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Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
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"To my mind . . ."

Carl Sagan's Message

Carl Sagan contemplated a photo of Earth, taken from the Voyager spacecraft in deep interplanetary space, and said :-


"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


To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known"




"Carl was a candle in the dark"

Yervant Terzian
a pale blue dot

"pale blue dot" - the original photo





(credits : n.a.s.a / JPL / Voyager)






Carl Edward Sagan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. U.S.A.

From humble background, he became a do'er, a scholar and a communicator

Sagan was the recipient of numerous awards - He has received 22 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities for his contributions to science, literature, education and the preservation of the environment and many awards for his work on the long-term consequences of nuclear war and reversing the nuclear arms race

Carl Edward Sagan: 1934 - 1996

"Carl was a candle in the dark"



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