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28 January, 2010

As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.

Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.

-Carl Sagan

(Maybe the most powerful message I’ve ever heard. In a summary, Sagan was saying that … yes, as a civilization we’ve grown, evolved into todays man (which isn’t just limiting evolution to the physical and biological, but expanding it to our ideals), and brought with us all the troubles of trial and error, some of which can be a death blow to human kind. But we’ve also been able to acquire these other better features that allow us to grow and are also the key to our continued evolution. We are all equal, not just to each other, but to every atom of every dust, every gas, plasma, and matter in the universe – we are all made of the same stuff. When we die we are no different than a star. When a star dies and explodes, it distributes every bit of itself into the rest of the universe creating new stars or contributing to new galaxies, new life forms. One day, the same atoms that made up our body will make up a new star somewhere. So why shouldn’t we be infinitely positive about our life on this planet and where we are going, conscious or not?)

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