Saturday, December 13, 2008

I have loved this picture for a long time.

Pale Blue Dot
by Carl Sagan

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 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 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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