Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time to Remember-Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan fascinated us all with his musings about the universe and his advocacy of scientific and skeptical inquiry for many years before his death in 1996.
His impact on society at large was, in large part, because of his everyday man's approach to science and his intellectually honest opposition to pseudoscience.

He made the very difficult to understand, very easy to comprehend and in doing so he held us captive to the wonders of the universe every time he spoke.

To me, watching his series "Cosmos" was a singularly eye opening and awe inducing experience.
Each week he brought new parts of the universe into my living room in a way that I could understand and in a way that captivated me in a manner that no other show ever did.

So in his honour, I summon to our collective memories, "The Pale Blue Dot"
Enjoy his genius once again and smile as you remember all the wonder he brought to our childhood as we seemingly searched the cosmos together for new life and new understanding.

We miss you Carl.

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again 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 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. 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.

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.

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."

-Carl Sagan in an excerpt from "The Pale Blue Dot".


and Thank you.

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