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Posts Tagged ‘Earth’

Unlike the La Pérouse expedition the Conquistadors sought not knowledge but Gold.  They used their superior weapons to loot and murder, in their madness they obliterated a civilization.  In the name of piety, in a mockery of their religion, the Spaniards utterly destroyed a society with an Art, Astronomy and Architecture the equal of anything in Europe.  We revile the Conquistadors for their cruelty and shortsightedness, for choosing death.  We admire La Pérouse and the Tlingit for their courage and wisdom, for choosing life.  The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity.  As the ancient myth makers knew we’re children equally of the earth and the sky.  In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage, propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt.  But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience and a great soaring passionate intelligence, the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.  Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth.   But up there in the Cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits.  National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space.  Fanatical ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our Earth as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and the citadel of the stars.  There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably headlong into self-destruction.
    —    Carl Sagan
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We have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works…
As a boy Kepler had been captured by a vision of cosmic splendor, a harmony of the worlds which he sought so tirelessly all his life.  Harmony in this world eluded him.  His three laws of planetary motion represent, we now know, a real harmony of the worlds, but to Kepler they were only incidental to his quest for a cosmic system based on the Perfect Solids, a system which, it turns out, existed only in his mind.  Yet from his work, we have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works.
When he found that his long cherished beliefs did not agree with the most precise observations, he accepted the uncomfortable facts, he preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions.  That is the heart of science.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
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But we don’t yet know whether the Universe is open or closed.  More than that, there are a few astronomers who doubt that the redshift of distant galaxies is due to the doppler effect, who are skeptical of the expanding Universe and the Big Bang.  Perhaps our descendants will regard our present ignorance with as much sympathy as we feel to the ancients for not knowing the Earth went around the Sun.  If the general picture, however, of a Big Bang followed by an expanding Universe is correct, what happened before that?  Was the Universe devoid of all matter and then the matter suddenly somehow created, how did that happen?  In many cultures, the customary answer is that a God or Gods created the Universe out of nothing.  But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: where did God come from?  If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the Universe is an unanswerable question?  Or, if we say that God always existed, why not save a step, and conclude that the Universe always existed?  That there’s no need for a creation, it was always here.  These are not easy questions.  Cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries, questions that were once treated only in religion and myth.
    —    Carl Sagan
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The earth laughs in flowers.
   ―    Ralph Waldo Emerson
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There are occasions when you can hear the mysterious language of the Earth, in water, or coming through the trees, emanating from the mosses, seeping through the undercurrents of the soil; but you have to be willing to wait and receive.
   —     John Hay
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Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate.  How will we use this power?  Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family?  Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth?  Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet?  The Earth is a tiny and fragile world.  It needs to be cherished.
Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.
  —   Carl Sagan
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2011 Each Day Remember…
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Our global civilization is clearly on the edge of failure and the most important task it faces, preserving the lives and well-being of its citizens and the future habitability of the planet.  But if we’re willing to live with the growing likelihood of nuclear war shouldn’t we also been willing to explore vigorously every possible means to prevent nuclear war.  Shouldn’t we consider in every nation major changes in the traditional ways of doing things, a fundamental restructuring of economic political social and religious institutions.  We’ve reached a point where there can be no more special interests or special cases, nuclear arms threaten every person on the Earth.  Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labelled impractical or contrary to human nature, as if nuclear war were practical or as if there’s only one human nature.  But fundamental changes can clearly be made, we’re surrounded by them.  In the last two centuries abject slavery which was with us for thousands of years has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring worldwide revolution.  Women, systematically mistreated for millennia are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied them and some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations.  The old appeals to racial, sexual, and religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalist fervor are beginning not to work.  A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed.  We are one planet.  One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the earth finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time.
    —    Carl Sagan
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Amid the talk of Earth’s shortcomings and the promise of space, I found myself committed to going down with the ship.  Ashes to ashes, feet of clay — I’m happy to weigh my weight in pounds if it means I can be rooted on Earth like my ancestors and all of our ancestors and even the word ancestor, and indeed every language and piece of writing and every single thought.  At the same time, the Milky Way of the mind, as Bezos and Musk present it, is an exciting and sustaining fantasy — a place of boundless love, indiscriminate hospitality, and infinite resources.  Very like the God that humans on Earth once invented, or the one who invented us.
    —    Viriginia Heffernan
From her article: “Love And Rockets: Why I’m Staying Put
Appearing in Wired Magazine, dtd: Jan 2019
This article also appears online at:  https://www.wired.com/story/infinite-space-utopia-cant-replicate-earths-humanity/
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The earth laughs in flowers.
   —    Ralph Waldo Emerson
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To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence.  Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields.  If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places.  At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you.  You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.
    —     Navarre Scott Momaday
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Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth.  He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience; to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it.  He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it.  He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind.  He ought to recollect the glare of the moon and the colors of the dawn and dusk.
   —    Navarre Scott Momaday
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