All of a sudden, the mainstream media has turned its focus on the subject of UFOs, a global phenomenon they have derided and dismissed until now. The tone has shifted drastically in recent articles in The New York Times and Washington Post, partly due to ‘Unidentified’, a new series on the History Channel. The series exhaustively chronicles military encounters with what appear to be diverse alien craft. The Times reports on myriad anomalies encountered by pilots as recently as 2015, including a report of an object akin to a “spinning top moving against the wind” and another “like a sphere encasing a cube.” These objects were able to accelerate to hypersonic speeds, make sudden stops and instantaneous turns with no visible engine or exhaust plumes. For some conspiracy theorists, the new spate of articles suggests we are approaching a threshold of disclosure — the long-awaited release of withheld information on UFOs and ETs. It is also possible that this partial disclosure has been orchestrated by intelligence agencies whose motives remain opaque and unclear.
Whatever the truth, the issue of UFOs and the alien presence is steadily moving from the outer edge or periphery of public awareness toward the center. I would like to explore why this is happening and what it means. I will also consider what we could and perhaps should do, individually and collectively, in response.
I enjoy observing the process as once-esoteric topics spiral from the edge of collective awareness toward the center. Over the last decades, another formerly taboo subject followed a similar path — namely, psychedelics. Before I published my book on psychedelic shamanism,Breaking Open the Head, in 2002, you simply could not speak about psychedelic exploration in a city like New York or London, if you wanted to be known as a serious, respectable person in the media or the arts. When I tried to broach the subject at a social gathering of journalists, art world aficionados, or literary writers, the response would be ridicule and curt dismissal. Psychedelics seemed caught in a double bind of repression: Most people not only had a knee-jerk negative reaction to it, but they were also unable to consider why they felt the need to repress any interest in the subject so intensely. This remains the situation today, when it comes to UFOs and the question of alien contact.
The culture has lifted its interdiction on psychedelics. They are now fashionable objects of fascination — promoted in bestselling books, TV shows, and numerous documentaries. Today we find ourselves in a full-fledged psychedelic renaissance with amazing research happening across the world. This is a great development — it also suggests that a similar reversal might happen when it comes to other prohibited areas of inquiry, such as the still forbidden topics of UFOs, alien abductions, and other- dimensional visitors.
What prevents the UFO and alien topic from becoming culturally acceptable is that we lack a framework for understanding it or giving it meaning. It remains unpresentable, unfathomable. If we are going to assimilate it — and perhaps even neutralize the implicitly threatening aspects of it — we must develop a narrative and define a philosophical and conceptual model that gives shape and coherence to the phenomenon. With this essay, I hope to assist in this difficult task of discernment.
Dismissiveness and derision have been the dominant response to the subject of UFOS and alien abductions — also crop circles, a subject I explored in depth in my book,2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl — for decades. The thousands-upon-thousands of sightings of strange craft by ordinary people as well as trained military personnel, the vast numbers of bewildering and terrifying abduction stories, the aesthetically profound, precise, and gargantuan crop circles that still appear in UK wheat fields every summer with no explanation — none of this has made any difference until now. These topics fall so far outside of mainstream discourse that you cannot explore them without risking exile to the dismissible, lunatic fringe. Journalists and academics who pursue this inquiry with some level of objectivity and rigor find themselves thrown out of the establishment, forced to build alternative structures to circulate their ideas. In my case, I wrote one article for Wired Magazine on the crop circles in 2002, leaving open the possibility that it wasn’t entirely a hoax. After the publication, the editor-in-chief was appalled. I was never able to write for Wired again.
The reasons for this blockade are, I think, obvious. The main function of mainstream discourse is not to excavate uncomfortable truth but to preserve and protect the status quo. Popular media and academia constantly seek to establish a boundary — a bulwark or line of defense — inside of which society can continue comfortably, without disruption. Most people innately seek and unconsciously wish to remain oblivious to anything that might threaten the belief system they are trying to maintain, which gives them a sense of security and stability.
