I read recently that a Muslim Cleric declared a fatwa on interplanetary travel between the Earth and Mars. My first thought was, Muslim cleric? Who gives a shit. Every stupid thing said by father Ted or the lady down the road who talks to crystals isn’t hitting the headlines. How do you even become a cleric, do you have to prove you know the most about a particular book? Because I am pretty sure I’ve missed all the headlines reading:
‘Lord of the Rings Grand Master, Friend-of-Gondor Phil made a sweeping renunciation today of all interplanetary travel’.
I think these things have become noteworthy mainly because they a generally ridiculous and often quit funny, none-less-so because they are proclaimed in all seriousness. Oh well, I suppose that if I could get paid to sit around and spin bullshit all day long I’d probably do it to.
Anyway it got me thinking, that in all honesty I can see where this guy was coming from. Edicts like that are just expressions of personal fear and anxiety. I put myself in the mind of that cleric as he rolled around restlessly trying to sleep one night:
I’m tormented by nightmares filled with jins, sex, women and the baseness of the human condition – my condition. But what really keeps me up at night and gnaws at my stomach is the fact that I know it’s all meaningless. My iPhone is blinking soft white light across the top of my bedside table. How does it work? It isn’t magic, it isn’t a gift from above. It implies that someone has a greater knowledge of the universe and how it works than I do. The UNIVERSE! I close my eyes tightly and cringe at the thought, that I and everything I believe in is of infinitesimal importance when viewed in scaled against the unfathomable vastness of the universe. Not only that, but I know nothing of it. Nothing other than to fear it.
What would it be like to leave this planet? My heart sinks as the gravity of the thought pins me down where I lay. To leave this planet would be the same as openly embracing the Universe. Accepting that I don’t understand it all. That I might be a moat of dust in the eye of some impersonal galaxy, itself drifting through a void which is for all practical purposes infinite. The righteous could never gain dominion over infinite space, so what is the point!? What am I doing with my life? I am living a lie, we are all living a lie.
Our Cleric’s dark night of the soul comes to an end.
I look at my family, kneel down and pray, I eat and discuss. I look up at the blue sky and know that out there my life and the life of my family and people loses all relevance. (Cue dramatic close-up) They mustn’t go!
I honestly think that cleric had a good point. You either stay ignorant of the Universe entirely or you may as well give up all your beliefs as to the existence of a Earth/Homo-Sapien centric God. I doubt that was the way he was thinking about it, but hey.