Every now and then I muse about philosophical notions and ponder our significance, and insignificance, in the context of the universe. (I'm old enough to still feel a little ripple of shock every time I remember that Earth's population has trebled in my lifetime.)
Bert from Eltham posted a link to one of his images, which got me thinking again. This is a small version of his photograph of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Click here to see Bert's full-sized photograph (9MB).
|Credit: Bert from Eltham|
In a similar vein, late last year I was inspired by the Carl Sagan lecture from AGU13, which I managed to locate on YouTube. Among other things, David Grinspoon described four kinds of planetary change. Particularly compelling were his categories 3 and 4, inadvertent change and intentional change.
If you watch it, I suggest the YouTube website version (it's a bit bigger), or better still in full screen mode, by clicking in the bottom right hand corner. You'll need to set aside about an hour to see it all, or 50 minutes if you skip the questions at the end.
I'll finish with the quote David Grinspoon provided towards the end of his lecture.
We hold the future still timidly, but perceive it for the first time, as a function of our own action. Having seen it, are we to turn away from something that offends the very nature of our earliest desires, or is the recognition of our new powers sufficient to change those desires into the service of the future which they will have to bring about?
J.D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh & the Devil;: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul (1929)