At the same time that many in the scientific community maintain that we have no reason to believe extraterrestrials would ever look like us (which is to say humanoid), they paradoxically maintain that such entities would nonetheless think just like us and communicate in a similar vein; interestingly, the accounts of alien abduction seem to indicate a diametrically opposing view. These humanoid, apparently insectival creatures have advanced minds, it would appear, but they seem to be minds quite distinct from our own, and the coexistence of those two facts when held up against the perspectives of comparative neuroanatomy are not as paradoxical as might be commonly conceived.
According to Paul Patton in his December 2008 Scientific American article, “One World, Many Minds: Intelligence in the Animal Kingdom,” as popular as Paul MacLean’s “triune brain theory” may be, it is an overly simplistic and misleading model. Rather than a linear process in which successful developments of the brain are piled atop one another, with modern, non-human species bearing brains that constitute earlier stages, parallel developments have been made, culminating in widely-divergent nervous systems across the animal kingdom. “Substantial cognitive abilities have evolved multiple times, based on differing neural substrates,” he writes.
In the attempts to grasp how different the central nervous system (CNS) of the Grays are from our own, we might turn towards the earthly insects with whom we are familiar, and here we find that they may indeed be quite alien to us.
According to Anna Stockl, the CNS of vertebrates such as human beings operates like a monarchy. It is, in other words, a centralized system, with the brain in the skull governing the body through the dorsal nerve of the spine. Among insects, it’s more akin to a decentralized federation. The CNS is composed not of a spinal cord but of a ventral nerve cord that stretches across the front or bottom of the insect and serves to connect the ganglia — clusters of neurons that function as brains — that occupy multiple areas of the body.
Two of these ganglia reside in the head, and they are known as the supraesophageal ganglion or anterior brain, located behind the esophagus, and the subesophageal ganglion or posterior brain, which resides just below the esophagus. The anterior brain is composed of three lobes: he protocerebrum, the deutocerebrum, and the tritocerebrum, which assimilates data from the other two lobes and connects them to the posterior brain, which in turn connects them to the ventral nerve cord. This nerve cord connects the dual brains in the head to the segmental ganglia, which occupy each segment of the insect body. Functions of those segments therefore have a decent degree of autonomy, which is why a decapitated insect can not only survive for days or weeks noggin-free but can continue to crawl around, fly and fuck as well.
While there are no cases to my knowledge in which someone managed to slice off the head of a Gray alien, I was reminded, in the midst of researching the insect hypothesis, of an online account a friend had me read back in high school that may have some relevance. It was an account by a man named Randy Terpstra who, my research suggests, has since died, and his story is strange, even for a presumably alien experience. I must confess that if there were not particular correlations between his story and my own I might have dismissed them in a reactionary sense (much as it is with respect to Strieber). He described a series of strange events centered around missing time episodes and vivid “dreams” featuring a disembodied voice that only identified himself as a “teacher”. In one of these dreams he found himself in a space engulfed in a pinkish blur before a metallic table, on which he found a creature, presumably dead, fitting the description of the Grays, which the voice tells him is an enemy that he will have to battle with. Terpstra continues:
“He tells me to turn it over. I reach out and push the body onto its side. It is cold and rather damp. It feels like a lizard, leathery and soft. I am looking at the back of the head. There is a hole (oblong) at the base of the neck where it meets the head. The Voice tells me that the creatures have two brains. Anterior and Posterior. (I have since learned that this means front and rear). The creatures use the brains simultaneously. Because of this, it is almost impossible to kill the creatures. If shot, unless shot in both the front and rear of the head, the creature continues to live. One of the brains is dead, but the other continues to carry on. If one of the brains dies, the ‘power’ is now diminished but not terminated.”
He was then told that these two brains are separated by a bulletproof bony plate that divides the brain cavities and are connected by a bundle of nerves that runs through it, and that aside from shooting them in the head from the front and back, the only way to kill them — and it would kill them instantly — was to penetrate the aforementioned hole at the base of the neck at a depth of 3-5 inches with the blade of a knife or perhaps a bullet.
While not all of this may not resonate entirely with what we know of our earthly insects, the parallels are close enough to arouse my curiosity. And while they may have evolved from an insect species, trying to learn about them by studying our own insects may only get us so far — as far as another alien species might get by trying to understand us by studying our simian ancestors, for instance.
If their ancestors were like our insects, intelligence might have dawned in the protocerebrum of the anterior brain. This lobe not only controls vision but contains the higher brain centers known as the mushroom bodies, which is what enables an insect to learn and store short- and long-term memory. The anterior brain can vary within species, however, and in eusocial insects it can also vary in accordance with caste.
Among eusocial insects, the aforementioned decentralized nature of the CNS may extend to the colony as a whole.
