A Calm and Quiet Paganish Paradigm (WPMY 124)

“The Martians discovered the secret of life among the animals. The animal does not question life. It lives. Its very reason for living is life; it enjoys and relishes life. You see—the statuary, the animal symbols, again and again.”

“It looks pagan.”

“On the contrary, those are God symbols, symbols of life. Man had become too much man and not enough animal on Mars too. And the men of Mars realized that in order to survive they would have to forgo asking that one question: Why live? Life was its own answer. Life was the propagation of more life and the living of as good a life as possible. The Martians realized that they asked the question ‘Why live at all?’ at the height of some period of war and despair, when there was no answer. But once the civilization calmed, quieted, and wars ceased, the question became senseless in a new way. Life was good now and needed no arguments.”

“It sounds as if the Martians were quite naïve.”

“Only when it paid to be naïve. They quit trying too hard to destroy everything, to humble everything. They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle. They never let science crush the aesthetic and the beautiful. It’s all simply a matter of degree. An Earth Man thinks: ‘In that picture, color does not exist, really. A scientist can prove that color is only the way the cells are placed in a certain material to reflect light. Therefore, color is not really an actual part of things I happen to see.’ A Martian, far cleverer, would say: ‘This is a fine picture. It came from the hand and the mind of a man inspired. Its idea and its color are from life. This thing is good.'”

The Martian Chronicles

Bradbury          1950

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