Carl Sagan’s phrases continue to give us authentic sparks of inspiration with which to continue opening our minds, making us dream. Few popularizers of astronomy have reached so much to our hearts to teach us the wonders of the universe and show us with humility, that we are nothing more than the inhabitants of “a pale blue point” in the universe.
It’s been more than twenty years since we said goodbye to the famous astrophysicist, best known for his television series “Cosmos: a personal voyage” and yet his legacy is still very present. The new generations continue to turn to his books and to that program that promoted the scientific literacy of millions of people at the time.
Sagan opened our minds and brought light to that scene of darkness that opens beyond the threshold of our planet. He taught us infinite things, told us about human intelligence, helped us to have critical thinking and to differentiate rigorous science from pseudoscience.
Also , what he achieved above all is that we were dreamers. Dwellers of a small ship from which to understand that we are nothing more than immense little explorers in a vast universe … full of mysteries to solve.
Carl Sagan Quotes
“A Pale Blue Dot”, published in 1994 is possibly one of Carl Sagan’s best known books. It was in 1990 that the Voyager 1 probe took a photo of our planet 6 billion kilometers away. That image went around the world and made us think: from that perspective we were just a speck of dust, a pale blue dot in space.
Carl Sagan was also impressed by that photograph and decided to dedicate a book to it to reflect on ourselves, on humanity, astronomy and that cosmos that gave us life. From that far point in space, Sagan explained, the Earth barely catches our attention, it is little more than a blur in the middle of the cosmic sand.
However, for us it is unique, because it is our home, because there is everything we are, everything we love. There are the sum of all our joys, our sufferings and griefs. There our wars and also our advances . For Sagan educating and writing about astronomy was above all to offer an experience of needed humility with which to encourage us to take much more care of that pale blue dot in which we inhabit.
1. The importance of knowledge
“Reading allows us to travel through time, to touch with the tips of our fingers the wisdom of our ancestors.”
This is one of the best known Carl Sagan phrases . If there was something to which he gave special importance, it is to that legacy that remains as legacy in history through books, there where to sow seeds of wisdom with which to promote our growth and our freedom. Exiting the age of darkness will be possible as long as we can all have access to that knowledge, to those theories, research and disclosures with which to contribute to the truth.
2. The magic of connecting and building
“The beauty of life does not refer to the atoms that compose it, but to the way in which these atoms come together.”
Atoms connect and create matter, life, movement and everything that surrounds us. However, the way they do it is what makes up true beauty. Humanity also carries out the same process. We all inhabit the same planet, however our relationships and the choices we make is what defines us.
3. Yesterday defines what we are
“You must know the past to understand the present”
This phrase is very recurrent, we hear it frequently; its essence, its meaning, never expires. Although there is no shortage of people who tell us that the best thing is to move forward without looking back, no one will go very far without having learned from their mistakes before, without having looked in the rear-view mirror to gain perspective and thus walk with greater security.
4. Technology without meaning, technology as a consumer principle
“We live in a society extremely dependent on science and technology, in which almost no one has minimal notions about science and technology.”
This is one of Carl Sagan’s most prophetic phrases. Today it would be very difficult for us to understand life without technology and science. However, if we consider them our daily allies, why not have a few notions about them? Making the effort to know what we use or what surrounds us will allow us to be more critical, more demanding as well as promoters of a more useful science.
5. When the demons of ignorance are on the loose
“Whenever ethnic or national prejudices arise, when fanaticism boils around us, familiar habits of thought from ancient times take over. The candle flame flickers. Its little source of light trembles. Increase the darkness. The demons begin to stir… ”.
This is one of the most beautiful Carl Sagan quotes. Science can never advance if we surround it with prejudices, if we give more value to pseudosciences or try to make it respond exclusively to political, ideological or even economic interests.
6. Our planet, our home
“Our planet is very fragile, we must treat it with affection […] The Earth is a more beautiful place for our eyes than any we know. But that beauty has been sculpted by change: the soft, almost imperceptible change, and the sudden, violent change. There is no place in the cosmos that is safe from change ”.
We have neglected our beloved Gaia long, long before Carl Sagan himself showed us her beauty. It is something really contradictory if we think about it, because since nobody destroys their own home with hammering or tearing down its foundations, that is what we are doing with our planet.
Far from allowing herself to be the one to advance at her own pace, we strive to generate drastic changes, as well as fearful ones.
7. Practice tolerance
“If someone doesn’t agree with you, let him live. You will not find anyone like it in a hundred billion galaxies. “
We conclude with another of Carl Sagan’s most beautiful phrases, the one where he gives us a message that is repeated throughout his work. He talks about the importance of investing in coexistence, in respect, in humility and in love of neighbor.
It is quite possible that we are not alone in the universe, that there are many more inhabited planets full of fascinating life. However, each one of us is unique, we are unique, magical and exceptional. Appreciating this, we remember that we are all connected, we are stardust contained in a faint speck in the universe . We are the only thing we have, we appreciate it …