Acid Dreams in the Age of UAPs

Miki Aurora

End notes:

    Cultural theorist Mark Fisher was working on a book called Acid Communism at the time of his death in 2017. The unfinished text, inspired in part by conversations shared with his friend, Jeremy Gilbert, posited that we must return to a vision held during the counter-cultural moment of the 60s and 70s to create an out-road from capitalism. Fisher underscored that we, like our anti-establishment predecessors, can galvanize the reality-bending qualities of the counter culture’s artistic outpourings and atmosphere to embolden the Left to believe that something so momentous is within the scope of the possible. Fisher’s work has inspired a decentralized movement of primarily internet-based counter-culturalists—consisting of various factions of the Left, not exclusively communists—keen to take up the charge outlined in his final writing. Members of this acid left philosophy have embraced aesthetics, meme culture, and podcasts as a way to propagandize the politics of emancipation and discuss theory and culture through the lens of their “freak left” brand of institutional critique. Last summer’s testimony about a hidden UAP (once known as a UFO) retrieval program in front of the US Congress arguably marked the most institutionally sanctified discussion on UAPs, including their speculated origins, and the extent of the US government’s knowledge about them, ever to have occurred. Alongside other instances of UAP disclosure activism, 2023 and 2024’s UAP frontier held historical significance for the Fisherian acid zeitgeist not only in a poetic-discursive sense, but as a potential link in a chain of events that may lead to this envisioned out-road.
    The potential veracity of the allegationsOn July 26, 2023, US Air Force officer and former intelligence official David Grusch testified in front of Congress that information about a government program tasked in the retrieval and reverse engineering of crashed UAPs had been illegally hidden. Some of these UAPs, Grusch claimed, originated from a non-human intelligence based on “the vehicle morphologies and material science testing and the possession of unique atomic arrangements.” [1] Grusch claimed—under oath, at risk of perjury—that he knew the holding locations of some of these crashed UAPs. Some of these crafts, Grusch claimed, contained the remains of their pilots, which he cryptically described—presumably careful to avoid the threshold of how much information he had clearance to reveal—as “non-human biologics.” (While this is arguably the most institutionally ratified UAP news to ever hit the newsstands, it follows and adds notability to a slew of other UFO related incidents that have dotted the annals of the last century. These include the Roswell crash of 1947, the account from Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana that UFOs deactivated 10 nuclear missiles in 1967 [2], and an encounter by a Navy pilot with an “otherworldly” tic tac shaped craft in 2004 [3].) In January 2024 the House Oversight Committee was given a classified debriefing on the allegations [4] by the defense community Inspector General which Rep. Jared Moskowitz described as “the first real briefing that we've had, that we've now made, I would say, progress on some of the claims Mr. Grusch has made.”

