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  • Writer's pictureRawan

A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

This image is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length, a tiny sliver of the vast universe, light from these galaxies took billions of years to reach us.

I've never felt the privilege and the insignificant of our whole existence to this level, we are nothing compared to the universe. Almost nothing at all but a tiny pale blue dot, a grain of sand.

I remembered what Carl Sagan said when he looked back at earth through the a photograph of Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers.

In the photograph, Earth's apparent size is less than a pixel; our planet appears as a small dot against the vastness of space, In his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan comments on what he sees as the greater significance of the photograph, writing:

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again 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 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. 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. 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 Sagan We have a privilege to exist in spite of all impossible probabilities, to mark and to carry on our ancestors legacy, facial features, survival instinct, hopes and sometime even fears.

They define a partial part of who you are, where you are located geographically in the vast blue dot, in way they never die as you carry them within you.

Then as you expand and grow you start to mark your own existence thinking the time is long, you exist for 70-80 years and compared to the universe is ~13.8 billion years old, assuming average human lives to be about 75, that would put a human life at .000000000054% the duration of the universe; and if you got lucky you will share something so valuable, so timeless that people will recall your short existence, read your words, sense your art, and if you are lucky enough they will kiss your picture every time they remember you.

When i saw the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, a terrifying sense of fear and ignorance has struck me, yet a sudden relief of the comfort of knowing that nothing really matters in the big scope of things, and your life itself is a miracle and a quite a privilege to be right here as the Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.

"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."


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