Even a passing examination of the “Problems with Strieber and The Key” paper published a year ago (March 2017) leaves objective readers with the impression that there are serious issues with Whitley Strieber’s ongoing effort to present himself as a reasonable, authoritative voice when it comes to the ‘contact phenomenon’, for lack of a better term. The many undeniable problems with Strieber presented in the paper have been further discussed at length on the Mother recordings, which started in 2012.
Unfortunately, it is one of the features of our age that truth has no social force – not really. Indeed, while it is far from clear that it ever had any force, today especially it appears that high and low, people are free from any corrective mechanism, not only able to persevere in the face of all forms of criticism, but encouraged to do so – to the point where whatever is said or indeed proven, they are happily determined to push on in their illusions, presenting themselves as however they wish to see themselves, with all valid critiques brushed aside as mere personal attacks.
Strieber is a illuminating example. Despite decades of meditative practice, despite his carefully cultivated image as a wise, humble, and compassionate man made so through his violent, challenging, and sometimes traumatic encounters with the so-called ‘visitors’, Strieber has remained impervious to decisive criticisms of himself and of his work. In this respect, whatever his location out on the fringes of culture, he is, in fact, part and parcel of today’s culture and its inability to entertain any kind of meaningful self-examination. While Strieber has been shown undeniably to be a fantasist and a confabulator throughout the course of his career and in his role as self-appointed sage of the contact phenomenon and its foremost interpreter, Strieber continues blissfully on – sign that in this age of ‘truthiness’, even profound questions of otherworldly contact do not render one exempt.
Strieber’s latest Journal entitled ‘Unknowncountry and Politics’ (March 12, 2018) can be found here: http://www.unknowncountry.com/journal/unknowncountry-and-politics
Ostensibly, it’s a sort of apologia for Unknown Country’s negative stance toward Trump’s election and the series of anti-Trump stories that the site has presented since 2016. The actual news stories are of little importance, especially given that Unknown Country is only a sort of faux news site. News items are often poorly written, have no real journalistic depth, and only function to supplement the site’s real content which is Strieber’s Dreamland show and his periodic commentaries on what he ‘knows’ about the visitors (as he calls them).
But this latest piece provides a clear look into Strieber’s obstinate refusal to reappraise himself and his role in light of the overwhelming work done a year ago and discussed on a variety of online forums.
Starting already in the second paragraph of this latest Journal, Strieber immediately makes an appeal to his own authority on matters alien:
As far as I am able to understand the aims of the visitor with whom I am in contact, it reflects those aims. Using my implant and given their frequent interactions with me, I think that I am providing here a reasonably accurate reflection of their positions. I do know that there is no other public person in the world with a relationship like this, which is verified both by the presence of the implant and the wealth of testimony from others about their own direct encounters with the visitors when at my cabin or elsewhere. This testimony, with named witnesses, is in my books and the video of the attempt to remove the implant is on my YouTube channel.
I must say that I now thank God that I followed Anne’s advice and didn’t persist in my attempts to have it removed. Over the 30 years it has been with me, I have gone from being horrified by its presence to accepting it to now using it as what has become an indispensable tool. without it, I could never have reached the depth of knowledge about the visitors or relationship with them that I have managed to reach. Even though it is just the surface, I am at least informed enough to know that.
It is no “tracking device” but rather a node in a breathtakingly sophisticated communications system. To have the use of it is a remarkable thing, and I am learning new uses every day.
One thing that it has done is to enable me to crystallize exactly what the visitors I am in touch say they want from us and what they say they are doing here. Now, I don’t have this in writing. I have it through the implant, and therefore it must always be to a degree held in question. But only to a degree. I believe that what I will say here is reasonably accurate.
There is an obvious problem here, and it’s made possible by the same sort of glossing over the details that Strieber routinely engages in. Strieber’s account of getting his ‘implant’, which he has repeated many times in interviews and in print, consisted of two human beings (a woman and a man with a beard) who showed up while he was dozing, who rendered him unconscious. And after they left, he felt a discomfort in his ear and observed something in the same ear which either moved around or turned his ear red under certain circumstances.
Supposing Strieber’s story about the two human beings showing up is true, and supposing they put something in his ear – how does it follow that this is an alien implant? And how do any of Strieber’s claims to knowledge about what it is, how it works, and what it allows him to do follow?
In fact, the details about Strieber’s implant have always been sketchy. There is purportedly a video available on his Unknown Country site showing a Dr. John Lerma attempting to surgically remove it, before it purportedly moved away deeper into the ear and away from the scalpel. Certainly strange behavior for a foreign object embedded in an ear. But how does anything else follow regarding Strieber’s knowledge of this ‘implant’?
