And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all the records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. […] All that was needed was a series of unending victories over your own memory.
Ancient Aliens, in its decadent phase, has been reduced to recycling its own waste products, but in so doing it asks us to forget that we ever saw the older versions, for each episode is a fresh start, simultaneously detached from what came before and yet also serving as a repetition of past claims that reinforces the idea that the lies told in earlier episodes, by dint of repetition, have taken on the storied air of Truth hoary with age.
This episode, S07E09 “The Genius Factor,” draws heavily on claims made in S04E08 “The Da Vinci Conspiracy,” S05E05 “The Einstein Factor,” S06E14 “The Star Children,” and S07E02 “The Tesla Experiment,” all of which share the same claim, that human genius is not the product of individual effort but rather a boon beamed into adepts’ skulls from interdimensional aliens who have chosen them as vessels for communication from beyond. The current episode even repeats some of the stock photos and footage from the earlier episodes.
After the opening credits, we’re off to Tacoma, Washington, in 2002 to hear how a man who was beaten and left for dead gained mathematical skill after suffering brain trauma that led to synesthesia. The only thing interesting in this story—which has nothing to do with aliens—is that so many neuroscientists and PhDs have agreed to talk to Ancient Aliens about brain trauma. The narrator does his best to link this to aliens by suggesting that brain trauma can allow us to tap into mysterious forces floating through reality.
We then discuss Einstein because the show already has that material on file from S05E05. The show repeats that episode’s information about the structure of Einstein’s brain and how physical differences in the brain may be only secondary to aliens. David Childress says (more accurately, “you have to wonder”) that humans don’t “have the neurological brainpower” to come up with good ideas on our own—and here he seems to be projecting his own insecurities—so geniuses simply get ideas from unseen forces beyond, sort of like the way Childress assembles his books by finding ready-made ideas in the works of others that he very closely paraphrases and occasionally copies wholesale. David Wilcock is pretty sure these outside sources of knowledge are a “compelling possibility,” but Giorgio Tsoukalos, whose ego won’t allow him to attribute his own genius to outsiders, will only allow that it’s a “great question.”
Next we’re off to the Louvre to look at the stele depicting Hammurabi’s code. Anthropologist Brian J. McVeigh, a specialist in Japanese culture, opines that Hammurabi was one of history’s great geniuses, as though Hammurabi himself invented his whole code of law without any sort of government backing him up. The show takes Hammurabi’s prologue to his code literally—when even the Babylonians didn’t do this—and David Wilcock says that the laws came from space:
When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind. (trans. L. W. King)
I doubt anyone thought this attribution of the law to the divine was meant literally. To make laws divine is, of course, the easiest way to make them legitimate.
The show notes that the word genius is related to the word genii, which they wrongly think means that it connects our use of the word to the supernatural. Tsoukalos tells us that altered states of consciousness connect us to spirit beings, and apparently now shamanism is the one right and true religion. Childress has “to wonder” yet again whether aliens are projecting thoughts into our heads, even right through his tinfoil hat. William Henry, however, welcomes thought control beams from space and seems to hope that he’ll be on the receiving end of a genius beam sometime soon.
This segment starts with a repeat of the same material from S05E05 about nineteenth century Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who developed complex theorems from dreams. This moves into a repeat of material on the Akashic Record, also from S05E05, which I criticized back in January 2013 for leaving out a lot of information, particularly the fact that the supposedly ancient Indian concept is no such thing but rather the invention of Theosophy, from suggestions by Helena Blavatsky, who also, in Secret Doctrine, proposed the idea that geniuses got their ideas from space beings, or gods. More material from S05E05 is repeated, and to it we add other examples of scientists who had inspiration from dreams. Then narrator suggests that the universe is itself a giant mind from which we draw, which I suppose makes Ancient Aliens pantheist, but the only really interesting thing here is the way the show collapses the categories of God, quantum physics, the unconscious, and space aliens so that all become manifestations of one another, interchangeable.
David Wilcock asserts that “there is a deliberate interface with our minds” by some unknown force that is directing us to a “targeted outcome.” David Childress splits the differences and suggests that the aliens simply direct the “universal mind” to specific individual humans; the universal mind itself is somehow innocent in this, requiring its alien attendants to accomplish mysterious, unfathomable goals. Remember, folks: All of human history has been carefully designed to lead to this moment when the aliens reveal their master plan on Ancient Aliens and choose to phrase it in the form of a question by David Childress.
Incidentally, the IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for David Childress to film a documentary about why the Olmec were hiding the Ark of the Covenant failed—it raised just $75 of its $20,000 goal when it closed this week. That’s right: $75.
In this segment the show asks if the coincidence that Elisha Grey and Alexander Graham Bell attempted to patent the telephone on the same day proves that the two men learned about telephones from the Akashic Record. The show then lists other times when two or more people had made near-simultaneous discoveries: evolutionary theory, calculus, oxygen, the periodic table, airplanes, etc. The most obvious conclusion is that the conditions that lead to discoveries are repeated, so that when the prerequisites have been met, people with similar thought processes would reach similar solutions. The talking heads can’t decide, though, whether coincidences are mystical events that prove pantheism is real or whether coincidences are really staged by disembodied intelligences stage managing history for their own ends. Either way, they all agree that humans are very, very stupid and cannot achieve anything without outside assistance. As I’ve quipped before, I completely agree that ancient astronaut theorists aren’t capable of conceiving of anyone having an original thought.
Jokes aside, the fact that the Akashic Record is a modern invention shows how deep into the Theosophical idea of ancient alien-gods the show has fallen, or, rather, fell in S05E05, from which they borrowed most of this.
In this segment the iPhone is attributed to space aliens because Steve Jobs channeled it from the Akashic Record—this time repeated and expanded from S05E07 “Prophets and Prophecy.” The narrator suggests that the iPhone “recreate[s] on a smaller level” the Akashic Record and therefore can lead us to “Enlightenment.” This really takes Apple worship to a whole new level. David Wilcock suggests that the brain is to consciousness what the iPhone is to the internet—an access point for “cosmic mysteries.” If the iPhone doesn’t house the iCloud itself, then the brain is not the mind and we therefore are immortal and will live forever with the alien gods amid the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever, amen.
I’m not sure whether the deification of Apple or the longing for life after death is worthier of comment. Since the immortality imperative is a running theme on the show, I’d say the fact that the iPhone is hailed as a work of unprecedented cosmic genius—despite the fact that all of its key elements from touch screens to cloud storage had been in use prior to its invention (the first touchscreen phone, IBM’s Simon, was from 1991!)—is more interesting.
As we pull this rerun in all but name in for a landing, we hear that the past 200 years were the most inventive in human history, and no one seems to feel this is the result of the accumulation of knowledge over time, which allows for the exponential growth of technology. The narrator tells us that humans have gained 30 IQ points over the past century, and McVeigh returns to tell us that we’re about to experience an “upgrade in human cognition.” The narrator twists McVeigh’s evolutionary argument by using the passive voice to suggest that this is being directed by extraterrestrials in service of the Akashic Record. Giorgio Tsoukalos says that UFO reports are increasing because we’ve reached a technological level that worries them. William Henry tells us that we have ourselves become gods, and then we see another picture of an iPhone.
So, the bottom line is essentially that the ancient astronaut theorists are the Insane Clown Posse, asking “Fucking iPhones: How do they work?” And then attributing the miracle not to magic but to aliens.
11/21/2014 04:36:31 pm
I think this illustrates why AATs are more comfortable with alien tech being based on human tech from the 1950s-1980s. The fact they are blatantly telling the audience humanity has never progressed from "Water good, fire bad", and its fans have never stopped to say "Hey! Wait a minute!", is sadness on a cosmic scale.
2/24/2016 05:40:12 pm
I watch AA with a grain of salt, but this authors idea of prose is laughable.
11/22/2014 01:43:04 am
I'll actually sort of defend the show on two points here
11/22/2014 02:38:17 am
But... but... why else would they be called SMARTphones?... :)
11/22/2014 04:17:24 am
Because if the phones weren't "smart", that would mean the guys on AA are. And that just isn't right.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
11/22/2014 04:35:13 am
1. It's one thing when a different author writes a book treading the same ground. It's not ideal, because authors should ideally think about how to give what they write a slightly different spin from other books on the same topic, but at least it's tolerable. Ancient Aliens is a single TV series, where you would expect them to do somewhat different stuff in every episode. And they're not only covering the same subject matter, they're using the same footage.
11/22/2014 06:54:58 am
"1. It's one thing when a different author writes a book treading the same ground..."
11/22/2014 07:02:16 am
" The one thing I'll say for smartphones ...."
11/22/2014 07:19:03 am
"it is older people who see it as so miraculous"
11/24/2014 01:35:44 pm
I think I can top that in terms of 'worst top 20 list'. I caught the tail end of a program about the 'Top 100 inventions' a few months ago. Not a bad idea and I certainly couldn't disagree with most of their choices. I was however rather underwhelmed to see that the show decided that the absolute best thing humanity ever invented was... the Bible. Somehow, that particular collection of texts had a bigger impact on humanity than something fundamental like, oh, the idea of 'writing' in the first place (it was something like fourth place). The idea of picking one book over the system(s) that make it possible for books to exist at all seemed insane, then throw in that the majority of the world doesn't follow the religion whose book it is (and you can remove Judaism and Islam) and the choice seemed particularly inappropriate. But hey, at least it wasn't Chariot of the Gods.
11/22/2014 02:55:06 am
I'm not certain, but I think watching "ancient aliens" or "america unearthed" would actually cause your IQ to decline. It seems to have done that to their stable of talking heads.
11/25/2014 01:26:43 pm
You might find evidence of it on this very site as well.
2/24/2016 05:45:28 pm
Well said, Joe.
11/22/2014 04:14:00 am
LOLwut... Childress' IndieGoGo campaign had $325 pledged when Jason first reported on it in early October. And yet it closed with only $75. Wow. See that massive lack of support from the world of fringe conspiracy fandom is the most encouraging thing I've heard in a long time.
11/22/2014 07:31:24 am
By the way, Bruce McVeigh is one of the experts on the Mahikari cult (of the "Muvians in Japan" infamy), which Jason blogged about recently. I'm somewhat surprised to see him appear on AA, sounding kinda flaky to boot (even once you adjust for selective editing).
11/22/2014 08:24:06 am
The actually said that Jason Padgett (the guy with the brain trauma) is "the only person in the world" who can draw fractals by hand. LOL
Reading about this tripe on A.A only makes me shake my head in dismay. After which I feel like pulling out my copies of James Burke's 'Connections' and 'The Day the Universe Changed' so I don't feel so confused at the swill that passes for information these days.
11/22/2014 10:31:09 am
A few years ago I had a dream that I was at a shopping mall, separated from my friends. I looked for them, but I only became lost. It was almost closing time, and I ended up in a part of the mall I didn't recognize. Suddenly, over the PA, I heard a melody I had never heard before. Then I woke up.
11/22/2014 12:33:46 pm
Rodney Mckay approves your dream
11/23/2014 07:01:57 am
Shhh, don't tell him! =P
11/28/2014 03:04:04 pm
You know, call me weird, but Amanda Tapping never did it for me. I'm more of a Claudia Black man, I guess... :)
11/22/2014 10:42:51 am
I just saw a play version of the 1980 cult classic Xanadu. In the film, a Greek muse and her sister inspire this LA area artist to reopen an old theater to use as a roller skating disco. Maybe thes AA guys think that muses come from album covers turned into movies, with blonde bombshells of the 1980s? Her'es a new idea for their show. The origins of Xanadu, besides the Olivia Newton John album. Lol.
11/22/2014 11:22:12 am
I love the way they depict Jobs as some sort of genius inventor. He wasn't an inventor he was a sales man who just damn good at his job, able to read what the current public demand was. He surrounded himself with like minded people in various fields like engineers, designers and the like.
11/22/2014 02:21:34 pm
Jason, thanks so much for this absolutely hilarious review. Probably your best comedic review ever. I was particularly amused by the focus on Childress, since he is perhaps the most ridiculous of the regular talking heads.
11/22/2014 03:49:28 pm
Wozniak did all the actual builds. Jobs was more of an ideas guy. I met them once as a child when they spoke at our school, as we were not far from where Apple started in the late 1970s. Jobs did all the talking, but Wozniak was the guy who actually showed how the Apple worked. They weren't aliens, or were they? Ha. No. They weren't. Otherwise they would have known the Apple Lisa wasn't going to work too well. The Mac sure sold well though.
11/22/2014 03:50:28 pm
To clarify, this meeting at a school was a grammar school in 1981. :)
12/27/2014 09:04:42 pm
I agree that the show is getting pathetic. I was willing to give them a break now and then for saying stupid things, but the way they try to tie information together in season 7 has really made me sick. At one time, this show was watchable. Now it's laughable.
2/24/2016 07:13:03 pm
You people don't understand something. There is a production company behind this. They have a set of shows they have to do. They go to their "creative" group and say "make up a show."
2/24/2016 08:19:29 pm
John, did any one elect you to speak for all who watch this show?There are plenty of people, and I know quite a few of them, who watch that show and accept every thing that is said at face value. Almost on a daily bases I meet people passing though town who latterly argue that large stone blocks couldn't be moved by hand. They argue that there is no way to lift the giant stones at Stonehenge into place without the use of highly advanced machines despite people showing exactly how it was done using nothing but wood. So just because you watch it "with a grain of salt" doesn't mean every one else who watches it dose so too.
8/17/2015 11:34:17 am
I did get some chuckles from your rigid defense of your self-imposed box of beliefs. You've labelled yourself, and now must stick with your "rationalist messages" and your "skeptic" moniker. Gotta keep that paycheck coming, I'm sure. Your tragic flaw is your assertion: "I doubt anyone thinks...." You don't know what people think. And your doubt is active mocking, practically hate. Not exactly a scientific way of presenting your persuasions.
5/27/2016 06:18:27 pm
finally it seems some scientists are getting close to tapping into the consciousness available. But why are you guys always looking outward instead of inward. Did you ever learn about the Yugas? And, that people evolve according to an orbit .. that we are in the second of 4 ascending ages at this time, and sometimes this solar system is in a descending orbit (leaving its dual sun core-- on the way out instead of toward) and attunement to consciousness is then diminishing instead of progressing? Did you know that Steve Jobs had Autobiography of a Yogi placed on the seats of those attending his funeral. Please read about the Yugas, and start to really know why genius is attainable to those who reach those interior portals and infiltrate through them... with energy! Jesus said 2 shall be working in the field, and one will be taken. http://theyugas.com/
6/26/2017 08:39:35 pm
If you believe everything on the show, you must be an atheist and obsessed with aliens. If you don't think that anything on the show is at all a possibility, then you are probably a closed minded person with no imagination who is also very religious.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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