September 7, 2011

Our Place In Nature

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.

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. - Carl Sagan

O Nature:  From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return. - Marcus Aurelius (121-189AD)

Life is neither a good nor an evil; it is simply the place where good and evil exist. - Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman (1BC - 65AD)

It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known. Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. - Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is exactly the opposite. - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.  It is from them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.  - Jeremy Bentham (1738-1842), English, jurist, philosopher, Introduction to the Principal of Morals and Legislation

Our Closest Living Relatives:
Chimpanzee - Pan troglodytes
Photo credit:  Picture Taker 2/Flickr

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