How to deal with ontological shock depends on which of the five types of disclosure we get
uNHIdden has been set up to promote mental health and wellbeing to do with disclosure and revelations about non-human intelligence (NHI). In particular, this means researching and developing strategies for mitigating ontological shock. However, since any successful strategy will depend on the circumstances of the disclosure, this means that a variety of approaches will be needed. A good starting point is to develop a taxonomy of the different ways in which disclosure may occur. The we can start to strategise about each scenario.
So far, we have come up with five main types of disclosure. We want to share this thinking and take others’ views. What do you think? What have we missed?
Type #1: Conceptual Disclosure
This is the method of disclosure set out in the book ‘A.D. After Disclosure’ by Richard M Dolan and Bryce Zabel. That is, there is a simple and straightforward announcement in which the President states: “After consultation with key members of our defense and intelligence community, it has been made clear to me that there is persuasive evidence that Earth is currently interacting with one or more intelligent non-human species.” This scenario is sometimes referred to as “confirmation” rather than disclosure. The point is that there is simply confirmation of the reality of the concept of NHI, with little or no further detail. So the idea of NHI remains abstract, distant and rather unconnected from daily life.
Type #2: Graphic Disclosure
In this case, disclosure comes with associated images of craft or bodies: something graphic that makes the whole idea of NHI much more vivid and real. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that. Show people a picture and they will dissect the detail. They will want to know more. They will start to anthropomorphise the beings that they think make up the NHI . What are they like? How do they communicate? Can we meet them etc? This form of disclosure is likely to be significantly more disruptive than Conceptual Disclosure
Type #3: Disclosure with ‘threat’
The announcement in ‘A.D. After Disclosure’ comes with the reassurance from the President that “there is (virtually) no evidence that the country is under attack”. What if this were not the case and there was some actual threat to the country or individuals? This would surely necessitate some national response. As the UK’s Home Office makes clear: “the first duty of the Government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure.” If an assurance to this effect could not be given, then people will respond at a wholly different level on the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. While the ontological shock of a Conceptual Disclosure may trigger a response at the top (‘self actualisation’) level, responses to a Disclosure with ‘threat’ scenario will be at the second lowest level (‘safety needs’). This will trigger a much more fundamental ‘flight or fight’ response and will be significantly more difficult to manage than either Type #1 or #2 disclosures. Further, in any disclosure, the burden of proof may fall on the Government to demonstrate that there is no real threat (and to give the reasons and evidence for this). There may be dynamics at work – for example abductions – that could make this a hard assurance to give.
Type #4: Unplanned or chaotic disclosure
It is implicit in each of Types #1, #2 and #3 above that disclosure is planned. In this fourth category, the disclosure is triggered by an external and somewhat unexpected event. This may be a whistleblower or a mass sighting. The point at hand is that the US (and other Five Eyes) government may very much be on the back foot in a disclosure of this type, scrambling to respond and looking like it is not in control. The event that precipitates the disclosure may come from another part of the world and another government may be leading the response. The level of panic that a Type #4 disclosure may cause will be exacerbated by a loss of confidence in government and authority, along with the sense that no-one is in control. The longer that the US government avoids a planned disclosure, the greater the likelihood that somehting unplanned may happen.
Type 5: “Disclosure in all but name” (DIABN)
This fifth type of disclosure is, strictly speaking, not actual disclosure, since the Government still refuses to accept the existence of NHI officially. But there is sufficient information and evidence that most reasonable people will conclude that we are interacting with one or more non-human entities. An example of DIABN was given on a recent episode of podcast ‘Liminal Phrames’ with Darren King (Exoacademian) and co-host Nathan. They suggested that most people (including many foreign governments) accept that the Kennedy Assassination was, in part, a conspiracy. Yet, the US Government’s narrative is still resolutely that Lee Harvey Oswald acted on his own. The problem with this analogy is that JFK was a one-off, historical event, with diminishing significance as the decades roll by. In contrast, the existence/non-existence of NHI is an ongoing question of direct consequence to people both today and into the future. The level of cognitive dissonance that people are likely to be prepared to accept for a DIABN for NHI will be much lower than for JFK. Yet, arguably, with the Grusch allegations, confirmed US Navy videos of anomalous craft the acknowledgement by AARO Director, Dr Sean Kirkpatrick, of the existence of metallic spheres that fly with no known means of propulsion, this Type #5 disclosure is exactly where we are today. To quote Yeats – “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”. A Type #5 disclosure makes the Government look increasingly ridiculous. Admiral Nelson may, as a sign of leadership, be able to put his telescope to his blind eye and say: “I see no ships”. But this is not a good look for a government.
The first step in developing a solution is to dissect the problem. So it is with ontological shock. We feel that this taxonomy of different possible types of disclosure will be helpful as a precursor to developing some more practical strategies and approaches. Please offer your thoughts on the Types of disclosure that we have articulated. What have we missed? What have we misinterpreted? What have we over- or understated.
uNHIdden is here to help make sense of and tackle ontological shock – and to do this effectively, we need your help.