    Believing in the possibility of extraterrestrial life has, until recently, been considered akin to believing in the Loch Ness monster. Yet Grusch’s testimony bears none of the hallmarks of a yarn spun by your average crank. This is the first time that someone with this level of military clearance has testified on the subject under oath, putting themselves at risk of imprisonment. The Hill published a piece on Grusch’s experience under the heading “Claims that UFO information was inappropriately withheld from Congress deemed ‘credible’, ‘urgent’.” The article stated that “numerous current and former officials confirmed the outlines of Grusch’s explosive allegations. The officials also provided context and descriptions of the vehicles allegedly recovered by the surreptitious UFO retrieval and reverse engineering effort.” Then there was the piece in Politico, in which Christopher Mellon (the former Minority Staff Director of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence) wrote that “Admittedly, disclosure would initially be shocking and disorienting, but we would of necessity modify our beliefs to accommodate a new understanding of the universe and our place within it. What is deemed possible technologically would certainly change, but if our government can reveal the truth of such a deep secret it will demonstrate that the government can change as well.”
    The value of mysteries in the information ageWhile the convenience of living in the digital age is unquestionable, it has also the unfortunate side effect of atrophying our sense of curiosity from underuse, leaving us jaded and glutted with knowledge. The convenience that blesses our lives, thanks to the ubiquity of digital access, can be seen as a double-edged sword, with all of the utility it endows it removes, in equal measure, the jouissance of mystery. The serendipity of uncovering the mutuals you share with a new friend has been replaced by the immediacy of parsing their friend group on social media, and the risk of vulnerability taken by casting glances across a bar to find a hookup has been eliminated by the convenience of Tinder. Gaps in knowledge are, generally speaking, possible to fill via a quick Google search. To have a genuine mystery in our midst in the post-information age, then, is to be granted access to something rare: a libidinal charge which we must task ourselves to employ for world building. After all, if our reality is too dreary and predictable to be worth engaging in, the only people who will engage in shaping its direction are those with ulterior motives for doing so; organic motive will no longer exist. The power of our focused attention—in this case, curiosity—should not be overlooked simply because its products are immaterial. After all, a great deal of money is spent on controlling the direction of our focused attention. We need mysteries, like the question of the origin of these UAP, to give us a sense that there is more to this world than the dreary realism of late-stage capitalism. If we allow the idea that we are solely beasts of burden to blight the very core of our being, all hope of creating something more than a life in which we are these beasts of burden evaporates. To this end, I will share a quote from the aforementioned Politico article from Arthur C. Clarke, inventor of modern communication satellites. In response to being asked about us making contact with ETs, he said “Strangeness, wonder, mystery and magic—these things that not long ago seemed lost forever, will soon return to the world.”
    Liberating unauthorized defense budget funds

    While Mark Fisher’s Acid Communism was heavily focused on an intangible affect as a transformative force, there is at least one politician who believes UAP disclosure could mitigate material imbalance. House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in an Instagram Live video following the hearing, announced her intent to follow “the thread that can be pulled” of misappropriated funds from the defense budget going towards what Grusch and other witnesses called the UAP reverse engineering project: “One of the themes, that at least I found to be sticking out a lot at the hearing, was the presence of defense contractors. One of the witnesses called out Boeing as a contractor specifically, another witness specifically called out abuse of the IRAD program and misuse of the appropriations process, which is basically Congress saying we spend this money on this thing for this purpose. And sometimes people shift that money around in a way that’s not exactly authorized. That to me is actionable,” she stated. Ocasio-Cortez was keen to point out that the public shouldn’t be dissuaded from paying attention to the UAP disclosures due to a misperception that the issue is far removed from day-to-day concerns—“For everyone who might say ‘whatever, this doesn’t matter, we need to worry about rent and healthcare, first of all, hear you, second of all, I actually think these issues are connected because one of the reasons we’re always told why the...richest country on earth can’t have universal healthcare is because we can’t afford it, right? Well, we know that’s a crock of nonsense because we’re spending trillions of dollars over years on military budgets that can’t pass an audit, and half of which go to a bunch of private companies...In the past we’ve dragged defense contractors before the committee...and one line of questioning that I had...resulted in tens of millions of dollars, I think it was $16 million dollars...being returned to the public because of corrupt practices.”
    Bipartisan solidarityAOC is one of the most high-profile politicians involved in this trajectory of UAP uncovering. The presence of the Democratic Socialist ‘It girl' (here I use the term It girl unironically and with the utmost respect) in this space bears semiotic weight, emblematizing how this phenomenon has brought about a wider unification between the Left and Right polarities. A recent amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act put forth by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to declassify information the government knows about UAPs garnered support from Democratic and Republican Senators alike. While the amendment was shut down, we’ve also seen Republican Rep. Tim Burchett team up with Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia in a bipartisan bill enabling pilots to come forward with their UAP sightings and be granted protection from breaking non-disclosure agreements in order to do so [5].

