February 6th, 2011

Meme: "God and the World" Questions 12 and 13 Life on other Planets.

12. Does life exist on other planets?  I, of course, don't know.  More than likely it does.  Almost certainly it does.  Is life on other planets intelligent?  Well there are an incredibly large number of "star systems,"  many of which do have planets; some of these planets (dozens?, hundreds?, thousands?, millions?, billions?) are likely to be able to support life as we know it.  (So far as life as we don't know it is concerned, i can say nothing).  If the universe is more than 14 billion years old, and our planet is less than 5 billion years old, some of these other planets may well have spawned life forms with more of what we call " intelligence."

13. Have they made contact with us?  People are always coming up with "evidence" that they have.  In my opinion this "evidence" falls so far short of proof that is unprofitable to speculate about this question.  Though unprofitable, it might still be fun.  People tend to find huge elaborate structures and "out of time" technologies compelling evidence, i tend to see these more as evidence of the incredible imagination and strangeness of our own species.  On the other hand, with our terrible obsession with "exploring" space and our rate of technological change we are probably within sight of outer space exploration ourselves.  In a few dozen years. or a few hundred, or a few thousand, we will, either first hand or through technology, be exploring other sun "systems" some of which  have planets, some of which might have life, some of which might have intelligent life.  I fear our potential to misuse the knowledge we obtain, so logically, i should also fear the fact that a "superior" species might be gathering information about us.  But, for whatever reason, i don't give it much thought.

Antonio Machado – Songs

XI                   With words of love
               a bit of exaggeration
               just feels right.

XII                  In Santo Domingo
             the high mass
             Even though they call me
             heretic and Mason
             Praying with you
             What devotion!

The woman he refers to in this poem is probably his wife. She was raised in a traditional Catholic family, where only a churchgoer was considered a suitable match. When he was courting her, Machado started going to church regularly. She was his Beloved, she became the embodiment of the Divine for him. He says ironically, “praying with you / what devotion!” You can just picture his eyes turned from the altar to catch a glimpse of her face.

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