Category Archives: Goals

Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”

I know that this may not seem like something that affects thoughts and ideas in criminal justice but I see how it does.  We hope to do something good and this helps put an amazing perspective on our lives. Regardless of your faith or creed, this speech is relevant. Please take a moment to hear what may be some of the most amazing three and half minutes ever spoken by a human being. (transcript below video)

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again 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. 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.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. 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. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. 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. 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.

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. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. 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.

Carl SaganPale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1997 reprint, pp. xv–xvi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

*featured image from http://www.space.com/21627-earth-from-space-pictures-gallery.html
This rare image taken on July 19, 2013, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has shows Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. At the time, Cassini was 2013 from a distance of about 898.414 million miles (1.445858 billion kilometers) from Earth. It is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system (including Saturn itself) taken by Cassini’s wide-angle camera.

Regeneration from 2013 to 2014

Good afternoon to you all! I wanted to take a moment to reflect and consider who I am and what I want to do in this lifetime. Anyone that knows me in person knows I’m a Whovian (Dr. Who fan) and I often find myself cheering his philosophies of peace and nonviolence. I’m no pacifist; however, peace is the only way we can achieve the greatness that humans can potentially be. And peace does NOT come by force. In the episode “The Rings of Akhaten”, there comes a moment where a little girl believes she has to sacrifice herself to save her people and her entire solar system, as it turns out their “god” is actually their sun, a creature that feeds on souls – which are described as memories and stories. The Doctor then relays something very important to the girl, Merry, and it struck a cord with me:

Doctor Who, Rings of Akhaten, quote, speech, monologue
Doctor Who: Rings of Akhaten

He then looks at the creature wanting the sacrifice and says, “Getting rid of that existence isn’t a sacrifice, it is a waste!” Waste indeed. I have been trying to forge my own philosophy, my own tagline if you will. The  more I learn in life as well as in my studies in criminal justice and social sciences the more I know how precious life is. Once it is gone, that is it. This isn’t a statement about whether or not there is a Heaven or Hell or purgatory. This isn’t about that life or if that life exists. This is about THIS life. Irregardless of your beliefs the truth is that while we are here in this form on this earth, we have great potential. Every person has the potential for greatness, but that greatness can so easily slip away.

It has been heartbreaking to learn the truths that I have learned, particularly in regards to the current criminal justice system. The supposed “Land of the Free” has the highest incarceration rate of any other country on this planet and has a sickeningly high recidivism rate. These people have been locked away, a lot of them for nothing truly criminal, nothing Malum in se. It’s about criminalizing personal behaviors, personal choices. So what happens to those that are not violent but are then thrown into an environment where violence may be a valuable survival trait? What happens after they are released? Jail is not a deterrent for prohibited actions. So what are we loosing, not just as a country, but as human beings, when we lock up people that are not violent? We create waste in ourselves when we do this.

From National Geographic's "Lockdown"
From National Geographic’s “Lockdown”

We must reconsider everything. We must try again. We cannot give up. That is why I started this journey into criminal justice. It is a sad waste how things are dealt with right now. But we can change that.

I hope to see 2014 become a time marked with change and with people working towards real peace and real freedom. A time where people can understand that each and every person on this planet has something amazing to contribute to this existence. We must aim to be the peacemakers while we are here and we must put much thought, consideration, and introspection into how to achieve greatness and how to achieve peace. There is hope and it is in within us to gain true enlightenment and move forward in our journeys on this planet and in this time. Imagine what we can do together when we set aside our preconceptions and prejudices!

I see a great and wonderful future. I hope you do as well. Have a wonderful New Year and make it great!