“Sagan said it best:
That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every 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 in 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 the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. 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. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
A comment from a reader has another beautiful quote:In the words of Eric Idle:
“Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
and revolving at 900 miles an hour,
It’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
the sun that is the source of all our power.
The Sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour,
of the Galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our Galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars,
it’s 100,000 light-years side-to-side,
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light-years thick,
but out by us it’s just 3,000 light-years wide.
We’re 30,000 light-years from galactic central point,
we go round every 200 million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
in this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
in all of the directions it can whiz,
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know,
twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
how amazingly unlikely is your birth,
Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
because there’s bugger all down here on Earth.”