The Pale Blue Dot - A Tribute to Carl Sagan


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.