The Wisdom of Carl Sagan:  The World’s Problems from the Perspective of Outer Space

A lot has happened in the world during the past few weeks. In the U.S., police have served as both the perpetrators and victims in several widely publicized shootings. In France, a terrorist killed scores of people as he plowed into a large crowd gathered at a promenade in Nice. Throughout several countries in the Middle East, a string of bombings has left hundreds dead (this hardly got reported).

In times like these, it’s important to seek uplift; to choose not wallow in fear or submit to cynicism. Mainstream news can make this challenging since it’s often hard to find anything positive to hold onto. Death unfortunately, tends to sell more copy than hope. This is why I like to have positive resources at the ready. I keep a running folder of stored articles and videos that I add to regularly. I cycle through these when the world seems to be disintegrating to keep my perspective in balance.

One of my favorites is an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. I revisit this video a few times each year when I need a reminder to take a look at the world from a distant vantage point. This is a short video that packs a lot of wisdom into few words.

Sagan reminds us to stay humble–truly humble–in the face of our world’s problems. He reminds us that all of the things we kill and hate for seem absurd when you look at the world from the perspective of space, thousands of miles away. The Earth, a pale blue dot orbiting around a nearby star among billions of others, is the only home we have. We need to learn how to share it better.

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