Why Carl Sagan’s Viral Pale Blue Dot Talk Is Better Than Gandhi or MLK’s Speeches
If you have not seen this inspiring video, see it now. Be inspired to be your BEST
The late, great Dr. Carl Sagan knew the world, and the worlds beyond. He relates in his Pale Blue Dot speech how our species, striving and ambitious adventurers we call earthlings, reached for the stars. Voyager One, launched in September 1977, is the first man-made object to reach beyond our own solar system. It is approximately 21 billion kilometers from home. In miles that’s about 13 billion miles from all of us, winging through the stars like a bold comet launched by a tiny Earth David hurling toward an unknown Goliath in outer space.
Even now, few people understand the whole grandeur and scope of how big an accomplishment this is. We don’t really need a military Space Force, we need a force for science, learning and cooperation that displays the very, very best of all we are. Or all we can be.
Dr. Sagan relates in his speech that we are small. The Universe is big. That every hero and villain that has ever lived came from this Pale Blue Dot suspended in a sunbeam. That day was Valentine’s Day — a day for all human beings to truly reflect upon love — February 14, 1990.
This photo that Dr. Sagan proposed to be taken is an unimaginable. distance from Earth. But here is the thing: It is not unimaginable to people like him, (and thousands on the Voyager projects), it can be and is known, now. We can do this. We can invent, explore, tinker and dink around on the shores of an ocean so vast only dedication to be better can get us to learn Nature and her incredible, still unfathomable, power. We can look deeply into nature, as Dr. Einstein also has said, to “Understand everything better.” Understanding our better selves falls into this self-examination.
In other words, natural laws, are knowable. Laws such as the evolution that built us and the biosphere that supports us, requires vast amounts of love, also called work and imagination, in order to get not only where we are, but the greatest direction we can go. We can move toward international humanitarian projects, human need projects, solving pollution, preserving our biosphere, achieving equality and opportunity projects and more.
A truly integrated and respectful effort can make miracles happen, so long we don’t worship ourselves as superior to creation itself. We are the pale blue dot. But we can spark, and we will seize a tiny fragment of the heart of the sun. We are beginning to capture that energy now, both literally and figuratively. We can use all power within our reach to get out there and see where we live. It’s not Mr. Roger’s neighborhood quite yet, but it is a truly splendid one. Grander. Bigger. Inspiring. Synergetic. We have so much to learn!
Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King are more approachable, but they also both understood that our salvation is with our cooperation and love toward one another. They both clearly knew we are pathfinders, even toward peace and justice. They knew we have light years to travel and places in the human heart that can reconnect to our human minds like a lonely beacon of hope for our kind trying to reach the greatness of the kingdom of God that is within us. All of these people, from international teams, understood the basic common secret to nature: that our cooperation and loyalty to our own little dust speck is Home. We will find solutions that slowly allow society to improve. Nationalism and military might are not as mighty as the tears and sweat that is rocket fuel for virtue. It is not a competition, for the best speech, or the most moving speaker. All truly wise people are humble. All truly wise technology is reverential, but not pretentious. All inspirational leaders inspire accomplishment on many new worlds, including the frontiers of righteousness.
No one expects an extraterrestrial to blink back at us upon finding Voyager’s gold record with Earth’s greatest hits and a friendly shout out from our home planet any time soon. It may be 50,000 years after we are gone. It could even be beyond a billion years from now. Think of that.
But it’s out there, and it came from our best, brightest and most optimistic people. They love science. They may love math. Not all of us who support nature and learning are scientists. Most of the international effort was made by non-scientists, regular, hard-working men and women. We are not all scientists although we are born as inquisitive creatures, and all of us can seek to know. We can solve mysteries if we stay curious. What we are is lovers. And that is what truly lifts our hope toward the ever-beckoning light. We may finally arrive “Home” to find we have a beautiful planet and we’re not alone in the Universe, after all.