Ancient Alien Motivation
A Long-winded and Not Particularly Focused Set of Thoughts
Can’t Read Your Mind
There is an official word for assuming that someone believes something because of some psychological problem. I think it’s ‘psychogenetic fallacy.’ Not super sure, though. It’s a tempting fallacy to use when it comes to pseudohistory claims, especially about aliens.
I’d like to avoid it. People who believe in various pseudohistory claims come at it from individual angles. For that matter, people who accept history do so for their own reasons. Few of those reasons are pathological.
Sometimes, it’s a case of just being sincere and assuming everyone else is.
The Linda Moulton Howe’s of the world genuinely believe that your account of a UFO or alien is genuine. They assume you were awake, not imagining, not hallucinating, not misremembering, etc.
So, the idea that your experience might be influenced by some false assumptions does not cross their mind. That it might be what Blake Smith of Monster Talk likes to call a Scripted (or s-criptid: a monster that looks astonishingly like a monster in a movie that had come out just before the sighting, possibly because it was half-seen by someone with that movie on the mind.)
When they go digging through other people’s claims from the past, they make the same assumptions and so repeat whatever those others said, even if a folklorist or someone more media literate might recognize some story-lines and trails of influence. For instance, when someone repeats the Die Glocke tale and includes the bit about it going under Antartica and somehow the ‘fourth reich’ is involved, I immediately think ‘that’s the ‘king sleeping under the mountain’ trope.’ But other folks aren’t looking for tropes. It doesn’t ring a bell for them.
A lot of the pseudohistory claims don’t come from troubling sources. They come from religions, they come from people hanging onto old claims that were disproven, and simple ignorance. You can’t generalize about these sources.
Here is the thing: some of the pseudohistory claims, especially the Mound Builder Myth and the Die Glocke, were made initially by racists with a very racist agenda. Sometimes literal Nazis were involved, such as the think tank attached to the SS, the Ahnenerbe.
But the source really wouldn’t matter if the claims were factually correct. Fritz Haber discovered nitrogen fixing and invented a type of chemical warfare. No one is suggesting that fertilizer isn’t real because the guy who figured out how it worked also developed mustard gas.
It’s true that sometimes these claims are turned to evil ends, especially national pseudohistory. That still wouldn’t make these claims wrong on their own.
The Ahnerbe was wrong, however. It was wrong in support of their politics and their claim that Aryans were from Atlantis (and Tibet, which is so weird to someone married to a Tibetan.)
Claims about the Tiwanaku and the Baghdad Battery are wrong because they have no factual backing. They inherit a ton of silly arguments, bad reasoning, and, sometimes, terrible assumptions.
Stripping The Bad Away Without Actually Turning Good
But these arguments change over time and collect other ideas. The claims themselves morph a little, too.
These days there is a little less focus on South America as the source of ancient mysteries, and the talking heads of Ancient Astronaut programs rely much less on asserting ‘we found technology in a place we think is primitive, so a far better race must have come into the area without telling anyone, improved the people already there, and then booked it.’
Instead, there is a tendency to assume everything, everywhere, is aliens. The hat icon that accompanies depictions of a medieval saint? Alien spaceship. Ezekial’s Wheel? Alien spaceship. A few sundogs a couple weeks apart in a German city in the 1600's? Aliens!
This does somewhat strip out the racist assumption that non-Europeans can’t identify things in the sky or invent stuff.
It replaces it with ‘nothing in the sky has ever been a cloud or Venus or the artist’s imagination. Ever.’
Not only were ‘those people’s’ ancestors unable to figure out masonry without alien intervention, but ‘ours’ couldn’t either. Aliens screwed (in all senses) with absolutely everyone, all the time, and no people could ever think of anything without them.
This belief is not any better. It is just anti-intellectualism.
Every time I see Ancient Alien claims, I think the words ‘technological angels.’
The believers are so desperate to jam aliens into the past. They aren’t just squeezing them into whatever gap they can find; they take crowbars and make cracks to shove their aliens in. In the process, they make them high-tech ‘angels’ or gods. Their speculation and claims look desperate, as though they need the alien daddies to come for them right now.
It isn’t too much of a wonder that fundamentalist Christians have taken up against the alien hypothesis. It is a redress, in a lot of ways, of their own religion. There is a good vs evil struggle (the Reptillians vs the Aryans) and a teleological bent to history. There’s even a revealed truth tradition, where contactees bring the space brother’s knowledge to the world.
The resemblance may be coincidental. I don’t see any purpose in saying otherwise. It may be a combination of economics (it’s clickbait and cheap to repeat) and a whole slew of social and personal factors.
All I know is that the technological angels aren’t going to rescue us, validate our reasoning, or make our lives better. We are going to have to do that on our own. Fortunately, we have developed brains that are pretty good for what we want, and we can help each other out.
Plus, we got kitties. Who needs alien overlords when you have the kittehs?