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pale blue dot - almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea
if I had to explain, you wouldn't understand
pale blue dot
meant to post this yesterday, as it was Earth Day, but never mind.

Earth (the dot in the middle) as seen from 3.7 billion miles away by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, on 6th June 1990.
... 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 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.

(From Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan, Random House, 1994)
12 thoughts or leave a thought
ayoub From: ayoub Date: April 23rd, 2009 10:47 am (UTC) (linky)
This is a wonderful post... I'm going to link it, as long as you don't mind...
dakegra From: dakegra Date: April 23rd, 2009 10:51 am (UTC) (linky)
go for it - I got most of it from Wikipedia anyway. :-)
britishcowgirl From: britishcowgirl Date: April 23rd, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (linky)
responded to the link - well done!
ayoub From: ayoub Date: April 23rd, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC) (linky)

Cool! :D
oed_1 From: oed_1 Date: April 23rd, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC) (linky)
Every so often I search for his reading of this on Youtube...it just makes me feel good.

I love the line that starts 'the aggregate of our joy and suffering...'
quaero_verum From: quaero_verum Date: April 23rd, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC) (linky)

Yup. That about sums it up for me, with only one tiny exception....but...... yup.

btw, Sagan is a really good writer.
dakegra From: dakegra Date: April 24th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC) (linky)
what's the exception?
quaero_verum From: quaero_verum Date: April 24th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC) (linky)
The part about where we are without help.

smwright From: smwright Date: April 23rd, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC) (linky)
Yes. This only.

Sagan = one of my pillars. Thank you for posting.
missprinty From: missprinty Date: April 24th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC) (linky)
Oh, a piccy from Voyager, cool! My best friend at high school had a year off in Pasadena where her Dad was working on the Voyager project and brought me back a pale blue Voyager teeshirt thus earning me super geek cred. Googling tells me that they're still monitoring them - cool!
mattg From: mattg Date: April 28th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC) (linky)
Found this post via ayoub's journal. Great stuff. Thanks for posting this. Added it to my LJ memories.
dakegra From: dakegra Date: April 28th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC) (linky)
cool. :-)
12 thoughts or leave a thought