jump to last post 1-3 of 3 discussions (96 posts)

A quote from Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot"

  1. A Thousand Words profile image79
    A Thousand Wordsposted 4 years ago

    "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... 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."


    I wonder if we all saw the world this way, if maybe things might be different. What do you think? Has anyone ever read the book? Is there anyone who's felt similar sentiment after gazing at the stars and contemplating the Universe?

    1. profile image0
      Beth37posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      It's a good quote. smile

      1. A Thousand Words profile image79
        A Thousand Wordsposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Indeed, I intend to read the whole book when I get the opportunity.

    2. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      This is a very interesting quote.

    3. Disappearinghead profile image82
      Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      A very good quote.

    4. Paul K Francis profile image82
      Paul K Francisposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      A good message.

  2. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 4 years ago

    Thinking about the earth that way does inspire awe. And fear. One tiny oasis of life in a dead zone; as far as the capability of sustaining human life is concerned, with no knowledge of any similar space man might inhabit. We screw this up, we're history.

    But, isn't the failure to ponder the breadth and wonder of the universe an extension of the human condition? Few expand their circle of compassion to include more than a few. We don't look beyond the borders of our peripheral vision. We each, in our own way, seek to be master of our domain. The emperors and generals are simply a reflection of each of us, magnified to an extent which gives us a glimpse of the most basic problem we need to address within ourselves. Standing here on earth, seeing that image, it is easy to make the connection because looking at an image of the earth in the distance is like standing outside of ourselves, and knowing how fragile we are, as individuals. How truly separated we each are from all else. 

    But, were we in the position to take that picture and send it back, I'm not sure any but the initial reaction would be the same. After the fear subsides, I would think if one held that position in space, the natural reaction would be to desire to master a larger chunk of the universe; in order to allay the fear the image conjured. Because, although our peripheral vision encompasses a greater area we are still naturally prone to need to master our environment. To hide from the fear of the fact that each of us is, at the most basic level of thought, alone. That the sea of dead space which separates each of us from one another is, possibly, more frightening than the no man's land we can see from the window of our tiny ship.

    1. A Thousand Words profile image79
      A Thousand Wordsposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I don't read a lot of things that really move me, but I have to say you have a way with words.

    2. Disappearinghead profile image82
      Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      It is because of our insignificance in the universe that I am compelled to believe in the existence of God. Not because of anything in the bible but the complete pointlessness of the vastness of the universe. That is, if the universe via blind chance and undirected evolutionary processes brings about a planet with the right conditions for life and on that planet a sentient race comes about that observes and marvels at the beauty and vastness of that universe, yet the universe is oblivious, then what's the point? It's all meaningless yet how can the human mind, a thing of wonder be meaningless? So I conclude a creator must exist and has had a hand in events that brought us about.

      1. A Thousand Words profile image79
        A Thousand Wordsposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Why is it meaningless without God?

        1. Disappearinghead profile image82
          Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Because what is the point of humanity's existence? The universe is a place of wonder and beauty, why is that? Yet it is beautiful because there is a sentient being that is able to observe that beauty and perceive it as beautiful. Only a portion of that universe is observable from the Earth, so who or what sees the hidden beauty? And if it is beautiful with no observers, what's the point, why is it beautiful? Yet in all its beauty, the universe is oblivious to the observers and its own beauty. To me it makes no sense unless there is a creator that made it beautiful (by whatever process, I am no creationist after all) in the first place and can observe that beauty when nobody else can.

          1. A Thousand Words profile image79
            A Thousand Wordsposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            The Universe is only beautiful because we can perceive it, DH. Beauty is all about perception. Nothing would be beautiful if we didn't think it was. If we were simpler minded creatures, we wouldn't even be able to perceive beauty in the same way. So would it still be beautiful? Beauty only exists in the minds of those that can define it as such.

            But I certainly understand where you are coming from. I just disagree, that's all. smile

          2. profile image0
            riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Ok, Then I will ask like this, How does god gives meaning?
            Because god sees beauty, how does it create meaning?

      2. A Troubled Man profile image60
        A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        This "observes and marvels at the beauty and vastness of that universe" is not enough for you? Seems to be more than exceptional, our extreme fortune that we've evolved to appreciate such splendor and beauty is vastly ample reason for a purpose.

        Gods only diminish our marvel.

