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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Earth.... our only home

Sent in by Cyril Ernest. Embellished by Mahendra Gonsalkorale

I think most of us know Carl Sagan, American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science populariser, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, born in 1934 died in 1996.  This is the script of the video.

“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 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. 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.

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, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.







17 comments:

  1. I love this Video by Carl Sagan. I always admired his ability to bring Sceince to lay people in understandable language.This particular one is so profound and timely even now when we human primates (as that is what we are) squabble amon our insignificant selves and do ou best to destroy this beautiful planet which is our only Home Thank goodness we have awoken to the danger of climate change (with the notable exception of some led by a strange phenomenon called Donald Trump). Thanks Cyril for reviving this famous production and Lucky for publishing it.

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  2. This is the magnum opus, the masterpiece of philosophy that religions and philosophers have tried to teach and instil in humans since the beginning of time condensed into 3.24 minutes of sheer brilliance. Like the words of philosophers and religions, yet again, it will be lost in the mire of ignorance and greed. As we fumble our way through life let us think of the words and the visuals of Carl Sagan and try to make a difference.

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  3. Our infinitesimal dot in an infinite world!
    Wonderful to see Carl Sagan come alive in the blog.
    Considered the gatekeeper of scientific credibility with his writings such as The Demon-Haunted World, there has been none like him to put "our world", our fleeting existences, and our beliefs in perspective.
    Just one of my favourite quotes by him is-
    "We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever".
    Not being alarmist-a poignant read for "our times" is his
    "A path where no man thought".
    I give credit to my son who introduced me to Carl Sagan as a 10 year old, in the gorgeous,untouched wilds of NewZealand-(Lake Waikaremoana),and has thus enriched my life in more ways than one!
    Thanks cyril,Mahen and Lucky for the post.

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  4. Carl Sagan was an amazing teacher. He had a way of putting across his thought embellished with a fine delivery. One word will sum it all up- reveting.
    On life in our world & on the possibility of it elsewhere he rightfully pointed out- in the series & book ,the Cosmos We cannot be right to think that we are the only living creatures in this immense universe. There must be life in other places, not necessarily in the form we know or envisage. ( martians with antennas ).
    Meanwhile NASA is working on sending humans to Mars & back.
    ia





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  5. Cyril, Mahen and Lucky, thank you for posting this video. It was lovely to hear Carl Sagan's voice again after so many years. My daughters and I loved his television show where he brought the Cosmos into our living room. We loved to hear him say "millions and millions," he had a special way of enunciating that word! The message in this video is profound and timely and needs to be sent to as many people as possible, especially those who spend their time "posturing" and have "imagined self-importance" and "delusions that we have some privileged position in the Universe." This is a lesson in humility, something we all need. Let's all make certain that the blue dot keeps on rotating around its sun.

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  6. Cyril sent this comment. "Hi Speedy,
    A good intro' about Carl Sagan.I knew you would be the right person who would appreciate an insightful and appropriate evaluation of Mother Earth"

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  7. Thanks, Cyril, for bringing Carl Sagan's humbling pronouncements our way. It brings to my mind, the Matrix films which made me think: This world, and everything in it, ourselves, our thoughts and abstract things are all as a result of the conditioning of minds, our imagination, an illusion, a man made reality and this whole thing could be a figment of our imagination. We can manufacture the whole world and all that goes in it. Zita

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  8. The vastness of the universe and the infinity of time and space is humbling compared to our finite lives. Even after several thousand years of human existence we haven't learnt to live in peace and continue to create weapons of mass destruction living in that lovely blue dot swirling in space.

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    1. I completely agree with you Nihal. I often think, how can we consider ourselves civilized when we continue to settle our disputes the same way we did thousands of years ago, with weapons and violence. The only difference is that instead of using a club to clobber one's enemy over the head, we now have weapons that are now more sophisticated and deadly, capable of unimaginable destruction. Is this being more civilized?

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    2. Srianee, Nihal, I understand your dilemma, which I share. I have tried hard to understand it and the following is the nearest I have come to: The human being is one that has a highly developed brain with a cortex that has the ability to choose, empathise, reason, and judge. Man has the free will to choose good from evil. While man has advanced in the direction of good behaviour he has not lived down the inclination towards evil, which gives him the feeling of power, enjoyment and superiority. So, the weaker human being sometimes gives in to the baser instincts.But this is important: there is far more good than evil in humans. Sadly, we more often get 'the bad' in today's 24 hour News because 'bad news' is what sells. So let us say, Good triumphs over evil, kindness over cruelty and Love conquers all.
      Zita

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  9. I must confess that I have only heard about Carl Sagan in passing. But the point I am trying to make is the same as what you guys have been doing over and over again.

    It's a pity that it is only a handful who make full use of the blog. How nice it would be if one's interests extend far and wide, well beyond one's professional interests.

    Incidentally, I have been inquiring privately from Speedy and ND about Razaques's prolonged absence from the scene. ND says that he has been in touch and that Raz is ailing with frozen shoulders and elbows and unable to use the PC.

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    1. I was also concerned about Razaque, although he did send some of us an email a while ago. I don't think he is able to type for very long. Razaque, if you are reading this, we miss you and we hope to see you on the blog very soon. I hope your APR improves. The warm weather will help, I think.

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  10. Lucky,
    Many thanks for news of Razaque- I have wondered about him often, but didn't want to seem intrusive with another personal email to him. I am sorry he is not over his problems- They do take a while to get better,but hope it won't be too long - my best wishes to him.

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    1. Rohini, We were on line at the same time more or less! I hope all is well on your side of the blue dot!

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  11. So it seems Srianee-
    Wrote two quick replies/ comments and ran off to work !
    I still have to read some of the longer comments -
    All's well on this side of the little blue dot Srianee -Hope it will stay that way for all of it! Thanks

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    1. I want to add a word to Razaque. I wondered about his absence from the Blog and thought he is busy in other ways. But I should have thought of illness. I do hope and pray that he gets over any problems fast and that he knows we are all with him and constantly send Blessings. We can always communicate with our minds. On thinking of Razaque, I know he is a really nice human being, who is kindness itself and he has a lovely family and we the extended family of the Batch are all with him too. Take good care of yourself, Razaque! from Zita

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  12. I want to reply to the point Lucky made about the discussion being only between the usual few of us. But I do know that our Batch has very articulate, very able, very talented and great writers. I know them personally. So the thought crosses my mind, can it be that you our batch mates who do not contribute, feel you are superior to us and don't want to take part in mundane discussions? You didn't give me such an impression when we studied together. So prove me wrong please! I know you can contribute greatly to our Blog. And let us not say 'we have no time'. As for me, the Blog has become such a boon to read, share thoughts in,and contribute new things to. So please, please take a few minutes to contribute, dear friends! Or sent your writings to Mahendra. He'll sort it out for you. I do the same and I am not very technically minded. Thanks all! from Zita

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