Sitting in the Mystery: Aliens, Artists, and the Experiencer Group

Stuart Davis Cognitive, Conversations, Entertainment, Existential, Free, Futurism, Perspectives, Science & Technology, Spiritual, Video 11 Comments

“There are a lot more sightings than have been made public,” says former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

In the midst of America’s total epistemic collapse into the pits of disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theory, somehow belief in UFOs and alien contact continues to find more and more legitimacy. Some say we are even ramping up to a “soft disclosure” as the U.S. military prepares to release a full report of their own observations and interactions with anomalous craft.

“Some of those have been declassified,” Ratcliffe continues. “And when we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain. Movements that are hard to replicate that we don’t have the technology for. Or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”

Stuart Davis has been tracking these phenomena for a very long time, and in fact has launched an entire podcast, Aliens and Artists (it’s the #5 podcast in Vietnam!) in order to chronicle, explore, and make sense of his own experiences, and to interview various subject matter experts on similarly strange encounters. He has also recently kickstarted an entire online community for people who have had any number of anomalous experiences, which he calls The Experiencer Group.

In this fun and fascinating discussion, Stu and I take a deep dive into these cosmic mysteries, exploring the many ways the Integral framework helps us illuminate and interpret the full enchilada of human (and non-human) experience, from the ordinary to the extraordinary to the extra-extraordinary.

If you are already a believer in these kinds of phenomena, you will find this discussion to be a fascinating exploration of the contours and consequences of these experiences. How can we make better sense of these encounters, and what are the possible implications for the rest of society — and to civilization as a whole?

And if your personality type is more Scully than Mulder and you have a hard time entertaining extraordinary claims without equally extraordinary evidence, then we invite you to hold this entire discussion as a thought experiment. How can the integral model help raise our gaze and expand our imagination? What kind of predictive power might Integral possess when it comes to things like alien evolution or inter-species communication? How integral can “integral” be, if it cannot be applied to an intergalactic context?

Our universe is very big, very dark, and contains multitudes. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your Integral philosophy. So let’s see just how far into the mystery Integral can take us. Regardless of where you may land on the issue, we hope you enjoy the adventure. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Transcript Excerpt

Corey: I think the other nice thing about trying to unpack this within an integral framework, is that the integral framework itself kind of gives you more space, more dimensionality, more places to go when it comes to like trying to explain certain phenomenon. So, you know, maybe we discover at the end of the day that a certain element of these experiences of these phenomenological experiences can be correlated with subtle energies, causal energies, et cetera. It just so happens that we do not yet have the instruments that are sophisticated enough to measure and quantify these types of energies. That’s something that’s entirely possible — that 500 years from now, after a series of technological innovations, we’re actually able to see these fields in a way that right now we just kind of have to imagine.

But the nice thing about how Ken has put together his framework is there’s an opening here. He has a whole theory of subtle energies, which he’s holding as a hypothesis until it can actually be objectively and rigorously falsified. So until then it remains a hypothesis, but it’s a good hypothesis that seems to give us just a lot more room to play in conversations like this.

Stuart: This is such a great point. And it brings up one of my most cherished and savored and treasured components of what I got as an integrally curious person in so many different fields and demands, whether it was spirituality or cognition or art and aesthetics — and that is the way that integral makes room for the transrational, and the way that integral allows for and makes room for these higher registers of “Yes, emergent; yes, mysterious; yes, not entirely well mapped, but nonetheless these things are happening to people. These experiences are arising.” And I love what you’re relating about integral methodological pluralism being the best foot path forward on this. And the reason I have such an appreciation in regard for making room for the transrational, and also being able to make distinctions between pre-rational, rational and transrational, is because there’s a lot of that confusion going on, there’s a lot of aggrandizing amd confusion around that.

Corey: Let me just say, one of the reasons I love this subject so much — it actually comes from two reasons. One, of all the “conspiracy theories” that are out there, this is the one with the most radically huge implications for everything — for everything we know about life, the universe, ourselves, God, et cetera. It all hinges on this. And this was my frame to get Ken Wilber to talk about this subject for two and a half hours without just rolling his eyes out of the back of his head the whole time. Just, you know, “let’s suspend disbelief for a moment here.”

