Glimpses of Extraterrestrial Utopias
Author : Sheryl Gottschall ©
The contactees of the 50s and 60s era painted images of ET civilisations that could be classed as Utopian. The social climate on some ET worlds was largely one of contentment, happiness, harmony and order. These societies were highly organised and the ETs worked in occupations that were often tied to some sort of service industry working towards the planetary populations’ higher good. The social goals were not directed towards the accumulation of money. Indeed, in some instances planetary civilisations had no monetary systems whatsoever. Interactions were based on cooperation in general, even though systems existed to control deviance, and education of both a formal and informal nature was highly regarded. Value systems were based on cooperation and self-development rather than competition, selfishness and authoritarianism, and these values were inspirational rather than demanded.
Although the effect of a utopian society is the transformation of its civilisation, it doesn’t stop there. Nature is usually perfected and idyllic as well. Some ETs impressed upon the contactees that they had come to understand the value of appreciating the effect of their own needs on their environment and in some cases there are reports that ET cultures had either returned to or maintained a more rural style of living so as to remain harmonious with nature. In this sort of society it is only natural that nature will flourish and continue towards perfection. ET technology had also been developed that was not so disruptive to the environment, and while ET civilisations continued to learn more about the universe and the subtle energies that interconnected it so too did they work in harmony with those energies rather than destroying them through their technology.
Although these societies almost sound like fairy tales and possibly too futuristic for us to digest, the ETs spoke of their societies as being already in existence and had been for quite some time.
The Dream of Utopia on Planet Earth
To dream of Utopia is to enter into new ways of resolving the problems that come with living. The concept of Utopia is often silently lurking in the background of many religious beliefs, social programs and political infrastructures, although many of us may not recognise it. Achieving a utopian lifestyle is a driving force in most societies constantly motivating them to do and be better and humans can be uncanny in their intuitive understanding sensing when their society is drifting away from the utopian ideal. But what does it mean to dream of Utopia?
Usually the dream of Utopia is heightened when widespread dissatisfaction exists in a social structure. In the western world modern social conditions and values have peaked in recent years, creating a cynicism fed by the disheartening most recent scandal found in the news headlines. Priests and teachers breaching the trust of innocent children by molesting them; doctors trading their patients long term health for short term profit; large corporations denuding the planet while slowly distinguishing the life of our childrens’ children's home; people warring on their fellow man; all make us expel a heavy sigh as we watch an archaic creaking system insidiously invading our very souls. The last century has seen the idea of Utopia flounder and falter as people exchanged hopes of harmony for peace, and then peace for mere tolerance.
Dissatisfaction with the direction society has taken has given rise to the feminist movement, environmental concern groups, the search for self-sufficiency, self-education, self-responsibility, healing and truth returning us to the path towards Utopia. So in a sense it has not all been for nought. In fact, the emergence of the dream of Utopia is dependent on the appearance of widespread dissatisfaction otherwise we would not reset our course and turn closer towards our goal. So in this sense to dream of Utopia is to dream of a better life, a better world and a better way and this keeps us moving forever forward.
The Role of ET Utopia
In this important way contactee accounts have reawakened the pursuit of the ideal society. The challenge for any utopian society is the development of a set of images that might cross different social groups and boundaries while uniting and inspiring them in similar ways. Imagine a world where even the boundaries of extraterrestrial societies could be bridged with our own. This would indeed be a gigantic leap.
One of the functions of utopian ideals is to sharpen our understanding of current political, social and moral dilemmas and this is precisely what the ET contact experiences of fifty years ago did. They fired the social imagination to bring back hope and direction to humanity. Although the ETs were quite high-tech they also seemed to practice what one could only call voluntary simplicity. They were not so much self-denying but rather practiced constraining their appetite for material goods by shifting their value system to one of intellectual endeavour and spiritual development. This promoted the idea of life-long learning, a delight of the mind that requires only leisure and modest material support. Quite a contrast to our modern fixation on ‘the lifestyles of the rich and famous’, an item of popular culture that uses envy to promote high consumption.
The hope for happiness was entrusted to non-material ‘wealth’ that diminished the need to acquire and consume. Fulfilment of the soul at some higher level of aspiration is achieved as an alternative to material self-indulgence. In this way the image of ET cultures that view life as an opportunity to learn rather than to squander paints a panorama of enquiry, wonder, aspiration, empathy, tolerance and compassion toward all whose path we cross, qualities necessary if we are to eventually become ‘cosmic citizens’.
Is it no wonder then that contactee accounts five decades ago were the precursors in our own culture of the flower-power era of the 60s, the hippie movement of the 70s, the environmental groups of the 80’s and the grasp for the return of family values in the 90’s.
Dreaming of Other Worlds
What might it be like on other worlds and would we like it? From contactee accounts we can see that other cultures have been able to move past the problem of wars, disease and religious intolerance and this should give us some hope that it can be achieved. But what might a society need to do to travel from point A to point B, and more to the point would we be willing to participate to bring it about? If we tackle the issue of consumerism, which has a devastating effect on the environment, how might ET civilisations have resolved this one problem?
As stated previously some ETs have shifted values so the need for materialism has been surpassed by the higher status of success, that being ‘personal development’. However, there are many steps in between that have to be conquered. For example, how would we satisfy our need to ‘get our hands on’ things we admire? One idea proposed by Marge Piercy is to develop a worldwide library where even the rarest books, jewels, objects d’art, fashionable clothes etcetera could be borrowed and examined by the entire population. Imagine your household changing from month to month or year to year with the latest item of value. This could be a most interesting way to live and is an idea worth pondering.
In William Morris’s News From Nowhere, the citizens of Ecotopia own little but it is elegantly handmade, the workweek has been reduced to twenty hours, leisure becomes a value in its own right used for the arts and crafts, play and recreational sports, especially hiking, camping and climbing in the fiercely defended wilderness which has come to be respected as Ecotopia’s principal public asset.
This is only one example of how to deal with one issue, but as you can see a Utopian world will require major value shifts that begins with our individual choices. Extraterrestrials have achieved such shifts and I believe it is possible for us to follow the path they have laid before us. It all begins with us choosing values that are closer to essential sanity and contribute to the greater good of our planet and it’s inhabitants.
The Voice of the Earth by Theodore Roszak, 1992 Bantam Press
Journal of Near Death Studies, Winter 1991papers -
1) Near Death Experiences and the Pursuit of the Ideal Society, Allan Kellehear PhD
2) Over My Dead Body There is an Ideal Utopia: Comments on Kellehear’s Paper, Carl B. Becker PhD.
Women on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
Inside the Spaceships by George Adamski