The Daily Grail interview with Jacques Vallee


The Daily Grail has a great interview with Jacques Vallee on one of my favourite books, Messengers of Deception (1979). Vallee took a lotof flak from other ufologists for exposing UFO hoaxes in this book, and for suggesting alternatives to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but it’s so multi-faceted and so good as a study of human deception that I’d even recommend it to folks who aren’t remotely interested in UFOs.

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7 thoughts on “The Daily Grail interview with Jacques Vallee

  1. I hope Vallee’s books become more widely available; Messengers of Deception is being reissued, and that’s a good start. He really has some fascinating, thought-provoking insights into the UFO phenomenon, disinformation, ufology, paranoia, etc. (Maybe someday he’ll even be brave enough to tackle the subject of the alien vegetables…But will the veggies get him first?)

  2. Imagine a 9 year-old SoG confronting Rhubarb in grandmother's garden, with a bamboo stick (no, vegetable abuse doesn't have the same psychological implications as animal abuse, although check Ellenbogen's "Oral Sadism & The Vegetarian Personality" hee-hee). Me: You tried to poison me last night at supper, didn’t you?Confess! (WHACK!)Rhubarb: OW! Ok – don’t get your underoos all in a bunch, kid.Me: Then you confess?Rhubarb: Not to poisoning you, but we are taking over the world along with a bunch of other vegetables.Me: I knew it! You force my Mom to make me eat you, don’t you? How does that help you take over the world?Rhubarb: Adults eat us, then we control them – adults make you eat us, then we control you. Me: And then?Rhubarb: And then…what?Me:: Well, what’s the point of all that? You just lie there growing in the dirt all day, you can’t move around, you can’t buy things with our money…what are you going to do when you control everyone? Rhubarb: Make you all take us to another planet and start all over again there, I suppose.Me: That’s stupid! How long have you been working on this? Rhubarb: Oh, at least a hundred million years or so. Me: And how close are you to controling everyone?Rhubarb: That’s hard to say. Some say closer than we’ve ever been, some say further than we’ve been many times before in ancient history. No one seems to know for sure. Could take another million years, still…Me: You’re insane! Your plot is dumber and more pointless than the ones in the tv detective shows. You're not scary at all, even if you are gross tasting.—————-How does Vallee compare to, say, Robert Anton Wilson's "The New Inquisition"? Wilson covers all of these (the UFO phenomenon, disinformation, ufology, paranoia) as well as an encyclopedia's worth of "unexplained mysteries" throughout history, in that volume. He postulates that the basis of all stupidity lies in "unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world" and advocates that practicing a radical agnosticism & "guerilla ontology" can make anyone more intelligent. He castigates unwarranted assumptions, from all sides of a controversy – both unwarranted beliefs and unwarranted scepticisms – insisting that no hypothesis be declared either true or false until & unless it can be tested and the result replicated.I'd assume that Vallee doesn't go that far? Am I wrong?

  3. Rhubarb is nasty. It deserves everything it gets. But as for other veggies, I dunno. Does carrot juice constitute murder!?Vallee certainly doesn’t get as, um, *metaphysical* as RAW, and I don’t think he personally has seen any aliens. Other than that I think they’d be in agreement on many issues. Vallee continuously surprises me because he doesn’t go for the obvious answers; he really digs into individual cases and sees so far beyond the surface of things that he unearths material most people could never even imagine.

  4. Hmmmm. I have only been jumping around in MoD as portions suggest themselves to me through the Index or Table of Contents. So I can’t claim to have done a full analysis.However, when you read the mistakes or misstatements an author gets wrong in the fields that you know, it makes you think about how far you can trust the assertions of the author that you can’t check. For me, it was reading Vallee’s claims about “the Ultra machine” of World War II. Vallee describes this as a machine “which could and did emulate the cryptographic engines of any nation” and he seems to suggest that it was able to do this because it was “a Turing machine”. Vallee casts scorn on the notion that a Turing machine is only a “mental construction”; he says he previously “fell for” this notion but now knows better.Vallee seem thinks that “the Turing machine” was some amazing military asset that the Allies used during WWII and then hushed up the existence of. The fact that he thinks this makes me wonder how much he even understand of what a Turing machine is. Yes, you could theoretically build an actual Turing machine and emulate any digital computer on it — but you wouldn’t want to, any more than you’d want to emulate a digital computer on an abacus (which you could also do if the abacus was large enough.) Turing machines are indeed useful as mental constructions; if you can prove that something is impossible for a Turing machine, you’ve proved that it’s impossible for any digital computer — since a Turing machine can emulate any digital computer. But if you wanted, say, to emulate the cipher machine of an enemy nation, you’d be much better off building a duplicate of the cipher machine — trying to use a Turing machine for the job wouldn’t make it easier in the least. So when Vallee refers to the Allies building a Turing machine and trying to use it to do practical computations, I have to question how deeply he understands any of the things he’s writing about.

  5. Vallee does make some questionable assertions and reaches a few very controversial decisions, but this just makes him more interesting, in my opinion.I question his conclusion that the Russian sightings described at the end of the book were legit despite the inclusion of the UMMO sign in witnesses’ reports, but wondering WHY he reached that conclusion gets me thinking about things I would normally dismiss with a flap of the hand and a snort.The problem with ufology writers is that not one of them fully understands all the issues involved (that would be impossible!).

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