Because again, if there’s any chance at all… I mean, I continue to think that if we find a single microbe on Europa, that’s enough to change everything. Maybe not, when we actually look at human nature. But actually making contact with another intelligent species somewhere and being able to verify this, it would just irrevocably change everything. So when I just think about the consequences, that really makes me lean in.

But the other side of it is what we were talking about earlier — how integral is integral? How much predictive power does this framework actually have if we were to extend it out over the span of an entire galaxy or multiple galaxies, an entire cluster or what have you. Do we see the same basic moral arc towards “goodness”, for example? Well, that tells us a certain thing about the questions around Fermi’s paradox, for example, and if we do universally grow towards goodness, that’s gonna say something about these possible encounters that people are reporting. Or maybe they see five quadrants! You know what I mean? It’s so hard to think about what might be the intent of these entities if they do exist, because all we have is our own planet-centric sense-making and mythologies and projections that we’re going to bring to that.

Stuart: I love this question completely. Intentions — this is a really powerful node. And I want to start with trying to balance the romantic inclination on one hand to project our higher self onto these beings, simply because they’re non-human, which I feel is profoundly ill-advised. But then inversely to demonize them, and to imagine that they are malevolent interlopers. And again, in the spirit of the earlier part of our conversation, to allow for perhaps tiny iterations of each of those, but probably something more in the middle that simply doesn’t comport with our anthropomorphic notions of freewill, intention, and the objectives of these entities.

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Stuart Davis

About Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis is a longtime friend of Integral Life and Ken Wilber, and has acted as guest host for many Integral Life dialogues over the last decade. With fifteen full-length albums to his credit, Stuart has carved out a unique wavelength in the musical spectrum. Taking the topics of God, sex and death, and crafting them into inimitable pop songs with lyrical flair and unforgettable hooks, Stuart also works in television, film, painting, and books.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.

Notable Replies

  1. While I’ve never had a direct experience with UFO’s or Aliens I began telling a story at 8 years of age to friends that “I was friends with the UFO’s.” I had a short wave radio and would tell them that the sounds they were hearing(the radio waves between frequencies coming through the components) was the UFO’s hovering above us. I think that was a myth I created to make me feel a degree of power over the others. By my 20’s I was convinced that humans were an evolutionary experiment by Aliens and would joke that I was part of the 5th wave of “Extraterrestrial intervention.”

    Today, I feel that it wouldn’t be possible that humans are the only advanced species in the universe and it makes sense that extraterrestrials, aliens, ufo’s, etc, exist. I still joke with people about being part extraterrestrial but I have yet to have a conscious experience of them. I think I would be disappointed if I were to somehow find out that humans were the most advanced species in this great universe. I can only hope that I discovery more answers before this bodily journey is over.

  2. I was engrossed in this conversation, found it stimulating, informative, and witty! And kudos to CdV for production/graphics/editing that substituted for Stuart’s video presence–I didn’t miss his face at all, no offense to Stuart :sunglasses:.

    I think of those of us who have had atypical or anomalous experiences, whether ufology-related and/or otherwise, as “dawn-greeters,” people who have awakened either consciously or by accident or illness from the gross-physical dream enough to be open to whatever else the universe wants to show us. If we can handle the transrational and transpersonal views with courage and strength and live with uncertainty, and keep on and keep loving–that is, not totally “crap out” so to speak–more and more will be shown. I think we’re the armchair amateur “scientists” and pioneers of an extraordinary change that is bound to occur in terms of how we view ourselves and other lifeforms and our capacities, death and “afterlife,” this planet, and other reaches of the universe–each in our own small way, but collectively influential, no matter how long it takes. (All this assuming of course, humanity does survive its current crises.)

    While trite, I often revert to the analogy of a flat earth; even after discovery of its roundness, it took centuries for the world as a whole to “buy in.”

    I look forward to the conversation with Ken about some of this, including Integral’s “predictive power” in realms trans-planetcentric.

