial Revolution – (matters that Jung addressed in his
Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933, Civilization in Transition,
1970, and Man and His Symbols, posthumous), flying saucers were not a prominent
feature of societal life.
It wasn’t until World War II and its atomic aftermath that
flying saucers/UFOs came to prominence, as a paranoidal observation (perhaps),
in the psychological genre that Jung advocated in his book: hallucinatory
events brought on by the neurotic anxieties of the time.
When The Cold War ended (or seemed to), UFOs began to be
diminutive in scope, which accounts for the lack of observations, which were
once a kind of norm.
Now, UFOs are rarely witnessed, compared to the 1947-1970s
heyday, and interest in them is paltry by any account.
Human anxiety is different in the 21st Century.
Terrorist attacks and the economy present the current societal angst, not the
total annihilation of humanity.
Jung was correct for the times his book covered. The UFO
myth is no longer fecund, dying actually, and only the remnant inhabitants of
the Cold War era keep the myth alive, but barely so.