Sep 30, 2011 I Micah Hanks

The Aliens Underneath: Will “Extraterrestrial” Disclosure Ever Really Happen?

Thanks to recent statistics, which say that close to half of all Americans believe extraterrestrial visitation of Earth is underway, calls for disclosure have become a hot topic yet again. Add to this the fact that close to 80% of those believers in the extraterrestrial equation also feel the United States government is hiding the truth about UFOs, and you've got yourself a real bee's nest.

Thus, exopolitical activist Stephen Basset, a longtime advocate for government UFO disclosure and head of an organization known as the Paradigm Research Group, has issued a petition calling for President Barack Obama's Administration to release secret information on UFO activity, and possible visitation to Earth by aliens from outer space. The petition reads, "We, the undersigned, strongly urge the President of the United States to formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race and immediately release into the public domain all files from all agencies and military services relevant to this phenomenon."

In all likelihood, there is far more to the UFO equation that merely the perception that information about aliens from space exists, but remains conveniently tucked away, hidden from view. Therefore, will Basset's latest political strategy garner better result than past attempts? Probably not, and here's why...

As is so often the case, the devil here may lie hidden in the details, and largely comes down to a matter of semantics. After all, when cries for almighty "disclosure" come falling down, what if what we're asking for isn't what actually is? More specifically, what happens when we ask for proof of extraterrestrial visitation of Earth, and there is no evidence that such a thing exists?

I can sense the panic among the UFO believers already, as well as your peculiar compulsion to want to grab the nearest stone and start flinging. But before you insist on my prompt and mandatory removal from the believer's club, allow me to explain what I'm getting at here.

When we say "extraterrestrial," we typically mean some alien (non-human) being from the space outside planet Earth (i.e. a distant planet, for example). A concise set of dictionary definitions for this term is outlined as follows:

adjective: of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere
noun: a hypothetical or fictional being from outer space, esp. an intelligent one.

This, while seemingly inconsequential due to the general acceptance among the public that UFOs represent vehicles piloted by space aliens, is actually the root of a number of problems within the field of Ufology. Skeptics are quick to point out that UFO believers place their trust in the perceived fact that aliens from outer space are visiting us, when in truth, this is an unfair assessment altogether. The real truth is this: we don't know what UFOs are exactly, nor do we know conclusively whether space aliens pilot them. This is because there is no conclusive evidence that supports any one alternative--aliens or anything else--better than another, in scientific terms. What there is evidence for, on the other hand, is that UFOs--whatever they might really be--do exist... though they remain unidentified. To reconcile the disparity here, we must delve a bit deeper into the notions surrounding extraterrestrial life in general, and what may have led to our marriage to the idea as an answer to the UFO problem.

It is easy to suppose logically that life similar to us might exist on other planets, taking into consideration that we view ourselves as a reasonable standard by which we could measure other instances of "intelligent life" in the universe. We evolved on a planet, and therefore, it's also easy to assume that other people might have done the same on other planets out there in space. But we lack the ability to travel to those proposed locations using even our best technology, and therefore it stands to reason that if we see strange vehicles buzzing around in our skies from time to time, we could guess that they represent others like us who have progressed to that point technologically, where interplanetary travel could be achieved.

Though what I've outlined here does seem (and is, I think) logical to a point, we must remember that without any evidence to back it up, we're dealing with mere theory. It's guesswork we've orchestrated, which results in a hypothesis alone, and in order to maintain scientific integrity, we really can't jump to the conclusion that extraterrestrial visitors are the absolute answer behind the UFO mystery, no matter how appealing or obvious this may seem as a solution.

And yet, somewhat surprisingly, we see that this simplest physical explanation for UFO origins has become the accepted norm, even among scientists who aren't proponents of UFO activity on Earth. Cosmologists who are quick to dismiss UFO intervention have nonetheless advocated the search for other life out there in space time and time again, with little consideration as to whether intelligent, non-human life forms might exist right here on Earth. Consider, for example, the possibility that UFO-related phenomenon, bearing remarkable similarity to psychedelic visionary experiences, could represent human interaction with intelligences from other planes of existence; perhaps other dimensions. This theory is no more conclusive than the idea that space aliens are visiting Earth... but offered as an alternative, there is no less evidence available to us here capable of diminishing the possibility.

And that seems to be the key: having an open mind to possibilities. If we could only accept that the UFO mystery may represent a multitude of strange phenomena, some of which could be extraterrestrial, while in other areas it could be entirely comprised of some anomalous terrestrial phenomenon or interdimensional physics aberrations, we might stand to gain better understanding of the mystery as a whole.

Bringing this full circle, now when we see the exopolitical crowd jumping up and down asking for UFO disclosure, we might do well to stop and consider whether their questions have been phrased properly. The UFO enigma is wide and varied in its collective aspects, and asking specifically for only one piece of the puzzle is like ordering ice at the bar, without your favorite beverage poured over it. You can sit around and wait for the ice to melt, but this is a pretty difficult way to try and quench one's thirst... whether that be actual thirst, or the kind of thirst oriented in a desire for knowledge. We all want the truth so badly, and we want it now... but that truth may actually be right in front of us already. Perhaps, rather than beating our fists and demanding disclosure of information our governments may not actually have, we might do better to try and change the way we think about UFOs, thus opening our minds to possibilities that could have been hiding right in front of us all along.

Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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