Saturday, February 25, 2012


Carl Sagan, as part of the Voyager project, turned the cameras back on Earth, and captured a pale blue dot, the size of a pixel, in the darkness.  “That is here”, he said.  “That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you have 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 ”

This is your home.  This is the sum total of all you know.  This is the totality of all your parents, grandparents and so on; all the way back to your knuckle-dragging, fur-clad, ancestors.  This is the abode of life as we know it.  And though there are millions of other worlds that might be like it in our universe, this is the only one like this one that we know for sure has intelligent life.
When you stand upon the highest elevation and look around, all that lies beneath your gaze, that vast distance to the horizon is just a small portion of the immensity that is Earth.  And as large as our homeworld is, it is such a small place when compared to the mind numbing expanse of the Cosmos.  It is all so very big, and we are such small and fragile things.

We are small fragile things connected to each other by our existence on this planet.  This planet is not just an American planet, nor is it commanded by any other group.  It is all of ours.  Not just one group’s home; but all humans, all life, cling to our world as a newborn to its mother’s teat.  This world shelters us, feeds us, not just the nourishment from our agriculture, but it feeds our very souls.  It is as much a part of us as we are of it.  In the distant future, when humans from Earth go out to that stars, their symbol won’t be a flag of any nation, but the image of our blue-green, teraqueous globe, against a black field.

What that image will show, is that we are one species.  That we have out grown our tribal hates, our juvenile bigotry, and blinding superstitions.  We will walk together into the future, and across our world.  It will, by necessity, be a world without divisions.  It will be united, by our common humanity, not by force of arms.  It will be a mature society, having thrown off the emotional tantrums of adolescence.  I will not live to see it.  In point of fact, none of us will.  Generations yet unborn will live and die before we get there, but get there we will.  

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