    This kind of unification has been much needed in order to undo some of the hyper-partisanship we’ve seen over the past decade (due in part to the impact of the social media algorithm’s filter bubble)[6]. The existence of an issue at the forefront of our collective attention providing an opportunity for bipartisan collaboration bodes well for the psycho-political conditions necessary for emancipation. That is to say, the emancipation that the acid left dreams of is going to be the amalgamation of a myriad of different psycho-political shifts that result in the optimum moment for all the pieces necessary for change to coalesce within. Of course, this does not mean that the ideal political climate for bringing about wide-scale systemic instauration is a blurring of the Right and Left into some kind of meaningless centrism, but rather that Leftists should remain unyielding about core issues that don’t translate across partisan lines, while simultaneously developing bipartisan common ground as a form of safeguarding for the future. The presence of even a single thread of bipartisan collaboration amidst a frayed social fabric could serve as contingency for the chaos that may ensue upon the disintegration of the hyper-capitalist doomscape.
    Contemplating the phenomena as Foucauldian limit-experienceIf the idea of this capitalist disintegration feels too outlandish to entertain, I’d like to once again remind you that we’re at a point in time where extraterrestrials sending crafts into our orbit is entirely possible. I would wager that to task the mind with truly comprehending this as a possibility is a kind of Foucauldian limit-experience, which is a concept integral to Fisher’s thought: “the limit-experience was paradoxical: it was an experience at and beyond the limits of ‘ordinary’ experience, an experience of what cannot ordinarily be experienced at all. The limit-experience offered a kind of metaphysical hack. The conditions which made ordinary experience possible could now be encountered, transformed, and escaped.” To truly consider the possibility that the UAPs making headlines could be the work of a non-human intelligence, is to create the conditions for the kind of environment where total systemic instauration is possible. Our cognition of what once seemed impossible, the world changing, can only follow from a limit-experience, and while witnessing ETs landing on Earth would certainly constitute such an experience, I posit that to earnestly and viscerally consider the possibility of extraterrestrial UAPs similarly qualifies.

    “A new humanity, a new seeing, a new thinking, a new loving: this is the promise of acid communism,” writes Fisher. And certainly we are being tasked to stretch our notion of the real, and our manner of thinking, to contain the myriad possibilities in front of us—possibilities that have more legs to stand on than they’ve ever had before—so that if the truth does present itself, we will have eyes clear enough to perceive what is in front of us, whatever form it may take. As Dan Barrow wrote, “any politics that truly contests neoliberal ‘reality programming’ will involve collectively restructuring subjectivity.” [7] It is in the spirit of this universality and collective will towards emancipation that I will end with the transcript from a reality-bending signal jam. This message was transmitted on TV during the 5:00 o’clock news in the Southern UK one Saturday in 1977 [8]. To this day, its source remains a mystery.

    This is the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you. For many years you have seen us as lights in the skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth. We come to warn you of the destiny of your race and your world so that you may communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid the disaster which threatens your world, and the beings on our worlds around you.

    This is in order that you may share in the great awakening, as the planet passes into the New Age of Aquarius. The new age can be a time of great peace and evolution for your race, but only if your rulers are made aware of the evil forces that can overshadow their judgments.

    Be still now and listen, for your chance may not come again. All your weapons of evil must be removed. The time for conflict is now past and the race of which you are a part may proceed to the higher stages of its evolution if you show yourselves worthy to do this. You have but a short time to learn to live together in peace and goodwill. Small groups all over the planet are learning this and exist to pass on the light of the dawning new age to you all.

    You are free to accept or reject their teachings, but only those who learn to live in peace will pass to the higher realms of spiritual evolution. Hear now the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you. Be aware also that there are many false prophets and guides operating in your world. They will suck your energy from you—the energy you call money and will put it to evil ends and give you worthless dross in return.

    Your inner divine self will protect you from this. You must learn to be sensitive to the voice within that can tell you what is truth, and what is confusion, chaos, and untruth. Learn to listen to the voice of truth which is within you, and you will lead yourselves onto the path of evolution. This is our message to our dear friends. We have watched you growing for many years as you too have watched our lights in your skies.

    You know now that we are here, and that there are more beings on and around your Earth than your scientists admit. We are deeply concerned about you and your path towards the light and will do all we can to help you. Have no fear, seek only to know yourselves, and live in harmony with the ways of your planet Earth. We of the Ashtar Galactic Command thank you for your attention. We are now leaving the plane of your existence. May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos.