Monday 6 August 2012, 18:22

Adam Curtis Adam Curtis

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To celebrate today's successful landing on Mars I thought I would show a film of a man who claimed to have got to Mars a long time ago. He did this back in the late 1950s by communicating telepathically with the beings who inhabited the Red Planet. He also claimed that his mother went there on a UFO. And what's more the BBC took him very seriously.

He was called George King. He was a London taxi driver who back in 1956 had a strange experience. He was washing the dishes when he heard a voice which said

"Prepare yourself. You are about to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament"

As a result, George King founded the Aetherius Society - which still exists today. His aim was to spread the messages that he received from what he called The Space People.

In 1959 the BBC made a half hour programme about Mr King, his strange cosmic experiences and his ideas. It is one of the most wonderful, odd and touching films I have ever found in the BBC archives.

Here is Mr King

George King is allowed in the programme to describe what happened to him at length - and the interviewer takes him completely seriously. The result is extraordinary - Mr King tells how the space people have given him a name - they call him "Mental Channel No. 1", how he has met people from Mars, Venus and Saturn and has "telepathic rapport" with them.

The interviewer then asks for proof that he really has met these people. George King says that his mother has proved it. She did this, he says, by being picked up by a UFO and then travelling through space to meet one of the people who regularly communicates with him.

So that proves that - he says.

And they then play the tape recording of his mother describing her interplanetary flight.

And then it gets weirder. The interviewer asks George King to contact - and channel - one of these beings. And he agrees. What then happens is just brilliant.

The film begins, appropriately, with Mars speaking to Earth. It ends - as all good programmes did in those days - with a Jungian consultant psychiatrist assessing George King's claims

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    Comment number 41.

    As I am doing ongoing research into George King, is there any way I can download this 1959 film for future, exhaustive study?

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    Comment number 42.

    Can you imagine a programme made now which wouldn't either just snidely take the p*ss from the outset or be sickeningly credulous bilge on the Living channel; thereby missing what insights there might be lurking under the surface?

    oh, but we're so open-minded these days aren't we....

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.



    "Can you imagine a programme made now which wouldn't either just snidely take the p*ss from the outset or be sickeningly credulous bilge on the Living channel"

    No - my thoughts exactly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Adam - we need another blog!

    Anyway, this radio 3 essay on the limits of growth 40 years on will be of interest to anyone who got into the themes of the 2nd episode of 'all watched over' and and contends that the model is still of value.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 47.

    Wonderful! I especially love the fact that the interviewer goes to great pains to point out that for "professional reasons" the Jungian psychiatrist must remain anonymous and then later goes on to address him as "Tony".

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    Comment number 48.

    An exceptional piece of footage.

    It brings to mind two things: a car license plate holder I saw in California in the early 80's on a Volkswagen Beetle with no seats. It was driven by two cultivators and connoisseurs of the sensimilla bud, and it read: 'space is the place.'

    Which, in this disenchanted world of ours, space certainly is a frontier, a possibility. We do yet look to the sky for hope, for answers.

    The other is Edmund Husserl's The Crisis of the European Sciences ... . On the eve of the great conflagration that was to come, he wrote: "Scientific, objective truth is exclusively a matter of establishing what the world, the physical as well as the spiritual world, is in fact. But can the world, and human existence in it, truthfully have a meaning if the sciences recognize as true only what is objectively established in this fashion, and if history has nothing more to teach us than that all the shapes of the spiritual world, all the conditions of life, ideals, norms upon which man relies, form and dissolve themselves like fleeting waves, that it always was and ever will be so, that again and again reason must turn into nonsense, and well being into misery? Can we console ourselves with that? Can we live in this world, where historical occurrence is nothing but an unending concatenation of illusory progress and bitter disappointment?"

    For all its wonders, Curiosity is for most people just, well, a curiosity. I think it should be a world historical moment precisely because it does tell us something about who we are, and why we are here and because it could link scientific progress with a sense of what it means to be human.

    It is, I think, more spiritual than any earthly pilgrimage can be at this point in history. Not only because it is a genuine response to the call of the mysteries of existence, but because heeding that call in a serious way would require an equally serious reconsideration of how the lebenswelt works here on our little blue planet.

    Sure, it's blue sky thinking. But beyond that thin blue envelope an infinite journey awaits.

    Space is the place.

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    Comment number 49.

    @48 chronophobe

    "It was driven by two cultivators and connoisseurs of the sensimilla bud, and it read: 'space is the place.' " - It could have well been Sun Ra minus orchestra...

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    Comment number 51.

    Desperately need another post on here.

    Also, is there anywhere we can watch The Cost of Treachery? Can't seem to find it anywhere.

    Anyone have any bright ideas? Many thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Methinks this long silence from the part of The Master is a sign that he's working on something big. Maybe that new site he's been hinting at in interviews for a while is finally getting done.

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    Comment number 53.

    Thanks for making this video available. I've seen shorter segments of this before but nothing like this one. Truly amazing to watch George King talking with great humility before the 'experts'. Having read George King's books and audio-lectures on diverse subjects from solving the Spiritual Energy Crisis to deep Ecology I can say that I have never found anything which even comes close to the priceless wisdom that this Man has bestowed on mankind. Yes, he could have been extremely popular if this was his motive however, like all men who speak Truth these days, unpopularity is the price of Wisdom. Fortunately this will not always be the case.

    While indeed, the Aetherius Society was founded to give a new appreciation of the ancient teachings by introducing a Cosmic Concept to mankind in this New Age we shouldn't forget another very important reason which was to engage mankind in taking an active part in the Cosmic Plan as visualized by the Cosmic Masters. The very essence of the Cosmic Plan is Love and all people, even the very worst of mankind, could change their entire lives and karmic pattern by understanding this Divine Law and how he might co-operate with it. So, with the Aetherius Society we have a message of hope for mankind. In these days hope and direct action go hand-in-hand. This above all was the message of the cosmic Masters which is as important today as it was when it was first given...possibly more so in some ways.


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This is a website expressing my personal views – through a selection of opinionated observations and arguments. I’ll be including stories I like, ideas I find fascinating, work in progress and a selection of material from the BBC archives.

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