Monday, December 18, 2017

carl sagan's pale blue dot

voyager i  has left our solar system and is now, right now, traveling in interstellar space.  it is most likely the only thing that will survive our civilizations, our ecosystems, our planet, our solar system.  long, way long, after we are gone voyager will be sailing thru interstellar space, intact, for at least another billion or two years.

in 1990 voyager turned its camera toward the earth and captured this photo that has become known as The Pale Blue Dot.  carl sagan, a poet and scientist, composed this little piece detailing our utter insignificance on the cosmic scale.  all we will ever know is carried out on just 'a fraction of a dot' in the great cosmos.

rather than being bummed by our utter insignificance i am buoyed by the ordinary -- dare i say this word as an atheist -- miracle of living.  for i don't consider the human race as being special, or divine.  i think of our species as quite ordinary.  know matter how special each one of us are, and i do say that we are indeed each one of us unique and special, we are less than a grain of dust in the cosmic order.  every great person we admire, whether that be in politics, economics, arts etc etc, matter little in the vastness of space.

so humility is in order, brothers and sisters.  when this world ends there will be no one to mourn its loss.  it only matters to us, and we shall be long gone.  so enjoy what you have, and take care of what you inhabit and know.  for these things won't be around for much longer, even if our species lasts another several thousand years, for in the cosmic perspective even several thousands of years is just a blink of the eye.

don't get depress on our cosmic insignificance.  instead let it inspire you to be the best, kindest, person you can be.  for in the end what matters the most, i like to believe, is what the beatles told us, 'in the end the love you take is equal to the love that you make.'  why?  because love is harder, and greater, than hate.

remember we live on just a fraction of a dot in the great vastness of the universe.  but it is our fraction, the only one we shall, i believe, ever know.  this is where we make our cultures, our civilizations, our technologies, our ideologies, our arts, our economics, our laws.  we make it up because we are a pattern-making, and story-telling, species.  we can make the world into whatever we wish it to be.

what do we wish for?


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