If you were to watch the prologue of the first episode of Cosmos on Hulu, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, the woman on the clip, one of the co-authors of the Cosmos series and book (and last wife of Carl Sagan), Ann Druyen, described that the political climate of the world when the Cosmos series was produced was when the whole world was held hostage in the Cold War. The nuclear arms race employed over half the world’s scientists. In the time since then, so much of Sagan’s hope for our scientific explorations have come to pass.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s, so I felt incredibly terrified because of the Cold War, from the time I was about 9-10 years old and constantly worried about WWIII. I should have been too young to be suffering from death anxiety, but I think that what it was. It probably didn’t help that I went to Auschwitz when I was 10 on a trip to Poland with my grandmother, and later I watched The Day After when it aired on TV when I was 13. Those images stayed with me a very long time afterwards.
I realize if an adult like Carl Sagan, during that time, still had hope for humankind and still wanted to teach others about the glorious world around us…I should have no reason to be anxious of the unknown.
My mind, right now, is totally blown. I can’t even convey how this makes me feel. Completely in awe, awakening some things in me that have laid dormant for a while.
I could live without parental/motherly love if I had to. I did (or rather, was forced to). What I can not live without is the inspirations of scientific and philosophical inquiry – being around highly gifted, humanistic people that urges me (either directly or indirectly) towards self-actualization.
I can’t live without teaching my kids what’s important – not simple facts and knowledge as much as maintaining insatiable curiosity about the world and a child-like wonder. With it, they can do anything they want.
I wrote this recently on someone’s blog:
I suspect you crave to document your experiences, through pictures and writings. The good AND the bad, the beautiful AND the ugly.
You are a SENSOR, and everything, even bad feelings are part of what makes you, YOU.
You are a WRITER and everything you experience, good, bad, beautiful, ugly needs to be expressed. Don’t apologize for how you are and how the world affects you.
As a dear friend of mine said, “we are all dying every day”. And so we are. So it is imperative to realize that you are documenting life as you experience it.
You are a STORYTELLER, weaving your thoughts, your feelings into what you experience.
I think, perhaps, I wasn’t telling this so much about her, as I was telling this to me about myself.
I can’t put into words yet what I desire to do. Every time I do, I feel silly. Yet, I feel a deep tug towards this thing (or rather things) I can not yet name.
I went to bed last night thinking about this post, about Carl Sagan, about humanism and how I relate to it much more than I ever did my Christian faith (not that I’m giving that up completely just yet), and I cried, hard. My husband turned to me and said “what’s wrong?”. I asked him through my tears, “I wish Carl Sagan was still alive so I can thank him for his gift” and cried even harder.
When I was finished crying, I dried my tears, and went to bed thinking well maybe I can’t thank him, perhaps I can thank the woman on the introduction (not knowing how intimate her involvement was with him when I first wrote this post).
Maybe, someday I will do just that.