ten years ago today, we lost carl.
i was a teenager in the states in the 1970s when i became aware of carl sagan. i bought his books (one very sorry specimen is a copy of 'the dragons of eden' which i've abused by reading it about once every five years) [we are animals, too], saw the documentary [the universe is a wondrous place and humanity is part of it], and proceeded to be enlightened and inspired by this great scientist and teacher. his work has made me happy.
upon leaving the US, i carried my few possessions of his creation with me like treasures. few people where i am have even heard of him. i hadn't learned about his passing away until i dragged others with me to watch 'contact'. they wondered why i was crushed.
i started my blog this past summer just as i finished reading the first chapter of 'a demon haunted world'. it ends with:
'the method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.'
[science is a way of thinking]
sometime in november, a sunday paper offered dvds with 'cosmos' with subtitles in the local language -- and i was able to watch it with my daughter and a friend. after watching a couple of episodes one night, i dreamt i was happily seated somewhere next to him chatting about something that must've been very interesting. i remember smiling. the very next moment, his chair was empty, and i sort of leaned over to the right and lay on it and started sobbing. i woke up shaken and it took quite a while to relax and fall asleep again. what a feeling of loss.
i'm not an astronomer or biologist. architecture has little to do with cosmology or evolution -- but, as an ordinary, unremarkable person, i'm deeply interested in our place in the cosmos [carl's word]. i love learning about where i am [a pale blue dot at the boondocks of an ordinary galaxy] and feeling connected to other beings [we're starstuff after all].
in one post recently i wrote:
from what i can make out, we're basically all just one life form with a myriad of shapes and features. a minimalist mechanism -- evolution -- has given rise to endless variation. i wonder how strange life on other planets could be: what would be common and what alien. i wonder if we could recognize it as life at all.
imagine my surprise a couple of nights ago when i read this in 'the varieties of scientific experience':
'when you look more generally at life on earth, you find that it is all the same kind of life. there are not many different kinds; there's only one kind.'
'this then raises interesting questions about whether we have any idea of the possible range of life, of what could be elsewhere.'
i shouldn't have been surprised. carl taught me well.
submitted to the carl sagan memorial blog-a-thon