Friday, December 22, 2006

Carl Sagan blog-a-thon

Joel Schlosberg has launched a Carl Sagan blog-a-thon to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Sagan's passing on December 20.

I've been trying to write something about Carl Sagan ever since Trev and I received the 25th anniversary Cosmos DVD set. I got obsessed with it, watching the disks literally every night for several months. This was during the height of W. madness, the fascist cult of personality and war delirium that is only beginning to abate. (The war itself, of course, looks to be escalating.) I remember thinking how much we need Carl Sagan, now more than ever. Various folks are playing some of his roles, with decent success--Brian Greene on astronomy, Al Gore on global warming--but I can't think of anyone who has celebrated human reason with such passion. The first five minutes of Cosmos make it clear that understanding science, harnessing humanity's powers to explore our universe, engenders far more reverence for the universe than any religious teaching. The Bible, while containing some interesting stories, is static. Seeking answers in the same stories over and over is a travesty of our human potential. Unless we continue to look up and out we are stunted. In the middle of the Cold War, heading into Reagan's free-for-all of ignorance and selfishness, Sagan was goofily optimistic, delighting in what humans have achieved and what we have yet to find out. In Leonardo Da Vinci's workshop, he sketched out a spaceship that would support life for the generations it would take to travel to the nearest stars.

I still pull out a Cosmos disk at random every month or so. I think for me it's a kind of prayer.

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