Remembering Carl Sagan: “We Are the Custodians of Life’s Meaning”

We lost Carl Sagan on this day, seventeen years ago. It was only in the last few years that I have discovered his voice and his wisdom. And I wanted to share one of the best compilations in his memory, compiled by Reid Grower and simply titled The Sagan Series. It’s a series of ten YouTube videos with Sagan narrating the wonder of our planet, space exploration, and our life’s purpose.

My favourite is probably the first video, which to this day, is still the best encapsulation of why man should and will venture out into space.

But my favorite quote probably comes from the third video, titled “A Reassuring Fable.” In it, Sagan notes on the meaning of life:

We long to be here for a purpose. Even though, despite much self-deception, none is evident. The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning.

He goes on to say:

We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better, by far, to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable…If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.

Amen.

Regardless of where you stand in the religion/science spectrum, The Sagan Series is the best thing you can watch today.

3 thoughts on “Remembering Carl Sagan: “We Are the Custodians of Life’s Meaning”

  1. I have this sterling silver band on my middle finger on my right hand. On the outside it is hand engraved with the old city of Jerusalem and on the inside it has my full initials with a quote in Hebrew by Carl. It says ‘across the sea of space, the stars are other suns.” I never take it off (unless I am swimming in a river where it could slip off or jet skiing — water activities in general, I try to remember to take it off). It reminds me that even when I feel alone or think that life is small and insignificant, that maybe it is not so small and insignificant and that these thoughts are fleeting and occasionally silly. I have read almost everything and see every video or show that he was in. The Varieties of the Scientific Experience is my favorite.

    Here is a PDF of the book if you would like to check it out.

    http://yanko.lib.ru/books/natural/sagan_varieties_of_scientific_experience-en=8L.pdf

    • >On the outside it is hand engraved with the old city of Jerusalem and on the inside it has my full initials with a quote in Hebrew by Carl
      Is there a picture of this silver band somewhere online? I imagine there is.

      >It reminds me that even when I feel alone or think that life is small and insignificant, that maybe it is not so small and insignificant and that these thoughts are fleeting and occasionally silly
      That’s an astute way to think about it. I don’t think you’re alone in how you think, Loren.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s