Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Pale Blue Dot
I thought the Pale Blue Dot photo was fascinating. Seeing our entire world as a speck in a photo is moving. The sheer size of the universe is astonishing. Seeing our entire world as a fleck of dust emphasizes how we should strive to achieve understanding with all humans, how we should endeavor to attain peace and enlightenment. The foolishness of causing so much pain and destruction squabbling over our shared possession is shown in the photograph.
However, I fail to understand Sagan’s argument: “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.” Size is entirely relative. A massive man is smaller than a tiny tug boat. The average man is larger than the average woman. Bacteria are smaller than weasels. How does that effect their importance? The universe is massive it might go on for infinity. The human body has sixty trillion cells. Atoms are smaller. To the tiny bits of matter contained in my body, I am an infinity. Size is impressive, but that doesn’t necessarily make it meaningful. This is a happier use for the sentence, “Size doesn’t matter.”
Sagan also says, “In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.” We humans are alone, as far as we know it. That makes our every action all the more important. Our choices impact everyone in our lives. Those people in turn impact us and the people in their life. Our actions change our world.