Photo Credit: PBS.org
By Yonatan Gordon
For those of you keeping track of our journey through the solar system, we are now up to Mars. Relating back to the first part in this series, this also puts us at Might (gevurah), or post-apocalyptic devastation.
The immediate question that comes to mind, is how can we still say that Mars relates to science fiction? After all, it’s been over a hundred years since H.G. Well’s “The War of the Worlds” in 1898. Even if we did see flying objects in our skies today, we would probably attribute their origin to some other planet.
This question is compounded, especially since the Curiosity Rover has just completed a successful first year on the red planet; and final plans are now nearing completion for sending the next probe, called MAVEN.
So we now know, thanks to Curiosity, that Mars had favorable conditions for supporting microbial life (at least). But seeing as science fiction writers have seemingly already left Mars for other planets, why are we still talking about it?
The simple answer, is that the theme or concept behind our desire to travel to Mars, is still very much alive and well. While we spoke about this in our articles written short after Curiosity landed (Steering our Curiosity to Mars, and Is Science Cool Now?), it comes down to our desire to find green, in otherwise red environments.
In many ways, we still haven’t found what we we where looking for. While we may have discovered signs of potential life, as we spoke about in those articles and “The Search for Extraterrestrial Life: An Introduction,” the greatest results really take place down here on Earth. Especially when this blue planet itself, is seen as a place of harshness or redness. If we can find life on Mars, so the reasoning goes, this gives us all hope in any seeming “apocalyptic” or barren situation down here on Earth.
Birth from Destruction
What we didn’t mention last time, was that while the two Temples were destroyed on Tisha B’Av, Mashiach was also born then. From out of the most destructive events, also began the process of the ultimate redemption.
This is a lesson that modern-day science fiction movies could learn well. While most recent science fiction films depict some destructive set of events, the end result should be something green and verdant. While it would be better for them to use the specific context of our discussion (i.e. that the goal is the building of the third and eternal Temple), they would benefit by simply following the general themes of our discussion as well.
Even our present-day (or some futuristic) Earth seems red and barren, there is still potential to find green there. To be successful (the other meaning of “green” today), and to be able to prosper amid seemingly harsh circumstances.
Ultimately, this entails the rebuilding of our seeming “fallen” or “destroyed” world, more glorious and wondrous than ever before. As with our hope to rebuild the third Temple, the descent or the destruction, was for the sake of an ultimately greater and ever-lasting ascent.