One of my favorite authors is the late Carl Sagan. He wrote some very thought-provoking books, one of which was Cosmos. I have read and reread that book, until it finally fell apart.
The television program he hosted, also called Cosmos, was a catalyst that set my mind on its collision course with who I am today. No, he was not a psychologist, but he made me aware of a bigger universe than the one I found myself trapped in. He made think about my place in the world, and what part I wished to play in it.
My Paradigm Was Challenged
One speech he wrote has captured my heart, and those of many other dreamers. It is called, “The Pale Blue Dot.”
This wonderfully paradigm-challenging speech was written in response to a photograph taken by the spacecraft Voyager 1. Dr. Sagan had petitioned to have Voyager turn around and take one last photograph of earth before it was too far away to see us any longer. The resulting photograph was awe inspiring and beautiful.
There Are Some Important Lessons for Humanity
I’ve included the speech Dr. Carl Sagan wrote concerning what was visualized that day on February 14, 1990, has helped many, including myself, to understand many things.
One, is that humanity is only a very small part of the universe. We are not special in any way. We are not god ordained to rule over it, and we will never know how many civilizations are out there because of its vastness.
The second thing is that our world isn’t divided up into areas that can be seen from space. Especially far away. We all live on a mote of dust, suspended in limitless space, in a sunbeam.
I Felt Lonely
When I saw the earth as a pale blue dot, I felt lonely. Perhaps it is this loneliness that drives humanity to destroy one another. I don’t know.
What I do see, is that this planet that we call home, is small and it has limits. Yet, humanity chooses to destroy life upon it, and to hate. I do not understand.
My Hope for Planet Earth
I hope someday we will wake up and understand that our oasis called Earth is the only home we have and the people on it are all our kin. We need to take care of each other and our planet. It is the only place we can live, there is nowhere else to go.
In a world seemingly gone mad may my voice combined with the late Dr. Carl Sagan, and many others speak to the hearts of our fellow human beings and somehow salvage humanity.
Peace my friends, peace.
“I believe that in the end the abolition of war, the maintenance of world peace, the adjustment of international questions by pacific means will come through the force of public opinion, which controls nations and peoples”. Frank B. Kellogg
A Pale Blue Dot–Carl Sagan
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturing’s, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”