Q&A: Whitley Strieber, author of SOLVING THE COMMUNION ENIGMA
Whitley Strieber is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty novels and nonfiction works, including The Wolfen, The Hunger, and The Coming Global Superstorm, which was made into the feature film The Day After Tomorrow. In his most recent work, SOLVING THE COMMUNION ENIGMA, Strieber revisits his own encounters with The Grays, and examines the myriad ways they fit into a larger story of unexplained phenomena around the world: crop circles, mutilated livestock, mysterious aerial objects, abductions, and more. Read below for some more insight on the book and Strieber’s experiences.
The experiences you describe in Communion have fascinated and mystified readers for the better part of two decades. How has your perception of these events evolved since the original publication (in 1987)?
Immediately after I had the close encounter, I thought that I had experienced a criminal assault. It took a couple of months for me to realize that something truly unusual had happened. I then did a number of things to try to understand what it was. I took an MRI scan and an extensive series of tests of brain function in order to rule out things like brain abnormalities and temporal lobe epilepsy. I also met other people who had had close encounters. My conclusion, stated in Communion, was that the experience was not medically documented and was, in fact, an open question.
Unfortunately, the media made me into an advocate for alien contact, which I am not. After a quarter of a century of research and observation, I have come to see the experience as, firstly, the most complex of all human experiences, and secondly, an indication that we, very fundamentally, do not know what we are or even where we are. The physical world in which we live appears to be embedded in a much larger reality that is the most profoundly enigmatic, wonderful and dangerous thing I have ever known.
Why is there such a stigma in our society against those who have had close encounters (for lack of a better term)?
The stigma has different causes in different segments of the society. The intellectual and scientific communities feel threatened by the idea of an intelligence superior to their own appearing here and refusing to engage with them. The media has made a decades-long commitment to the notion that it’s a joke, and would rather appear to be right than admit error. The average individual is more open to the possibility, but will still do what damage they can to anybody making such claims. Close encounter witnesses are the last social group that can safely be derided for their social situation.
What is so ironic about all this, is that most close encounter witnesses are like me: they don’t know what happened to them and are genuinely curious. Why should that draw stigma? It’s really very disappointing.
You say that humanity is moving rapidly into a new era. What do you mean by this?
When you look at history over the medium term, what you see is a process of magic being continuously transformed into science. Galileo was nearly burned to death for accurately describing the condition of the solar system. The idea that fossils might represent the remains of ancient creatures was derided by Voltaire. In the 18th century, the concept that meteors might start their lives as heavenly bodies was considered absurd. Radio was considered at first a form of magic. In the early 20th century, even the New York Times rejected air flight as ridiculous. And yet all of these things have become so ordinary as to be entirely unremarkable. In 1911, the average American could expect a lifespan of 47 years. By 2011, it is on its way to doubling. Five years ago, you could call long distance anywhere in the world—at a price. Now it’s almost free. The internet has exploded into human culture and vastly extended the intellectual reach of the average person. Along with all of these changes, the human mind is changing, too, I suspect, in ways that we have not yet understood. The manifestation of strange signs such UFOs and close encounters, are, I believe, early indications of fundamental changes that will revolutionize not only the intellectual content of the human species, but even the way the brain is structured.
How should we be preparing ourselves for this transition- that is, if we can prepare at all?
Preparation is essential. It consists in embracing the understanding that there is no such thing as the supernatural, that all of the strange manifestations we see around us are, in some way, expressions of nature, and that we can find our place in the much larger reality in which the physical world is embedded.
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