We Are Here (Pale Blue Dot)

We seem compelled to project our own nature onto Nature. Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy of the interposition of a deity.
— Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s genius and humility throughout Cosmos: A Personal Voyage teaches us that the very nature of creation is destruction. From the stellar nurseries where stars are born from dense, collapsing molecular clouds of dust and gas, to the black holes that violently mark stars’ deaths with gravitational forces so strong that no matter or radiation can escape, destruction necessitates the life cycles of the stars. Our own births are also violent, and in death our bodies’ putrefaction is the result of a destructive force so vile to us that we are wont to burn it, box it up, and bury it. Yet, this destruction releases the energy needed to feed the creation of new life. Perhaps humanity’s tendency to place itself at the top of the food chain prevents us from accepting and appreciating this natural order, and perhaps our tendency “to project our own nature onto Nature” permits us to justify our own propensity for violence toward one another and our planet. Let Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot humbly remind us that we are fragile and so is this world that we continuously create and destroy.