“Our small planet, at this moment, here we face a critical point in history. What we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity, we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. To enhance enormously our understanding of the universe, and to carry us to the stars.”
-Carl Sagan, 1980.
“In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of “world history”—yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.”
“One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it.”
“What, indeed, does man know of himself! Can he even once perceive himself completely, laid out as if in an illuminated glass case? Does not nature keep much the most from him, even about his body, to spellbind and confine him in a proud, deceptive consciousness, far from the coils of the intestines, the quick current of the blood stream, and the involved tremors of the fibers? She threw away the key; and woe to the calamitous curiosity which might peer just once through a crack in the chamber of consciousness and look down, and sense that man rests upon the merciless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous, in the indifference of his ignorance—hanging in dreams, as it were, upon the back of a tiger. In view of this, whence in all the world comes the urge for truth?”
It is dubious as to whether we can survive the end of the sun, which is several billions of years into the future, and frankly I think the demolition we are doing on this planet may well take us down in the next few centuries, or just 100 years. Of course maybe we can still do something about this; maybe it is still not too late. Of course I find it interesting how people seem determined to cling to their fantasies about eternal salvation through their petition to a God, but are not able to face the reality around us.
I always thought the movie “Bladerunner” caught most accurately aspects of our modern condition, a world very advanced, but also fragmented and close to some edge of oblivion. The music by Vangelis caught to mood of it as well. This movie was based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” which had a much the same theme.
“All those moments we lost in time, like tears in the rain.” Lawrence B. Crowell