By John White

The following is excerpted from an essay entitled "UFOs and the Search
for Higher Consciousness" to appear in my forthcoming book, The Meeting
of Science and Spirit.


The term "metaterrestrial" was coined by J. Allen Hynek to denote
something that originates outside the familiar space-time framework in
which we ordinarily function.  Also called extradimensional,
interdimensional, ultraterrestrial and ultraphysical, this category
provides evidence that some UFO experiences are due to nonphysical but
real entities that come not from other locations in our universe but
from other sets of dimensions that interpenetrate our space-time.
Materialization/dematerialization and some other psychic or paranormal
phenomena are best accounted for this way, and are theoretically
possible within modern physics' view of reality.  In short, many UFO
incidents appear to be contemporary versions of what was recorded long
ago in mythology, religious scripture and spiritual traditions as
encounters with angels, demons and the various inhabitants of other
planes of existence.  These metaterrestrial (MT) beings materialize into
our space-time from other levels of reality- -traditionally called
heaven and hell in the Judeo-Christian world view, but modernly
understood as hyperspatial dimensions or supersensible space-time
frameworks with a wide range of beings native to them, just as ours has
creatures ranging from viruses to whales.

Thus, the UFO phenomenon suggests that other life forms are present in
the universe--the evidence from exobiology supports this idea, quite
apart from the UFO data--and that they have contacted the human race
throughout history and are still interacting with us in various ways.
The interactions range from benevolent, such as warnings from Space
Brothers and Galactic Confederation emissaries about the threat of
nuclear war, to malevolent, such as the abduction of Whitley Strieber,
who told in his bestseller, Communion, of being captured, brain-probed
with needles, anally examined with a rough instrument and having his
memory altered.

What is the meaning of all this for humanity?  In a comprehensive and
recent two-volume bibliography entitled UFOs and the Extraterrestrial
Contact Movement, George M. Eberhart surveys the literature on UFOs and
alleged contacts with ETs.  It is significant that Eberhart describes
the extraterrestrial contact phenomenon as a "movement."  That movement
is widespread, albeit unorganized.  It goes far beyond mere public
interest in flying saucers.  In its deepest aspect, it represents a
flowering of the human quest for God and growth to higher consciousness.
There are many groups founded on the ET/MT-contact premise, often
centering around a charismatic figure who claims to be in contact with
UFO occupants and to have regular telepathic links with space or
hyperspace.  These groups range from membership societies such as the
Unarius Society (Escondido, California) and Mark-Age of Miami, (Florida)
to communal/extended family situations such as that around David Michael
the Cosmic Messiah (Berkeley, California) and "The Two" who preached a
gospel called Human Individual Metamorphosis that promised followers
would be removed from the planet by a flying saucer.  All these groups
extol the virtue of their unseen communicators and claim they have a
mighty revelation to offer for the benefit of humanity.  Many of them
regard extraterrestrials and metaterrestrials as "gods from outer
space."  And many of them, such as "The Two," offer a program or
prescription for higher human development and extension of human
consciousness to godlike conditions if we will submit to "the gods."

But while their appeals to join the movement may be intriguing and
enticing, remember that fools rush in where at least one form of ET/MT
life--angels--fears to tread.  The movement's appeal needs close and
careful consideration.  My purpose in the rest of this essay, therefore,
is to offer a cautionary comment about the proper attitude toward UFOs
and ET/MT contact. 


First, consider the most intriguing aspect of the UFO experience:  the
convergence of psychology and physics.  As the study of inner and outer
space merges, consciousness becomes the key to understanding the
situation.  The UFO phenomenon actually leads us to still-larger
questions.  It is not enough to ask what are they, where they come from
and what they want.  Our ultimate questions concern cosmology and
ontology:  what is reality and how can we know it?

These questions bring us slowly but surely to the realization that only
by understanding the essence of ourselves can we understand the nature
and structure of the cosmos, including the UFO phenomenon.  It is a
paradox recognized in all major religions, psychotechnologies and sacred
lifeways that the deeper you look inside yourself, the more universal
you become.  Scientific and spiritual traditions--the objective and
subjective aspects of our attempt to know reality--converge to reveal
levels of consciousness far beyond what we ordinarily take for the
limits of our awareness.

