As a prelude to an article I’m working on now that I plan to publish shortly, I offer you Carl Sagan’s words…
The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Our contemplations of the Cosmos stir us; there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as of a distant memory of falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding; lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home, the Earth. For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave: it shows much promise.
In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads; but to find the truth, we need imagination and scepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths, of exquisite inter-relationships, of the awesome machinery of nature.
The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out; maybe ankle-deep: and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from; we long to return — and we can, because the Cosmos is also within us: we are made of star stuff.
We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.