Comic Relief & The Pale Blue Dot

Red Nose Day came & went over the weekend. Once again, the public raised an incredible amount of cash. It raises my hopes for human nature that despite the economic despair, people can still put their hands in their pockets to help those in need, people they may never ever see, either in this country, or thousands of miles away. This AND the amount of support for those caught up in events in Japan, is absolutely amazing.

Simultaneously, I’m as angry as hell that people still have to do this, for those is situations & suffering that is ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE, but still are simply because the political/economic will isn’t there or purely nor it isn’t profitable to intervene, despite paradoxically, big businesses tend to be big single contributors to such causes.

I’m not putting up pictures of starving children, abused mothers, or indeed anything to tug your heartstrings. Instead, here’s a picture from NASA used in a story from Universe Today.

It's small, it's precious, it's ours. Please take care of it.

This is the most distant picture of our world ever taken by one of NASA’s Voyager probes from 6 billion kilometers away.

Everyone you know, I know anyone & everyone we’ve ever loved, exists on that blue speck, 2 pixels, at most, in this picture.

I’ll put in the often used quote from Carl Sagan’s book, ‘Pale Blue Dot:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at 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.”

Think about it. World Wars 1 & 2, the building of the Pyramids, The Romans, Mesopotamians, Ottomans, Nubians, Egyptians, Babylonians the empires that have risen fought, flourished & fallen.

 Auschwitz, Lidice, Nanjing, The Berlin Firestorms; the great leaders, freedom fighters & prophets – all of this occurred on a blue speck suspended in the vastness of space.

All our actions, past present & future, good, bad or indifferent, are played out on the dust mote in the starlight. In that perspective, surely we must realise where we are & who we are take a special place; our place on the planet, indeed our very existence is a fleeting blip in the vastness of time & space – what we do with this time is precious & where we do it even more so.

Comments are closed.