Students in Professor of Physics Glenn Piner’s Search for Extraterrestrial Life course are hard at work learning the requirements that would need to be met for life to form elsewhere in the universe. Yet, members of the Aetherius Society hold that we have already received contact from intelligent extraterrestrial life.
On Tuesday, April 17, member of the Aetherius Society Ernesto came to speak to the Search for Extraterrestrial Life class about his and his group’s core beliefs. The Society, whose U.S. headquarters is located in Hollywood, was formed in the 1950s by George King, a taxi-driver from London. King believed that he was able to communicate with “Cosmic Masters,” or beings from planets such as Mars and Venus, while in a trance state. He believed that these intelligent beings were loving, spiritual, and here to warn of nuclear holocaust. Ernesto compared them to the figure of the Avatar in the television series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
However, the group does not discount other religious traditions. They claim that prophets or other spiritual figures from other religions such as the Buddha, Shiva, or even Jesus Christ were actually other “trans-mediums,” just as King is believed to have been. In this way, the Aetherius Society borrows many teachings from other faiths, such as the practice of yoga from Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet, rather than follow a purely written text, such as the Torah is followed in Judaism or the Bible in Christian traditions, the society’s main spiritual record are tapes recorded by George King as the Cosmic Masters were believed to be speaking through him.
King and his followers also believe that these space spirits have physically visited Earth, and that UFO sightings are legitimate. Ernesto even told the class of his personal experience seeing a UFO in his backyard while living in Miami, Florida.
While many of the Society’s claims are easily met with skepticism, the class respected Ernesto and the Society’s optimism and genuine spirituality. “It was a little hard to believe stuff like that,” said second-year Kaylan Amezcua. “It’s very spiritual, so nothing is solid or science-based. So it’s a little elusive just listening to what he’s talking about, but, at the same time, its very inspirational because they really do just focus on themselves and energy and helping others.”
Within the class, this presentation served to highlight how groups outside the scientific community view the question of whether life exists in the galaxy. “I’m trained to look at it from a scientific perspective, so I can’t really present that view as well as they can themselves,” said Piner. “So, I recognize that question has spiritual significance for a lot of people and a lot of groups, and the Aetherius Society is a group where belief in extraterrestrial life is central to their whole spirituality and their whole view and the way they look at life.”
For Search for Ext. Life class’s next assignment they will look at whether the Catholic Church would baptize an extraterrestrial. Let us hope if they do, the alien is from a planet that is used to H2O.