Each of us goes about our life engrossed in the everyday cacophony that represents being alive in modern society. We worry over meeting the bills, what the city council might decide on a certain zoning issue, or who the President will be in 2024. We revel in our own perceived importance as we ascend the corporate, military or political ladder. Sometimes, it behooves us to consider a larger perspective.
Here is one such perspective. On September 5, 1977, NASA, launched Voyager 1, a deep space probe, designed to study the outer Solar System. This device performed far better than expected. As I write this, the probe is over 14.6 Billion miles from Earth, the farthest of any devices ever launched by man…and still responding to commands.
By 1990, Voyager 1 had completed its primary mission and was heading out of the Solar System. However,was to get one more significant mission. Astronomer Car Sagan prevailed upon NASA to have the spacecraft take a “family portrait” of the planets in the solar system, including Earth. The pictures were taken on Valentine’s Day, 1990. The one showing Earth, is the subject of a book by Sagan. You can’t see that picture and read his words and logically conclude that this all “just happened” on its own.
We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, 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.
As we enjoy this Sunday, our day of rest and devotion, let us all consider our place in the Universe. Yes, we can strive to be the best teacher, businessman or Soldier. We can aspire to high political office or being a sports superstar. But in the end we still live on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Happy Sunday! The thought for today; We are all living on a pale blue dot, a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam
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3 thoughts on “The Pale Blue Dot On Which We All Live”
Carl Sagan got a generation interested in science, not just by that book, but by his exaggerated and emotionally driven expressions about the enormity of space, “Billions and Billions” I don’t know how to type the way he said stuff like that.
His contemporaries are nothing when compared to him. He had a way with words, didn’t he? I didn’t read that book, but I remember Sagan well. There was a uniqueness in him. A good one.
Didn’t know you were a philosopher, too! A good essay for Sunday;
And that dot is the only place the Creator of it all saw fit to visit as one of us, which makes it the meaningful center of it all.
Assumptions are pivotal, I see the vastness as proof of the opposite conclusion.
Billions of dollars have been spent trying to prove life elsewhere. Good luck with that.