Carl Sagan: The Pale Blue Dot. A vision of the Earth, from the Voyager I spacecraft, in 1990, looking back.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, 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.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
–T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding (Four Quartets)
“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe.”
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”
–Neil deGrasse Tyson
Yeats, The Second Coming: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”
paraphrased by Bertrand Russell: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge,” Darwin once said. “It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
(from The Descent of Man; https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin)
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
–from “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold
H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”
“A man’s work is nothing but the slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”
“After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.
No was the night. Yes is this present sun.”
“Its origin and purpose still a total mystery…”
“You are about to experience a great adventure…”
“Many such journeys are possible. Let me be your gateway.”