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Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated

What the speed of light has to do with the reinvention of agriculture and our fear of tininess.

This week, we’re busy covering TEDGlobal 2010 for GOOD — which you can follow via our live Twitter stream — so we’re keeping it short and sweet here at Brain Pickings. And, at barely nine minutes, it doesn’t get any sweeter than this brilliant excerpt from Carl Sagan’s 1997 gem, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space and in potential — the tidy, anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.”

The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning.”

For a full immersion into Sagan’s compelling exploration of the science-philosophy continuum, do grab the book itself. Meanwhile, follow along with our weeklong immersion in another end of said science-philosophy spectrum.

Published July 13, 2010




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