Are experiencers of high strangeness authors of the impossible, to steal a phrase from Jeff Kripal? Well, first questions first: Are our experiences about the actual, the possible, or the impossible and are we authors of anything at all?
I cheated. That’s two questions. Or four. But who’s counting?
Seems to me that if we’re retelling what actually occurred and we don’t know all of what actually occurred because some elements are missing for us, then we’re not retelling the actual. We’re retelling our reaction to something strange and telling what it means to us. So, we can nix the actual.
Within this whatever-it-is experience, are we shown, demonstrating, or otherwise conjuring the possible? Possibly. Perhaps there’s a dual meaning to having an element of our experience that is missing–which is that there’s something missing in us, or something of which we are on the cusp, and aliens are really movie trolls giving us spoilers to the film of our lives.
What about the impossible, then? Well, that one’s trickier because if we’re shown something impossible as though it is actual, or immersed in a hallucinatory virtual reality wherein we’re tricked into believing something impossible, then outside of another type of trolling, this would presumably be something done to us for us. For our benefit, perhaps, but definitely for us to work on. Maybe just to see what we do with it, see how it does or does not grow us.
Now, you may have tackled those questions before, so let’s swoop it around to a question you might have missed: What, if anything, is the role of the audience in this?
No story comes alive without an audience. And an experience that does not reveal what it actually is, that is itself a mystery, is nothing more than a story. But saying “nothing more” isn’t giving story credit for what it is: story is everything. Story is the living connection between author and audience, both of whom are writing it and filling it and themselves with meaning. So, if I’m an experiencer and I’m writing this and you’re a reader reading it, that means we’re writing the story together. I’m giving the words and my meaning and you’re also giving meaning and pondering to add or subtract words, or, less likely, say, “That’s perfectly stated.” We’re both editing it. We’re both giving life to it and therefore meaning to it and ourselves through the simple act of caring to engage by way of interest.
So then, what is the mystery intelligence with whom I have interacted to write this in the first place–and you’ve taken an interest in in the first place–doing, if not writing and editing and giving meaning along with us?
The intelligence is a catalyst, is clay, is a canvas–but it is not blank. I mean it’s not all freeform for you and me. There is some partially-recognizable event going on in the pre-first place that we’re riffing off of.
We treat alien abduction and paranormal contact at large as if they are one long chainmail going from nonhuman (or nonliving human) intelligence to experiencer to audience, but, as demonstrated here, this cannot be the case. There is no fully fleshed-out, fully-realized experience on the experiencer’s part. And so the experience does not “come alive” in the retelling the way an instruction manual does or a scientific formula or the recitation of one’s average day with people at the office. Or even a myth, for that matter, which has a universal subtextual consistency, even though the story’s surface varies, culture to culture.
No, high strangeness experiences are not what they appear to be. And their meanings are not written where you’d expect them to be–at the beginning, with what should be the intent of the original author, this intelligence bothering to interact with us.
The mystery is a mystery. The experiencer’s role in that mystery is a part of the mystery. The audience’s role in that mystery is a part of the mystery. What comes alive from this in story and why is also a mystery.
Mystery begets mystery and we’re all invited. That is as much actuality as can be stated about high strangeness phenomena.
Perhaps, then, trying to figure out what this intelligence is and what its motives are is the wrong direction, for not only is high strangeness experience not about what we want it to be about, its behavior might not even be compatible with how we typically think about behaviors.