The Fraction of a Dot

by Urban Samurai on April 29, 2011

This picture is of Earth, taken by a satellite in 1990, from the edge of the solar system.

This is an incredible piece by Carl Sagan called The Pale Blue Dot. Most of these words in the first half of this are his, but I altered it to lessen the theme of astronomy, and put more emphasis on what we can take away from it.

‘From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. 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 hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization. Every young couple in love, every mother and father, and hopeful child. Every inventor and explorer, teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

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.

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. We are not many different, we are one. The image of this dot casts aside feelings of racism, of hate, of anger. We’re all on the same team. All living very similar lives. All praying to the same God, just calling him a different name.

Consider your personal fraction of this dot. The space you take up is almost nothing. Understand this when you size up your problems, when you evaluate the power of your enemies, and the gravity of your situation in life.

There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. The vastness of infinity out there. And you’re telling me that the obstacles in front of you, stopping you from getting what you want here on Earth…are too big? Look at that dot again. The goal you want to achieve on this small planet…is too far out of your reach?

Everything is within your grasp on this tiny, pale blue dot.