The Martian orbited and slept for many earth-hours before resuming his studies of the vast historical data on earthling behavior. He found that lies perpetuated to cause a desired result made some earthlings be Christians, not Muslims, and Republicans, not Democrats. The Holy Wars and Crusades of an earlier time on earth, the alien read, was set off by a series of Roman Catholic Popes who for over 100 years encouraged soldiers and knights from Europe to attack Muslims who had taken over the Holy Land in or about Jerusalem. Groupings of knights such as the Templars were famous in doing God’s work in the Holy Land, it seemed. Yet they managed to sack and steal much of the treasures there as well. But it was God’s work they were about so they were good.
These same Popes gave Spain and other religious wing nut rulers in other Christian countries the right to hold a Grand Inquisition to drive Satan out of the Church even if it led to the tortuous death of Christians. And Moors. And Jews. Somehow in the spiritual purging, many Jews lost their fortunes, their properties, and their very lives during this Christian Inquisition to boot. Imagine that. The Martian smelled a rat. It was simple. The popes lied. That they wanted control and power was obvious, the Martian concluded. But Jesus and preaching fear of the eternal damnation of an earthling’s soul was good for business. Jesus and fear provided a source of income the likes of which the earth has never seen. Earthlings were a stupid lot, thought the Martian, and he felt sorry for them for not being able to detect the ruse or the pope behind the curtain.
It took an alien creature to know that they were not at all like their lord, Jesus. They were about the riches, not the saving of souls. Also the Church encouraged the rape of American Indian cultures such as the Aztecs and the Incas to turn their hearts toward Christ and away from their heathen ways. As they burned the Indians alive to drive out the demons of savagery and convert them, dead or alive, mind you, the European conquerors took the Indians’ gold. All of it they could grab. Melted it down and sent it across the Atlantic Ocean to the national treasury of the Kings who ruled the nations of Europe. All you had to do was to say it was God’s will when you pillaged the savages (converted them to Christianity) and robbed them of their land and gold. It was in the service of the Almighty, this no-see-um deity that earthlings were quick to conjure up whenever an ulterior motive or hidden agenda like stealing gold was in the offing. Or sacking the turquoise that they forced the Indians to mine until they died from exhaustion and disease. All this he studied through the Martian osmosis books of data from his spacecraft databanks as he drifted round and round the earth, dozing off at times.
On the third orbit, the Martian awoke. The ways of earthlings were heavy on his mind. What a paradox, these creatures! But now as the Martian resumed his pre-contact reconnaissance he wondered if all the billions of earthlings who were fed this obvious irrational fiction in the name of religion or some unseen deity in the universe were aware of their fatalistic folly. Or how politicians used religion to capture votes. He wondered if earthlings really did love each other. After all, they preached love to each other while raping the planet and their fellow man of his belongings, his job, his assets, and his very essence. And how, he thought, could earthlings justify attacking and killing others of their species in the name of Jesus when He told them all to turn the other cheek and to “love thy neighbor?” What a paradox, indeed. But then lies did help. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, he learned was a hero of sorts to many students of earth political science even now.
Was this unbridled human anger a condition of the universe, and unseen force that causes all creatures to harm each other, and in so doing harm the planet and the solar system itself? This might prove interesting information for his paper. Maybe it was an affliction not just of earthlings but other beings in the known universe as well. As he circled the planet again and again, he watched with a hollow stare the unnatural explosions and constant flares. He knew the colorful fires all over the globe were man’s aggression bursting lives apart as earthlings struggled to survive. Many of them were non-combatants and innocents caught in the crossfire. All the chemical and nuclear bursts, it was beyond doubt, were killing the planet. The residual mess of war was indeed fouling the earth and those who breathed the very air. This human activity caused a metamorphosis that rendered earth a planet beyond the point of no return for the long term survival of life forms. Sadness began to take the Martian. For what could be logical about serving up an early death sentence for yourself and your own kind?
The Martian orbited and studied the vast data on earthling behavior. He found that lies and false information were easy to spread and to have whole nations swallow as the truth. The hot blood within, the anger for revenge set the stage for an American president to attack Iraq based upon the lie that Iraq had nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction pointed at US cities. The desire to lash back at al Qaeda for killing 3,000 Americans during the 911 massacre sent us to attack not al Qaeda nor a country that helped al Qaeda hurt us, but Iraq and Saddam Hussein who had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. Or the 911 tragedy.
