Extraterrestrial life. Theology. Human suffering.

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Some months ago top US astronomers gathered in front of congress to let them know that extraterrestrial life exists without question. Their main argument was the size of the universe, emphasizing that there are trillions of stars out there, with one in every five most likely harboring an Earth-like planet. It’s also important to keep in mind that planets do not have to be “Earth-like” in order to harbor life. You can read more about that story here.

This time, NASA and the Library of Congress have teamed up bringing together scientists, theologians, philosophers and historians from around the globe for a two day symposium in order to discuss how to prepare the world for extraterrestrial contact, whether it be microbial organisms or intelligent beings. (1)

But what if extraterrestrial life exists?

Does it matter for philosophy? Does it matter for religion?

Are there different types of “existence”? Are there different types of “being”? What kind of pure honest philosophy depends on the phenomena? Does love change depending on who you are? Does pain or suffering stop depending on who you are? Does it matter if you are from Earth or from Mars? Would Christ act differently had he not come to Earth but to Saturn?

Know thyself…

Love your enemies as you love yourself…

Everything is One…

Fragments of wisdom echoing through the Universe. Transcending time. And space. Flying through the empty space, passing by Earth, passing by Mars, leaving our solar system, passing the edges of the galaxy, reaching the depths of our hearts…

You will Die.

Reflections on water… Temporary… Beautiful… Eternal… [Photo: Denis Collette]
You will soon die.

Have you forgotten it?

Do you feel unpleasant when someone reminds you of that little truth?

How do you live, without remembering the most important part of life?

Do you fear enough?

Are you enslaved enough to your body?

Do you worship the temporary?

Socrates slept peacefully one day before his execution.

He even had a dream.

Do your dream of Life?

Or Death?

You will soon die.

Be happy. This is Life!

Resurrection – Illogical, thus True.

Crucifixus est Dei filius,
non pudet, quia pudentum est.
Et mortuus est Dei filius,
prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est.
Et sepultus ressurrexit,
certum est, quia impossibile est
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus

The son of God is crucified,
this does not bring shame because it is disgraceful.
And the son of God is dead,
this is worthy of faith because it is illogical.
Kai after his burial he rose,
this is certain because it is impossible.

It is the resurrection of Christ a real event?

The answer may come from an unexpected place …

Long ago when I was reading “The Birth of Tragedy” by Nietzsche, I realized that what some people think they know about “Nietzsche the atheist” is not valid. Nietzsche in this document refers to things that easily could be part of a… theological text. He talks about this primary One, and how the man in his Dionysian ecstasy comes in harmony with it. He analyzes his opposition to the religion of his days, which contrast is based on the fact that religion has become a religion of scholars (while Logic cannot explain the world!). He talks against science and reason which try to explain the world while seeming simply adhering to its surface.

Maybe analyzing something logically is not the solution. Maybe you should stand “irrational” in front of the problem to find a solution. Isn’t that what scientists we admire as “geniuses” do?

He rose.

Do you believe it? No.

The resurrection of a man who has died is a deeply illogical fact. It cannot happen based on what we know. But it is for this very reason that Shestov motivates us to believe it! Why should we believe the “reasonable” things? Not many true things are reasonable. Is it logical that we live for no reason at all and then we become fertilizer without any reason? Why immortality is irrational and the accidental existence is logical? Who has instilled such ideas to us?

He rose.

Do you believe it? No.

Many say they saw him resurrected. But you do not believe them. They tell you so. You refuse to listen. You  deny your own existence. An existence which cries out that you are more than a set of meat and bones. And yet you’re rational. You believe that you will die. But life itself is irrational. You cannot logically find its meaning. Because it is hidden where you are not looking. Stop thinking. See with your eyes closed. They tell you. You do not hear them. You want to see. But even if you saw you would not have believed. Because you are logical. You would try to find the “trick” behind what you see. You live a life in logic. How can you become irrational now? How can you start living now?

He rose.

Do you believe it? No.

He lived and he died while being innocent. You think he did a trick. A stunt. Or even worse: you think that it was a common liar. A common liar who just got a crisis of conscience and sacrificed himself … for fun! They tell you he resurrected. Others also wrote down their testimony to satisfy your need for modern “written sources”. As you did not believe Homer, you do not believe them either. You are what you have told you to be. You hear what they have told you to listen. You are a ridiculous little man who cannot think on his own without the prior consent of his “spiritual leaders”. You would never defend with your own life something absurd that you saw happening, you would never defend your beliefs. You do not have the guts to do so. You simply follow. If “reliable sources” do not tell you so, you do not believe so. But if your “sources” tell you so, then you are ready to believe anything, no matter how absurd, without protest.

Are there parallel universes? Yes.

He rose.

Do you believe it? No.

Be unreasonable and see what eyes cannot see: Resurrection means victory over death. Don’t you see? You’re not just blood and bones. You’re an enlightened being. And you have no need of sources (you have) or evidence or empirical data (which you also have) to believe. You’re a deeply irrational creature dropped in the world and you everyday feel anxious about who you are and where are you going. You know nothing, but know that there is meaning in all this.

We must be irrational! As irrational is life! Logic could never solve important problems (after all,  Gödel has proved that logic cannot answer everything, and cannot even help us answer simple questions like “can you demonstrate that this proposal cannot be proved?”) while insight and intuition have provided solutions to many mysteries. Scientific riddles of ages have been solved with irrational thinking – not by “logic.Your logic makes you believe in “infinite”. And yet you have never seen it… Irrational? Your logic makes you think that there are problems without a solution (“This proposal cannot be proved”) and yet you “know” that such problems do not exist. Irrational?

We live. We are basically irrational.

Perhaps the question should be put differently.

As Rilke says, the purpose of life is to be defeated by greater things.

He died.

Do you believe it? No.

Nietzsche and “God is dead”, as a cry of agony!

 

It is true that Nietzsche said in one of his books the infamous phrase “God is dead”. But few really understood in what way Nietzsche said that phrase. While reading the new book of Solomon and Higgins about the great philosopher, I was reminded of the great Greek philosopher Papanoutsos. The latter was one of the few who understood that “God is dead” is a cry of agony, not a cry of triumph. The great German philosopher was much more religious than most people think (read “Nietzsche – An irrational believer” for more on this). Nietzsche was against Christianism because the latter failed to solve the practical problems of the world and because it was drifting too much away from humans and their natural existence. But Nietzsche was also against rationalism (he was the founder of Irrationalism) and against the idea that science was the solution to all the problems – many people tend to overlook this. In his writting you can find many references to God and all too many references against science, which also failed to solve the problems of the world.

Nietzsche and his sister, 1899

Many times people misunderstand that other people say…

Nietzsche is perhaps the most misunderstood of them all…

God is dead!

People wrongly think that believing in science is the cure for their agonies. People believe that they are just dust which happened to exist by luck. People believe that  they are nothing. Welcome to the modern era!

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