👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
If you’ve paid any attention to the news over the last few weeks, you heard about a couple of billionaires reaching space with their (somewhat) private space-travel companies. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about that. It’s about reflecting on the magnificence of the cosmos while recognizing how little space we take up in it. It’s about appreciating our home and treating it, along with its inhabitants, with the utmost care and respect while we can.
The starry sky is the truest friend in life, when you've first become acquainted; it is ever there, it gives ever peace, ever reminds you that your restlessness, your doubt, your pains are passing trivialities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would we believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?
Edgar Mitchell (the sixth person to walk on the moon)
You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
If you want to create an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
You know what…let’s give Carl Sagan the spotlight for the remainder of the issue. This image will be a helpful reference for his thoughts (from his book, Pale Blue Dot) below.
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.
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.
The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.
When we see images or hear quotes revealing how insignificantly small we are, it’s easy to agree with Woolf & Kagge that our affairs don’t matter much. This is certainly true for most of my trivialities. But on the other hand, our insignificance in size is actually a great responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. So maybe before we abandon our planet for Mars, let’s focus on making this orb as hospitable as possible for every Earthling. Because as Sagan said, we have an obligation to “deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
✌️Until next week, happy philosophizing.