Welcome to my Blog / by Scott Poupis

Real content coming soon.

For now, enjoy these quotes by Carl Sagan from Cosmos:

  •  In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie.
  • The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
  • The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
  • Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
  • We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever.
  • It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.
  • The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.
  • With insufficient data it is easy to go wrong.
  • Our intelligence and our technology have given us the power to affect the climate. How will we use this power? Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family? Do we value short-term advantages above the welfare of the Earth? Or will we think on longer time scales, with concern for our children and our grandchildren, to understand and protect the complex life-support systems of our planet? The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished.
  • For a long time the human instinct to understand was thwarted by facile religious explanations.
  • They (i. e., the Pythagoreans) did not advocate the free confrontation of conflicting points of view. Instead, like all orthodox religions, they practised a rigidity that prevented them from correcting their errors.
  • The Platonists and their Christian successors held the peculiar notion that the Earth was tainted and somehow nasty, while the heavenswere perfect and divine. The fundamental idea that the Earth is a planet, that we are citizens of the Universe, was rejected and forgotten.
  • For as long as there been humans we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Where are we? Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. This perspective is a courageous continuation of our penchant for constructing and testing mental models of the skies; the Sun as a red-hot stone, the stars as a celestial flame, the Galaxy as the backbone of night.
  • If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.
  • We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.
  • Relativity does set limits on what humans can ultimately do. But the universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human aspirations.
  • If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
  • Matter is composed chiefly of nothing.
  • A googolplex is precisely as far from infinity as is the number 1... no matter what number you have in mind, infinity is larger still.
  • The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such puny creatures as we are.
  • Nobody listens to mathematicians.
  • Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
  • Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. Public libraries depend on voluntary contributions. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
  • Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.
 The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

  • The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans. But there is no evidence that its functioning is due to anything more than the 1014 neural connections that build an elegant architecture of consciousness.
  • The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure on this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Travel is broadening. 
  • We have heard the rationales offered by the nuclear superpowers. We know who speaks for the nations. But who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for Earth?
  • Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
  • There is no other species on the Earth that does science. It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason: it works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
  • Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.
  • Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
  • We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to selfawareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.

Hope you enjoyed, stay tuned for real content soon.