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What really matters?

Posted: March 25th, 2008, 11:35 pm
by Scott
The dot in this picture is Earth:

Image

Of the picture, astronomer Carl Sagan said the following:
Carl Sagan wrote: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 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. 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.

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.
Looking at a picture like that can be humbling. I think most of the time it makes us think that we are "unimportant" or mostly "meaningless" in comparison to the vastness of the universe.

Many people look at it and say, why does what happens on Earth matter? What is important about the events on this relatively minuscule pebble?

What do you think? Why does it matter?

I think it matters to us. 'Importance' is relative and subjective. It does not matter much to me or to us what is going on in some other planet millions of light years away. But consider what happens to ourselves, our friends, our families, our fellow humans, the future of our kind, and even the creatures on this planet; that matters to us. That's what we live and work for. Some may think some god or such gave these concerns and values to us through his own concerns and values; I think it was just evolution. But it does not matter much what gave it to us; either way, we have these concerns, and those concerns determine what matters to us.

Whatever the reason, I love being alive, I love myself, I love my friends, I love humanity, and I love loving these things. That's what matters to me. And I think most people feel the same.

Re: What really matters?

Posted: March 26th, 2008, 7:42 pm
by MrK
Scott wrote:Many people look at it and say, why does what happens on Earth matter? Why is important about the events on this relatively minuscule pebble?
It seems to me that the people who think this have not got an appreciation for life. Someone with an appreciation would also have an attachment, and the idea that because God seems ludicrous, (as it becomes easier to see God as an invention when viewing that picture) existence also seems absurd and ultimately meaningless, does not truly occur to these people who value life. In other words, perhaps those people who question the value of existence on seeing something like that picture, did not appreciate their existence in the first place!

Re: What really matters?

Posted: March 27th, 2008, 3:05 pm
by anarchyisbliss
MrK wrote:
Scott wrote:Many people look at it and say, why does what happens on Earth matter? Why is important about the events on this relatively minuscule pebble?
It seems to me that the people who think this have not got an appreciation for life. Someone with an appreciation would also have an attachment, and the idea that because God seems ludicrous, (as it becomes easier to see God as an invention when viewing that picture) existence also seems absurd and ultimately meaningless, does not truly occur to these people who value life. In other words, perhaps those people who question the value of existence on seeing something like that picture, did not appreciate their existence in the first place!
That may be true in some cases but I question the value of existence and still appreciate mine and others.

Re: What really matters?

Posted: March 28th, 2008, 5:24 pm
by morning_glow
anarchyisbliss wrote:
MrK wrote: It seems to me that the people who think this have not got an appreciation for life.
That may be true in some cases but I question the value of existence and still appreciate mine and others.
I think that by seeing this picture, earth's troubles do look meaningless. But that, in my mind, is a good thing. When the concerns of other people, over centuries, shrink to the size of ants, i am filled with a sense of myself, as i sit here looking at the picture. What falls away is the influence of other people, who past, present, and future will be on that little dot, while i as a person, in this moment, come into focus.

Life might be meaningless when i look at that picture, but a feeling of self awareness comes over me.

Maybe people don't know what to do without all those inluences touching up against them, when they look at that picture and it all falls away to the size of a pea. They gain self awareness, but aren't what they had always thought they were; they aren't all these other things or people that have now shrunk out of the picture. It's through this realization of meaninglessness of the earth, and the people that live on it, that we gain ourselves.

when it comes down to it, what I am saying is that you can still question the importance of life on earth, and still maybe have an appreciation of life. Maybe through depreciating others, what you have to gain is the appreciation of your own life.

scott did origionally say:

"Whatever the reason, I love being alive, I love myself, I love my friends, I love humanity, and I love loving these things. That's what matters to me."

That's a lot of "I's", all coming from looking at that picture.

anyone, agree/disagree?

Re: What really matters?

