“Look again at that dot.” — Carl Sagan and Perspective

Our Solar System in relationship to the Milky Way Galaxy.

“Look again at 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 was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, 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 endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. 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.

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.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

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.”
― Carl SaganPale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

The video of this is below.

The Observable Universe

 “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
― Carl Sagan

Our little blue dot, the Earth.

To put things into a more tangible perspective, here is some information regarding our Solar System and the Universe.

The distance from the Earth to the Sun is approximately 93,000,000 miles.  The Milky Way Galaxy, or which our Solar System is only a very small part, would take 100,000 years to travel across it if we could travel at the speed of light.  Considering our galaxy is one of billions floating in the sea of the Universe, the immensity is beyond the scope of the mind to grasp.

If you want to read more, NASA provides more information here.

10 thoughts on ““Look again at that dot.” — Carl Sagan and Perspective

  1. I, an infinitely small blue dot, alive in Love in the Vastness of All, find the portal at core, an inversion that joyfully will lead me yet into the same Vastness, yet through It’s Heart, motioned by Love, witness to a Glory beyond word, mind and reflection. The blue dot eclipes with its Own and is stunned by Presence of Love beyond Vision or mortal thought.

    • Beautiful, Linda. I’m so glad you shared that here. You know, even though Sagan was an atheist he also believed spirituality could be found in science and I think he shows that here. But then, I think anything can have spiritual value. Thanks for posting that!

      • I think that it is wonderful when a post, yours, then inspires or draws forth a spontaneous response from another. That feels like truly uniting and building an intangible but significant spiritual globilization, not same, each unique- but all loving and in equal embrace…

      • I agree with you 100%. There have been many times reading something inspirational inspires me to post what it has illumined in me. I think the discovery of all these unique points of view just helps inspire others who may be seeking it. The thought that I can touch the heart of another with my words is something I could never put a value on, especially if they then carry it forward in their own unique way as you did. I LOVE THIS!!! lol

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  6. Great post. I believe Sagan’s Blue Dot comment was a veiled homage to Buddhism. I recently came across an eerily similar passage called “The Eye of Wisdom” from the Sutra of Forty-two Sections:

    “The Buddha said: ‘I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes in a sunbeam. I see the treasures of gold and gems as broken tiles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see the myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds and the great Indian ocean as drops of mud that soil one’s feet. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusions of magicians. I look upon the judgement of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of dragons, and the rise and fall of beliefs as the traces left by the four seasons.'”

    • Josh, that’s just beautiful. I’m so grateful you shared it along with your insight. It’s very interesting and thrilling to me to suddenly begin finding all these parallels so clearly between “thinkers from different schools”. We’re all walking side by side and sometimes rarely realize it. Thanks again and please do stop by again!

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