UFOs and other objects

Mortals have always had a relatively tidy method of identifying their surroundings. Material objects are observed and defined according to information fed us by the material senses. We neatly label most objects—a rock, a chair, a cloud, a person—and tuck the description snugly away in our mental catalog of material items. We assume we understand most of these apparently substantial objects. However, if we are occasionally uncertain, we expect that an explanation is available, perhaps from a chemist or a physicist or maybe a psychologist.

We're not very often puzzled by an object's identity. But now and then one comes along and disrupts our comfortable little classifications—an object that doesn't fit into our preconceived definition about what an object is supposed to be; how it should act; how we should react to it. Often these troublesome objects (disturbing at least to our ordinary way of understanding things) are flying objects rather than stationary objects. When we can't get a fix on them, explain them with a traditional rationale, they may be dubbed unidentified—unidentified flying objects.

Not always
May 7, 1979

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