Wednesday Wisdom: The Pale Blue Dot

Hello guys. Happy Hump Day! Where did the two days go? Is it Wednesday already? Why am I so obsessed with this? In the scheme of all thing...

This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’, is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system taken by Voyager 1.
Hello guys. Happy Hump Day! Where did the two days go? Is it Wednesday already? Why am I so obsessed with this? In the scheme of all things, a day is just a hiccup in eternity, yet sometimes, a day feels so long and never ending.
This color image of the sun, Earth and Venus was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft Feb. 14, 1990. (Source)
As a child I have always been fascinated by space. I would often look up the stars and wonder how far and wide it is. I would count the stars and try to identify the constellations. I would  imagine some other "alien" creature doing the same thing as I do. Often I would ask myself: "Does it ever end?" I often find myself asking if the time I spend here on Earth ever really matter. To put things in context, a person's 100-yr lifetime does not really matter to a universe that's more than 13 billion years old, a speck of dust in an ever expanding space.
This is the "Pale Blue Dot" photograph of the Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on July 6, 1990. The Earth is the relatively bright speck of light about halfway across the uppermost sunbeam. (Source)
In one of my random Wikipedia readings, I found this great article about Pale Blue Dot - "a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers." I'm sharing with you all this wonderful writing from Carl Sagan (taken from the same article) which moved me very much:

    From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. 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.     
—Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1997 reprint, pp. xv–xvi

With all the tragedy going on around the world, I hope we all put things into perspective and consider that what we do, even how small matters. We have to learn to take better care of humanity because it is all that we have. ^_^ I hope that you have been inspired by this post, as I have been. Enjoy the rest of the week everyone!

Share this post:

You Might Also Like