September 4, 2007

"Folly of Human Conceits"

Carl Sagan, astronomer and science writer:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot.

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.

The aggregate of
all our joys and sufferings,
thousands of confident religions,
ideologies and economic doctrines,
every hunter and forager,
every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilizations,
every king and peasant,
every young couple in love,
every hopeful child,
every mother and father,
every 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 rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, 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. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience.

To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

. <---- (That period looks the same as earth in the picture above. We are just a pixel on the desktop of the universe)


Robert Rouse said...

If you look real close, you still can't see me waving.

ThanKwee-Anajo said...

Whenever I read a post like this, it reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Thomas Campion:

What if a day, or a month, or a yeare
Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings?
Cannot a chance of a night or an howre
Crosse thy desires with as many sad tormentings?
Fortune, honor, beauty, youth
Are but blossoms dying;
Wanton pleasure, doating love,
Are but shadowes flying.
All our joyes are but toyes,
Idle thoughts deceiving;
None have power of an howre
In their lives bereaving.

Earthes but a point to the world, and a man
Is but a point to the worlds compared centure:
Shall then a point of a point be so vaine
As to triumph in a seely points adventure?
All is hassard that we have,
There is nothing biding;
Dayes of pleasure are like streames
Through faire meadowes gliding.
Weale and woe, time doth goe,
Time is ever turning:
Secret fates guide our states,
Both in mirth and mourning.

Mary said...

It is an awe inspiring picture.

Anonymous said...

We are just a little speck in the huge universe... yet some think they hold the truth and are better than everybody else... goody for them...

Our world is a beautiful place and needs to be discovered. Travel is the best education anyone can get. It's certainly NOT on a school bench that we evolve the most. By seeing how others live and by experiencing different cultures, makes us truly appreciate what we have and realize that our way is not necessarily the best way. Not by staying in our backyards that we will truly fulfill our minds.

BTW I would not recommend a cruise, been there, done that, hated it! wink... wink

Makes me proud to see how much I have touched people here in blogland..

See ya in Central America! lol

Keep up your profound posts my friend...

Love you...

9/04/2007 07:40:00 PM

BBC said...
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