'The Illusion of Conspiracy and Disclosure"
I conclude my review, no, my exploration, of Hynek’s book by discussing the largest movement in modern ufology. I will undoubtedly do many posts on this topic, as it seems to be a juggernaut that requires further discussion. I will begin here- as this entire four part project has been about a return to the roots of UFO culture.
Hynek is, without a doubt, one of the earliest ufologists to touch on the idea of a government cover up. If you’ve been reading my earlier posts like a good little boy or girl, I wrote about “era” and “authority”. During Hynek’s heyday in the late forties and early fifties, when he was actively working for the Air Force, the suggestion that the military was working against the citizenry would have been undoubtedly taboo. The nation had just come out of a war, and not only that, a very successful war, which launched the United States, and many other western nations, out of a depression and into economic growth and prosperity. The idea of a cover up of any sort would have been absurd, as the military was regarded with deep respect, pride and gratitude. Looking back on his time with Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book, Hynek questions, in 1977 (the date he published this book we are reviewing), why many reports were never filed, were missing or never saw his office.
He writes, “It is hard to understand why many truly puzzling reports made by high-ranking civilians and military persons fail to appear officially in Blue Book files” (p. 48). Does he go into proposing a cover up? Not really- rather, he says “the Pentagon wanted clear, crisp answers...not mysterious or vague answers. Therefore Blue Book didn’t investigate cases unless they were officially reported” (p. 49). Hynek continuously points out that Project Blue Book was a joke- and since it had little funding and low ranking officers commanding it, would Blue Book really be the place to send high level reports to? Probably not, however, Hynek never really goes much deeper than this. While he may allude to the potential of a cover up, he never discusses it.
The big question then remains- is there a cover up or is the “disclosure movement” (a loose collection of ufologists and people) trying to dig up a bone that isn’t there?
We need to assert that conspiracy is tough to prove and more importantly, especially in the field of ufology, assumes that…”I’m not saying it’s aliens...but it’s aliens”. Governments hide information from the public all the time; national security is a vital component of our daily lives that generally is designed to keep people safe- like it or hate it, you can drive a car, go to the mall and not get blown up because the government keeps secrets (at least in the west). Keeping secrets of the ufological kind is a different beast because it assumes that Earth has or is being visited by ETI. That is a big pill to swallow for many people and even many ufologists (yes, yours truly) have trouble with that idea.
The idea of a conspiracy concerning anything always begins with the populace, and it has a psychological root. Psychological projection is a theory in psychology which asserts people will defend themselves by placing their own negative attributes on others. We see this currently with the xenophobia concerning the crisis in Syria and the massive influx of refugees into various Western Nations. We see this happen on national TV when Donald Trump made his huge “Anti-Islamic” announcement. A person will place their own unpleasantness on others, claiming that “the other” is the real bad guy while not addressing their own unpleasant behaviour, which is typically similar.
Conspiracy theorists, and the conspiracy movement as a whole, are often caught in this situation. Carl Jung referred to this blame shifting theory as the shadow. The shadow is the negative aspect of ourselves that follows us and manifests itself as either our personal fears or in our fear of others.
Here’s an example to keep it clear. I lie or manipulate for personal gain. My mind has a natural bias that asserts I am a good person and my manipulation of others is no big deal. When someone lies or manipulates me, I become angry and lash out at them because I actually want to punish myself, my shadow self, for my own negative behaviours (lying and manipulation).
Just to expand, that is why we are very quick to see that people who are often rude will comment on others rudeness, or people who are typically mean are usually quick to identify others who are mean. In simple terms, I can see the negatives in others because I carry around a shadow self that is the very negative thing I am.
Psychological projection, Jung’s shadow, can manifest itself towards a group as well. “They” become the representation, the mirror, which reflects our own fears and insecurities. Cover ups and conspiracy theories function upon this projection principle, people view their own negative attributes in governments with authority. So what exactly is the idea, emotion or construct being projected in regards to the concept of a conspiracy? What shadow of the self do we see in government cover-ups?
Mistrust? Control? Fear? Hope for a better future?
We project to create an enemy responsible for our personal and social problems. Who better to project our problems onto than those who run our nations and our lives? “If only the government was honest, then our world would be a better place” is the common line.
The “disclosure” movement functions upon this mistrust and negativity. It does not matter if there is anything to disclose; continuing to ask for disclosure on this “conspiracy” is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
“We want disclosure on the UFO issue. The government says there is nothing to disclose. They are lying to us. We want disclosure on the UFO issue. The government says there is nothing to disclose. They are lying to us. We want disclosure on the UFO issue...”
And on and on we go, the machine continues to turn all the while churning out more radicalism, fear, mistrust, “power” and money for those who “lead” the disclosure movement. This begs the question- is there anything to disclose? I have no idea. I have an opinion, but it doesn’t matter. Opinions are not facts, nor are ideas, beliefs or “theories” (and I use the term very loosely when it comes to the disclosure phenomenon). In my last post, I stated that we couldn’t throw scientific method and critical inquiry out the window because something paranormal may have occurred. The Disclosure movement, like any collective of people, participates in groupthink. Those who question Disclosure as well as the evidence it possesses are met with silence or aggression- “you are with us or against us.” For those supporters of the disclosure movement, I wish you the best. I hope you find what you seek, however, please do not leave your critical brain at the door when you walk in. Examine the conspiracy, the cover ups, by Disclosure as much as you examine the government- the truth is out there, just be prepared that it may not be what you want it to be.
I conclude this entire review of The Hynek UFO Report by returning to Hynek and what he would have us do. He would have us move forward on the UFO phenomenon, demanding that it be properly studied via real and true science. He would have us refrain from conclusions because that is exactly what the Air Force and Blue Book did by claiming that UFOs “can’t exist, therefore they do not exist”. Let us refrain from jumping to ETI, trans dimensional travel and every other silly “theory” under the sun. Let’s go after what we know, the facts. People see strange things once in awhile- let’s figure out why.