Here’s the weird thing about me: I absolutely have no belief whatsoever in ghosts, monsters, aliens, psychic powers – none of that. I also don’t believe too much in theoretical physics (hint: the word “theoretical” is why). No, I can honestly say I’m a pragmatist at heart. This doesn’t mean to say I’m somehow better or smarter than people who believe in things I don’t. I fully acknowledge that pragmatism itself is a kind of belief structure – I want the facts spoon fed to me by people who have them. What’s weird about that, you wonder? Well, I happen to love all that other stuff. My brain is wired to enjoy all these things, but more than that, I am wired to seek out the stories of people who claim to have experienced unusual phenomena. Which is why I watched the “aliens are real” documentary, Unacknowledged.
Other places online are giving this “expose” 4 out of 5, others wax about how “important” the documentary is, how it “finally” uncovers the secret knowledge that our planet is continuing to be visited by extraterrestrials, and so on. I generally don’t watch sensationalist talking heads shows. The reason why is that the mindset of those who believe we are being visited basically amounts to a religion in and of itself. Why do Christians believe in God? They look at the Earth, the galaxy, the cosmos, and ask, How can there not be a divine creator? Those who believe in alien visitations look at the cosmos and ask, How can there not be life out there? Being a pragmatist, I don’t subscribe to any religious philosophy, and the concepts of a God, gods, or alien visitations seem mutually meritless to me. Why? As Carl Sagan says, in one clip from his seminal show Cosmos early in Unacknowledged, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I’m a firm believer in this. As a species we’re still dragging ourselves from the mud of primitivism. It’s a slow process, but it’s happening. In as recent times as the 19th century, belief in the supernatural by the majority of humans was a given. We were born into it, raised our children to share those beliefs, and the myths perpetuated. But then science evolved quickly and stripped away the illogical fallacies at their bases, and now those who believe in mystical mumbo jumbo like astrology, palm reading, communications with the spirit world, are a dwindling minimum. But the human need to believe has swapped one set of beliefs out for another. Goodbye magic, hello aliens.
From a logical, cosmological point of view, it’s perfectly reasonable to look up at the Milky Way and speculate that surely we, in our little, infinitesimal piece of cosmic real estate, cannot be alone in the vastness. This is a view I share. Statistically, biochemically, and with timespans so great they become fathomless abstractions, Earth surely cannot be the only planet anywhere on which life has evolved. This is where I stop, though. Cannot doesn’t mean the same as is, yet it does to many people.
Unacknowledged is a product of Dr. Steven Greer, renowned ufologist, and founder of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which seeks to establish peaceful diplomatic ties with extraterrestrial beings, and who also founded The Disclosure Project, which seeks to force the US government to disclose all information relating to secret contact with extraterrestrial species. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the documentary is not exactly impartial. I’m not saying that documentaries have to be impartial, and most are not. Personally speaking I prefer to watch something that educates me on a non biased level, but I feel that the main reason people make documentaries is to convert, or cement, existing attitudes in others. The IMDB plot summary for Unacknowledged includes such claims that it will “expose the degree of illegal, covert operations at the core of UFO secrecy”, that it contains “testimony, documents, and UFO footage, 80% of which has never been seen before”, that it will take viewers “behind the veil of secrecy and into the corridors of power”, that it will reveal the decades-old military-industrial-financial complex secret power structure’s goal of global domination.
Does this seem like just about every alien-conspiracy thing you’ve seen since Fox Mulder appeared back in 1993? That’s because it is. All those claims, about how Unacknowledged will open your eyes are, of course, spurious. Early in the documentary, Greer addresses the lack of evidence – a key roadblock for people like me – by saying that there is plenty of evidence, an overwhelming amount of evidence. But in the documentary, all this incredible evidence is nowhere to be found. What is presented is nothing but the same anecdotal, circumstantial, one-sided “expert” testimony and conjecture that can be found anywhere you look. The footage shown is the same shaky cam, lights-in-the sky footage you’ve seen before. What I want to see is something different. I want to see the kind of secret information that apparently got JFK and Marilyn Monroe assassinated (as the documentary claims), the same kind of information that have been actively denied to acting US presidents. The same information that led Bill Clinton to not ask for, out of fear he would be killed.
Because if you don’t provide that kind of hidden knowledge, you’re not providing anything. In the second half of the 2 hour documentary, Greer begins to shift focus. I’ll readily admit, I enjoyed the first half, but it becomes clear around the halfway mark that nothing of any true value is coming when a long section is devoted to the discreditation of ufology. It immediately made me think of those bullshit memes that non-thinkers share on Facebook. You know the kind: “I know 90% of you won’t share this … but if you’re really my friend … “ It’s that act of self-defensive, proactive shaming that has become so prevalent. What Greer is saying in this section of Unacknowledged is “you might think all this is a crock, and it’s because the government has you fooled into thinking that.” And there you have it – you’re not a non-believer because you want to hear the extraordinary evidence, you’re a non-believe because you’re a mindless puppet of the government. And yeah, this is exactly where my interest in Unacknowledged evaporated.
In truth, though, it would have happened anyway. After this section that deals with mass brainwashing, the documentary just turns into just another vast, shadowy, blackops, conspiracy theory. 911, ISIS, global poverty, North Korea, Russia, Nukes … it’s all “proof” that the people on Earth are being manipulated into ignoring their eventual enslavement by a small secret cabal of … rich and powerful humans, not aliens. This section is almost entirely devoted to the human conspiracy, in fact, the only mention of aliens here is another part of the conspiracy that the final act of this subjugation is a manufactured alien attack on Earth, whereby we will all agree to relinquishing our freedoms when the aliens are defeated by our secret overlords. Think of it as The Patriot Act scaled up. I couldn’t help thinking that the entire first half of the documentary was just a set up for Greer’s conspiracy theory. I was left with the question: if all of this secret information actually exists, and people who are involved in it are simply assassinated by this vast, shadow organization, intimidate US presidents and keep the entire planet in a state of divided sociopolitical unrest, how can documentaries like this even exist, when their goal is to turn people on to the “truth”? Why is Steven Greer still allowed to discuss these things on camera, and seed doubt? I think the truth of that is out there, and I’m a believer.
© Andrew Hope 2017