“Welcome to planet Earth – a place of blue nitrogen skies, oceans of liquid water, cool forests and soft meadows, a world positively rippling with life. In the cosmic perspective it is poignantly beautiful and rare; but it is also, for the moment, unique. In all our journeying through space and time, it is, so far, the only world on which we know with certainty that the matter of the Cosmos has become alive and aware.
There must be many such worlds scattered through space, but our search for them begins here, with the accumulated wisdom of the men and women of our species, garnered at great cost over a million years. We are privileged to live among brilliant and passionately inquisitive people, and in a time when the search for knowledge is generally prized. Human beings, born ultimately of the stars and now for a while inhabiting a world called Earth, have begun their long voyage home.” (Carl Sagan : “Cosmos”)
The journey, very certainly, will be a long one, but for how long human beings share in it, may be a very different matter …..
“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 organised 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 humanising 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.” (Carl Sagan : “Cosmos”)
But to ‘rise’ to what’s inclusively promising in the new, we must ‘die’ to what’s exclusively threatening in the old …..
“Are the modern civilisations to remain spiritually locked from each other in their local notions of the sense of the general tradition; or can we now break through to some more profoundly based point and counterpoint of human understanding? For it is a fact that the myths of our several cultures work upon us, whether consciously or unconsciously, as energy-releasing, life-motivating and -directing agents; so that even though our rational minds may be in agreement, the myths by which we are living – or by which our fathers lived – can be driving us, at that very moment, diametrically apart”. (Joseph Campbell : “The Masks of God”)
And in a nutshell …..
(Deuteronomy 30:19) – “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”
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