Conceptualizing these higher dimensions is difficult.  Recent models of
the cosmos by physicists, paraphysicists and parapsychologists are
resorting more and more to the esoteric, heremetic, metaphysical and
occult traditions, which claim to have long been aware of other aspects
of reality other than the physical-material.  These traditions use terms
such as the astral plane, the etheric plane, the plane of Mind and so
forth to denote hyperspaces--other space-time frameworks, other sets of
dimensions-- interpenetrating our own.

Where are these hyperspaces?  All sources agree:  they are within us,
even while they seem to be outside; and at the same time, they are
outside (our physical bodies), even though we arrive there by going

The cosmos, then, may be conceived as having different but
interpentrating planes of existence which are space-time frameworks in
their own right.  The higher planes are the native realms of angels,
spirit guides, ascended masters and other evolutionarily advanced beings
reported throughout history as interacting with humanity to guide and
protect us. 

Protect us from what?  Malevolent inhabitants of other planes.  Outside
the physical plane we humans inhabit is not all sweetness and light,
according to these traditions.  There are said to be objectively real
but invisible intelligences that seek to penetrate human psyches in
order to stop our evolution and enslave us to their will.  It is said
that these malign entities can and do sometimes materialize into our
plane of existence in various alluring ways to entice us off the
spiritual path.

As a person evolves in consciousness and expands awareness, he passes
through these different levels enroute to the highest state of
consciousness, cosmic consciousness.  Those levels, in Christian
theology, are termed "the heavens."  In Hindu and Buddhist thought, they
are called "lokas."  Though the terminology differs from culture to
culture, the underlying unity of experience cannot be mistaken.  Each
level is said to have beings--presumably organized into some social
structure--capable of materializing into other levels.  As a person
moves into those spaces through whatever spiritual discipline he
practices to purify his consciousness and develop organs of higher
perception, the boundary between "inner" and "outer" events dissolves
and a single, unified view of reality is perceived.  This is why there
has been unanimity of reports from "soul travelers" to the highest

And what they report is this:  we humans are confused about ultimate
reality and our true identity.  Both are something far greater than we
ordinarily think and both are actually one.

Next consider what this means for human happiness and understanding.
First, there is a core truth to which we can penetrate--an Ultimate
Answer which alone gives purpose, meaning and direction to our lives and
our search.  Second, that truth is accessible to each of us on the basis
of direct experience, without need for intermediaries.  Third, in order
to attain that truth, we must ascend in consciousness; we must
personally evolve through our own efforts.  And, finally, if many
individuals evolve, the result could well be a collective change of
society, a transformation of the species, a radical change in human


As I see things, precisely such a change is now occurring.  Evolution
has not stopped.  A new race--a higher form of humanity--is now emerging
on the planet.  My reason, research and personal experience lead me to
this conclusion.  And certainly it is not my conclusion alone.
Nietzsche, Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, Gopi Krishna,
Oliver Reiser, R. M. Bucke, L. L. Whyte, Jean Houston and others have
proposed the same idea before me:  human beings are also human

The grand theme of history is the evolution of consciousness--a story of
ever-more complex forms of life coming into physical being in order to
express more fully the consciousness behind existence itself.  As this
applies to the current world scene, I maintain, the many threats to life
on this planet created by Homo sapiens' intellect-gone-wild have caused
such pressure on nature that the life force--the intelligence governing
creation--is mobilizing to resist the irrationality of Man.  

How will it resist?  Simply by bringing a higher form of life onto the
planet--a form which will recognize the laws governing nature and live
in accordance with them.  The human race as we know it, in all its
combative, divisive, exploitative, self-centered inhumanity-to-man, will
go the way of the dinosaur.  The widespread signs of world unrest and
cultural collapse around us indicate that an historical epoch, a world
age, is ending.  

