What is The Open SETI Initiative?

The educated citizen of modern global society believes that life must be widespread among the distant stars and galaxies of our universe. With new planets being discovered at an increasing rate (125 during the past decade), tales of panspermia, and astrobiologists expecting any day to find microbes on Mars... in other words, with the full support of our science and media, the informed and forward-looking citizen sees a universe with organisms everywhere, and maybe large and intelligent ones somewhere, though very far away.

And that is the perfect intellectual environment for SETI -- the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and now the electromagnetic searching arm of the astrobiological establishment -- to gather its funds, ply its trade, and... listen for signals sent long long ago by intelligent creatures far far away.

This makes for a comfortable arrangement. Life in the universe exists to titillate our imagination and provide employment for our scientists but it is ultimately sterile. It's there, probably, but it cannot ever touch us as long as we take care when walking around on the local planets.

The problem with this picture is that in order to maintain it, one must deny and dismiss the common experience and the vast body of data amassed by all human societies of the past and present - experiences and historical records that argue for an unending, deep, and sometimes convulsive involvement of some other intelligence, and a very high intelligence at that, with the human race.

The evidence is not only in the form of historical and cultural memories. It can be found in our genetic makeup, our languages... and yes, in electromagnetic phenomena, definitely including some of local origin.

Thus if SETI were to put an end to its denial, virtually nothing would be unworthy of its study. In fact it might become what we define as Open SETI.

However, Open SETI is more than a kind of SETI with reduced restrictions. Open SETI begins by recognizing that the entire modern framework of thinking and perceiving constitutes a vast defining myth, just as all societies have had their defining myths. The object of SETI – extraterrestrial intelligence – is external to our modern myth and should not be approached from within it, on pain of either rendering it invisible or distorting its character beyond any semblance of its true nature.

That recognition points to the need for clarity of self and social consciousness, an awareness of one's own myths, and an acceptance of all myths as potentially containing useful data. This does not mean abandoning critical review, but it does require extreme care in the way review of data is conducted.

Open SETI advocates the use of every research discipline and the study of every category of organic and inorganic activity on earth and anywhere else within our view, as a full response to the rich evidence of our involvement with other intelligences that we have already seen.

Open SETI recognizes that “involvement” may well extend beyond physical or electromagnetic contact, and may have left traces in our mental, psychological, and psychic functioning. This brings research methods associated with these modalities into purview, which can even include information gained through remote viewing and exotic states of consciousness. Noting that remote viewing has proven useful to intelligence services, Open SETI considers framing its search more as an intelligence effort than as a scientific study.

The Website

Beginning as a simple conference paper set to HTML format in 1994, The Open SETI website has become an extensive tutorial review and critique of SETI and Open SETI methodologies, organizations, and programs. Its format consists of articles, technical papers, and occasional studies of events and phenomena that may be significant to its research goals.

Open SETI by its very nature and definition needs to be independent of review by conventional organizations. That is why it uses a website as its primary information base. This permits the taking of “radical” positions, without interference, in the face of the broad and deep suppressive mechanisms of mainstream science. The avoidance of conventional review can be seen as a great failing or achievement. But there is always a review that takes place in the mind of each reader of the website.

The Initiative

Open SETI has recently extended special invitations to other researchers to join in a loosely-coordinated and mutually-supportive activity identified as The Open SETI Initiative.

The aim of The Initiative is to promote the use of data and methodologies as described in this brief paper to study and understand the interactions between humanity and all external intelligences as well as to continue to promote the search for intelligence with which there has been no interaction.

The Initiative also seeks to expose and remove blocks to the open approach that have been set up by conventional SETI organizations.

Members do not necessarily subscribe to all of the ideas and opinions expressed on the Open SETI website, though they can and do contribute to it.

In addition to individual members, The Open SETI Initiative also recognizes the work of other organizations and by mutual agreement displays their logos on its page.

Members of the Open SETI Initiative

This website is largely the work of Gerry Zeitlin and the ideas and opinions expressed herein are largely his only. However, the following individuals -- Members of the Open SETI Initiative -- support and subscribe to the minimal basic position and aims of Open SETI as described on this page.

OSI Members



Research Institute on Anomalous Phenomena