Message for Humanity

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    Apr 19, 2013 9:27 PM GMT
    In his 1994 nonfiction book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, astronomer Carl Sagan (1934–1996) related a notable photo of Earth – the Pale Blue Dot – to the human condition.

    He left this humbling and profound message for humanity, bringing the "big picture" into perspective:

    Carl SaganFrom this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any 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.

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    Apr 20, 2013 4:12 AM GMT
    There is also this image of the Earth from Saturn. It was visible through the rings:

  • Drift

    Posts: 217

    Apr 20, 2013 5:08 AM GMT
    So beautiful and mind boggling. icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 20, 2013 5:22 AM GMT
    Distance will be abolished . . . and then the true horror of humanity will be known far and wide . . .

    Sagan was an embarrassment and his ridiculous, quasi-mystical version of reality is nothing less than a betrayal of the intellect . . .

    the fallacy of scale indeed - really, the man must have been a total mouth breather . . . a speck could quite easily be the absolute locus of a universal and eschatologically ultimate drama . . .
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    Apr 20, 2013 7:01 AM GMT
    thanks for the comments.
    here are some of his other enlightening words.