Take the Social Brain Hypothesis, which posits that individuals in social species like human beings develop larger brains (or at least larger brain regions that deal with processing complex data) because within the complex social interactions that characterize their society such adaptations have survival value. This may indeed be true for vertebrates such as ourselves, but it does not necessarily extend to insects. Case in point: when researchers elected to study wasps — some of whom are solitary, some of whom live in small groups, and others that live in the most complex colonies of which we’re aware — they found that this hypothesis doesn’t apply to them. The wasps’ reliance on higher brain regions was reduced as they evolved from solitary to more complex societies, and to help explain why this is the Distributed Cognition Hypothesis was developed.
Unlike us social vertebrates, most insect colonies are populated by close relatives. They therefore have a shared interest in carrying on their collective genes and rely upon one another to achieve the end of survival and reproduction, resulting in a highly organized, structurally-complex, goal-directed society in which the individual members are so tightly united that they hardly constitute individuals at all. Instead, the group takes on the collective traits normally ascribed to a singular organism and the “individuals” therein serve as its various functions. They are, in effect, a “superorganism.”
In the simplest, most general way, the reproductive castes serve as the reproductive organs, the sterile workers and soldiers it’s somatic body. This is also why the workers in a eusocial insect colony are frequently compared to the neurons in the human brain. Individually, neurons offer little more than simple, stimulus-response behavior; collectively, however, they form the brain, the emergent intelligence of which puts any individual neuron to shame. Similarly, workers in an insect colony have reduced individual brain power, making the members of a colony dumber than a member of a solitary species, but the emergent intelligence of the colony is superior because they have shared brain power — or distributed cognition.
Insects in a colony are different from neurons in some respects, of course, not least of which due to the fact that they are not physically bound to one another. Instead, cooperation within the insect colonies we are familiar with requires some form of communication, such as pheromones or, as in the case of honey bees, a symbolic dance language. In the case of the Gray Mantodea, that form of communication is undoubtedly telepathy.
In human beings, parapsychological studies seem to indicate that the strongest instances of telepathic communication are found between identical twins (naturally-occurring clones), and then increasingly less between other siblings, other relatives, close friends and married couples, and finally between distant friends and strangers. Aside from genetic and emotional bonds, age also seems to be a factor, which is to say that the younger one is and the closer two people are in age, the more telepathically conductive they are. Following this logic, we could assume that the strongest cases of telepathy would occur between a group of young, closely-related members of the same species and age group, which is precisely what the Smalls appear to be — and that’s leaving alone the fact that telepathy would appear to be their central if not sole means of communication. Given that telepathic effects are rather immediate, unlike the way our familiar insects communicate, there is good reason to think that the superorganism mentality may be more pronounced among the Grays than it is in earthly insects. The benefits and detriments involved in this kind of mentality are therefore also likely to be more pronounced than those which we have otherwise observed.
While they are not eusocial insects, some of the survival advantages of the superorganism mentality can be seen when flocks of birds or school of fish react more quickly as a whole than they do individually. They apparently accomplish this by means of picking up on the visual cues provided by the body language of other members in the group in response to stimuli such as prey or predators. Imagine how this effect might be amplified if such creatures used telepathy as their main mode of communication.
Just as we might fail to understand the Gray Mantodea given our tendency to anthropomorphize, they seem to have difficulty understanding the nature of individuality — and of how things operate among social animals, as opposed to eusocial ones. An easy example would be the plethora of occasions in which they show scenes of global cataclysms to abductees, either on a large screen or directly into their minds telepathically. They then either insist that the abductee must prevent such scenarios from happening or make them believe that these scenarios have already happened and then chastise them for not having done enough to prevent it. Though the objective may merely be to study emotional responses, it still provides some insight into their own psychology. It is as if they perceive the abductee as singularly responsible for the cataclysm; as if s/he could change the collective human perspective on a fucking dime. It reveals that they are clearly incapable of wrapping their bulbous heads around the concept of human individuality and the limitations of our ability to effect such collective change. They talk to an abductee as if they were speaking not to an individual, but an appendage of the human superorganism, implying more than a bit of psychological projection on their part.
In order to foster this superorganism mentality, what would be sacrificed is what human beings would consider our cherished individuality, as it would enable members to serve themselves or their faction rather than the colony as a whole. Individuality and personal liberty would serve as a threat to the security of the colony.
As a consequence, insects only perceive and interact with each other only as collective categories: colony, caste and age. The alien society, which seems to be merely a more complex rendition of the familiar social structure of the eusocial insect colony, also seems to embrace this psychology. Even in terms of clothing or other adornments, there are no individual differences — only ones that reflect the caste in question. Rather than providing personal names, they identify themselves only as their roles: The Doctor, The Leader, The Teacher, Scientists.
It appears that they may lack autobiographical memory — the life narrative composed of episodic and semantic memory which supports the sense of personal identity experienced by human beings. While we cannot know if this is the case with insects, it would certainly appear to support the superorganism mentality.
