Consider again that pale blue dot we've been talking about
Imagine that you take a good long look at it.
Imagine you are staring at the dot for any length of time
and then, try to convince yourself
that God created the whole universe
for one of the ten million or so species of life
that inhabit that speck of dust
Now take it a step further:
Imagine that everything was made just for a single shade of that species,
or ethnic or religious subdivision.
We can recognize here a shortcoming
in some circumstances serious
in our ability to understand the world.
Characteristically, we seem compelled to project our own nature
"Man in his arrogance
thinks himself a great work
worthy of the interposition of a deity,"
Darwin wrote telegraphically in his notebook.
and I think truer
to consider him created from animals."
We live in the cosmic boondocks.
We emerged from microbes and muck.
Apes are our cousins.
Our thoughts and feelings are not fully under our own control.
And on top of all this,
we're making a mess of our planet
and becoming a danger to ourselves.
The trapdoor beneath our feet swings open.
We find ourselves in bottomless free fall.
If it takes a little myth and ritual
to get us through a night that seems endless,
who among us cannot sympathize and understand?
We long to be here for a purpose,
even though, despite much self-deception,
none is evident.
The significance of our lives and our fragile planet
is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage.
We are the custodians of life's meaning.
We long for a Parent to care for us,
to forgive us our errors,
to save us from our childish mistakes.
But knowledge is preferable to ignorance.
Better by far
to embrace the hard truth
than a reassuring fable.
Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown,
with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop.
Our commonsense intuitions can be mistaken.
Our preferences don't count.
We do not live in a privileged reference frame.
If we crave some cosmic purpose,
then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.