The Pale Blue Dot
Astronomer Carl Sagan's YouTube video gives musical theater student Allison Schwartz some perspective.
On a clear, crisp summer night, few things rank as awesome as stargazing. I marvel at the vastness of the universe as I sink into the grass on my little towel in a little corner of the universe. When I take the time to think about the Earth and its place in the magnitude of the Milky Way and beyond, I cannot help but selfishly feel like our planet is so much more monumental than the others. Until I saw astronomer Carl Sagan's YouTube video "The Pale Blue Dot," I had never thought about what planet Earth looks like from the other stars' and planets' point of view. I couldn't believe that the Pale Blue Dot floating in blackness was us. Every human being to ever exist—just another "speck in the sky."
Freaked out? Yeah, I was too. So, after watching the humbling, yet frightening video, I sat and I sat and I thought about what could possibly be the meaning behind the madness that had just unraveled before me. And, from a wooden chair floating in this sprinkle in space, I have reached two very different, yet positive conclusions about this distant vantage point we all call home:
1. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
One of my mother's mantras that I am really working hard to embody. As a histrionic, melodramatic Musical Theatre student, I easily get flustered and caught up with negligent hoopla. Like what shirt matches with what shoes. Or why I did not get cast in a show. But why do I do that? Why do WE do that? From the image of this suspended speck, our obsession with self-deprecation and egoism is nowhere in evidence. We are simply too small in the scheme of the universe to waste this beautiful opportunity for life we were all given harping on such negative thoughts. We are all victims of this destructive energy, and there are so many bigger battles to be fought. So when your hair frizzes out in the rain before you make it to your audition, life will go on, and the universe will forgive you for your frizzy hair. Which leads me to my #2…
2. This Speck Is All We've Got. Live It Up.
Life is a rare gift and blessing. And on this measly pinpoint suspended in darkness, lays every piece of history we have ever read or been told. And everyone you have ever loved—yup, you guessed it—on this dust speck too. We are the present and we are the future. The survival of our planet resides in our hands, and all of that power is exhilarating. Embrace every opportunity and fight for the positive in even the lowest of situations. Any small act of kindness or courage could turn into something huge. This enigma of gas and dust gives life to the only evidence of a fully developed life in this universe. So even though we live on this barely distinguishable speck, we have the power to change the world. Or even the universe. We are the painters of this canvas. So grab your paintbrush, and get creative.
You can either be stuck on this pale blue dot, or you can live on it. The choice is yours.