For small creatures such as we…

…the vastness is bearable only through love.

Its been 10 years since Carl Sagan left us. This man had a profound effect on my life. He opened my young eyes to the glories of science and knowledge through that benchmark series, Cosmos. I am listening to the audio version of Pale Blue Dot as I read this. The truth of his words, his insight, the knowledge (and the passion he uses to convey it), all still resonate as strongly as they did to a lonely 14 year old geek girl, in her room at night, watching the flickering magic of Cosmos unfold universes – of space, time, science, knowledge, and the joy of learning – before me. It influenced my life and thought. I suspect my passion for Linux (and Free Open Source Software) can be traced to his passion for the open sharing of knowledge.

Every advance in space exploration I see, I think of Carl, and how his enthusiasm would have made these advances even more exciting. My joy in such things is thus poignant. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The blogosphere shows how deeply he reached so many of us. There is a tribute to Carl Sagan blog movement that I posted about earlier. Here is what his son, Nick (who has an excellent blog too!) has to say. The blogosphere will be busy with Sagan posts on the 20th. Due to time differences, I get to start earlier than most.

So thank you, Carl. Thank you for the joy. For the gift of learning I now share with my children. For everything Carl, for the gifts to me, my family, and most of all, humanity, my deepest love and gratitude.

2 thoughts on “For small creatures such as we…

  1. Andy Fleming

    timelady…
    My sentiments exactly. No other person who I have met, or in Carl’s case, not met, has affected me so profoundly.

    Since watching and reading Cosmos over the past 6 months (I only discovered it in July, although I remember Carl from my childhood with NASA etc) my life has changed completely. My relationships at work and with my family have improved dramatically. I now realise exactly how important we all are, how me must care for each other on this “pale blue dot” (on import order from the US), and how the pursuit of knowledge and the truth is a joy just in itself. It starts at home with my wife and young son (we all shared in the magic of seeing M31, the Great Spiral Galaxy in Andomeda for the first time on the evening of the 20th – how proud Carl would have been) and it radiates outwards across society, and across national boundaries.

    I have had science training but not at degree level – I have a degree in science-sceptical/anti-empirical evidence/anti-positivist Sociology (a first class honours). I mention this not to boast – I am simply not that sort of person. I mention it because out of all the hundreds of books I read (from Plato to Marx), and the countless excellent lecturers I have had – none have had the affect on me of 1300 minutes of Cosmos from a man I have never met. What a massive tribute to Carl that such a science-sceptic, has become such an admirer of both him and the “scientific enterprise”.

    However, this personal development of myself, my son, and my wife has been a bit of a roller-coaster. From the joy of watching Cosmos, to the devastating news that a hero of mine from my childhood, and now (to borrow a quasi-religious term), a soul mate in the present, had died an agonising death 10 years ago has been heartbreaking. Such a wonderful person, with such unique talents, intelligence and brain. Certainly myself and son have often been on the verge of tears when watching one of our many repeats of Cosmos. The world needs him more than ever.

    Such mourning has been relieved, as Carl would have wanted by us acting as his ambassadors, and those of science in the north east of England. Friends, family, even my 84 year old wheelchair bound mother have all been astonished by the precious borrowed disks we have lent them.

    Our role, timelady, is no less than to spread Carl’s words far and wide, and to not waste time on those with closed minds. This way, we will indeed as a species permanently tip the balance in favour of rigorously verified scientific eveidence in the search for “the truth” and avoid Carl’s bad dreams about a moment of madness, and the loss of six billion years of evolution.

    All the very best
    Andy, Gill and David Fleming
    Durham
    UK

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