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In comments to another post, I posited a three-step echelon of reaction to the anomalous. Perhaps they are more akin to categories:
Interest may be sparked by a book you read, a movie or TV show, or a conversation, etc. A precipitating idea makes certain people want to find out more. They may have something missing in their lives, unanswered questions about the nature of existence, or simply a desire to know things that are beyond the experience of most people. At times, it takes on the dimensions of a spiritual quest. The study of UFOs is a great way to kick around a lot of unpopular ideas. It brings up questions about our place in the scheme of things. It sometimes places the more intelligent among us on the cutting edge of scientific and philosophical speculation.
Belief is a very tricky word. A great mistake that some of us who like to talk UFOs make is to make a quick transition to a Belief System (B.S. for short) of “aliens from other planets.” This is unfortunate, as it basically shuts down any further learning, and ignores the historical record of possible contact with non-human intelligence. Belief must be defended at any cost, and it’s often based in nothing that is provable, at least by the game rules of the larger society. Fundamentalist Skeptics are trapped in their belief structures as well, and defend them with the same fervor and occasional disregard for facts or logic.
A few of us bypass steps/ categories 1 and 2. For the individual who knows that there really is something knocking at our collective consciousness, there is no defensive stance needed. It’s not easy to spot this type of person. They generally shut up about it because there is no need to prove anything. The experience they have gone through may not even be explainable in words. To try would be folly. Beware of those who say they “know” certain things to be true. They’re most likely lying, at least to themselves.