Pale Blue Dot

A rabbi once wrote that every man should carry two stones in his pocket. On one should be inscribed “I am but dust and ashes.” On the other, “For my sake the world was created.” Today I am writing about the first stone.

A light year is defined as how far light can travel in a single year. To give you an idea of how big a number this is, light can travel around the world’s equator 7.5 times in a single second. Our galaxy is 27,000 light years across. Which is pretty big, but consider this: The Milky Way is one of 100 billion known galaxies in the universe.

When you look out into the night sky, you can only see 0.000003% percent of the Milky Way; that is .000003% of 1 galaxy in 100 billion. Let that resonate for a moment.

At the request of astronomer Carl Sagan, Voyager 1, as it was leaving the solar system, turned it’s camera around and took one last photograph of earth, which you can see at the top of this post. Sagan wrote of the photo in his book: “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, or weighed down by the stresses in your life, find a moment to look at this picture and put it into perspective.


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