Philosophy

Take Four Minutes To Reflect On Your Place In The Cosmos

In 2013, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth from Saturn. Seen here, our planet is 898 million miles away (1.44 billion kilometers) and appears as a blue dot at center right. i i

hide captionIn 2013, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth from Saturn. Seen here, our planet is 898 million miles away (1.44 billion kilometers) and appears as a blue dot at center right.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
In 2013, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth from Saturn. Seen here, our planet is 898 million miles away (1.44 billion kilometers) and appears as a blue dot at center right.

In 2013, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Earth from Saturn. Seen here, our planet is 898 million miles away (1.44 billion kilometers) and appears as a blue dot at center right.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

So it's New Year's Eve again and that means resolutions — resolutions to stop this and resolutions to start that. We resolve to be thinner, to get stronger, to focus more, to be spontaneous. But regardless of our resolutions and regardless of our ability to achieve those resolutions, our lives on this lonely cosmic outpost, this "Pale Blue Dot," continue on. Until, of course, they don't. And that, in itself, is something to consider as we gird our loins for another of our yearly treks into resolution-land.

What, really, is the point of it all?

To answer that question you could turn to religion or you could turn to philosophy or, best of all, you could turn to Carl Sagan (with an assist from Adam Winnik and Hans Zimmer).

It may not help you with your New Year's resolutions, but it will fill you with a sense of pure wonder.


You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

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