“I believe that all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed.”
— H.H. The Dalai Lama
(Photo taken several days ago by Seth L. Taylor. Pai, Thailand, 2017)
Another Thought, This One From Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot
Once the Voyager 1 spacecraft had hurtled past Saturn astronomer Carl Sagan convinced the research team to have the spacecraft rotate backwards to take a retreating photo of Earth as it appeared on February 14, 1990. At that great distance the Earth – all we know and are on this planet – was a simple pale blue dot against the backdrop of endless space. His comments on the significance of the Pale Blue Dot – “the only home we’ve ever known” – carries great wisdom, grounded in reality.
If only our leaders – and our species – could look upon the gift we have been given with but a fragment of Sagan’s wisdom.
Here is the full text of Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”
“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. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
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,
Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays From All Of Us At
The Commoner Call.