Reflect on this mote of dust
Astronomer, Carl Sagan gives us much to consider in his essay. Listen carefully to Dr. Sagan read his essay as you watch the video.
Pale Blue Dot essay video on YouTube
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Reflections on a Mote of Dust -- Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
"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 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."
Excerpted from a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996. Dr. Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot expands on these ideas.
"All inquires carry with them some element of risk.
Science Observation Skill Builders - try one
2009 Cynthia J. O'Hora, activity released to public domain. Updated 10/2018
How to make a digital answer sheet: Answer the essay question in a word processing document. Save frequently as you work. I do not like losing my work. You will not like it either. Be sure to title your essay. Put your name and the date in a document footer.