        1. Disappearinghead profile image82
          Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Imagine there was no Earth, the universe would not know any different, yet it would still be a marvellous and wonderful place. Humanity creates beautiful works of art for the purpose of sharing that beauty; to enable the remainder of humanity to appreciate what has been made. It is beautiful by design and has that as a purpose. Now when you see NASA's images don't tell me you do not marvel at what you see. Have you never asked why what you see is so amazing? If there is no observer, would that reduce its beauty? Why is the universe intrinsically beautiful when it gains nothing from it? So like the work of human art, the beauty only makes sense to me if there was a creator that made it that way in order to share it with an observer.

          1. A Troubled Man profile image60
            A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            That's a very good argument.

            1. profile image0
              Beth37posted 4 years agoin reply to this

              ATM, you have been so congenial lately. I enjoy this side of you very much. I hope you don't mind me saying that.

          2. profile image0
            Rad Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Is it not only beautiful to those who can enjoy it? Is it beautiful to the parents of the child riddled with cancer or parasites? Perspective.

            1. profile image0
              Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              So, it is your argument that a parent of a sick child can't marvel at the beauty of the universe? Can't admire a beautiful work of art? I can state, from experience, that tragedy doesn't negate the ability to recognize beauty.

              1. profile image0
                riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                ???? You think that the parents of a child riddled with cancer and in a hospital dying go on about enjoying nature?
                He certainly is not talking about "ability".

                1. profile image0
                  Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Disagree. His statement implied that those under stress and mourning could not enjoy the wonder and beauty of the world. Our minds may be focused firmly on our own problems and trials, however we don't lose the ability, we may fail to look because we are focused else where. We may be oblivious because our mind is churning around a problem.

                  His statement was, in my opinion, myopic; with the assumption that myopia caused by depression and stress is a permanent condition.

                  1. profile image0
                    riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    People who are mourning cannot enjoy, doesn't mean can "never" enjoy, does it?
                    What I understood from what he said is that one should have a mind to enjoy otherwise things are not beautiful or beautiful things are beautiful only to those who can perceive it as beautiful.
                    In addition there is a condition called anhedonia where one cannot enjoy pleasure and nothing is beautiful for him.

              2. profile image0
                Rad Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Does one marvel at the beauty and perfection of the earth while your child is in the hospital fighting brain eating ameba?

                1. profile image0
                  Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Rad man. What percentage of adults are in that situation? What percentage of the entirety of the lives of adults in that situation are spent in that situation? I could just as easily argue that I couldn't ponder the wonder of life when I sat in the hospital waiting for surgery to remove a tumor behind my eye, which held a probability that I would lose the eye. I could argue that my sadness at my father's death prohibited me from recognizing beauty. I would be dishonest if I did.

                  Tragedy encompasses all our lives from time to time. It does not define our lives.  Even the poorest among us, those who struggle for survival from the day they are born until the day they die can still recognize beauty.

                  If you know someone whose child is suffering from a brain eating ameba, I extend my sympathies to the family. Somehow, I think you pulled that one out of your hat.

                  1. profile image0
                    riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    Then you have some problem, so evaluate yourself with the help of a professional, for most people are very tense before major surgeries that doctors routinely give anti anxiety drugs before surgery and if one of the dear ones are in serious condition or dead, people are not at all happy(You might be a heartless person) and if you "rub on the wrong side" you usually get an explosion(anger threshold is low) from otherwise self controlled people.

          3. profile image0
            riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Beauty (marvel, order) lies only in the eyes of the beholder.


            Without the observer there is no beauty only the thing and that is why we differ much in the specifications of beauty.

            1. Disappearinghead profile image82
              Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              OK let's agree that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, why then does nobody look through a telescope and say, "ugh that nebula sure is the ugliest thing I've ever seen"? Whatever your perception of beauty might be, the universe is a marvel as any NASA image will show you. The same might be said of natural landscapes on Earth. Why do people climb hills and mountains in order to seek a beautiful vista?

              Now imagine you were born several thousand years ago, how else would you explain the beauty aside from the work of art displayed by a creator? Today we may have an understanding of the processes that form what we see, but that does not in any way detract from its beauty. So why is it beautiful when it neither cares or knows that it is?

