I BOW to no-one in my cosmically-yearning, space-cadet status. But there’s a lot of context and history to the “space aliens are among us” hearings in the US Congress at the moment.

To ask “Why now? And why this guy?” is to generate some crunchy answers.

Why now? That serves up some fascinating stuff, short-term and long-term. Given there’s been well over half a century of muffled non-explanation from the US security state about UFOs (now known as UAPs – unidentified aerial phenomena), why did pictures and videos start to appear, with semi-official sanction, in 2017?

One answer might be that these “aliens from above” stories represent the deepest kind of agenda-setting by the US state. What agenda? Well, getting the public ready for the comprehensive militarisation of space, its expense and its strategy, as new enmities with China and Russia are embarked upon.

It was notable that many of the inquiries from Congressional representatives on the committee focussed on the threat of alien tech to “national security” (this threat was enthusiastically affirmed by all three witnesses).

In its search for social legitimation and credibility, the military-industrial complex never sleeps. A new threat of “aliens” (not just the Chinese) can keep budget procurements high and open-ended.

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Many cultural historians have noted how “alien threats from the sky” are fed by two currents in American culture. One stems from the Hiroshima moment. From that point onwards, the collective understanding of US society shifts.

If they can send machines flying thousands of miles to drop weapons that destroy cities in a flash, then Americans are now also permanently vulnerable to that same threat.

So UFOs/UAPs partake of the same paranoias and fears that gripped Cold War existence in general. If we can destroy the world in half an hour, might not others be just as capable of doing so? Easy for minds made anxious by Cold War rhetoric to slip from “alien” communists to aliens proper.

The second current, as another consequence of the Cold War, is the ever-more-covert operational secrecy of the American state. (The X-Files is the great TV opera of all this).

There’s a goodly amount of Trumpesque Republicans on this Congressional committee who believe in all kinds of deep-state conspiracy. None with more zeal over alien cover-up than the improbably named Anna Paulina Luna.

However, these conspiracist politicians may be disappointed. Especially when they discover the testimony of these “whistleblowers” is just the slow leakage of information about advanced military technologies. All there will be to discover is the endless, competitive grind of great-power supremacy, cloaked in cosmic fairy tales.

The testimony of the seemingly impeccable key witness, a bright-eyed and legally precise former US Air Force (USAF) officer called David Grusch, is fascinating. But it also brims with themes from collective UFO hysterias of the past.

Quite the weirdest and most telling bit is when Grusch starts talking about the “multi-dimensionality” of these alien craft. “The framework I’m most familiar with is called the holographic principle, which derives itself from general relativity and quantum mechanics”, says Grusch.

“You can be quasi-projected from a higher dimensional space to a lower dimensional space. It’s a scientific trope [sic] you can actually cross. This is a theoretical framework”.

This is near gibberish, but not quite. Physicist Leonard Susskind explains the holographic principle thus: “The three-dimensional world of ordinary experience – the universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, houses, boulders, and people – is a hologram, an image of reality coded on a distant two-dimensional surface.”

What is more telling is that mystic ufologists have been locating objects as coming from an “etheric plane” for well over a century. The zone of “ether” was first propounded by the occultist Madame Blavatsky in the late 19th century, and later by Meade Layne, John Keel, and USAF astronomer J. Allen Hynek.

The weirdness of contemporary physics allows much wriggle room for wild interpretations of reality – and Grusch’s bushy-tailed routine makes the most of it here.

The National: IN SPACE:  In this NASA handout, a view of nearly 10,000 galaxies are seen in a Hubble Telescope composite photograph released March 9, 2004. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) photograph is a composite of a million one-second exposures and reveals

What’s the conclusive reason I think this “alien revelation” is all a psy-ops campasgn (which would be something alarming in itself, as an outcrop of the “fake news/post-truth” wars brought to a head by Trump)? It’s because the hard science is so dead-set against it.

There is a funny zinger emerging from the experts, which goes along these lines. So they’re brilliant enough to travel thousands, even millions of light-years to get to this planet, picking the proverbial needle out of a zillion haystacks ... then at the very last moment, they skid, crash and can’t negotiate a landing properly?

My favourite hypothesis comes from the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. “Many stars are billions of years older than ours. With this head start, alien life is likely to have passed through flesh and blood into an electronic form of life. We will not be able to fathom their motives or intentions”, says Rees.

Which means that if any alien visitor comes to us, it will almost certainly be machinic, not organic in form. That does for Grusch’s contention, made more than once, that there were “non-human biologics” in the alien wreckage secured by the deep American state.

The only thing “biologic” about this material is the stench of bullshit arising from it. And really, in an age of ubiquitous digital photography, with endless means whereby underground content can be communicated – there’s no photographs of technologies, bodies, anything to be seen? Come on.

Again, what should scare us more is the tottering decadence and rottenness of the American state, playing these tawdry games with its citizens’ reality, than any tentacular invaders.

There’s a double infantilisation going on here. We may be potentially powerless before inscrutable aliens. But we are actually powerless before a state which uses these “worldings” to justify its actions, beyond and without our consent.

Just to twirl my propeller-hat for a moment ... it’s not as if there’s no stakes in the discovery of alien life, beyond the evolutionary processes of our Earth. Scientists are spreading out ever-better nets of detection, not just looking for bio-indicators from far-off planets but techno-indicators too. Yet they are dealing with the unthinkable size of the actual, measurable universe – two trillion galaxies at least, potentially more.

Such a vast cosmic roulette is likelier than not to generate civilisations. Yet the rarity of their occurrence – and the brutally enormous distances between them – imply that they’ll be on their own.

For me, thinking about the sheer rarity of sentient and interdependent life in the cosmos has become a political (or at least an eco-political) driver.

How can we preserve and steward ourselves, as this precious exception to the rule of entropy? Couldn’t this be a reason to raise our earthly modes of governance and production to much higher, and less toxic, levels than they currently are?

Will we really fail to “make it through the gate” of our own technological ingenuity, wrongly and self-destructively deployed?

Before we have to think about any other “alien nations”, there is our own alienation from ourselves to deal with. As the French situationist Guy Debord once said: “Let us make the world a sensuous extension of humans, rather than have humans remain an instrument of an alien world.”

Alien stories make us all instruments of authority.

Folding my spandexed arms very tightly indeed, this space cadet remains resolutely sceptical.