Life on Mars?

With the recent news about the scientific discovery of a body of liquid water on Mars, everyone is wondering about the possibility of finally confirming the existence of life outside planet Earth. But this is not good news for everyone, for pessimistic scientists this may mean corroboration of the Fermi Paradox—if you don't know what I'm talking about, please do yourself a favor and Google it—, and for a second group of religious people, It means that life can develop by itself outside the reach of Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha or any other prophet who monopolizes the explanation of the uncertain through the “divine.” And this time I want to focus on the latter.

I want to think that most of you have heard about the American writer called HP Lovecraft and his most famous work titled “The Call of Cthulhu” published in 1928. Lovecraft is one of the most prominent writers in the genre of literary horror, but most of the time he is referred to as a “horror writer” even though the genre doesn't really exist in literature—unlike film or other media. But what was so terrifying about Lovecraft that made people think that way?

In fact, the most terrifying idea proposed by Lovecraft was the existence of beings outside this world for whom the human species would be like cockroaches compared to them. In other words, that the human being was not the center of God's creation.

Why is this idea so threatening and impressive to our reasoning?

If we are not the center, not the goal but a consequence, are we less loved by God? Less important?

Many studies have opened up the possibility that the need to believe in a deity is just a biochemical process of our brain developed over millennia, perhaps to ensure the survival of the species: to release the anxiety of carrying the burden of our destiny on our shoulders and convey it to a hypothetical wise old bearded man sitting on a cloud above the mundanity of this world.

I understand that for many—with anxious personalities—the idea of having universal control can help them cope with daily reality, but I am afraid to tell them that the only certain constant in this world is the lack of order or predictability and a gradual decline towards disorder, personified in the entropy.

So instead of imagining this wise man, it would be more appropriate to imagine an infant as the ruler of our destinies. Infant comes from Latin children, which means “Unable to speak” (have you ever wondered why God never answers your prayers) and is age-related in newborns or young children who cannot communicate formally, and for whom they find equal fascination in creation that in destruction, they can pet a dog or crush a chick to suffocation, driven by their innocent impulses.

So should we stop believing in miracles and believe in accidents?

I believe that as humanity we need to be more humble and accept the fact that our existence is an accident within this cosmic pool that we call the Universe. But we are the most beautiful accident that the universe can attest: that against all odds, in this small blue sphere hanging in the vastness of darkness, the light of life is still shining. But maybe we are not the only ones. More candles may exist outside our neighborhood, illuminating the cosmos as we do.

Every day when you wake up, recognize the miraculous accident that gives you the opportunity to be humble and accept the gift that was given to you—not by God but by causality, which does not make it any less amazing—and contributes to this existence. Be better. Be wiser. Never stop being surprised by the wonders of knowledge and existence. And never waste a day of your life, because it is only you who is in total control of it.

And if one day you feel like an unwanted child of your God, please remember that unwanted children of careless parents can also achieve great things in this world. You don't need anyone but yourself. Be like the Earth and show the universe that against all odds, you too can succeed.

M. Ch. Landa

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