Our Cosmos

Tonight, I was reminded that the Science Channel was holding a marathon of the Carl Sagan series The Cosmos.  Finding myself home alone with dog and beer, I happily nestle in to watch.  And though I doubtlessly enjoy it, I feel at a loss.  How, given the degree of my fascination with the subjects of space, astronomy, and astrophysics, am I not constantly submerging myself in it?  Why does it take a few provocative questions on a TV show to spur my thinking about concepts and theories that have enchanted my imagination since I was a child?  I wonder how I so easily lose sight of what I hold so dear.  And as I watch episode after episode, I feel as though I am in church.  Struck dumb by the very elegant and grand ideas set forth- ones that, despite Sagan’s insistence that ‘extraordinary ideas require extraordinary science,’ require extraordinary FAITH. 

In the final episode of the series, “Who speaks for Earth,” Sagan describes several examples of first encounters.  First encounters with different cultures and civilizations, as well as first encounters with ideas.  He poses the question of how our world will be represented in its first encounter with another.  He narrates the episode from a simulation of the Alexandria library- a library that no longer exists and which was, according to his account, ultimately destroyed in part by religious zealots seeking to eradicate the ‘heathen’ (aka scientific) influence threatening to contradict the adolscent Christianity.  Drawing a parallel, he speaks of the countless number of people devoted to religion and mysticism, as opposed to those comparative few devoted to science- which has never had the mass appeal of religious fanaticism.  He adamantly warns of the dangers of a world in which science is forsaken due to fear and ignorance, arresting the advancement of technology and new discoveries.  And as I listen to his ostensible and contextually reaonsable condemnation of religion, I can’t help but wonder if his commentary would carry the same level of derision were it composed towards the end of his life.  Though Sagan never embraced a formal religion or common concept of God, he pruportedly became spiritual in his final years.  Though not scientific, one might wonder if he made an important personal discovery at that time- one of faith.   

This seems to be such an important lesson for us all.  It particularly resonates with me tonight.  What may we learn when we let go of our predispositions, fears, and demons?  While Sagan’s words take on a spiritual character due to the scale and import of their subject, they inevitably apply in our everyday lives and actions- and though our lives may be comparatively trivial and insignificant, the impact of this lesson is great.  Bad decisions made in fear are not characteristic of religious fanatics alone.  To the contrary, good decisions may be made solely on the basis of faith.  Thus, whether it be the search for extraterristrial life, the acceptance of spirituality, or a simple emotional revelation, we must always be mindful of what may be missed if we allow ourselves to succumb to our fears.  Be it a radio signal from Vega or a surprise phone call from a loved one, here’s to the discoveries that are made through small leaps of faith.        


~ by ladamesansregrets on June 23, 2008.

2 Responses to “Our Cosmos”

  1. Mighty Oak. “Behold also the ships which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.” James 3:4.
    What a great truth and encouragement this is for us all, we may at times feel very small and insignificant, but God see’s us as a rudder that He can use to guide His church. Our Lord still uses His twelve disciples to reach entire nations, even today, for the words that He put into their mouths is still heard throughout the whole world, and although sometimes His church seems to go off course, yet these words which were given to His disciples soon puts His church back on course, praise the Lord.
    Do you remember how Jesus used a little boy’s basket which contained two fish and five loaves of bread, which He gave to His disciples, who then gave them to the multitudes for they had multiplied? Yes, through His disciples even today He feeds His church, how wonderful our God is. Now, you may feel very small and insignificant, but if you could only see yourself as God sees you, then you would indeed see that you to can be a rudder on God’s great cruise liner, or you could see yourself with that basket which can feed multitudes.
    I am also reminded of a small seed which when it falls to the ground it soon germinates and comes alive and grows up into a mighty oak. So, let us never feel that we are too small for God, for our Lord has always done great things with people who were in this world eyes, as nothing and made them something, praise the Lord.
    Just see who our Lord has used in the Bible to touch nations and kingdoms from those who came from such humble beginnings. Moses, a son of a Hebrew slave, King David, from a shepherd boy, St Peter, a fisherman, and St Paul, a humble tent maker, and many more the list just goes on and on. So, you see, we must never feel that we are insignificant, for God see’s us as magnificent, praise the Lord

    “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 1Corinthians 1:26,27.


  2. I remember watching Cosmos back in 1980. I was in 8th grade. Even way back the Carl was warning aboput the dangers of Global warming.

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