Dr. James Madden [Pt 2]: Unidentified Flying Hyperobject
Today we welcome back Dr. James Madden to the show. As I’m sure you’ll recall, Jim joined us a couple of months ago for a discussion about Plato’s Cave. We also discussed some of his latest work applying the philosophical concept of the umwelt to the UFO phenomenon. And I was really excited to see that that episode has become one of the most listened to episodes of the podcasts, because it’s definitely one of my favorites. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, I highly recommend that you go back to that one first. Jim’s work builds on itself, and it will be helpful to lay down the foundation with that episode before moving onto this one.
In this episode, we’ll be moving on to Dr. Madden’s latest work. Over the last few months, in a flurry of articles released through his Substack, Jim has laid out a series of arguments as to the nature of the UFO phenomenon that are, frankly, mind blowing. It’s not over-stating things to say that what Jim has done is to essentially break ufology–and I mean that in the best possible way.
Because, in many ways, it’s been clear to anyone who is really paying attention that the traditional models and ontologies that have dominated modern ufology have needed to break. We began this podcast talking about what the UFO phenomenon might be, and we did a deep dive into the primary hypotheses including extraterrestrial, ultraterrestrial, interdimensional, extraterrestrial, etc. And all of those models are really useful for helping us to push our thinking about what the intelligence behind UFOs may represent. But if we’re being really honest with ourselves, we have to admit that none of them really fit. They come close in some ways, fall short in others, and ultimately leave us feeling like we’re trying to stretch a full-sized sheet over a queen-sized bed.
What we’ve needed–desperately–is a model that would collapse all of those ontological categories and integrate them into a larger, more coherent whole. And I’d argue that what Dr. Madden is postulating with regard to the UFO phenomenon does exactly that. I truly believe that what he is pointing to here is the future of ufology. This work is urgent and critically important for us moving forward.
Dr. James Madden's Work
Other Work Referenced
Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Posthumanities) by Timothy Morton
The Third Table by Graham Harman
Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything by Graham Harman
The Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One by Friedrich Nietzsche