Human race infests this planet. A species that is completely convinced of its own superiority. Will there be any event in future that will question our thinking and beliefs? what are we ‘humans’? We, here, now, on the earth, this time, in this place of the cosmos, are we special? well, not according to Carl Sagan nor me.
Are we any better than our forefathers. Is there anything that sets their time distinctly apart from ours? Or, are we always guilty of our contemporary bias where every generation arrogantly thinks it is better than the last. When in reality, very little has changed. How different are we from men who first drew on cave walls? Don’t we suffer from mostly the same illnesses? (Writing on your friends wall on Facebook is not an illness) Are our lives still not scared of the same problems of childhood, adolescence and death that the people of early world struggled through? Can we separate ourselves apart in any fundamental way from people of the past? The difference is in our story telling and perspective. For thousands of years, we have looked and wondered at the world around us, questioning the nature and inventing their own stories when the nature was being too mysterious and too quick for them to grasp in certain ways. They derived stories, myths because any explanation is psychologically more comforting than no explanation. So sun was said to be driven in a golden chariot across the skies and thunder and storms were the rage of gods. World existed to meet the needs of humans. People had very little knowledge to explain certain phenomenon and so myths were invented or established to fill the empty gaps between our knowledge and the secrets of this world, So generations after generation, people asked this question; what is this place? What is this Earth? How and why do stars twinkle? Where are those tiny pin points of light in relation to us? And to these questions, we have invented answers ourselves because they exceeded the bounds of human knowledge. Super natural explanations were added where our knowledge of the world ended.
I would say yes, we are special! We are privileged. We are a way unique generation. Before us, they just had myths and speculations about the universe. We have access to real observations and data. We have facts. We can tell our kids confidently that stars shine because of the nuclear reactions between elements within their core. Those elements that formed today’s world. We can show them pictures of far away island galaxies and tell them what are seeing is the direct observation of the past. We can tell them that these life forms on earth are in some way or the other related to each other. And we can be internally consistent while telling them as we are sure about these things. Our’s is the first generation whose knowledge is immense and inexpensive if not free. Today, we can tell our children the story of formation of the universe and not have to spin fairy tales. Let us all thank the giants that came before us and the giants which live among us today, who changed the way we see this world and the universe around us.