Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are Insignificant

You see that tiny blue dot in the middle and a little to the right? That's Earth. One pixel on an image taken 6 billion kilometers away from Earth.

Read this quote please:

From 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. 

This quote hit me hard, especially the first paragraph. This guy's right. Everything that's important to you, everything that you love, everything that has caused you great suffering or the greatest joy, every wonderful or evil person, thing, or idea that has, currently, or will be on this Earth, the place you call home, is a freakin' speck. A speck in a range of space that's incomprehensible to the human mind.

So, you, I, and everyone on this planet and the problems that we face are pretty insignificant. We're just specks upon a speck in a big, giant space. We are alone.

And again, like he says at the end, we need to cherish what we have. We have to be nice to our planet and the organisms living on it because, right now (and probably for a very long time) they're the only things we have got.

So just soak this quote, the picture, and these ideas in. Think about this for a little while and you will feel enlightened.

I also invite you to look at the Voyager website that NASA hosts which tells you all about the spacecraft and gives you some of the media that was on the disc and on the spacecraft. Also, there's this great Youtube playlist that gives all of the music that was on the disc and it really shows you the different music that was on the disc sent on the Voyager that is currently traveling through dark space, spreading the pictures, sounds, and information of mankind throughout the cosmos.

 - Aidan

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