Americans did not flinch much at such a grandiose and heinous act on the part of the American government. Making a note of his data files the Martian was sad to realize that many times earthlings lash out at the “most convenient targets” of their own kind for no good reason. Dress up the anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred toward those who have different cultures and religions and you got instant war games. And if you are in the war corporation complex you can make absurd amounts of money borrowed from China by your president as Commander-In-Chief on a holy mission. Sounded crazy to the Martian, but the facts were there and would not go away. It had been over a million earth years since the Martian and his species had evolved away from such barbarism toward their own kind.
But now as the Martian continued his pre-contact reconnaissance he wondered if all the billions of earthlings who were fed this obvious irrational tripe in the name of pleasing God or some other unknown, unseen entity in the universe were aware of their fatalistic folly. Surely they had to know. It is a popular means to starting a war for all earthling countries to damn their enemies with invoking the name of God who just so happens to be on our side, not theirs. Besides there would always be too much money and greed in the equation of blowing each other up for any earthling to claim ignorance in the matter. They knew what they were doing alright.
When the Martian awoke he was ready to descend into the abyss of humanity awash in the sea of wars, lies, and greed deep within the blue planet. Anger and killing was the norm. Claiming God’s own hand in directing aggression seemed to be the tricky part. But it was nothing a few billion propaganda dollars spent here and there would not solve. Maybe such anger and aggression pervaded the entire solar system. Maybe all creatures were made of the same angry stardust. Maybe this anger was a condition of the universe, an unseen force that causes all creatures to harm each other. And perhaps earth would someday implode and go “poof” into the oblivion of the darkest corners of the galaxy. Thinking about it made the Martian’s head hurt.
As the Martian descended into earth’s atmosphere he felt an uncontrollable fear of such that he had never known. He, too, would be in peril of these earth creatures if anything went wrong with his invisible screens. If discovered he would be shot or maybe tortured as an unknown entity in the universe, yes, a threat to the earth, in short an alien. That was it. These earthlings feared and killed all that they could not understand. And a real alien from Mars would be enough to set earthlings to quarreling amongst themselves, setting up trillion-dollar earthland security government agencies to protect earthlings from alien invaders from other worlds. Because the cause was righteous, God could be invoked to help the creatures of earth against those aliens from another world that most likely prayed to their false alien gods as well.
The Martian’s middle green finger slipped slowly toward the ABORT button on his instrument panel. Touching it slowed the invisible ship to a much slower speed, and small jets fired sideways and set the little ship into instant orbit once again, only closer to the earth this time. At this point he could see the torn faces of earth, the misery, the people cowering in fear of governments, both foreign and domestic. He saw private armies in black helicopters shooting up the countryside of Iraq for sport. He saw the street demonstrations all over the planet of earthlings out of work, out of food because the governments of every sovereign country had borrowed too many trillions of dollars and printed too much free money that had become worthless. At the supermarkets in America a loaf of bread had soared to over $100, and no one could afford gasoline at then a price of $78.00 per gallon. Crumbling infrastructure in world cities would never be repaired because there was no more money that would buy anything. And the Martian saw in the eyes of these earth creatures, a defeat like no other he had seen in all his travels in the universe.
He had seen enough. It would live with him for the rest of his life, all the images of earth and its human beings. He decided not to go in for a closer look. He activated the automatic pilot system to blast him out of earth’s orbit and into a straight line back to his home. He was going back to Mars. He would not speak of his visit to planet earth as it would force him to relive the overwhelming sadness. It was not worth reliving, he thought, as the pure darkness of space seemed to cleanse him of the earth’s predicament and bleak future as a planet. He figured that earth would implode in the near future and that it would be like turning off a light in the universe.
He would rethink his dissertation and perhaps choose another subject. He had plenty of time to think about it. He was shedding the shackles of despair now as he drifted silently back toward his home. He was now looking forward to his return and later, perhaps some fishing in the silver rivers on the northern latitudes of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. It would be something to look forward to. Something good to hold in your two hearts.