Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You Are Here, and This is the Only Here You Will Ever Have

Earth (see arrow), as seen from the rings of Saturn. Taken last week by the Cassini spacecraft, from 900 million miles away. A bit humbling, no?

(stolen from I Fucking Love Science's Facebook feed...)

"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."-

                                                                                Carl Sagan

There is no heaven. There is no hell. There is no Rapture coming to take you to a better place ruled by kindly, bearded Caucasian father figures or populated by horny virgins waiting to screw you silly. This little dot is currently, and for the foreseeable future, the only place you and I have. Screw it up, and we're screwed. Utterly screwed. Cosmically screwed, as it were. That doesn't seem to be stopping us, though, does it?


  1. Preach awn brotha, preach awn!!!

    Great find, thanks dude.

  2. As I heard on NPR yesterday (I think): Kind of puts our obsessing over things (like the Royal Baby) into perspective.

  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722172824.htm

    Earth from Mercury is also impressive.