Tuesday, October 19

Earth as a metaphor

The La Palma eruption has rightly sparked enormous interest in volcanoes. And the usual extremes of Manichaeism have exploded in much of this society. The everything and nothing. What do canaries do living in volcanic territory? The most radical of simplicity are asked, among the different irrational reactions of surprise.

The truth is that we can speak of planet Earth as a metaphor that explains many human behaviors. Ignoring reality does not prevent it from existing, nor the potential dangers and fortunes that it entails. The boiling magma that you can’t see when you don’t want to look. And ignorance is a stone mask for reason.

We know hardly anything about the physical space in which our life is based. We believe we live on land but only the crust of the planet is apparently firm. It has a thickness that ranges from 5km at the bottom of the ocean to 70 in the mountainous areas of the continents. From there, it seems, it plunges 11km into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific and climbs to the peaks of the planet’s ‘Eightomiles’. At this point in history it is not known with certainty what the Earth houses inside: iron crystals at very high temperatures, it seems. magma, gases. They are all approximations for how it behaves. The central nucleus is encrypted at a distance of 6,300km and the outer belt at 3,000km. And it has only been pierced 12.3 km deep at the surface, in a 23cm diameter hole. It was in the Kola Peninsula in Russia, within the investigations of Soviet geologists in his day. It started in 1970, it stopped when the temperature reached 180ยบ and today it is an abandoned place for few tourists. Other countries also tried with less success. The technique, however, was very useful in advancing oil prospecting and obtaining geothermal energy.

It is possible to find these data in some publications where at least several of them coincide. The British BBC has also done some informative work. Little more, unlike other topics that spread in glut, even the tiniest bags of triviality. This is a society that lives on the surface in its most exact sense. If I stop at this explanation, it is to see how little we know of that reality in which we plant our lives, our houses, present and future, the way we go through the days. It is astonishing how calm most people face not having a clue. At the slightest hint, fear or denial. And there are no absolute assurances, I insist once again, nor should there be paralyzing fears not to continue walking. But it is convenient to know more, always more, of everything we can.

The metaphor of the Earth can thus serve us to see the joyous ignorance with which we approach other spheres of knowledge that condition us, from solid foundations to the information that is produced every day. Today more than ever paradoxically the true facts remain under the skin plagued with hoaxes and screams. You live in small patches of reality that are often rigged. And that exposes us to dangerous crooked paths fraught with risks.

The Earth has been spinning for more than 4.5 billion years. We know for sure that it moves inside. Thus his face was formed. Pangea broke into continents. It readjusts in more or less noticeable earthquakes. It expels fire lava when needed. We begin to know when, although not precisely; less, what will be each time its destructive capacity. It happens from time to time, of course. It would be unlivable otherwise.

Much more dangerous is the sum of ignorances to the caliber of the Earth metaphor. The constant eruption of support for ideologies contrary to the common good and even Human Rights. How much stupidity in the epidermis that ignores magazines. Not wanting to know, by way of example among many, what the Madrid president’s trips to New York hide and her harmful policies such as eruptions of social scorching. With five private and public Spanish media covering the event, alone at their first press conference. The scandalous media support of those who proscribe information in the permanent search for particular benefits. The risks that banality hides and that bite when not seen and anticipated.

Traveling, with Jules Verne, to the center of the Earth, as hot as the same sun around which it revolves, is an entelechy, but stepping on the solid ground of knowledge is an essential, unquestionable task.


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