What work is currently going on to study UFOs is heavily condensed into nation-sized chunks. Every nation has its UFO study groups – large and small – and only rarely do they ever peek above their national boundary fences to talk to each other.
The fragmentation of the UFO research community is oft bemoaned, but it is also understandable. Some organisations have adopted a more “scientific” approach than others, some are up to their necks in conspiracy theories, and yet others are too small and resource poor to make any difference at all. Indeed, in many nations, the bulk of the work is being conducted not by national organisations but by local groups of varying capability but uniformly low profile.
In most nations the shape of the UFO organisational landscape is similar. Usually, one will find at one extreme a body whose beliefs are virtually theological. In the UK (and several other countries) that slot is filled by the Aetherius Society (founded by George King back in the 1950s and based on the same sort of claims of alien visitations as those of George Adamski in America). This society is quite successful in terms of membership but is more cosmic religion than UFO research body. In the middle of the spectrum one generally finds bodies which straddle the subject from conspiracy to investigation. This group includes the better known, middle of the road UFO organisations. But it also include organisations which major on a range of mystical and occult phenomena. For example, the British Earth and Aerial Mysteries Society (BEAMS) is a popular mix of UFO research and mystical investigations. At the other end of the scale are more “scientific” groups which try to focus on the collection and investigations of reports. In America that segment is probably filled by NARCAP while BUFORA (the British UFO Research Association) does its best to meet the need in Britain.
Almost always, these national organisations are paralleled by groups of enthusiasts at local and regional level. Sometimes, as with MUFON in the United States, these groups form part of a wider network, but this is relatively rare. In the UK there are around a dozen regional and local groups of which those for Birmingham, Cornwall, London and Wales are perhaps the best known. In the United States NICAP, MUFON and CUFOS are in the middle with a host of bodies on the mystical and cosmological end of the spectrum.
So, you can see what I mean. The groups do a good job and they produce fascinating and very important results, but their limited resources are thoroughly diluted by the colume of work needing to be done.
This is pretty much the same whatever western nation you look at; diffused resources stretched across the wide plain of UFO research, divided by individual rivalries as well as by differing beliefs and hypotheses. The situation is similar to the fragmentation of some religions into sects and break-away churches which mitigates against an efficiently organised and truly scientific approach. The sort of landscape which, in fact, tends to repel rather than attract the outsider.
A rational outsider would probably advise that ufologists optimise resources by creating a single UFO research organisation per nation and perhaps set up separate organisations to address the occult and mystical aspects. But there is little hope for such a common-sense structure. If UFO groups within nations cannot cooperate even when it makes eminent sense and would potentially strengthen their capability, there would seem no hope at all that national organisations would be able to enter into meaningful formal international cooperative agreements.
One or two organisations have set up such cooperation but progress is slow.
Nationalism and groupism are stultifying human characteristics in most spheres. In the UFO environment, they act as perhaps the most serious barrier to effective UFO research. And, to be blunt, one cannot see that situation changing anytime soon.
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