What one sees in Strieber’s appeal to authority here – he has reliable inside knowledge about the alien question because of his implant, and he has reliable knowledge about the implant itself – is an element of fantasy. Strieber has claimed in the past he was able to ‘see other worlds’ as result of his implant, but the details here have been vague and had little place in the rest of Strieber’s body of work, and again it should go without saying: this object was put in by two human beings who spoke English (according to Strieber’s account).
When Strieber’s Journal entry continues, he delivers moral lessons about the visitors that he uniquely is able to know (thanks to being who he is, Whitley Strieber, and thanks to having the implant):
First, they are indifferent to our various beliefs. They consider belief to be the lowest level of consciousness. In other words, they don’t care if we are left or right wing, centrists or whatever, and our religious beliefs are something they won’t interfere with. They do react with interest when one seeks toward a higher level, such as that of finding one’s inner teacher.
And this, in large part, is what Unknowncountry is about: we want to stimulate your curiosity and urge you toward new questions. This is why Dreamland and the Experience are as they are, and why our news section concentrates on real questions about the enigma of the universe.
In terms of human life, they have four areas of interest. The first is that people become aware that they have souls and that their souls are why they are here. The second is that we have as much freedom as possible, so that we can live life as deeply and richly as possible. The third is that we be good stewards of our planet so that we can continue to survive. This means that we must respect the needs of nature as well as our own, and balance the two. The fourth is that we help one another.
Of course, Unknown Country has never been free from political partisanship – and that partisanship has always been Whitley Strieber’s. Strieber was in favor of the Iraq War, citing abstract historical reasons involving the need to prevent the rise of another Hitler. Then like so many, after the debacle of Iraq was apparent, Strieber backpedaled his support, stating in a recording that he knew it would be a disaster. Strieber has also been consistent in his Cold War-era suspicions of Russia, claiming on his site that he knew with certainty that Vladimir Putin’s personal goal was the re-establishment of a Russian Empire.
Strieber’s Unknown Country site has always been consistently pro-environment, treating the issue with what might be considered a non-partisan approach, criticizing officials and institutions on all sides that fail to treat the issue of climate change with urgency. But on all other issues, Strieber’s personal politics have always been reflected in the site’s news stories (without author names given) and these change with the wind, i.e. the prevailing political climate. So there is a certain hypocrisy in claiming the lofty wisdom-approach in the Journal when the site has routinely been in the mundane sense political.
More importantly, however, under the cover of this false claim of non-partisanship, Strieber is again in this Journal advancing on baseless grounds: a) his authority and credibility on the alien question in general; b) a specific, detailed knowledge of what the visitors want – what they think and feel and want for mankind – on account of what? Nothing precisely.
It was well established in “Problems with Strieber and The Key” that from the beginning, Strieber has been imbuing his visitors with a sort of hermetic presence taken directly from his own experiences in the Gurdjieff group, as well as his own understanding of very Catholic notions of sin, the soul, and so on. Moreover, his own personal philosophical perspective based on a kind of moral naturalism evident from his earliest fiction (‘The Hunger’, ‘The Wolfen’) in which the supernatural has a function in the natural world heavily determines what he ascribes to the ‘visitors’. It’s worth noting that this vision of Gurdjieffian, Catholic, moral naturalist aliens shows up nowhere in other contact accounts whether those published by John Mack or anywhere else in the literature. One has to ask what is more likely: that the Grays happen to be Gurdjieffian Catholics with Strieber’s moral naturalist worldview or that Strieber’s unique vision of the visitors belongs to Strieber himself and arises automatically out of his intellectual influences.
But Strieber, the man of self-knowledge – the man of world-unique perspective thanks to his ‘implant’ and his lifetime of experiences – never asks himself this question.
When you live in both worlds, as I do, you cannot imagine how much you want all souls to soar. It is a desire deeper than blood that your fellow man will ascend into ecstasy. You end up unable not to love every single person, even the cruelest and most terrible, even those who oppress you personally. You love all, without judgment and with much hope. […]
I can do nothing about that, though. I have been disempowered by the very fact that I claim relationship with the visitors. I am without force in the larger world, a curse that oppresses me deeply, for I do have a blueprint that would preserve our planet and provide us with many future generations here.
It is my burden to know this and be unable to act on it beyond the little bit I can say here. My only response is to bow my head before the greater power that we all serve and come in my heart to shantih, the peace beyond all understanding.
And so the public lament continues with Strieber’s claims to victimhood. Strieber has a ‘blueprint’ for making the planet survive and for humanity to reach spiritual enlightenment – which if only he weren’t so marginalized, would bring about Heaven on earth.
It is a profoundly sad thing to see a man who has demonstrated intellectual sophistication in the past continue to sing this particular song. The best one can say is that it is human nature at work – a human nature that is, despite all our hopes, not transformed or moved one jot by years of purported alien contact.