archive: SETI FW: Sagan: Carl Sagan Daily Quote

SETI FW: Sagan: Carl Sagan Daily Quote

Larry Klaes ( )
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 10:18:13 -0400

Sent: Friday, August 28, 1998 1:29 PM
Subject: Sagan: Carl Sagan Daily Quote

"Each of us is a tiny being, permitted to ride on the outermost skin of one of
the smaller planets for a few dozen trips around the local star. ...The
longest-lived organisms on Earth endure for about a millionth of the age of
our planet. A bacterium lives for one hundred-trillionth of that time. So of
course the individual organisms see nothing of the overall pattern-continents,
climate, evolution. They barely set foot on the world stage and are promptly
snuffed out-yesterday a drop of semen, as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, tomorrow a handful of ashes. If the Earth were as old as a person, a typical organism would be born, live, and die in a sliver of a second. We are fleeting, transitional creatures, snowflakes fallen on the hearth fire. That we understand even a little of our origins is one of the great triumphs of
human insight and courage."

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, (1992) -"Snowflakes Fallen on the Hearth," pp. 30-31.

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