Simultaneously, a great awakening is going on around the globe.  It
isn't merely a generation gap or a communications gap.  A new species is
awakening to its cosmic calling and is asserting--in the face of the
threatening dominant species--its right to live.  The planetwide
uneasiness and societal upheaval being seen today is fundamentally an
expression of people straddling old and new worlds as they try to find
out what species they belong to.  The dominant species is ego-oriented,
technology-mad and unconsciously bent on self-destruction through its
materialistic addictions and their unforeseen effects on the biosphere.
The emerging species, on the other hand, is life-embracing.  It seeks to
live in harmony, create a unified planetary culture founded on love and
wisdom and, as Native Americans say, walk in balance on the Earth

In the course of people's effort to find their true identity, many
errors and excesses will occur.  The "gods from outer space" concept is
a notable example.

Now, there is nothing inherently implausible about the notion that more
highly evolved life forms exist and have contacted us.  Exobiology
suggests that life will arise wherever conditions are not simply
favorable but merely a little better than totally hostile.  Since our
sun is a relatively young star, there may be older star systems where
organisms developed earlier than here and have become the more highly
evolved inhabitants of supertechnological civilizations capable of space
travel.   They may even have come to Earth in UFOs.


The immediate allure of contact with such civilizations is the
possibility of learning from them.  Imagine, for example, being given
the means to build power sources such as those that propel UFOs.  Some
alien communications speak of "free energy devices" that tap space
itself and could do away with the need for oil, coal, gas and nuclear
fuels.  This is an exciting visita, promising--on the surface, at
least--a new era of peace and prosperity such as people have dreamed of
for millennia.  Beneath the surface, however, this is more of the same
narrow vision--the unquestioned faith in the power of science and
technology to secure human happiness--that is endangering our species at
this time.

Thus, inherent in the possibility of ET/MT encounters is a danger we
must recognize beyond the mere idea of ferocious killers as expressed in
Aliens.  We must recognize this danger if we are ever to truly build a
"heaven on earth."  For such knowledge as we might obtain from
extraterrestrial contact still does not give us the most important type
of cosmic connection--the type we need to deal with the problems of
daily living.  Our endless accumulation of scientific facts simply does
not add up to wisdom and understanding of the human situation in its
cosmic aspect.  Every new bit of information, every new answer we get
raises a dozen new questions.  Gathering scientific data is an endless
process, and unless we are properly grounded in the moral  foundations
of the universe, we will continue to find new ways of misusing science
so that knowledge only leads to greater unhappiness, as we see most
strongly in our present historically unprecedented threat to all life on
the planet.  As Krishnamurti, speaking of our faustian quest, says,
"Knowledge is only a part of life, not the totality, and when that part
assumes all-consuming importance, as it is threatening to do now, then
life becomes superficialÉ  More knowledge, however wide and cunningly
put together, will not resolve our human problems; to assume that it
will is to invite frustration and misery.  Something much more profound
is needed."

What is needed?  A change of consciousness.  Only a change in the state
of human consciousness will allow us to find the knowledge and wisdom
necessary to survive the threats facing Homo sapiens.  For there is a
type of knowledge beyond science--beyond even the science of
supertechnological extraterrestrial civilizations--that is nevertheless
democratically available to every one of us.  It is the core truth, the
eternal message of all the world's sacred traditions.  It is knowledge
that anyone can obtain directly from the cosmos, without intermediaries,
without being dependent upon benevolent superior beings, whether they
are angelic messengers, Space Brothers, spirit guides, ascended masters,
walk-ins, EBEs or whatever.  Call it God-knowledge, mystical union,
attaining yoga, finding the Tao or achieving enlightenment.  These terms
all refer to the same thing:  the fundamental apprehension of Cosmic
Wholeness transcending any and all parts of creation and its creatures.
This is the knowledge that gives purpose, direction and fulfillment to
our lives by answering the ultimate questions which spiritual traditions
and science alike have tried to answer:  Who am I and what is existence
all about?

