On November 11th, Denis Villeneuve’s The Arrival (2016) hits theatres. The film clearly touches upon many facets of the UFO discourse, and delves deep into the fundamental principle that the UFO phenomenon is more of an exploration of the self, than that of physical or metaphysical objects occupying our skies. The UFO question is not about an objective other, such as flying saucers, ET or “light beings”, rather, it is subjective - the real phenomenon is within ourselves.
It must be noted that I am not suggesting that there is no physical UFO phenomenon. There is enough evidence, at least in my own opinion, to suggest something strange is occurring in our skies. What that strangeness is, I can only speculate. Even though there may be a physical UFO phenomenon, we can only truly begin to understand how it affects us, the subjective self, as the actual objective cause of the phenomenon may be forever out of reach.
So why is The Arrival, potentially, an important film? It calls into question one fundamental principle of Ufology; how much does our subjective interpretation shape the objective UFO?
In an article written for GeekWire.com, Alan Boyle, makes a fundamental connection between the upcoming X-Files mini-series and the "renewed attention" UFO's will be given by the general public.
Interestingly, he interviews a few names that pop up pretty regularly in the ufology field, including Seth Shostak of SETI and Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center. Boyle presents Davenport's "laissez faire" attitude towards shows like The X-Files. Boyle writes, "What Davenport can’t figure out is why it takes something like The X-Files to get the broader public interested in UFOs."
Davenport can not figure it out because he does not value the fundamental desires present in our collective cultural consciousness; that is, the broader public is interested in UFOs because of something like The X-Files.
Although the X-Files TV show went off the air in 2002, interest in the series has continued unabated. There have been books, a spin-off TV series and several graphic novels. A “tenth season” done as a comic book continued the series until 2015, and “season 11” has just started. But the X-Files fanbase was part of the reason that helped encourage the miniseries revival that will air beginning January 24, 2016.
The X-Files followed the exploits of “believer” Fox Mulder and “skeptic” Dana Scully as they investigated otherworldly events (not all of them related to aliens) and battled a secret group trying to prevent their discovering “the truth.” The X-Files partially drew on case reports of tens of thousands of UFO sightings worldwide and the widespread belief that aliens are visiting Earth, abducting humans and working in secret with government agencies desperate to cover-up the “truth.” Among the memes and themes recurring often in the series are the following...