It’s that time again ^_^ Feels like it was only a few months ago that I was writing my last Carl Sagan Day entry! Here’s a quick picture to celebrate! I tried to capture the sense of wonder he always conveys in his public appearances.
It’s been a hectic year, and a rewarding one; as I was writing last year’s entry, I was beginning to form Signal in my mind (I really had no idea I’d been working on it that long), and now it’s finished and printed! It literally wouldn’t have happened without the influence I got from watching Cosmos and reading Sagan’s books.
There is something unabashedly special about the message that he communicates. Any number of philosophies, religions and ideologies offer an up-beat or grand future and an uncompromising vision of progress, so I was pondering, what’s special about the way Sagan talked about these things?
I think it’s that the uplifting message he offers doesn’t come at the expense of anything else. We’re not asked to ignore reality or to put aside our sense of wonder and awe, and we’re not tempted to sit back and let the future he envisions roll on without making our own effort. We’re not asked to discount certain ways of thinking arbitrarily, but to examine their comparative merits, and uncover how much truth they speak, and most importantly, to discover how we establish truth collectively. We’re asked to test, examine and look reality full in the face, with as few pre-conceptions as we can manage, and with an eye for uncomfortable facts as well as comfortable ones. All the reasons we need to live fulfilling lives that benefit the people around us are evident in the knowledge that we collectively gather and test – we just need to care enough to look deeply. The figures we turn to for authority should not just be those with words that please us, or persuade us, or gratify our sense of morality, but those with the most transparent evidence and the clearest reasoning to back up their claims.
Emotion, tempered by reason, reason, fuelled by emotion, and the will to follow the argument wherever it leads!