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Preserving and Cherishing the “Pale Blue Dot.”

06/11/2009

No one except the great Carl Sagan could put it so eloquently. There is no parallel to how special yet insignificant we are in this universe.  As planetary inhabitants, will get no help from other distant civilizations. We are dependent upon our own minds and initiatives…through our diverse yet singular efforts.  

Yet, as we deal with the first pandemic of the 21st Century, worry about poverty, hunger, climate change, great storms, nuclear arms, extremist elements and grapple with an economic crisis of great magnitude, we forget how important science is to the future of human kind as we try to survive day by day. Each day is a test, a battle of sorts, to persist and thrive.

That we have been given the gift of being able to achieve ways to travel through space to discover new worlds, peer into and invade the tiny inner space of the body and develop vast stores of knowledge is truly incomprehensible from the perspective shared by Dr. Sagan in his Earth-centric yet universal poetry.  Yes, we do have  a responsibility to the dot which sustains us.  From our one spec in a far corner of the known universe, there is all that we know, share, fear and love.  But we also have been given the opportunity and burden to learn, and grow and protect our world.

This is why basic research and the new emphasis on science is so important…and vital to our future.  We live in the most exiting of times. The pixel that is Earth shares many emergencies, but all can be surmounted, with education, understanding and strong will. That Washington is newly engaged in research and science is exhilerating and exciting.

And guess what. We are preserving the “pale blue dot,” however inartfully and immaturely.  With every mis-step, we are learning, growing, and figuring things out. We are moving forward, inch by inch, and finding our collective way. We are achieving in greater bounds, at velocities previously unknown and unfathomable.  We have mapped the human genome. We have developed cures for diseases. We have expanded the ability to analyze, create and express. We have learned to reach out to each other and permeate great barriers. We are on the verge of understanding dimensions of which only science fiction writers could dare to dream.

Carl’s message was to be responsible to the dot. Despite our wars, our frailties, societal mistakes and injustices, we are comprehending how to exercise the caretaker role Dr. Sagan quietly reminds us we must maintain.  As society advances, it is heeding the call of the cosmos to act intelligently. But there’s much more to do, and the more we learn, the more we achieve, the more we recognize there is so much to do, and little time for each generation to accomplish what must be done. You and I are on a journey of trial and error…but one of preservation, so exquisitely mapped by the words of Dr. Sagan.

Take a few moments. Explore the CarlSagan Portal. His cognitive expressions mean so much, and are a blend of art, music, science, physics, math, knowledge, philosophy and compassion. We miss you Carl, but your thoughts resonate with us daily. 

For more on Dr. Sagan and his legacy, transport yourself here.  How is government reacting to this challenge? See the Obama commitment to research and education policy.

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