Our culture still holds to the secular materialist paradigm developed during the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and through the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. Even though contemporary physics defined a radically different view of the nature of reality from that of Newton, people still believe themselves safely anchored in the Newtonian/ Cartesian universe, where matter has solidity and consciousness only exists due to the biological hardware of the brain.
I believe this self-protective herd instinct, rejecting any difficult material that pushes people outside of their ideological comfort zone, is a danger to our future. It is not farfetched to say this habit may contribute to our extinction in the near term. We see the same tendency to avoid and distract when it comes to climate change and the ecological emergency that is on the verge of engulfing us. Even among the privileged and intellectual elite, most people, at this point, lack the initiative as well as the courage to explore and assimilate a lot of the crucial data — let alone take it to heart and act upon it.
With the ecological crisis, it is not a case of confronting bizarre and ineffable evidence, as with alien abductions and UFOs, or even psychedelic hallucinations. The scientific data is merciless and clear. We know we are tearing apart the biospheric support systems of the Earth. Yet only children are still awake and aware enough to realize that something must be done about it. Teenagers have started taking to the streets in vast numbers, leaving the adults — their supposed protectors — far behind in their gape-jawed stupidity.
There is, I believe, an intrinsic connection between our failure to address these particular areas — aliens, psychedelics, the ecological emergency — that society has avoided and pushed to the periphery. Taken seriously, these subjects threaten the foundation, the underlying paradigm, of contemporary civilization. (As a side note, while our culture has assimilated the healing aspect of psychedelics over the last decade, it has sidestepped the more ontologically difficult aspects of the experience, such as psychic and psycho-physical manifestations, as well as the abrupt breach into other dimensions of reality that can be both fascinating and frightening.) On the one hand, self- repression and self-censorship are habitual. Our society normalizes this tendency. You are only meant to be cognizant of a narrow bandwidth of ideas and information, and not step into the unknown.
On a larger level, it seems like some spell has been cast over humanity as a whole, trapping us in an energetic frequency of limitation. As we will explore, it seems there is something like an occult control system that operates invisibly. This system expertly exploits our cognitive biases and psychological blindspots to keep humanity, as a whole, ignorant, docile and subordinate. If somebody or some group begins to penetrate its defenses and expose it, they often get attacked in various ingenious ways. The control system finds and exploits their character flaws, targeting the chinks in their armor. If we can entertain such a hypothesis, we might then inquire into the reasons for this matrix-like control system, how it functions, and how it could be overcome.
Many of us sense, inchoately, that the period we are in now is something like an interregnum — a calm before the storm. So many changes are happening so rapidly that it is almost impossible to keep track of all of them. Not too long ago, neoliberal academics confidently proclaimed we had attained the “end of history” in a stable geopolitical order that would plod along forever, increasingly bringing the comforts of a corporate hyper-consumerist monoculture to everyone. But history came roaring back with a vengeance.
Today we have a far Right Wing uprising in many parts of the world, increasing numbers of refugees (65 million with more on the way), corruption of the information sphere with “fake news”, internment camps in the US where migrant children are senselessly tormented, and so on. The rapid development of technology, driven by profit- seeking corporations, is also unleashing unpredictable, destabilizing effects. According to a recent UN report, global civilization has less than a decade to radically reduce CO2 consumption or face catastrophic failure. We do not seem to be rallying to accomplish that goal. There is a sense, as in WB Yeats’ poem, that “the center cannot hold.”
At this turbulent juncture, one might wonder, why is it so difficult for humans to get our act together? What is it that smashes apart all of our efforts to establish better, more humane and coherent societies and systems? Why are we moving backward, regressing, when our creative and technical capacities and authentic prospects seem greater than ever?
It seems an invisible something presses down on us, contorting all of our efforts, so that our best intentions lead to the worst outcomes or the repetition of old miseries. Of course, most would argue that this force is simply human greed and ignorance — and they may be correct. But perhaps other forces are at play as well. Perhaps there are, indeed “off planet,” “extra-” or “infra- dimensional” entities manipulating humanity, seeking to advance their own agendas. To be honest, I am quite certain this is the case.
