Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Pale Blue Dot - We are here
Carl Sagan is perhaps one of the most brilliant scientist in the field of natural science. While one might consider thoroughly before embracing his conception of secular humanism and totalitarian reliance on Science yet it is impossible to deny the deep motive and reflection offered in his contemplations especially presented in "The Pale Blue Dot".
The message offers immense insight - the petiteness of human kind relative to the vastness of space. It reminds one of the hadith by the Prophet (saw) where he made a comparison of this Earth as a resemblance of a tiny ring placed in a vast desert that stretches to the horizons. That desert according to the hadith is the first layer of the "sky" and the tiny ring is our world. The hadith goes further by again comparing the first sky as a small ring place in likeness of the earlier vast desert and that is the relativeness of the first sky to the second sky and it goes on till the seventh sky. And all that - is a small portion under the Arash or Allah - literally the throne of God, though metaphorically it would refer to a venue of The Divine.
Importantly, this highlight the magnanimity that we consider as important and crucial in our daily lives or in society through our pursuits and rambling are in fact small and perhaps insignificant as to consider the reality of all things - the galaxies, the cosmos and God.
As Muslims, it impresses further the importance of prayers and doa not merely when in need but as well a source for submission and humility towards the Grand Architect of all this, Allah (swt). It also channels a sense fortitude of the Greatness of Allah (swt) and that it is truly Allah (swt) who answers and provide His assistance and help and He is most able to do all things.
"To Allah belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. Verily, Allah, He is al Ghani (Rich, Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise. And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All Mighty, All Wise." (Qur'an, 31: 26-27)
"Allah is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six days. Then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majecty). You (mankind) have none, besides Him, as a Wali (protector or helper etc) or an intercessor. Will you not then remember? He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth, then it (affair) will go up to Him, in one Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of your reckoning (i.e. reckoning of our present world's time). That is He, the All Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All Mighty, the Most Merciful" (Qur'an, 32: 4-6).
Sagan's "The Pale Blue Dot" also ceases us to ponder and reflect on all the wars, injustice and destruction or manifestation of destructive behavior that really is a matter of monopolistic economical acumens, which humanity has seen and continue to experience in this modern time and age that most often leads to death and loss, as great achievements of human endeavor (especially in historical journals) or a mockery of that very term. Does all this death and destruction worth merely to obtain a domination of this tiny pale blue dot? Would an entity as minute as human race fruit a far beneficial outcome through harmony or chaos and monopoly?
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served (diakonethenai) but to serve (diakonesai), and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45). It is interesting that while this biblical idiom professes such profound value yet many of the political leaders that made up the "New World Order" , whom would have a familiarity of this phrase by default of their religious orientation, have yet to manifest any such of that in reality. Rather, self-interest and monopoly is the rule of law though shadowed and overlooked by cosmetic terms such as "free-trade", "capitalism" and "democracy".
Thus, this introspect offers an important point to learn and relearn our values and approach to life from all scale and levels - individual, family, community, society, national, global - political, social, economical - if we were to ever truly realize that we are all citizens of this Earth and we will together benefit from it or suffer from it. The outcome very much depends on us - to be silent or make that change. The sort of change that would most impact positively for the best interest of not ourselves but for all of humanity.