Cosmic Consciousness: As a Candle in the Dark

“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.”
Carl Sagan

Sapere Aude-Dare to Know!

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?….For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.

The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir. [Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark]

“Our lives, our past and our future are tied to the sun, the moon and the stars We humans have seen the atoms which constitute all of nature and the forces that sculpted this work and we, who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos, have begun to wonder about our origins star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of ten billion billion billion atoms, contemplating the evolution of nature, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet earth Our loyalties are to the species and to the planet. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring.

We are one species.

We are star stuff harvesting star light.

Carl Sagan

nterviewer: “Didn’t [Sagan] want to believe?”
Druyan: “He didn’t want to believe. He wanted to know.”

The Future of Man–How Will Evolution Change Humans?
* People commonly assume that our species has evolved very little since prehistoric times. Yet new studies using genetic information from populations around the globe suggest that the pace of human evolution increased with the advent of agriculture and cities. * If we are still evolving, what might our species look like in a millennium should we survive whatever environ­mental and social surprises are in store for us? Specu­la­tion ranges from the hopeful to the dystopian.

DNA techniques, which probe genomes both present and past, have unleashed a revolution in studying evolution; they tell a different story. Not only has Homo sapiens been doing some major genetic reshuffling since our species formed, but the rate of human evolution may, if anything, have increased.

In common with other organisms, we underwent the most dramatic changes to our body shape when our species first appeared, but we continue to show genetically induced changes to our physiology and perhaps to our behavior as well. Until fairly recently in our history, human races in various parts of the world were becoming more rather than less distinct. Even today the conditions of modern life could be driving changes to genes for certain behavioral traits.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/art…

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