I have met a number of disinterested skeptics who changed their minds after delving into evidence as well as reading many personal accounts. In some cases, they find their belief system shaken to the core. Many former military personnel and intelligence agents have privately admitted knowledge of the phenomenon, as well as fear of the mysterious power behind it. At this point, there is an onslaught of reports of craft eluding fighter jets, performing impossible maneuvers, moving at 25,000 miles per hour, suddenly splitting into two, vanishing entirely, and also hovering over nuclear bases to deactivate missile guidance systems, seemingly with no problem.
Certain factions within the military and military intelligence, it seems, take seriously the prospect that these aliens may be preparing to attack us. Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has stated that the US is currently competing with the USSR and China to investigate UFO activity, and, potentially, to learn what they can about “breakthrough” aerospace technology that seems centuries ahead of our own. It also seems increasingly likely that former US governments have indeed communicated with some of the alien groups, in some form or another, going back decades.
According to some insiders, there are different cabals within the military and intelligence agencies. Some of these groups seek public disclosure and some fight against it. Apparently, there are people working within this apparatus who believe the alien presence is not just otherworldly, but extends from a different space-time dimension. According to numerous accounts, there appear to be different alien groups, with varied agendas.
This is, in essence, the conclusion reached by historian Richard Dolan, whose authoritative two-volume treatise, UFOS and the National Security State, traces US Government knowledge and involvement with UFOs and possibly ETs from the 1940s to recent times. Of anyone who has devoted his career to studying this phenomenon, Dolan seems the most credible and scrupulous researcher. As an academically trained historian, he remains dubious of many claims made by others in the UFO community, such as David Wilcock and Corey Goode, who, he insinuates, may themselves be agents of disinformation. Yet he has gone far down the rabbit hole in his efforts to comprehend the vast weirdness — the high strangeness — of the UFO and alien abduction phenomenon.
In fact, based on decades of assiduous and careful research, Dolan paints a picture of a looking-glass reality, astonishingly different from what we — even those of us who pay attention to undercurrents of geopolitics and New World Order conspiracies — think we know. He believes there is an elite group within the private sector as well the military that has excavated alien craft, performed autopsies on alien bodies, and gained the capacity to make use of alien technology. He calls this secret cabal a “breakaway civilization,” which has evolved, in its technical capacities, far beyond the rest of us. Among the secrets they are holding are energy technologies that would make fossil fuels obsolete — and irrevocably alter the balance of power in the world.
Dolan argues that the US government began its UFO coverup in the late 1940s and has continued ever since. In 1947, thousands of sightings of alien craft occurred in the US. It was headline news across the country. In that same year, the infamous Roswell crash occurred in New Mexico. According to Wikipedia, this incident was merely a crashed weather balloon. However, most UFO researchers believe it was far more than that. There have been testimonies from people involved in the aftermath of the crash, among other evidence. Of course, such testimonies could also be disinformation.
In The Secret Space Program, Dolan writes, “We have had retrievals of exotic technologies and bodies. I believe they were extraterrestrial.” Dolan writes that Russia and China also pursue this subject actively, and, most probably, have also recovered alien craft and bodies. He thinks that the wall of secrecy around aliens and UFOs incited the rampant post-war growth of a vast apparatus of military intelligence aimed at controlling the flow of information as well as society itself.
The alien presence is, for Dolan, the “great secret” behind all of the other secrets and lies told by the world’s governments. Personally, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Dolan’s conclusions — mainly because, as we will explore, I think he takes an approach that is a bit too literal-minded, materialist, and dualistic. However, what he is doing — exploring the subject through a carefully reasoned, evidence-based lens — is necessary. I see the need for a multidimensional approach, sometimes known as Ariadne’s thread, utilizing every form of logic, intuition, and metaphysical speculation we can bring to this area, so we can define the solution sets to the deeply troubling questions that he, as well as others, have raised.