¶589 It is difficult to form a correct estimate of the significance of contemporary events, and the danger that our judgment will remain caught in subjectivity is great. So I am fully aware of the risk I am taking in proposing to communicate my views concerning certain contemporary events, which seem to me important, to those who are patient enough to hear me. I refer to those reports reaching us from all corners of the earth, rumours of round objects that flash through the troposphere and stratosphere and go by the name of Flying Saucers, soucoupes, disks, and “Ufos” (Unidentified Flying Objects). These rumours, or the possible physical existence of such objects, seem to me so significant that I feel myself compelled, as once before1 when events of fateful consequence were brewing for Europe, to sound a note of warning. I know that, just as before, my voice is much too weak to reach the ear of the multitude. It is not presumption that drives me, but my conscience as a psychiatrist that bids me fulfil my duty and prepare those few who will hear me for coming events which are in accord with the end of an era. As we know from ancient Egyptian history, they are manifestations of psychic changes which always appear at the end of one Platonic month and at the beginning of another. Apparently they are changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or “gods” as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche. This transformation started in the historical era and left its traces first in the passing of the aeon of Taurus into that of Aries, and then of Aries into Pisces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change which may be expected when the spring-point enters Aquarius.
¶590 It would be frivolous of me to try to conceal from the reader that such reflections are not only exceedingly unpopular but even come perilously close to those turbid fantasies which becloud the minds of world-reformers and other interpreters of “signs and portents.” But I must take this risk, even if it means putting my hard-won reputation for truthfulness, reliability, and capacity for scientific judgment in jeopardy. I can assure my readers that I do not do this with a light heart. I am, to be quite frank, concerned for all those who are caught unprepared by the events in question and disconcerted by their incomprehensible nature. Since, so far as I know, no one has yet felt moved to examine and set forth the possible psychic consequences of this foreseeable astrological change, I deem it my duty to do what I can in this respect. I undertake this thankless task in the expectation that my chisel will make no impression on the hard stone it encounters.
¶591 Some time ago I published a statement in which I considered the nature of “Flying Saucers.”2 I came to the same conclusion as Edward J. Ruppelt, one-time chief of the American Air Force’s project for investigating Ufo reports.3 The conclusion is: something is seen, but one doesn’t know what. It is difficult, if not impossible, to form any correct idea of these objects, because they behave not like bodies but like weightless thoughts. Up till now there has been no indisputable proof of the physical existence of Ufos except for the cases picked up by radar. I have discussed the reliability of these radar observations with Professor Max Knoll, a specialist in this field. What he has to say is not encouraging. Nevertheless, there do seem to be authenticated cases where the visual observation was confirmed by a simultaneous radar echo. I would like to call the reader’s attention to Keyhoe’s books, which are based on official material and studiously avoid the wild speculation, naïveté, or prejudice of other publications.4
¶592] For a decade the physical reality of Ufos remained a very problematical matter, which was not decided one way or the other with the necessary clarity despite the mass of observational material that had accumulated in the meantime. The longer the uncertainty lasted, the greater became the probability that this obviously complicated phenomenon had an extremely important psychic component as well as a possible physical basis. This is not surprising, in that we are dealing with an ostensibly physical phenomenon distinguished on the one hand by its frequent appearances, and on the other by its strange, unknown, and indeed contradictory nature.
¶593 Such an object provokes, like nothing else, conscious and unconscious fantasies, the former giving rise to speculative conjectures and pure fabrications, and the latter supplying the mythological background inseparable from these provocative observations. Thus there arose a situation in which, with the best will in the world, one often did not know and could not discover whether a primary perception was followed by a phantasm or whether, conversely, a primary fantasy originating in the unconscious invaded the conscious mind with illusions and visions. The material that has become known to me during the past ten years lends support to both hypotheses. In the first case an objectively real, physical process forms the basis for an accompanying myth; in the second case an archetype creates the corresponding vision. To these two causal relationships we must add a third possibility, namely, that of a “synchronistic,” i.e., acausal, meaningful coincidence—a problem that has occupied men’s minds ever since the time of Geulincx, Leibniz, and Schopenhauer.5 It is an hypothesis that has special bearing on phenomena connected with archetypal psychic processes.
¶594 As a psychologist, I am not qualified to contribute anything useful to the question of the physical reality “of Ufos. I can concern myself only with their undoubted psychic aspect, and in what follows shall deal almost exclusively with their psychic concomitants.