My Idol

We are destructive by nature. Since we have been able to walk upright, we have continued to betray one another for our own gain or pleasure. The Library of Alexandria, which was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world, didn’t collapse on its own. For centuries, different cultures received the blame for destroying the largest collection of books the world had ever seen. Why? Why would someone commit such an atrocity? Is it because the society and culture of their time was barbaric? or did Rome feel threatened by intelligent individuals who wanted knowledge to spread? Or possibly the Muslim army destroyed the library because the ideas in the books were opposed to the Quran? We may never know the truth about who destroyed the library, but what we do know is that an immeasurable amount of information was destroyed when the library fell. Who knows where we could have been if the library still stood today. Maybe Einstein’s theory of relativity would have been thought of centuries earlier, inevitably sending us into space much earlier than the 1960’s. Despite all the possibilities I could list, we still live in a world where barbarism still governs several lands. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Assad, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and not to mention fucking racism. How long will it be till we can live peacefully with one another and advance our civilization further than we ever imagined?

 

I believe Carl Sagan said it best,

“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 posturings, 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.”