Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Pale Blue Dot: Carl Sagan

The Pale Blue Dot
by Carl Sagan

If you look at it,
you see a dot.

That's here.
That's home.
That's us.

On it, everyone you ever heard of,
every human being who ever lived,
lived out their lives.

The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings,
thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines,
every hunter and forager,
every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilizations,
every king and peasant,
every young couple in love,
every hopeful child,
every mother and father,
every 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 in 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 the dot
on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants
of some other corner of the dot.

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.
It is up to us.

It's been said that astronomy
is a humbling,
and I might add,
a character-building experience.

there is perhaps no better demonstration
of the folly of human conceits
than this distant image
of our tiny world.

it underscores our responsibility
to deal more kindly
and compassionately
with one another

and to preserve
and cherish
that pale blue dot,

the only home
we've ever known.