The Pale Blue Dot
Happy Sunday! I hope this offering pleases you.
The Pale Blue Dot
Each of us goes about our life engrossed in the everyday cacophony that represents being alive in modern society. We worry over meeting the bills, what the city council might decide on a certain zoning issue, or who the President will be in 2020. We revel in our own perceived importance as we ascend the corporate, military or political ladder. Sometimes, it behooves us to consider a larger perspective.
Here is one such perspective. On September 5, 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1, a deep space probe designed to study the outer Solar System. This device performed far better than expected. As I write this, the probe is over 13.6 Billion miles from Earth, the farthest of any devices ever launched by man…and is still responding to commands.
By 1990, Voyager 1 had completed its primary mission and was heading out of the Solar System. However, it was to get one final and most significant mission. Astronomer Carl Sagan prevailed upon NASA to have the spacecraft take a “family portrait” of the planets in the solar system, including Earth. The pictures were taken on Valentine’s Day, 1990 from a distance of 6 billion miles from Earth. The one showing Earth, is the subject of a book by Sagan. You can’t see that picture and read his words, then logically conclude that this all “just happened” on its own.
We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space] , and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every 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.
As we enjoy this Sunday, our day of rest and devotion, let us all consider our place in the Universe. Yes, we can each strive to be the best Teacher, Businessman or Soldier. We can aspire to achieve high political office or become a sports superstar. But in the end we still live on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.
Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583
You can find his other Red State work here.
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