Firmage Still Searching
For UFO Answers
Since shaking off the burden of being a Silicon Valley CEO, Joe Firmage has been spending his time asking the eternal questions. However, if his recent remarks to a crowd of UFO researchers are any indication, he's only received enough answers about those persistent lights in the sky to deepen the mystery.
Firmage, 29, appeared deeply relaxed Saturday as he led the 1999 National UFO Conference on an hour-long amble through humanity's origins and utopian potential. Clearly, leaving $1.6 billion Internet consultant firm USWeb in January to promote his gospel of "the truth" has been good for him.
Unfortunately, soon after a promising down-home start ("you can call me the Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley if you like, as long as it brings a few more hits to my website"), his comments soon lurched into the rarefied middle-distance of epistemological jargon like "intermediate paradigm" and "matrix of ontology," leaving the UFO faithful eager to understand, but at a disadvantage.
Back to the circle's center
As part of his ongoing attempt to put UFO phenomena and coming technological developments into a broad historical and cultural context, Firmage began his PowerPoint digital presentation with a tour of the "history of homo sapiens."
Although his precise diction and spiraling, oracular cadences managed to round out his comments here, the meat of the message was neither complicated nor novel -- basically, the truth is the marriage of science and religion, and any true understanding must fall somewhere between the two methods for explaining the world.
After saying he believes in evolutionary principles -- a dangerous enough topic in a room dotted with people whose fundamentalist relatives harp on the notion that "all abductees have meddled in the occult" -- he noted that evolution is incomplete in itself.
"Something is missing from purely random selection," he said, quoting boyhood hero Carl Sagan's "you are star-stuff" to justify his conviction that, while "science has informed knowledge of our ultimate creator," human life is also a product of "spirituality."
He then launched into a sketch of how these forces -- largely dominated by the rising power of scientific thought -- had shaped the 20th Century and especially the "cusp" or "brink of destruction" on which the century now teeters. After taming the electromagnetic spectrum, exploring the moon and embodying the "mind of humanity" as the internet, he said, spirituality, or "the power of consciousness" bound by ethics, is waiting to re-enchant the world.
"It looks increasingly like science fiction is soon to be fact," he said. "Art predicts the future."
So what are the UFOs?
While noble enough in itself, this dream of fusing religion and science, meaning and data, told the audience little about the truth behind those lights in the sky.
Firmage himself seemed, if not uncertain, then unwilling to share much concrete detail on this matter beyond the fact that he believes that UFO phenomena do in fact exist and have been with us for millennia, and that they have been debunked and ignored in recent times largely due to the efforts of the scientific establishment.
Otherwise, the entities apparently remain as "mysterious and discrete" to Firmage as they do to any investigator less sanctified by newspaper headlines. Significantly, he characterized UFOs only as phenomena that "maintain their distance" and may or may not follow "multiple agendas."
When he asked whether the chaotic body of UFO literature can be interpreted as "an integrated saga," no answer was forthcoming.
Graduation requirements
Instead, Firmage seemed content to point to the conditions under which the answer will appear, as though he hoped, like John the Baptist, that the crowd would choose not to follow him, but one to come after him.
Since UFOs represent "an intermediate paradigm in the ontological debate between science and religion" -- along with near-death experiences -- he promised that only a unified scientific/religious mindset could ever solve the UFO riddle in its entirety.
Once that union occurs, he said, the field of UFOs and other "anomalous" experiences will be eligible for re-admission into the scientifically-sanctioned universe of explainable, predictable "reality."
Firmage did not explicitly refer to this decoding of the UFO mystery as one of humanity's "graduation requirements" that, once met, will allow our species to travel the universe on our own with, as he put it, a spacecraft in every back yard.
Still, in his opinion, the integration of spirituality with 21st-Century science is likely to be one of those requirements and, as such, the understanding of UFOs would necessarily be a pleasant side benefit.
In a last nod to Carl Sagan, Firmage wondered whether the UFOs may be not only a symptom of the flaws in our understanding -- the as-yet-unidentifiable "anomalies" in our otherwise orderly universe -- but also the force prodding us to repair our errors.
"Can we rule out the concept of extraterrestrial evangelism?" he asked the crowd, again without answering his own question (originally Sagan's).
What the crowd gave back was mostly applause punctuated with bewildered silence. They'd come to hear Firmage's truth because they were tired of their own questions going unanswered, and they had hoped to get some answers out of the man in the newspapers.
The Word Is Truth
On the Message of Joe Firmage
By Alfred Lehmberg <
Take someone like this Firmage, an ordinary Joe, but plainly individual, and drives a Chevy, don't you know. He owns a home and won't have three, apparent that he's off his knees. Looking up to see a star, he's asking where the space folk are! He's not fooled by strained ambivalence -- twitchy phactual insignificance; he's a spirit of true science -- balanced systems, more reliance. He's aware what's watched is changed! He seems calm and non-deranged. His interest is not based on profit, (perhaps a little like a prophet?) he seems oddly genuine for what it's worth -- a man of men! It's hard to hate a message, clear, that I myself have written here. UFO's are all mixed up with attitudes, and greener thoughts. Present mores are complacent, Earth destroying, cloying -- nascent. We are, PLEASE (!), the Earth's disease, and still we scrape our callused knees!
This is what he talks about -- that there is more within, without . . . than dreamt of in a current system locked in dogma's stopped up cistern. Perhaps perceived as planet killers, raising rashes, burns, and blisters everywhere we settle down -- we're pus and mucous spread around. We've small respect for one another, crossing borders, lines, and brothers. We have no respect for life surviving us through strike and blight! We are what we make at last, and that's the air you suck and gasp -- begging for that second chance that you let go for cash advance. Slash and burn in ignorance. Practice your belligerence. Blow up nukes like fire crackers; act like selfish, stupid slackers.
Firmage wants to touch the stars, and somehow, nobly, make them ours. He would tell us what he's seen, and make it seem like MORE than dreams. Our destiny is in our face? We'll live with others out in space? We'll take our place, and earn our spot, we'll work so they won't have to drop some bolus from an angry sky to wipe us out -- insure we die. Yes -- tell me how we're NOT disease to bring our planet to its knees with poisons that we throw around for *greener lawns* that aren't so sound. Firmage has a bigger gun, he's got the juice -- he thinks it's fun! He has (in fact), straight up, admitted that his joy is not attrited in his struggle for the truth -- though *heavens* fall, and *hell* breaks loose! GIVING IN TO RIGHTEOUS CHANGE IS STEPPING UP OUR SCOPE AND RANGE! It puts us in the asteroid belt, secures a future Firmage felt. Hell is vanquished soon enough if YOU get off your flaccid duff, and make the *search* important business, investigate this *stuff* -- sans glibness.
Something crazy's going down -- written records are profound. History is _pregnant_ with it. Crowds of people SEE them -- Jesus! Firmage wants the honest look, SCIENCE used, and by the book -- but using an imagination, taught by ALL the data's lessons. Look for better plans, designs -- newer models, paradigms. Asking ALL the tougher questions, tolerant of new suggestions (empty prisons building schools before we fail, and play the fool?). In-depth study shows the curse that disrespect has made much worse. Firmage has the guts to question CUSTOM and its infestation. Tradition is a suspect tool; abusing, and it's learned in school. Morality from corporations (?), ethics from religious *blessing* (?), dancing to convenient tunes where few MAY win -- but most will lose is NOT what we can really do. We ARE much more than THAT. It's true!
Aren't we? My reach exceeds my grasp, and that's what heaven's FOR! I'd be damned, but for that kingdom that IS at hand! Your god's speed, Mr. Firmage.
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