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UFOlogical Jam Session to Celebrate the Life and Work of Bruce Duensing

Earlier this year, when I downloaded the Radio Misterioso podcast in which my friend Greg Bishop had a guy by the name of Bruce Duensing as the guest, I knew nothing about him or his ideas –a big stain in my UFOlogical record, given how he’d been blogging about the phenomenon for many years. That day I ended up listening to that episode twice in a row, fascinated by the things Bruce was saying with regards to UAPs –his favored acronym– which heavily resonated with my own thinking.

Since then I timidly started to have a little bit of online interaction with him, on Facebook and his blog posts, which were definitely not ‘UFOlogy 101’ material. Bruce’s paragraphs were packed with content, and his writing style was often oblique and obscure in meaning, which was not done out of intellectual pedantry as much his most honest attempt to elucidate upon a mystery which is oblique and obscure in intention to begin with.

It nevertheless made me realize that when it comes to UFOs I’m still at the Kindergarten level, and I had much to learn from him.

On the morning of Thursday, June 4th, Greg read a message on the Facebook wall of Bruce’s daughter, informing of the passing of his father after having gone through open-heart surgery on the previous Monday. The news hit me harder than I’d expected, seeing how I was just (barely) starting to know him. Perhaps it was because that same week I myself had gone through a different kind of personal transition, after being fired from the job I’d worked in for the last 15 years.

Transience. It’s something we rarely notice because we’re so focused on the trivial minutiae of our daily routine, yet it’s always happening all around us. It’s only when a certain critical mass is reached in our cognitive awareness –an accident, being fired from your job, the death of a loved one– that we stop acting like automatons for a minute, take stock of our surroundings and we begin to pay attention.

(Maybe UFOs are meant to be a wake up call intended to shake us out of our dull complacency, before we fall off the cliff ahead)

Transience and Transition seemed to have been in Bruce’s mind, even to the last. The name of his blog was ‘A Transit of Contingencies’ and the title of his last blog entry was ‘The Voyages of the Dead’, which of course caused me to speculate: Was the title a hint to his fears about the appointed surgery? An indication of depression? A premonition even?

The last paragraph in the post, which I urge you to read in its entirety, is not only a fitting way for a great intellectual to say adieu, but it also captures Bruce’s love of art, literature and poetry, and perhaps his yearning to reconcile the oblique and obscure within himself:

In every fiction there is an element of truth and the same could be said by reading that statement in reverse order, and so this writer thinks on poetics as a series of observations that indirectly point to a reality not directly manifested in their sentences.

The same may apply to us.

After the sudden shock of the news, Greg asked me to come to the show the next Sunday to talk about Bruce and how he had began to influence the both of us in the way we look at UFOs, forcing us to adopt a broader, bolder scope of it and other phenomena. Robert Brandstetter, a brilliant friend of ours who uses the alias ‘Burnt State’ in the Paracast forums –and also shares with us a nascent kinship with Bruce and his ideas– was also invited to join in, and even though I still felt a certain inadequacy in being part of this radiophonic eulogy –a close friend of him or one of the many people who discussed things with him online, would have been far more suited to speak with authority about his philosophy and who he was as a person– I accepted the invitation; in the end I think we did an acceptable job, and the three of us conducted an amenable ‘jamming session’ in saying farewell to our departed peer –The lion’s share of the credit should go to Robert, who did an outstanding job re-reading Bruce’s blog, and researching additional info about his background, like his love for clockwork toys and model trains which IMO was very telling of his analytical albeit-whimsical character.

(The images above were the ‘notes’ I doodled to prepare myself prior to the radio show. “What am I?” is the answer Bruce once gave to Greg’s question: ‘If you ever met an alien being, what would you say or ask to it?’)

