Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time.Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth.Carl Sagan (1934–1996) was an American astronomer who did much to popularize science, especially astronomy, during his illustrious career.
Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen…
I posted this under another username a few years back, but it gives a bit of insight into the man and, well, repost. I was working as an AV nerd with my friend at the Sundance Film Institute in Utah and they were hosting an international conference on greenhouse gas emissions with soviet scientists. Sagan was there and being the kind of guy he was, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to talk to him, even lowly help like me and my friend.
His legacy lies mostly in his advancement of humanism.
He found a profound spirituality in experiencing the wonder and majesty of the universe.
Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil.
It is as if there were a God who said to us, “I set before you two ways: You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars.His rather cavalier performance at this event was perhaps a salutary lesson in the fight against woo: far from stamping out the growing cult of Velikovsky, he arguably further stoked it, by allowing a few schoolboy errors to creep into his math and peppering his talk with cheeky jokes.This use of levity and lack of rigour was seized upon by the Velikovsky faithful as evidence that Thine Mainstream were not playing fair and were trying to suppress the truth. Some of them point to a quote from his famous novel Contact about "an intelligence that antedates the Universe" as evidence of this change in beliefs, but fellow science fiction author Robert J.But up there in the Cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits. By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds.It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we're down the next day. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning.He briefed the Apollo astronauts before the Moon missions and played an instrumental role in the planning and operation of the Viking, Voyager, Mariner, and Galileo space probes.He was also a prolific author and popularizer of science, creating the 13-part TV series Cosmos (the most widely watched PBS program in the world), appearing on late-night television numerous times, and writing Contact, Pale Blue Dot, Billions and Billions, and many other books.Our contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory, of falling from a great height.We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.