Insignificance and Cosmic Solitude: evolution of two ideas in science fiction
Keywords: heliocentrism, SETI, popular science, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke
Solitude and cosmic insignificance are found with great frequency in science fiction, philosophy, art, scientific dissemination and in the collective imagination. The origin of cosmic insignificance dates back to the dawn of modernity, with the emergence of scientific rationality and heliocentrism. Cosmic solitude is typical of 20th century and it emerges in the context of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the terrible possibility that humanity is on the brink of self-destruction. This paper will analyze the origin, development and some variations of these two important ideas.