We wrapped up the session by having Robert read the Thomas Wolfe quote Bruce had chosen as the intro for his last blog post, and after that I requested Greg to play Café Tacuba’s ‘Olita del Alta Mar’ (Little Wave of the High Seas). Not only it’s a song I loved the moment I first listened to it, but that Sunday morning –as I was getting ready for Radio Misterioso’s nightly broadcast– it was thanks to Bruce that I finally understood the true meaning behind the lyrics: A human life is like a wave in the sea; it’s made of the same stuff as the sea, but for a little while it has a distinct shape and momentum; like all waves it reaches its peak at one point, breaks into the shore, and then recedes back.

You could say the wave ceased to exist, even though its water never left the sea. The fact the wave had a transitory existence is what gave it its shape and beauty, the force carrying it ashore waning and then gently returning that which formed the wave, to the immensity from whence it came.

Safe travels, Bruce. And godspeed.


  1. Consciousness is Imagination
    Love the graphic additions RPJ, they help to qualify the episode and some of the pinpoints that outline constellations of Bruce’s ideas and his excellent sense of humour. I think I keep returning most often to the notion of the UFO as a kind of provocation that challenlges many of our familiar notions about reality as we think we know it, about how we might have causality & linear time all mixed up. His writing persistently invites readers to elevate their own curiosity, to use the imagination to investigate our relationship to paranormality. But this post-operative analysis of Bruce’s many interesting ideas begs some larger questions about which strands of ufology resonate vs. which fade into obscurity. Red Pill, you noted during the tribute session that Duensing was not a fan of commas – perhaps that’s what limited some accessibility? I wonder if in death there will be a growing investigation into Bruce’s work and his many attempts at reconciliation, or if he will simply move off to the third bank of the river.

    1. Curiosity and Imagination
      Thanks, Robert. And, as usual, I agree –boy, we must look insufferable with our constant pattin-ourselves-in-the-back! ;)– re. the phenomenon as a provocation and a potential fountain of creative thinking injected into the culture, which is why it’s so often that artists like John Lenon and David Bowie are so fascinated by the subject.

      The ironic think, of course, is that currently the field suffers from a severe lack of imagination. Why is it so difficult to think of OTHER explanations to UFOs aside from little scientists in metal spaceships coming to our planet to conduct genetic experiments on us natives??

  2. Bruce D
    Thanks again to both of you for a great show and for your smarts.

    I am talking to Bruce’s daughter now about keeping his ideas in public view online and possibly in print. The message needs to be sounded loud and for a long time to get it to sink in. Another benefit would be that we and others can integrate his ideas and perhaps apply them or continue.

    You both have a great talent for synthesizing difficult concepts.

    1. Great news
      It’s great to know Bruce’s digital presence will be perpetuated for the benefit of future seekers of seductive ideas. I’m also sure we can think of many ways to spread his writing –just consider how Terence McKenna became 10x more famous after he died, thanks to the irruption of podcasts and fan-made Youtube vids 🙂

  3. Requiem for Bruce Duensing
    Dear Bruce,
    I wrote this for you some time ago, having lifted some of your beautiful phrases and adding my own. I really liked your writing and thinking and found that I learned something from such a fantastically imaginative writer and very deep thinker.
    Bon Voyage, Bruce Duensing.

    We are
    We are the Perfume of unspoken Language
    We are Floating in a hypnotic state of suggestibility
    We are absent in our own presence
    We are on the outer ring of a dream, too far from the fire
    We are the intangible materiality of the spirit, in the cave of forgotten dreams
    We are images in the darkness of biochemical flames
    We are fireflies flickering in the neurons like countless stars
    We are the bone of the human skull with its oculars lens-like, shaping the cinema of forms
    We are lost and floating, grasping at love in the blindness of the human soul
    We are the end of the world and tomorrow is its beginning
    We are

  4. Old Blog
    I agree — I started following Bruce years ago.
    Initially, he was writing at another blog. Unfortunately I forget the name. I just checked a few weeks before he passed and it was no longer active.

    1. Intangible Materiality was the name of that blog
      Indeed, Bruce decommissioned his old blog and started A Transit of Contingencies. Not sure if he decided this because he’d changed his mind about what he shared in that blog, or maybe (speculating here) he was thinking of using it as the material source for his book, in which case the move was a precaution, not a flat-out rejection of his previous writing.

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