Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Review of Peter Jennings Report on UFOs

by Will Bueche
John E. Mack Institute

The definitive special about alien life ...has yet to be made.

Peter Jennings' report on UFOs was awaited with much excitement by people such as myself who have an interest in the subject of alien contact - excitement which was only partially tempered by the unfortunate news that the final interview given by Harvard's Dr. John Mack, a leading authority on the subject of alien contact, would not be presented in the finished program. Still, the potential for a powerful program remained, due to the high quality work which Peter Jennings Productions are known for. I duly tuned in the broadcast this evening.

It seems that the best of what Peter Jennings Productions (and the filmmakers at Springs Media) delivered was a strong 20 or 30 minute introduction to the UFO subject, and then (much later in the program) an all-too-brief couple of minutes of modern perspectives on how alien visitation could be possible (from internationally recognized authority in theoretical physics Dr. Michio Kaku).

The first segment persuasively argued that early investigations of flying saucers on the part of the Air Force or government were so weak as to be considered a squandered opportunity for knowledge. But from that segment on, the program seemed rather uninspired.

If the program had taken the lead of modern scientists such as Dr. Michio Kaku or Brian Greene this program could have been a grand statement about the current theories and ideas about ufos/alien encounters, and how we might investigate them if we apply this modern knowledge. I refer to knowledge which - as anyone who has looked into alien encounters would appreciate - involves theoretical physics' insights into the structure of reality as well as theories of consciousness or, to put it more simply, theories of how perception of reality is affected by different states of consciousness.

Instead, modernity was given a couple good minutes of limelight (in the form of Dr. Kaku explaining how modern physics believes that seemingly vast distances between worlds could be crossed in an instant) followed by far too many people who are retreading theories of the 1970s - including present day researchers who are parroting theories from that era (the people from SETI, Harvard's Dr. McNally, and - to be entirely fair - even some "pro" ufo folks).

If only Jennings' program had been as fascinated by contemporary theories as they were by the early days of the UFO era. It was evidently not to be, and therefore this special was itself an opportunity squandered.

Sadly, the definitive special about alien life has yet to be made.

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