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.
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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