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Carl Sagan Quotes

60 of the best book quotes from Carl Sagan
  1. #1
    “We were wanderers from the beginning.”
  2. #2
    “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.”
  3. #3
    “The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
  4. #4
    “It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. ”
  5. #5
    “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.”
  6. #6
    “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”
  7. #7
    “Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.”
  8. #8
    “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
  9. #9
    “The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.”
  10. #10
    “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.”
  1. #11
    “There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
  2. #12
    “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.”
  3. #13
    “The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.”
  4. #14
    “The immense distances to the stars and the galaxies mean that we see everything in space in the past--some as they were before the Earth came to be. Telescopes are time machines.”
  5. #15
    “There is a wide, yawning black infinity. In every direction, the extension is endless; the sensation of depth is overwhelming. And the darkness is immortal. Where light exists, it is pure, blazing, fierce; but light exists almost nowhere, and the blackness itself is also pure and blazing and fierce.”
  6. #16
    “We start out a million years ago in a small community on some grassy plain; we hunt animals, have children, and develop a rich social, sexual, and intellectual life, but we know almost nothing about our surroundings.”
  7. #17
    “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”
  8. #18
    “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”
  9. #19
    “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
  10. #20
    “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.”

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  1. #21
    “On the scale of worlds--to say nothing of stars or galaxies--humans are inconsequential, a thin film of life on an obscure and solitary lump of rock and metal.”
  2. #22
    “For any human being in existence to think that there is nothing in the whole world superior to himself would be an insane piece of arrogance.”
  3. #23
    “A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth; it would be a miracle on Mars. Our descendants on Mars will know the value of a patch of green. And if a blade of grass is priceless, what is the value of a human being?”
  4. #24
    “Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs--in time, in space, and in potential-- the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.”
  5. #25
    “In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed’? Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’”
  6. #26
    “What do we really want from philosophy and religion? Palliatives? Therapy? Comfort? Do we want reassuring fables or an understanding of our actual circumstances? Dismay that the Universe does not conform to our preferences seems childish. You might think that grown-ups would be ashamed to put such thoughts into print. The fashionable way of doing this is not to blame the Universe -- which seems truly pointless -- but rather to blame the means by which we know the Universe, namely science.”
  7. #27
    “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
  8. #28
    “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
  9. #29
    “Today, we’re still loaded down – and, to some extent, embarrassed – by ancient myths, but we respect them as part of the same impulse that has led to the modern, scientific kind of myth. But we now have the opportunity to discover, for the first time, the way the universe is in fact constructed as opposed to how we would wish it to be constructed.”
  10. #30
    “You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”
  1. #31
    “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”
  2. #32
    “We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
  3. #33
    “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.”
  4. #34
    “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”
  5. #35
    “I consider it an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more likely we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves.”
  6. #36
    “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”
  7. #37
    “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”
  8. #38
    “The dangers of not thinking clearly are much greater now than ever before. It’s not that there’s something new in our way of thinking – it’s that credulous and confused thinking can be much more lethal in ways it was never before.”
  9. #39
    “We hunger to understand, so we invent myths about how we imagine the world is constructed – and they’re, of course, based upon what we know, which is ourselves and other animals. So we make up stories about how the world was hatched from a cosmic egg or created after the mating of cosmic deities or by some fiat of a powerful being.”
  10. #40
    “It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English – up to fifty words used in correct context – no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.”

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  1. #41
    “Spaceflight, therefore, is subversive. If they are fortunate enough to find themselves in orbit, most people, after a little meditation, have similar thoughts.”
  2. #42
    “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
  3. #43
    “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”
  4. #44
    “She began to understand why lovers talk baby talk to one another. There was no other socially acceptable circumstance in which the children inside her were permitted to come out. ”
  5. #45
    “You know the opinion of Cervantes? He said that reading a translation is like examining the back of a piece of tapestry.”
  6. #46
    “You mustn’t think of the Universe as a wilderness. It hasn’t been that for billions of years,” he said. “Think of it more as... ..cultivated.”
  7. #47
    “If the one-year-old, the five-year- old, the twelve-year-old, and the twenty-year-old all find compatible personalities in the beloved, there is a real chance to keep all of these sub-personas happy. ”
  8. #48
    “Love ends their long loneliness. Perhaps the depth of love can be calibrated by the number of different selves that are actively involved in a given relationship.”
  9. #49
    “At the very moment that humans discovered the scale of the universe and found that their most unconstrained fancies were in fact dwarfed by the true dimensions of even the Milky Way Galaxy, they took steps that ensured that their descendants would be unable to see the stars at all.”
  10. #50
    “For a million years humans had grown up with a personal daily knowledge of the vault of heaven. In the last few thousand years they began building and emigrating to the cities. ”
  1. #51
    “Ants occupy the same landscape that we do. They have plenty to do, things to occupy themselves. On some level they’re very well aware of their environment. But we don’t try to communicate with them. So I don’t think they have the foggiest notion that we exist.”
  2. #52
    “What worries me the most,′ she continued, ‘is the opposite, the possibility that they’re not trying. They could communicate with us, all right, but they’re not doing it because they don’t see any point to it. It’s like...”--she glanced down at the edge of the tablecloth they had spread over the grass--“like the ants.”
  3. #53
    ″ In the last few decades, a major fraction of the human population has abandoned a rustic way of life. As technology developed and the cities were polluted, the nights became starless.”
  4. #54
    “I’ve always thought an agnostic is an atheist without the courage of his convictions.”
  5. #55
    “Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe.”
  6. #56
    “Their position seems to be that their God is so great he doesn’t even have to exist.”
  7. #57
    “You mustn’t think of the Universe as a wilderness. It hasn’t been that for billions of years,” he said. “Think of it more as... ..cultivated.”
  8. #58
    “New generations grew to maturity wholly ignorant of the sky that had transfixed their ancestors and that had stimulated the modern age of science and technology. Without even noticing, just as astronomy entered a golden age most people cut themselves off from the sky, a cosmic isolationism that ended only with the dawn of space exploration.”
  9. #59
    “Anything you don’t understand, you attribute to God. God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it.”
  10. #60
    “There are huge advertising budgets only when there’s no difference between the products. If the products really were different, people would buy the one that’s better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment. Advertising teaches people to be stupid.”
Book Topics › scientists
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Book Topics › science
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