Hurtling away from our solar system at a speed of 47,000 miles per hour, Voyager 1 spacecraft was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth. From this distance, Earth appears as a mere point of light enveloped by the expanse of space; and belittling as it may be, this is our true place in the universe.
This notion is difficult to deal with. Many of us seek refuge in the multitude of human constructs ranging from confident religions and ideologies to economic doctrines. But even though these constructs offer us temporary solace, we still face the overarching fact that we inhabit a mere point of light in a vast cosmic ocean which was not made for us.
Now you may be thinking that I am merely a nihilist – one who sees life as having little intrinsic meaning or purpose. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I feel the need to introduce this perspective, because I firmly believe that only when we are stripped of our imagined self-importance and the delusion that we have a privileged position in the universe, can we find a truly noble purpose.
Now imagine that an outside observer came to survey the Earth, and since this is his first time visiting, he only understands the objective aspects of our planet. What would this outside observer notice about the human species?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I believe the first thing he would notice is our physical differences such as skin color, hair color, height, weight, etc.
But then what? For all the attention we give to our physical differences, for the most part we look and behave exactly the same. We all have mouths to eat with, ears to hear with, eyes to see with, and so on.
So maybe the better question is, “What wouldn’t he see?”
Well, he would struggle to see the differing political ideologies in which we steadfastly associate with. He would struggle to see the differences between our religions. He would struggle to see the nationalism that causes wars. He would struggle to see the economic doctrines we firmly attest to.
Thus, I ask you, citizen of planet Earth, would you be proud to give this outside observer a tour of our planet? Yes, we as a species have produced incredible technology, we have cured diseases, and we have flown to the Moon. Many of us even have the privilege to live comfortably. But are you still proud of us?
Let’s consider again that dot from Voyager’s photo. That is here, that is home, that is us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you have ever heard of, every human being that ever was, lived out their lives on this mote of dust.
Now think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel by the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Yet in all of this obscurity and vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. Like it or not, for the moment, Earth is where we make our stand.
To advance forward, we must reconsider our personal dispositions. We must let go of hateful ideologies, we must review our economic doctrines, we must renew trust in our fellow man, and we cannot and should not blindly accept ideology as truth.
That pale blue dot underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with others and to cherish the only home we have ever known, Earth. This is our noble purpose. This is something we can be proud of.
I feel the need to pay tribute to the famous astronomer and philosopher, Carl Sagan, for his inspiration in writing this piece. For those of you who haven’t yet read any of Sagan’s works, I highly recommend it. May he rest in peace.
 Carl Sagan Pale Blue Dot
By: Jeremy Lash
(Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video under a Creative Commons License)