I read The Martian Chronicles to death. Yep, I rode that baby right to the end. Wow. What a story. Dark and so strange, but truly human, the Martians too.
This was not what I expected at all. In fact, I’m not sure what I expected. Ray Bradbury took a whole lot of his Mars stories and wove them all together to make a complete novel and I loved every single page. Each chapter is so different but related, like watching Twilight Zone.
It’s basically a colonization story, following the same lines that humans have taken all over the planet. The only downside of the whole book is that it’s not very hopeful or kind to humanity, which leads me to one of my recurring questions. Why do we hate ourselves so much?
As he said in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”
Humans are basically no different than any other species on this planet. We grow, we fail, we learn, we adapt. Every species moves into the world, procreates, uses resources, grows too much, too quickly, and then adjusts or dies out. So will we.
It’s only our ability to imagine a world other than what it is right now that makes us different. And that’s not always a good thing or bad one.
We can imagine better ways, bigger way, and we chase after dreams. We make up reasons for everything, feel bad about the past, worry about the future. That means we can sit and be angry and sad about things or we can change the world around us and our behavior on purpose.
How does the saying go? “God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
Humans are not evil entities come to destroy the world anymore than a virus comes to destroy anyone or a coyote comes to destroy a nest of cottontails.
“Even if there hadn’t been a war we would have come to mars, I think, to live and form our own standard of living. It would have been another century before Mars would have really been poisoned by the Earth civilization.”
Why do we personally always think we aren’t part of whatever problem in happening around us? It’s always those people that are causing grief to this place and time. If I could pick out a handful of good people and take them somewhere, we’d create something far better. It’s a dream.
We are ALL only human and we do human things.
It’s not a defeatist attitude. The answer isn’t to find a way to get rid of all humans.
To me, the answer is to actually see and accept ourselves just as we are and continue forward individually doing the best we can with what we have. The species will thrive and the planet will continue to flourish, or it won’t.
Humanity is not some foreign body that was dropped on this planet by aliens. We are not some ostracized virus entity, banished to another world because someone else couldn’t find a way to kill us off outright. We are not an anomaly. We are a natural part of this system, evolving and growing right along with the rest.
Will we destroy ourselves? Will another species overwhelm us? We can’t know, and I don’t even think it matters. The future just is.
Each of us can do better by taking care of the space and the people around us, making each day a little brighter. There are so many different ways the future could go. Why sit around lamenting what could have been when we have so much right now?
What does it mean to be truly human? I think the Serenity Prayer sums it up perfectly.