Posted: March 28th, 2008, 9:23 pm
by anarchyisbliss
morning_glow wrote:
anarchyisbliss wrote: That may be true in some cases but I question the value of existence and still appreciate mine and others.
I think that by seeing this picture, earth's troubles do look meaningless. But that, in my mind, is a good thing. When the concerns of other people, over centuries, shrink to the size of ants, i am filled with a sense of myself, as i sit here looking at the picture. What falls away is the influence of other people, who past, present, and future will be on that little dot, while i as a person, in this moment, come into focus.

Life might be meaningless when i look at that picture, but a feeling of self awareness comes over me.

Maybe people don't know what to do without all those inluences touching up against them, when they look at that picture and it all falls away to the size of a pea. They gain self awareness, but aren't what they had always thought they were; they aren't all these other things or people that have now shrunk out of the picture. It's through this realization of meaninglessness of the earth, and the people that live on it, that we gain ourselves.

when it comes down to it, what I am saying is that you can still question the importance of life on earth, and still maybe have an appreciation of life. Maybe through depreciating others, what you have to gain is the appreciation of your own life.

scott did origionally say:

"Whatever the reason, I love being alive, I love myself, I love my friends, I love humanity, and I love loving these things. That's what matters to me."

That's a lot of "I's", all coming from looking at that picture.

anyone, agree/disagree?
I agree I did feel very self aware when I saw it

Re: What really matters?

Posted: March 29th, 2008, 3:17 pm
by morning_glow
anarchyisbliss wrote: I agree I did feel very self aware when I saw it


Wow...it's very cool that you see that too, thanks! :o

Posted: April 19th, 2008, 5:40 pm
by Samhains
Well if that be is, this human becoming on this little speck of dust floating in the sun beam, the window to the universe if you will...

Then I think what matters most is what you put into the light...

Posted: April 19th, 2008, 6:03 pm
by anarchyisbliss
i was polishing my hardwood floors today and I realized that I enjoy my miniscule existence no matter how unimportant my role may be in the universe

Posted: May 27th, 2008, 1:37 pm
by ScaaMOOSE
That original post was brilliant.

Posted: May 28th, 2008, 12:30 am
by nameless
There is nothing in existence that is not called into existence by the observation of Consciousness. We are that Perspective of Consciousness that 'differentiates' the undifferentiated potential of Mind (quantum 'possibility' wave field).
(It is by our 'eyes' and 'ears' that the 'falling tree' makes 'sound'.)
Its all Perspective...

Posted: May 28th, 2008, 5:51 am
by gimal
what really matters is a personal thing

Posted: May 28th, 2008, 10:20 am
by Samhains
gimal wrote:what really matters is a personal thing
Thats selfish...dont be selfish. :D

:arrow: What really matters is invisible to the eye.

Posted: June 3rd, 2008, 12:49 pm
by iron
To say that "what really matters is a personal thing" (gimal) does not seem selfish to me. You can not better society until you better yourself, so first and for most you must look at yourself. When you are happy with you only then can you truly help others.

Posted: June 3rd, 2008, 12:54 pm
by Samhains
iron wrote:To say that "what really matters is a personal thing" (gimal) does not seem selfish to me. You can not better society until you better yourself, so first and for most you must look at yourself. When you are happy with you only then can you truly help others.
This is not correct in the philosophy of the Buddha. The Philosophy of the buddha dictates this:

"To act from the self, and not for the self"

this is the act of love,
and is the only true action that will bring peice of mind; thus bettering youself though action, action which is not for the self, but from the self -The True self.

We are part of the world, better the world around you, you better yourself. Cause and effect.

Posted: June 3rd, 2008, 9:35 pm
by nameless
The notion of 'matter' as used here seems to be on a continuum. 'Matters' how much? This much? THIS much?
And, to whom?

Sagan has his opinions and perspective...
One can also look from the 'other end of the telescope' and understand that the entire universe of the moment must be included in one's definition of 'self'. All is truly One. Nothing dwarfing anything else. The tiniest 'alteration' of the tiniest gnat's whisker, and the entire universe must be also be different.
Another perspective is that nothing has ever been known to exist but by 'our' observation, in 'our' Mind, by 'our' Perspective.