  3. I’m curious specifically which group of people you are proposing as equivalent to flat earthers in your analogy?
    Are you equating people who do not believe in human contact with alien beings with flat earthers?
    Also, who are Dawn Greeters? I know many people who have awakened but do not recognize Alien contact as a thing, so I’m inferring that Dawn Greeters are a specific group of awakened people who do believe we have been contacted by Aliens?

  4. Hi Ray, thanks for your questions. Let me see if I can adequately answer them, starting with an admission that I should probably retire my trite analogy about a flat earth as it can be confused with the actual “Flat-earther” groups who still believe the earth is flat and that promotion of the idea (fact) that the earth is round is a conspiracy by certain corporations, governments, space exploration organizations.

    No, I am not “equating people who do not believe in human contact with alien beings with flat earthers.” What I was intending to say is that it sometimes takes a long time for the majority of people to adapt to and accept new human awareness or knowledge–whatever that new knowledge might be. But let me back up…

    I would emphasize, as I stated in my post, that I was speaking not strictly about ufology/aliens, but about “atypical or anomalous experiences” in general. As mentioned in the webcast and in other of the ufology podcasts with/by integralists that I’ve listened to, this anomalous experience includes, in addition to the ufo-related phenomena, things like near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, precognitive dreams, psychic and subtle communication/interactions, etc. I was referring to the whole of atypical experiences,

    Dawn-greeters is my own term, used loosely to refer to the millions of people who have had NDEs, or OOBs, or precognitive dreams, or psychic and subtle or causal experiences, even non-dual realizations (and yes, my term refers also to those people who have had some kind of encounter with craft or beings that seem–and may or may not be-- off-planet or in other dimensions of reality) that the world has yet to accept as legitimate or “real” or worthy of full and thorough and on-going investigation. I include myself in this group of people, and while I highly respect rationality and science, neither rationality nor science is “my god.” I don’t automatically “bow down” before science, particularly given its domain of investigation is largely in the exterior world, with little attention to human interiors, and given also, it fails to take seriously as a field of legitimate investigation those things that are, well, anomalous, atypical, outside of the usual. And it does of course make many mistakes.

    Of course there is the pre-rationality of the mythic, but there is also transrationality, and I am using that term to refer to “beyond the rational stage.” The intuitive prowess of the green stage might be one easy example. There are many people and not just indigenous people but Westerners too practicing shamanic techniques, for instance. I sometimes refer to that as transrational shamanism or transrational magic (shamanism having emerged during the magic stage). These are rational people, some holding esteemed jobs and positions in the world, who can use elements originating in the magic and mythic and rational stages towards good ends.

    And yes, of course there are “people who have spiritually awakened who do not recognize alien contact as a thing.” My term “dawn-greeters” refers to people who have experienced something atypical, as I said above. “Belief” is not the emphasis here. People who disbelieve in, say, out-of-body experiences base that disbelief on…what? The fact they themselves have not had that particular experience? The fact that science has not yet validated it? The fact that most people don’t believe it? For people who have had it, while they may not fully understand it and have to “live with uncertainty” as I said in my post, it is an experience for them, not a belief.

    I hope this clears up some of the questions you had about my comments; shoot me some more if not :slightly_smiling_face:

  5. Yes, thank you for clarifying what you were trying to say. Also thank you for the term transrational. The analogy I think of is putting on / taking off night vision goggles. Neither my natural eyes nor night vision would be best in all situations and it’s useful to be able to pop in and out of rational perspectives and use science but not worship it.
    Though I would also like to add my own perspective as to why I disbelieve by default and require something besides testimony before I believe something.
    It has to do with when an individual or group goes beyond just describing what is true for them and expands it to include me, often expressing the belief that I and other disbelievers are not equivalent to them because we do not accept their claims. Often it isn’t just an expression of “I had this experience” but also “I had this experience so therefore I have the right to impose my conclusions about reality from that experience onto you”. This does not always happen, but it is very common. From my own point of view, I am not a disbeliever of OBE or visitations, but my default is to disbelieve the conclusions people make about me from those experiences. In my opinion it’s common for people to use the mythic to fuel a desire for power over others, and this is the method that religions have used to hold power over populations for millennia. It’s a “this therefore that” fallacy and not always but it is very common for people to fall into this fallacy.

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