The blue story
Chapter 6: part 2: EARTH
by Daria Lanz
Earth. Our little planet, suspended in the vast galaxy like a blue spec, is a fragile and miraculous thing.
Elise sent me a blue ball in the mail. Attached was a note from her reading, “I thought it was more round when I bought it.” True, the ball wasn’t exactly round, but it was close enough.
I bounced it, and it lit up. I bounced it again, and it lit up again, and again I bounced it and again it lit up. And as I did this I thought about Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’, and I knew exactly what this blue ball was: Earth.
(Ok..I was already thinking about the ‘Pale Blue Dot’, but the ball just slid in so nicely with what was already on my mind).
I can’t sum up my feelings about Earth and our world and our foolish species better than Carl Sagan. So rather than try, I’m simply going to quote him from ‘Pale Blue Dot’.
Alternatively, you can just watch this:
“Every human being who ever was, lived out their lives…
the aggregate, or joy and suffering,
thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines…
Every hunter and forager, every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilisation, 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 the mode 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 spec 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 harbour life. There is no where else at least in the near future, to where 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 big blue dot. The only one we’ve ever known…”
Please consider these words the next time you feel resentment, or judgement, or anger towards a fellow human being.
Worry less, love more.
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