I've mentioned binary opposition before in some interviews, but rarely have I tried to explain this very interesting concept that offers some acumen to the paranormal - and shows the relationship of transition to paranormal phenomena.
In early cultures, mankind breaks down things into opposites. Some of the major ones were:
LIFE - DEATH
HEAVEN - EARTH
MALE - FEMALE
HUMAN - BEAST
|The spirit Mercurius|
they are also very much related to the
But here's the lynchpin to the concept: there is a betwixt and between to the binary opposition. This state has many of the same properties to it, as do rituals, liminal periods and transitional states (mentioned on this blog in depth on a prior post). And in that between state of binary opposition, we find compelling items of interest.
Binary opposition presents some surprising insights. If we look at the binary oppositions I've mentioned, we can note some interesting aspects. Let's look at that list again...
LIFE - Ghosts - Spirits - Reincarnation - Mediumship - NDEs - DEATH
All of these blur blur the distinction between life, and death. Ghosts, spirits, reincarnation, mediums, NDEs - of course are all referred to as paranormal. In today's society, there is alive and dead. No in-between. But, the paranormal directly challenges that notion.
How about the next one?
How about the next one?
HEAVEN - Angels - Extraterrestrials - UFOs - EARTH
Angels, ETs and UFOs...all fly between the earth, and the heavens. They are also considered of the supernatural, or at times even spiritual beings.
MALE - Shaman - FEMALE
Now this is a really interesting one. The shaman, (again mentioned before here on the blog) often had gender confusion and were considered to have supernatural powers by the rest of the tribe. Often referred to as 'two-spirit', they encompassed both male and female genders and were sometimes homosexuals. "Medium" could also be included here, as there is a significant component of homosexuality in the medium community, this seems especially so in the U.K. male mediums. George Hansen also noted that in his experience, a disproportionate number of professional magicians were also gay (Many on-stage magicians have reported real paranormal and psi events during performances - more on that in a future post). In general, people not involved in the typical dyadic male/female relationship, tend to be more anti-structural or liminal. For instance, single and divorced people, report more psychic experiences than do married persons.
HUMAN - Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti - BEAST
|The Sasquatch - between man and beast|
A number of North American Native American tribes recognized that Sasquatch wasn't just some rare or otherwise unknown animal - but seemed to have a supernatural or spiritual quality. It was considered a bad thing to see a Bigfoot - and if you saw one, you had to be ritually cleansed so as not to infect or contaminate the rest of the tribe. We've spoken about that before here as well. There are other 'paranormally' categorized beings that could be put into that liminal state between Human and Beast: Vampire and Werewolf - and just because such beings are generally accepted as fictional, doesn't mean people haven't experienced them or some strange manifestation of them.
In closing, we see binary opposition is rife in the most base-level aspects of the UFO field. How many times have we heard the notion that a witness did experience a sighting and had a legitimate photo or some other 'evidence' - only later going on to hoax future evidence, clouding his/her original account. To my eye, the Bentwaters/Woodbridge case is a good example of this. For years the witnesses gave an account that didn't seem to change. Then on the 30th anniversary of the case, one of the witnesses came out with a ridiculous binary code message allegedly inserted into his mind via his experience of touching the 'craft'. Of course many found the revelation dubious and highly suspect - especially when the witness was asked why he didn't come forward with this information until now, and he claimed that he didn't think the binary code was important. This places the entire case for many, squarely into the binary opposition middle points:
REAL - FAKE
TRUTH - LIE
You can find many, many examples of this type of thing in the UFO field's archives. Bentwaters/Woodbridge is not unique in that sense. In many cases, the truth of the matter is hazy, and ill-defined (depending on who you talk to). This of course leads to many differing points of view and ultimately to conflict.
The blurred line between what is real and what is not; between what is truth and what is a lie, is the stomping grounds of the trickster. We often refer to the UFO field and the 'muddying of the waters', and many don't realize that this is not the specific problem, but part of the nature of the phenomena 🔻