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Pale Blue Dot

  1. Feb 1, 2011 #1
    I had not seen this photograph in a while, but I recently ran across the “pale blue dot” picture from Voyager. I read Sagan’s deeper description of it and it literally almost brought me to tears as to the true meaning of our existence on this “pale blue dot”. We are so insignificant compared to the vastness of space, and yet here we are actually making discoveries on a grand scale in comparison to where we stand in the cosmos. I myself believe in God, and our insignificance in the grand scheme of things is one of humility and contemplation. Although Sagan was an atheist, his description of the photograph below (taken from Wikipedia) puts everything that we have ever known in perspective, and makes us realize that the only thing that truly is significant is love.

    “From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at 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.”
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2011 #2


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    Is there a question or something here?
  4. Feb 1, 2011 #3
    No question, simply an observation and a perspective point of view
  5. Feb 13, 2011 #4
    I agree, it's foolish to be bickering on this tiny sphere in the middle of nowhere. It isn't because mankind is unaware of earth's true relative size and position in the universe as it was for centuries. No now it knows and yet doesn't give a damn. The sad part is that mankind will take its destructive tendencies wherever it goes. Just recently I read an article on how we could easily obliterate moon bases with nothing more than the kinetic energy of rods shot from orbit. We aren't even there yet and destruction methods are already being considered.

    "Rods from God"
    The http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/700oklkt.asp
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