About Me

Hello! You can call me Bluejay, because that’s as good a name as any. This is a personal blog about humanism, religion, science, skepticism, culture, libraries, literature, New York City (where I live), and anything else that happens to attract my wandering thoughts. I’m no expert on any of these subjects, but I like to read and watch and think and order my thoughts on a page. If you gain anything from my woolgathering, then I’m glad. And if you’re more knowledgeable than I am about something I’ve written, by all means, please set me straight. Feel free to leave a comment here, or email me at astrobluejay at gmail dot com.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Earth, as photographed in 1990 by Voyager 1, from beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto

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.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

[…]

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

— Carl Sagan