We are: A Mote of Dust, Suspended in a Sunbeam

Who are you?

If I were to ask you that question, what would you answer?

Most probably, you would tell me your name, age, career. You might then describe your hobbies, your struggles, and even your goals.

But we often forget the bigger picture: our role in this brotherhood of humanity, who we are in the family of things.

Sometimes, when life gets really busy, I had to stop and remind myself: let’s not get too caught up in your own world. Because regardless of who we are and what our situation seems to be… remember that the earth and the universe are so much bigger than us.

When was the last time you look at your life and try to discover a purpose greater than going through the motions of everyday’s work?

It is folly to concentrate on our short-lived achievements or momentary despairs if we forget about the bigger picture. The earth is like a mote of dust, compared to the vastness of the universe. And what does that make us?

But perhaps, if we try to reach out to one another and try to be a blessing from the little that we have… then we might be able to discover something of a greater significance: a life that is worth living for.

A life, worth remembering.

mote of dust

“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 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. 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.

“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.

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

“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


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