That is not to depreciate the value of whatever wise counsel or
technical information humanity may be offered by extraterrestrials or
metaterrestrials in the matter of evolving to higher states of being.
But in the last analysis, it is up to us to take responsibility for our
own growth into higher consciousness.  Nobody can do that for us--not
through neurosurgery, genetic engineering, chemical implants, hypnosis,
EBE "gardeners" or any other forms of outside intervention such as
various theorists are hypothesizing today.  What is "out there" cannot
save us.  The impulse to grow must come from within as an organic
expression of a person's total being.


That is the unanimous advice from sages around the globe throughout
history.  Deep inside us, not far out in physical space, is the channel
by which we can make the cosmic connection--the one that really counts.
A powerful illustration of this is seen at the end of 2001:  A Space
Odyssey.  The film is a classic for many reasons, but the chief one is
its insightful treatment of the grandest theme of all history:  the
evolution of consciousness and the growth of humanity to a godlike
state.  2001's "hero" is the astronaut Bowman.  His technology-denoting
name symbolizes an intermediate stage of human evolution that is still
relatively crude but nevertheless well beyond the ape-man stage with
which the film begins.  At the end of the film, we see Bowman traveling
on the (symbolically sperm-shaped) spaceship (symbolically) named
Discovery through the atmosphere of Jupiter, preparing to land and begin
searching for the advanced life forms who created the mysterious black
obelisk.  This is the famous psychedelic scene in which the audience
goes through the streaming colors representing the atmosphere and
surface of the planet.  During the passage, an image of a human eye
appears briefly now and then, filling the entire screen so that only the
pupil and iris are seen.  This is director-producer Stanley Kubrick's
way of saying that the film's explicit journey to outer space is
implicitly a journey to inner space, to the center of the mind.  Because
as the audience passes through Jupiter's atmosphere, it also passes
through the giant eye into the brain-mind behind it.

And there, in the center of the mind, is an amazing discovery, a
startling revelation:  we ourselves are the real extraterrestrials for
whom Bowman has been searching.  Humanity has gotten so "spaced out," so
far from home, so out of touch with the Earth that we have forgotten our
origins and lost our roots.  We've become alienated--aliens--to
ourselves and the planet.  And because of that, we are in danger of
destroying life on the planet, and perhaps even the planet itself, just
as some purported messages from space beings warn us.

In that alienated state of consciousness, we are searching for advanced
life in the universe--searching for higher consciousness--in outer
space.  Now, there undoubtedly are such life forms out there.  But it is
deep within ourselves, not out in astrophysical space, that the true
cosmic connection exists.  So long as we have not discovered our own
potential for growth and further evolution, we have become terminal--the
dying old man that Bowman is at the film's end.  So long as we look for
gods from outer space or any kind of saviors "out there," we are lost
and alienated from Truth.  But when we "look within" and find the power
of consciousness directing our destiny and the destiny of all creatures,
no matter how highly evolved, then we realize paradoxically that we are
one with that consciousness, that cosmic intelligence, that
transcendental reality.

The basic situation facing us today is a crisis of consciousness.  Human
consciousness is in a disturbed, unstable state and through what could
be called "extraterrestrial materialism," many people are making idols
of UFOs and extraterrestrial life--false gods from outer space.  But if
we are ever to build paradise here, we must first heal ourselves, not
rely on surrogate parents from the sky or wish for saviors from beyond
the planet.

Depth psychology has shown that a child's parents are his first gods.
But growing up, maturing, requires relinquishing that illusion, along
with hopes and dreams of invoking magical powers and omnipotent forces
to give us our desires and answer all our questions.  Instead, we must
do the slow, difficult and often painful work of taking responsibility
for our own actions and recognizing that if we are presently the real
aliens, we are also potentially the gods we seek.

