The pale blue dot and revolutions

30 Dec

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just writing. Help me work this out will you? I don’t have anything I’m trying to prove, or some preconceived end conclusion that I’m trying to build an argument for. I’m just writing.

All my life I’ve wanted a cause. I’ve wanted something to belong to, some type of mission or quest with companions who would risk their lives for me and vice versa. I guess that’s why I’m such a sucker for revolution stories and stories that feature a strong bond between two or more people. Books like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Harry Potter series, and now The Hunger Games. Stories like these feature a small band of people, willing to sacrifice their lives for one-another while fighting for some common cause, even if that cause is each other. I can’t think of anything more intimate.

Nothing would make me happier than to have that kind of bond with someone, though I’m feeling I’m drifting into the topic for a different post. Back on course.

I guess I’m having trouble finding a cause, or more importantly, difficulty determining if there even exists such a worthy cause for me to find in the first place. I keep thinking of Carl Sagan’s “Pale blue dot”. I want to focus on a few words, but for those of you who haven’t heard it, or forget, here it is in full:

The words that strike me most in this context are:

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.


I remember these lines and then think of some hypothetical cause I could be fighting for. What’s the point? Am I not just fighting over a corner of a pixel like everyone else? Some might counter that I’m fighting for a better world for myself and future generations, yet some part of me says that this will never happen. People have been fighting for a better world for their children since the dawn of time. Their children just grow up into adults who commit the same atrocities on their fellow human beings, thus keeping us in a constant state of “fighting for a better tomorrow”, like a hamster in a wheel.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s overly cynical. I want desperately to believe in something like that. I want a cause, something I can feel sure about. Something to give me direction, a purpose.

I hope that my salvation lies somewhere within the knowledge that this is the only life I have, and that maybe that is something worth fighting for.

But I haven’t quite worked that out yet…

2 Responses to “The pale blue dot and revolutions”

  1. Ryan January 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    An interesting post, GodlessPaladin…

    If you’re looking for a cause I think two examples to consider are Achilles and Hector in The Iliad. Achilles strives for (and arguably attains) eternal glory at the expense of horrendous bloodshed in a meaningless war. On the other hand, Hector takes an honorable stand against innumerable odds for the sake of his family and his city but is mostly forgotten.

    As you identified in your post, those who have attained glory on this pale blue dot are perhaps the worst of our kind. Glory for it’s own sake seems to make monsters out of us and if you are honorable you will likely be the very first of us to die and be forgotten.

    But, no matter how it might be afflicted, the honorable cause seems to be the one worth dying for.

  2. Patrick January 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    “There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere, that can save us from ourselves.”

    This is my life’s goal, that by living I might help humanity save itself from itself. That by pumping some love and happiness into this reality, I might propagate those values, and that by my writings I may help incise a greater human experience for the next generation. I may well be forgotten in 3 generations, but the good that I cause will go forth.

    Good luck Dustin. Lookout on facebook for some drinks for my birthday. then your purpose will be to get me home safe.

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