2017-07-03

Current Events: Happy 4th Of July


This afternoon I thought it would be fun to have "G" make a Fourth of July themed project so I got some paper, red and blue paint and some brushes; put on some traditional "patriotic" music and told her to paint the way the music sounded. Looking at it this evening I found myself liking less and less the genesis of the work. I then spent a while writing in a bit of the famous Carl Sagan passage from "The Pale Blue Dot" onto her artwork. I thought that on a day like tomorrow where we are supposed to be celebrating America's exceptionalism (what's left of it) that we start moving past the pettiness of that concept of U S A and start to see ourselves as one very fortunate human race. Happy 4th everyone. I'll have hell to pay for ruining G's picture tomorrow .

“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."

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