Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us."

--H.G. Wells, "The War of the Worlds"

It's tempting to wonder how accurately Wells' psychological portrait of greedy Martians will apply to us as we discover more and more terrestrial-type planets orbiting other stars. When we find oases of life glimmering far beyond the reach of contemporary spacecraft, chances are we'll view them with fierce pangs of jealousy.

In the meantime, we're readying for the effective end of the world as we know it by invading Iraq in a bid for geopolitical autonomy. To many thousand civilian Iraqis, who've witnesses their families and friends mowed down by U.S. forces, it's likely Bush's war machine looks something like the Martian blight envisioned by Wells.

Wells' Martians and the current stock of homo sapiens are linked by desperation and the delusion of righteousness; we appear to think that our mutual plight somehow deserves sympathy, that our fevered quest for resources in the midst of an under-reported planet-wide mass extinction is innately just.

The invading Martians in "The War of the Worlds" were ultimately killed by germs. I think Wells was onto something with that.


Gerald T said...

"It's just fun for me, because I think this is a foolish species.I think this is a species that missed its calling and lost its opportunity a long time ago. I think there's some bad DNA in this species.Every solution seems to create a couple more problems -- which is very encouraging to a person like me."
George Carlin

W.M. Bear said...

Interesting. I just saw a preview last night of Steven Spielberg's new "War of the Worlds" (starring Tom Cruise) to be released June 29 or so, I think. This was at a theater where I went to see Star Wars Episode III (flawed greatness -- I actually, unbelievably teared up through a lot of it but then I suppose I'm old-fashioned). Space and war -- endless conflict! Well, at least if we do discover a true "earthlike" world (complete with oceans, green continents, etc.) I think that will greatly spur development of space travel. Maybe then we'll devote hundreds of billions of dollars to developing starships just so we can go conquer another earthlike planet!

Mac said...

Carlin is a national treasure.

razorsmile said...

That's a sobering, if not surprising, thought. "War of the Worlds" was/will be about us.