Cosmology is a story about all that there is and all that there will be. One human or even the most powerful instrument created by human beings isn’t yet capable of understanding, let alone summarising the entire cosmos. However, we shall continue trying to do it, admittedly or subconsciously. In essence, the first defining pursuit of humankind, beyond survival and procreation, is satisfying our unending curiosity of what lies beyond our reach.
What we know so far, in the most frugal view of the Cosmos, is that we are a mote of dust in the vast expanses of the cosmos. Beginning with the multiverse, our universe is bubble among a very large number of other ‘Bubble’ Universes inside the Multiverse.
When we enter our universe we have clusters of galaxies, galaxies and then star systems which hold planets, asteroids and moons. Our pale blue dot- Earth- floating about on one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy, unnoticed, in the vast, intricately detailed cosmic fabric
The Astronomer Carl Sagan how to look at the vast expanse of the Cosmos. Through his television series ‘Cosmos’ and book, based on the show, he set out to weave a story about our world, the objects found beyond our shores, the nature of our cosmic ocean, and our place in it.
He familiarized us with the concept that all that there is, including us come from one source.
We have grown distant from the Cosmos. It has seemed remote and irrelevant to everyday concerns. But science has found not only that the universe has a reeling and ecstatic grandeur, not only that it is accessible to human understanding, but also that we are, in a very real and profound sense, a part of that Cosmos, born from it, our fate deeply connected with it. The most basic human events and the most trivial trace back to the universe and its origins.
Cosmos- Carl Sagan
“This book is devoted to the exploration of that cosmic perspective.”
“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be”
– Author and TV show host of ‘Cosmos’ – Carl Sagan Astrophysicist
“Your planet is a tiny speck in a void of interplanetary space. Your sun is one of a hundred billion other stars in your galaxy. Your galaxy is one of 50 or 100 billion other galaxies in the universe. Does this make you feel enlightened or depressed?”
“I assert that if you were depressed after learning and being exposed to this perspective,” says the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, “you started your day with an unjustifiably large ego.”
If that is the case, what should you do? Reject your ego, Tyson says, and “sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos.” This cosmic perspective is, after all, empowering. “When I look up in the universe I know I’m small but I’m also big,” he says. “I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me.”
It is true that, if this is all there is, studying and recording the movements, discovering locations of objects, and how it all comes together as a finished jigsaw puzzle has been a pursuit, the primordial pursuit of humankind. We have lived on this planet, created things for our well-being, made mistakes in understanding what is best for us and missed many cues the cosmic structure presents us. We needed to collaborate on this adventure, but with distorted and abstract methods heavily influenced by regional cultures and beliefs, we were not going anywhere.
We then scripted a Universal Language called- Science in order to bridge the gap in our understanding of each other and the cosmos.
Scientific Method and The Power of Thought
“Our ancestors were eager to understand the world but had not quite stumbled upon the method. They imagined a small, quaint, tidy universe in which the dominant forces were gods like Anu, Ea, and Shamash. In that universe, humans played an important if not a central role. We were intimately bound up with the rest of nature. The treatment of a toothache with second-rate beer was tied to the deepest cosmological mysteries.
Today we have discovered a powerful and elegant way to understand the universe, a method called science; it has revealed to us a universe so ancient and so vast that human affairs seem at first sight to be of little consequence.
– Carl Sagan, COSMOS
“It is not from space that I must seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought, I comprehend the world.”
The format of Television series has been crucial in transferring this knowledge to global audiences of all ages. The dramatisation of the discoveries helps us establish a connection with the bank of intricately complex information we have on the design of the Cosmos.
Engaging the World
“I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics—the origin of life, the Earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with the universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television. My feelings were shared by B. Gentry Lee, the Viking Data Analysis and Mission Planning Director, a man of extraordinary organizational abilities. We decided, namely, to do something about the problem ourselves. Lee proposed that we form a production company devoted to the communication of science in an engaging and accessible way.”
-Carl Sagan, COSMOS
Driving that power to understand Life, gaining a one-point perspective, that one equation for all and one theory that explains all is becoming increasingly important today. We are standing at the cliffhanger of how all of the 21st-century scientific discoveries and inventions of technologies is going to shape us and influence our lives on this planet as well as shape our understanding of the Universe and Cosmos.
Carl Sagan understood this transitionary phase our civilisation and our species is in all too well. He created a hopeful experiment through his book to communicate core ideas and methods of understanding the language of the Cosmos. It is crucial that this knowledge and perspective must now transform from ‘privileged information’ into a common sense phenomenon.
A Fate Bound By Science
“The present epoch is a major crossroads for our civilization and perhaps for our species. Whatever road we take, our fate is indissolubly bound up with science. It is essential as a matter of simple survival for us to understand science. In addition, science is a delight; evolution has arranged that we take pleasure in understanding—those who understand are more likely to survive.”
-Carl Sagan, COSMOS
It the story of ‘All That Ever Was, Is And Will Be’- Every point of view and method has a role to play it is inevitable. Imagination is our liberator and scepticism our invigilator.
Imagination and Skepticism
“Those explorations required skepticism and imagination both. Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere. Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations.”
-Carl Sagan, COSMOS
Once there were four eyes, not four pairs of eyes, just four eyes. They saw everything but themselves. Their nature and appearance unknown to them, curious, they asked you, What do we look like?
You told the first eye it is blue like the morning sky,
The second eye that it is green as grass,
The third that it is black as ebony, and the fourth that it is brown like the barks of trees.
They all sparkled with excitement, their greatest mystery revealed.
Then you fashioned a mirror out of the most pristine things you could find and finest skill you had.
The eyes looked deep within itself and the entire Universe, in the black of their core looked back at them.
Approaching the greatest of Mysteries
“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
That is because we are the eye that sees everything and knows itself once it learns to perceive the Cosmos within itself.
We are the eyes of the Cosmos
“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself”
Such a knowledge of oneself is bound to send ripples of excitement within us.
Time will unravel the mysteries of Nature to Mankind
“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject . . . And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them . . . Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate . . . Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all.”
—Seneca, Natural Questions, Book 7, first century, COSMOS: Introduction.
So when we wake up to those dreadful mornings when the world seems so overwhelming and remote. Remember your significance however minute. You are a part of the ultimate design. Discovering pieces of the jigsaw puzzle is your species grand pursuit. Wait and wonder about the cosmos, give yourself a moment to think: of all that you are made up is the same starstuff the Cosmos is.