              1. profile image0
                riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                I like to see snakes (in national geographic,  of course) but my mother is disgusted by snakes. (Most people like nature because that signify their ancient habitat and signify food and peace.). Those who climb mountains are those who like it, those who don't find it beautiful sit at home or go to a beach.
                So people who look up and see beautiful nebula are the people who like those things to look up. Those people who don't like usually do not look up.

                1. Disappearinghead profile image82
                  Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Mmm that seems a little too simplistic for me.

                  1. profile image0
                    riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    May be, but as children we(some animals too) are all afraid of snakes(especially) and darkness and those were the most dangerous things for the prehistoric man, snake can be hidden in the foliage and darkness brings predators that can't be seen. (My grandfather when was shown the picture of nebula never gave a second look nor ever want to know anything about it but if shown a paddy(was  farmer) was interested to know everything about it).

      3. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        I will say, with what we know, the odds of us being exactly what we are seem highly unlikely. As far as we can see and as far as we can know, we are unique. That, in and of itself, implies a reason for being; other than blind chance.

        1. Disappearinghead profile image82
          Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          I agree. If according to evolutionary theory life always finds a way to survive to exist, then why is that? Why should blind life care whether it succeeds or not? Why should the alpha male lion care that his genes are the ones that survive to the next generation? Why is there an inbuilt instinct to reproduce, to survive? What is the point, the universe cares not, it is oblivious to the plains of the Serengeti? If life ceased, the universe would go on regardless. Why does the instinct for life appear more intelligent than the results of that life that manifest that life. That is, why is there a driving force for that lion to pass on its genes when that lion has no conscious concept of what life means or the purpose for passing on its genes? Why is there more intelligence in the apparent design of the human mind than the consciousness that inhabits it?

          1. profile image0
            Rad Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            This is precisely what evolution does. Allows only the needy to reproduce.

            1. Disappearinghead profile image82
              Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              Why does evolution work; what's the driving force? Why must life survive? To say 'well that's what evolution does' is little different to saying 'guddunit'.

              1. A Troubled Man profile image60
                A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                The predator and the prey they chase and the predator the prey attempt to avoid on a constant daily basis over millions and millions of years, that is much of the driving force behind evolution.

                And perhaps, being eaten by predators is somewhat less attractive than staying alive. Go figure.

        2. profile image0
          Rad Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Do the math, how many stars in our own galaxy and how many galaxies. Blind chance?

          1. profile image0
            Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            You might review the math before using that statement as a challenge.

            1. profile image0
              Rad Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              Billions x billions.

              1. profile image0
                Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                By which assumption? Since we have not discovered life, there are conflicting theories on the probability of life similar to ours. And even if we go by your figure, it isn't as if we could say out of billions and billions of planets one would have life. It would be like each scenario had billions upon billions probability that life could form. Very low odds.

                I, personally, believe the universe is teeming with undiscovered life. It doesn't make it so.

        3. profile image0
          riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Just like every jellyfish is unique, ever lion tailed monkey is unique,  every tiger fish is unique,  every fern is unique. ...

          1. profile image0
            Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            That's an excellent point. Infinite variety is also an oddity worthy of marvel. Isn't it marvelous that we can marvel at the infinite complexity which inhabit's this tiny corner of the universe. That we can view, and judge it as marvelous. They say God, the first observer, looked over Creation and declared it to be good.  Now, here we stand and find ourselves at the same conclusion ancient man claimed God arrived at, as we peer farther and farther into the cosmos, while simultaneously peeking farther and farther into the very fabric it is made of. The complexity of each living thing taking our breath away by its intricate beauty.

            Of course, on some levels the wonder, itself, can be viewed as an exercise in ego. Marveling at all we, alone, can assess as incredibly beautiful; while also critiquing as less than perfect. But, maybe not. Maybe standing in wonder is giving thanks to forces beyond our ken. Searching for an understanding is the highest compliment to the force behind the forces set in motion to bring us to this point. Our continuing inability to bridge the gap between ourselves and our fellow man being an homage to the ultimate mystery. And critiquing being little more than a mournful cry for a better understanding.

            Yep. Life is truly a thing to stand in awe of.

  3. profile image0
    Beth37posted 4 years ago

    It's very late. You should go to bed.

    1. profile image0
      riddle666posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      11.17 AM, to bed? I'm lazy but not that lazy.

      1. profile image0
        Beth37posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Oh. Maybe I should go to bed then.

 
working