When celebrating Earth, I’m always reminded of two things:
1) We’re all citizens of this planet, so let us stop calling other humans “illegal.” And
2) Without Earth, there’s no us — let’s do all we can to keep it clean and take better care of it.
Astronomer Carl Sagan’s beautiful famous words on Earth, Pale Blue Dot, are a good reminder of our place in the vast Universe.
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.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
Striking and humbling. Happy Earth Day!
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
How true, yet unfortunately, we tend not to use them wisely.
Those were the heart wrenching last words a friend dying of cancer said to me. It wasn’t the whole conversation, but those words exactly — words of complete acceptance and resignation — are the ones that I remember, and always will.
He occasionally worked as a bartender and was telling me about his mixology techniques while he mixed me a drink. I wish I remembered what was in that drink, but I was too focused on fighting back tears. I honestly didn’t know how to go about it; how to comfort a person due to pass away within the next few days. So I just went with the flow of anything he said. Inevitably, the subject (his illness) came up. All I know is he cared deeply for his mother. She was his major concern. He really didn’t want her to suffer once he was gone.
“I try to tell her,” he said. “It is what it is.”
Blew me away. He had to accept at such young age (mid-twenties) the fact that he couldn’t change his circumstances. Death was essentially waiting for him across the room and he wasn’t at all terrified. Or at least he put on a hell of a brave face for his mother’s sake. He left this world a few weeks after that conversation.
All my life I’ve avoided going to wakes and funerals as much as possible. Not mean — just weak in the heart! But his…I had to, I wanted to. I was touched by his words. Other than accepting things that we really cannot change, he was another lesson that life can be too, too short and we must truly live it our way while we can.
Every time I see or hear these words now, I remember him. It also reminds me that, if nothing else, positivity can help us cope and face the toughest of all fights. May he keep resting in peace.
It would be easy to become a victim of our circumstances and continue feeling sad, scared or angry; or instead, we could choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies, and not let ourselves sink into it.
― Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
–Version written by Eric Roth – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay
Great movie, great quote. I keep coming back to these words when searching for motivation and inspiration. Never fails.