In his book, The Threat, Jacobs offers some abductee testimony suggesting that this is true, in the very least, with respect to the hybrids. “According to abductee reports,” he writes, “the hybrids have no memories of parents, siblings, family life, nurturing, or other emotionally important events that bond humans to each other. In a long conversation, one late-stage hybrid told Reshma Kamal that his memories were quite different from hers.”
The hybrid explained to her that while he has met his parents and understands who they are, he lacks the capacity to bond with them, to look back on personal “memories and histories” and recall things such as “picnics and parties” shared with them. Instead, his understanding is limited to medically-oriented “files” regarding his genealogy. He is a “robot,” he explained, in the sense that a robot is, as Reshmal put it, “something that you create and it does what you want it to do and nothing else.” Or as he put it, hybrids such as himself are “just here to do work” and the aliens are “in total control of everything.” Given that the hybrids operate alongside Grays as members of the worker caste and this sort of mentality supports identification with the group, we might assume this is also the case for the Grays themselves.
It should be noted, however, that while this superorganism behavior is seen quite clearly in the Smalls, later stages in development do seem to introduce more and more individual character. As they develop, they also appear to have more focus and discipline with respect to their personal telepathic abilities, suggesting that the telepathic superorganism effect we observe in the Smalls might constitute a sort of psychological womb out of which they slowly emerge as they develop as individuals; a dominant collective mind that nurtures them until they gain a more independent mind that can control their telepathy.
Despite what seems to me to be clear evidence of this superorganism mentality among the Gray Mantodea, however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a major critique of my comparison with it in the past to the “hive mentality” of bees. This came during a relatively brief period of weirdness of a kind that happens periodically in my life in which I had a “conversation” with someone regarding the very hypothesis I’ve attempted to flesh out in this paper. The Conversation either happened on the evening of September 9, 2011 or the following day, and I believe it may have been a half-remembered encounter:
“I remember explaining that the Small Grays seemed, in abduction reports, to be in a subordinate position to the Tall Grays, who in turn also seemed to have an authority: taller, slender beings in cloaks or robes that are often said to look like a Praying Mantis. The person said “Praying Mantis” just before I said it, which indicated to me — with great excitement and enthusiasm on my part at the time, I might add, forcing me to smile and give a little laugh — that they were actually listening to me, taking it all in, on the same page as me and, even better, were apparently well-read on the subject. It went beyond that at the time, however. I remember thinking just after the person said that how weird it was, because it seemed as though he had read my mind. I went on to say that the Mantis species we know on earth have young that do not always look like miniature versions of Mantises, but instead often look like ants, so it was my theory that the Grays were merely the younger versions, the “nymphs” of the taller Mantis beings. They were basically an advanced insect species. I then explained how they also seemed to be part of a “hive mind” like bees, and this is where the person again interjected, this time to express a difference of opinion, feeling that the “bee” analogy was insufficient or misleading.”
On a positive note, if this was indeed a telepathic conversation I had during an encounter that was veiled in one of their telepathic dream-scenarios, he seemed to confirm the heart of the hypothesis: that Grays constitute Mantis nymphs and they’re all an advanced insect species. So far as I can recall, however, he did not detail what was so insufficient or misleading about my bee analogy for the alien mentality. Did he mean the analogy as he understood it, which is to say that it did not fit with his advanced knowledge on both the mentality of the Grays and the mentality of our earthly bees, or did he merely mean to imply that how I personally understood (or misunderstood) the mentality of bees at the time provided an insufficient analogy? And what was a sufficient analogy, in either case?
It would be nice to have a follow-up conversation, is all I’m saying.
– The Andreasson Affair: The True Story of a Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind, by Raymond E. Fowler
– Into the Fringe, by Karla Turner.
– Communion: A True Story, by Whitley Strieber.
– Majestic, by Whitley Strieber.
– Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions, by David Jacobs.
– The Threat: Revealing the Secret Alien Agenda, by David Jacobs.
– UFO Hunters, 303: The Greys Conspiracy.
– Inside the ant colony – Deborah M. Gordon
– Ant Colony IQ: Just How Smart is an Ant?
– How Monogamy Made Superorganisms Evolve
– What Is A Eusocial Animal? | Earth Unplugged
– Why the insect brain is so incredible – Anna Stöckl
– Do Social Insects Share Brain Power? Drexel University
– Do Bugs Have Brains? Neuro Transmissions
– Will Alien Life Resemble Life on Earth? Harvard Biologist Jonathan Losos Explains
– Convergent Evolution vs Divergent Evolution | Shared Traits Explained
– Top 6 Examples of Convergent Evolution
– Convergent Evolution speech by Richard Dawkins
– On Extraterrestrials– 3. Insect Nervous System– Why are there so many insects? – Murry Gans– Why Aren’t There Giant Insects?– The Social Brain: Ralph Adolphs at TEDxCaltech– What Happens When You Put A Spider And A Fly In A Vacuum Chamber? Will They Survive?
– How bees use swarm intelligence to make decisions
– How do insects become queens or workers?