Life on Mars?

With the recent news about a scientific discovery of a liquid body of water in Mars, everybody is wondering around the possibility of finally find life outside planet Earth. But these are not good news for everybody, for pessimistic scientists this would signify the corroboration of Fermi’s Paradox—if you don’t know what I’m speaking about, please do yourself a favor a google it—, and for a second group of religious people, signifies that life can generate itself outside of the clasp of Jesus, Muhhamad, Buddha and any other prophet which monopolizes the explanation of the uncertain through the “divine.” And in this occasion I want to focus in the later.

I want to believe that most of you have heard about an American writer called H. P. Lovecraft and his most famous work “The Call of Cthulhu” published in 1928. Lovecraft is one of the most prominent writers in the genre of horror fiction, but most of the time he is regarded as a “terror writer” even when the terror genre doesn’t actually exists in literature—contrary to film or any other media. But what was so terrifying about Lovecraft that made people think like that?

Actually, the most terrifying idea proposed by Lovecraft was the existence of beings outside this world to which human species would be as cockroaches compared with them. In other words, that human being was not the center of—God’s—creation.

Why is that idea so threatening and mind blowing to our reasoning?    

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

Several studies have shed light about the possibility that the need of believing in a deity is a biochemical process of our brain developed through millennia, maybe to ensure the survival of the species: To release the anxiety of bearing the burden of fate upon our shoulders and pass that responsibility to an hypothetical wise, white-bearded old man sitting on a cloud aloft the mundanity of this world.

I understand that for many—with anxious personality—the idea of having a universal control can help you to cope with the daily reality, but I’m afraid to tell you that the only certain constant in this universe is the lack of order or predictability and a gradual decline into disorder, embodied by entropy.

So instead of imaging this wise old man, it would be more appropriate to imagine an infant as the ruler of our destinies. Infant comes from the Latin infans, and means “unable to speak” (have you ever wondered why God doesn’t reply your prayers?) and relates to the age of those newborns or toddlers who can’t formally communicate, and which find equal fascination in creating and destroying, they can pet a dog or squeeze to death a little chicken driven by their—guileless—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 just an accident in this cosmic billiards we call the Universe. But we are the happiest accident that the entire universe could witness: that against all the odds, in a tiny blue ball hanging in the immensity of darkness, the light of life is still shining. But we might not be the only one. More candles could be outside our neighborhood, illuminating the cosmos as we do.

Every day you wake up, acknowledge this miraculous accident that gives you the opportunity to be humble and accept the gift you were given—not by God but by causality, what makes it no less amazing—to contribute to this existence. Be better. Be wise. Never stop to amaze yourself of the wonders of knowledge and existence. And never waste a day of your life, because it’s you who is in sole control of your life.

And if one day you feel like the unwanted child of a “God,” please remember that the unwanted sons of uncared parents can also do great things in the world. You need nobody other than yourself. Be like Earth and prove to the Universe that against all odds, you can also succeed.

M. Ch. Landa

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