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Looking up: UFO occupants and the legacy of language

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Donald Burleson

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Donald Burleson

Special to the Daily

Record

Reportedly, we have had some exposure to the languages used by UFO crews. Some primary witnesses described peculiar inscriptions seen on the 1947 Roswell wreckage, and when physicist Robert Oppenheimer was present at the 1948 Aztec, New Mexico, UFO crash retrieval as part of the scientific team summoned to examine the craft, he took notice of alien markings adorning a “sort of book” found inside, observing that the inscriptions rather resembled Sanskrit, a classical language with which he was familiar.

One wishes we could know more about these strange symbols — strange to us, anyway — in terms of the eternal mysteries of language.

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In the study of linguistics, there’s a theory called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which essentially says that the structure of the language a person learns to speak in childhood largely determines the way that person perceives and categorizes the world. Different languages impart different world-views.

For example, in the world of scientists, there may be linguistic factors relating to the fact that speakers of Asian languages often excel at quantum mechanics.

For western scientists, quantum theory is frequently experienced as counter-intuitive. Its basic precepts seem to run contrary to common sense. Take particle entanglement, for instance. We “entangle” two particles, project them in opposite directions at the speed of light, alter the spin of one of the departing particles, and the spin of the other particle is instantly altered, as well. Some scientists initially found this so unreasonable that they refused to believe it until they saw experiments proving it true.

The reason for this reaction, in keeping with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, may be that in western countries, we speak languages in which the relation between nouns and verbs would encourage us to think of particles as things rather than processes. But in quantum physics, one needs to think of a subatomic particle not as a thing but as a spectrum of events. Asian languages tend to favor this way of seeing the world from the outset, so that in effect, the speakers of such languages experience a fairly natural affinity with quantum theory.

We may only speculate, of course, on how the users of those peculiar-looking UFO inscriptions are prompted to see the universe, due to the nature of their languages. What if those languages revolve around grammatical structures so “friendly” to quantum concepts that they give their speakers an even more dramatic scientific advantage than that which is arguably enjoyed by speakers of some languages here on Earth? It’s entirely possible that an alien language’s form conduces to giving its speakers, at an early age, profound insights into the most arcane aspects of science. After all, UFOs exhibit an undeniably advanced technology.

And if, as many speculate, some UFOs are time travelers from our own distant future, things get more intriguing still. We know how our own languages have evolved over the past few thousand years, but what about the next million years? Maybe linguistically we’re in the slow process of becoming better scientists all the time.