It will be a great day in the history of science if we sometime discover a damp shadow elsewhere in the universe where a fungus has sprouted. The mere fossil trace of life in its simplest form would be the crowning achievement of generations of brilliant and diligent labor.
And here we are, a gaudy efflorescence of consciousness, staggeringly improbable in light of everything we know about the reality that contains us.
There are physicists and philosophers who would correct me...
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Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Home (2008), Gilead (2004)— winner of the Pulitzer Prize—and Housekeeping (1981), and three books of nonfiction, Mother Country (1989), The Death of Adam (1998), and Absence of Mind (2010). She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.