As the author of 2001, Arthur Clarke, put it in his profound 1953 novel,
humanity is near childhood's end.  We stand ready to become what Carl
Sagan calls starfolk.  We stand ready to join galactic society--through
the mature form of the human race, the higher humanity I've designated
Homo noeticus.  And that is the meaning of the Star Child floating in
space at the end of 2001, silently contemplating the Earth.  2001 is a
mighty cinematic saga of human evolution from an apelike condition to a
new stage of transhuman development.  Star Child is Kubrick's visual
symbol of the emergence of a new state of evolution:  the development of
the coming race--or, as Jesus and the Judaic tradition put it, the Son
of Man, the offspring of humanity.  Star Child is a citizen of the
cosmos, no longer ego-centered or even Earth-centered, but rather is
universally centered and cosmically conscious.

That godlike state beckons to us through many manifestations today.
Although the manifestations are most often occulted, vague and
uncertain, the principal one has long been clearly recognized--and
revered.  I refer to the true spiritual teachers of history--Jesus,
Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tse, Mohammed, Moses, Zoroaster, Guru Nanak, St.
Teresa and other more recent figures such as Sri Aurobindo, The Mother
and Da Love-Ananda.  These illuminati, these godmen and godwomen are the
people who most clearly demonstrate the future of human evolution.
These enlightened ones are forerunners of the "new breed," specimens of
an advanced humanity.  Their lives have been dedicated to showing those
lower on the ladder of evolution that they have within themselves the
potential for self-directed growth to a higher state of being.  And none
of them have claimed to be extraterrestrial.  They have, however,
claimed to be universal, and have said that all others can be also.
How?  To quote the Buddha's dying words, ". . . by relying upon
themselves only, and not relying upon any external help. . . not looking
for assistance to anyone besides themselves."  Or as Jesus put it, by
seeking first the Kingdom of God.

That is why I caution against deluding ourselves with the glamour and
mystery of UFOs and ET/MT contact.  The two principal reasons for this
can be stated thus:

First, the promise of such contact is tantalizing yet beyond our
control.  We are wholly at the mercy of whoever or whatever is out
there, subject to their whims, unable to communicate except when they
want to allow it, and unable the verify the information they give us
about themselves.  We may theorize and hypothesize all we want, but
until we have tangible, testable, sufficient data, it is all mere
speculation.  And when we do have such data, we may find that some of
the nonhuman life forms are truly hostile to human well-being, rather
than benevolent, just as many abductees' experiences already indicate.
The guidance and warnings of sacred traditions and spiritual teachers
about this matter should not be lightly disregarded.  Remember that the
Bible describes demons as fallen angels.  We must beware of false gods.

The second reason is this:  the greatest enemy and the greatest ally we
have are still to be found in the depths of our own psyche.  The proper
attitude toward meetings with starfolk can only be that which we have
for human teachers and helpers.  We should not disregard whatever
information, guidance and counsel seems to be offered by starfolk for
our growth and well-being, but we should always test it carefully rather
than accept it on blind faith or authoritarian command.  When our
attitude assumes the character of a master-servant relation or a
deity-worshipper relation, our own evolutionary potential is discarded
and our cosmic calling is unheard.  Properly understood, however, ET/MT
contact has value in the manner that the signs and wonders of Jesus had
for the first Christians.  They pointed to a still-higher source which
is the creator of us all, and they demonstrated the reality of our own
latent ability to become as Jesus was--and even more, as he himself
acknowledged.  The UFO experience can do the same thing for our time.
We must be aware of True God.

We are rapidly entering the next phase of evolution.  But evolution is
essentially transcendence, and the source of all transcendence is the
Transcendental.  That is the source of our being, as well as our
becoming.  Whether our meetings with advanced life forms seem to come
from outer space or inner space, we must recognize that they principally
reflect to us that which we ourselves shall eventually become, and that
all time and space, all worlds and their inhabitants arise from the
Transcendental Source whose traditional name is God.  Therefore, it is
God alone to whom we should aspire in our search, recognizing that the
distant goal of our evolutionary journey is also the fountainhead  of
our existence moment-to-moment along the path, and that what is working
itself out in cosmic space and eonic time is, beyond space and time,
already so right now.  

Paradoxically, our ultimate condition is a present fact:  in Reality,
there is only God.  And rightly understood, EBE stands for "everybody
become enlightened."