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Thnk: More Like Carl Sagan

Thnk: More Like Carl Sagan

Note: make sure to watch the video A Pale Blue Dot at the bottom of the post.

One of the most influential scientific figures of the 20th century, it's important to adopt an expansive and curious mindset toward the world. Here are some ways to do just that:


1. Cultivate a sense of wonder: Sagan was known for his ability to convey the awe-inspiring aspects of science to the public. To think more like him, try to cultivate a sense of wonder and amazement at the natural world around you.

2. Embrace skepticism: Sagan was a firm believer in scientific skepticism, which means questioning claims and ideas until they are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Embracing skepticism can help you think more critically and avoid taking information at face value.

3. Seek out knowledge: Sagan was a great advocate for education and lifelong learning. To emulate his intellectual curiosity, seek out knowledge through reading, attending lectures, and engaging with diverse perspectives.

4. Think big and be open-minded: Sagan was a big-picture thinker who saw the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. To think more like him, try to adopt a similarly open-minded and expansive viewpoint.

5. Communicate effectively: Sagan was a master communicator who was able to convey complex scientific ideas to a broad audience. To think more like him, work on your communication skills and find ways to make complex ideas accessible and understandable to others.


Carl Sagan was a renowned astronomer, cosmologist and science communicator who inspired generations with his views on science and the universe. He was an advocate for critical thinking and reason. He emphasized the idea that technical and scientific advancements are interconnected with our collective journey through the vast universe. Sagan's words did not only inspire new Saganisms, but they also influenced public perception and support of space exploration in America from the 1970s until his death in 1996. Apart from being an accomplished scientist, Sagan held multiple degrees, was a Harvard lecturer, Cornell University professor, and founder of the International Planetary Society. He played a significant role in the success of Mariner 2, the first interplanetary spacecraft, NASA's exploration of Mars, and authored hundreds of scientific papers. One of his famous quotes was "Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality." His ideas continue to impact the scientific community today.


These are some of our favorite quotes from Carl Sagan

1. "The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.”

2. “I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”

3. "The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena."

4. "We are all connected: To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe, atomically."

5. "In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie."

6. "We are made of star-stuff."

7. "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love."

8. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

9. "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."

10. "We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers."

11. "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars."

12. "A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."

13. "Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another."

14. "The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together."

15. "The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space."

16. "The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition."

17. "Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars."

18. "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

19. For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

20. We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.


The passage and video below is taken from the book Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, where he wrote about an image captured by Voyager 1 on 14 February 1990. At Sagan's direction, the spacecraft turned around to take one last glimpse of its native planet as it departed from our solar system's periphery.

The image was taken when the Voyager 1 was approximately 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away from Earth, and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. Though it was taken too close to the Sun, the image portrays Earth as a small point of light with a crescent shape, measuring only 0.12 pixels in size.


A Pale Blue Dot


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.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


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