I nicked this from Tumblr about half an hour ago, although the original article is from February. Here's the linked article:
It’s the twentieth anniversary of the famous “pale blue dot” photo – Earth as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system (approximately 3,762,136,324 miles from home). Sagan’s words are always worth remembering: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 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. 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.
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.
If I was a braver person, I would shove this piece in the faces of so so many people in my life. No, soandso, I don't really care that thisotherperson is behaving like that. It's called a personality; we've all got one, and certainly many have thought of you what you think of soandso. That's what humanity is, a series of ups and downs viewed and shaped by the countless creatures that walk this earth. We can't go back and fix any of our ancestor's "mistakes", and even if we could we probably wouldn't; for all the bad things we've done in the past, they've shaped us into alright people. Sure, we probably didn't need all that effort into mastering and perfecting the arts of maiming and killing people, but perhaps without shooting ourselves in the foot we wouldn't have learned to save ourselves when we stub our toes along the riverbeds. I mean, yeah it sucks that we can't watch that show on our fancy big televisions because laws keep it across an ocean, and yeah it sucks that people forget how to drive in the rain. But when you ever take a moment, be it stopping and watching the clouds shift in the sky, or counting stars at dusk, or watching a piano-playing car enthusiast fly high enough into the Earth's atmosphere to see the curve of the planet, you realize that all those tiny little problems really don't matter
. You become a kid again and wonder what else is out there, and hope that what you've contributed to your little blue dot in the solar system is enough to make it an okay place for the next ones to come along. You only live once, right? Make it worth your while.