Insights from Carl Sagan: From ET to Religion

Posted on August 1, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What would extraterrestrials really be like? Are we as advanced as we think we are? What is our place in the galaxy? Can religion have any answers for us?

Sometimes we need a voice from the past to remind us where our future is headed. For these big questions, we turn to the much-beloved astronomer Carl Sagan for some thought provoking answers.

Image: Carl Sagan in front of an image of planets. Insights from Carl Sagan.
Source: NASA // COSMOS STUDIOS

The video we bring you today is from the fantastic series Blank on Blank, a project that takes long forgotten interviews with cultural icons and sets them to animation. So many of the insights in these interviews are as relevant today as they were when they were first recorded. This interview with Carl Sagan from October of 1985 is no exception.

First aired on Studs Terkel’s radio program, Sagan’s interview probes into our ideas of who we are in a universe with other life.

Here are some insights from Carl Sagan…

So really, where are we in the grander scheme of things?

Are we as advanced as we think we are? Is the hubris causing so much strife on this planet really worth it? Could we, as an advanced species, stand to be more humble?

Sometimes, I look at the problems on this planet, from war, to poverty, to climate change and think “Is this really how far we’ve made it after 200,000 years?” And sure, this can be a disheartening thought, but these insights from Carl Sagan help to put our place in perspective.

We ARE just toddlers when it comes to using the technologies we have created. We know so little, and there is so much out there to discover! This is not the pinnacle of human society, we are still just at the beginning.

Perhaps we should put our place in the broader scheme of things into context more often. If we looked at our place in history and realized we are just writing the first chapters of the book, maybe we would be more inclined to work toward the future good. Maybe, we would more readily be reaching out to educate ourselves and solve greater problems. Maybe, we could see that our incessant fighting over opinions on issues we are still too uneducated to fully understand isn’t worth so much of time.

The more we seek to expand ourselves, our intellect, our media consumption, the more we can move toward a future that is better for us as a whole.

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

P.S. Here’s a few more insights from Carl Sagan…

This video was curated from a slightly longer interview with Sagan and if you can’t get enough of listening to this cultural and scientific icon I recommend you give this a listen!

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