How Carl Sagan Put Things in Perspective
Carl Sagan, now deceased, was one of the world’s greatest astronomers, and a gifted writer as well.
“The Pale Blue Dot”, written by Carl Sagan, is a beautiful piece of literature. For me, it is very inspiring. It puts life in perspective for me.
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 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 momentary masters of a fraction…of a dot.
Think of the endless varieties 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 posturing, 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. 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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As a proponent of Simple Living, when I read his essay, I am once again reminded of how insignificant we all are, in comparison to what we know about the infinitely vast universe. Reading “The Pale Blue Dot” put so much in perspective….how insignificant we are compared to everything else that exists. In comparison our lives are short. So much that we have been influenced to think is important, really isn’t.
Living simply keeps me focussed on the important things in my life. Very few things are. Things can be replaced, fixed or done without (for the most part). The most precious commodity we have is TIME. Close behind Time are Health, Loving Relationships, Freedom, and Safety.
Simple living is about Happiness. We are happy when we are healthy, loved, free, and safe.
People who live simple lives may or may not have a lot of money. It doesn’t matter. In fact, many
times the pursuit for money takes precedence over Health, Love, and Freedom. That is why there is a growing trend in developed countries to step away from live-sucking jobs, and enjoy the simple LIFE, which is True, Real, Satisfying Living.
Every time I read Carl’s beautiful words I cry. It is very moving to me. At 75, It causes me to realize I I have wasted many precious years of my life chasing “Success”.
Now my life is different, Every moment is precious. I take time to love, and create. I express myself as artist and writer. I live what I paint and write. I paint about saving planet Earth. View my art at my website. I hope what you see inspires you to fall in love even more with our beautiful blue planet.