The Myth and Mystery of UFOs

Jenny Diski writes:

The problem with that ‘blue sky thinking’ we were introduced to by New Labour is that we happen to perceive the sky as blue only because of our particular physiology and arrangement of senses on this particular planet. ‘Blue sky thinking’ doesn’t so much encourage limitless imagination as embed in its own metaphor our absolute inability to think outside our perceptual and conceptual limitations. We can’t help but do it our way. We get a poor enough result when we use ‘blue sky thinking’ to figure out innovative ways to deal with economic or social problems, and do no better contemplating the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. We think of aliens and immediately cut them down or up (or some other inconceivable dimension) to our size. They can be bigger or smaller, their heads huge, their eyes bulbous; they are usually humanoid, occasionally reptilian, but they are always recognisable as variations on the theme of life on planet earth. This is as true when we set out to imagine alien behaviour as it is when we imagine their shape.

(LRB 17 November 2011)