10 Quotes By: Carl Sagan


Carl Sagan standing next to a Viking Lander model. Photo by NASA.

The first article of 2014 in the “10 Quotes By” series is dedicated to the American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, and author, Carl Sagan.

*This article also includes a Bonus.

1. On the “peculiarity” and risks of being a Genius

“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

Broca’s Brain (1979), p. 64 (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

2. About the afterlife

“I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.”

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium. (Source provided by: Goodreads.com)

3. The need to understand Science and Technology

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

“Why We Need To Understand Science” in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990). (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

4. On Humans

“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it’s forever.”

Cosmos (1980), p. 20 (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

5. On External vs. Internal Control

“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.”

Primary Source not Found, Quote retrieved from Goodreads.com.

6. Smart vs. Stupid

“Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.”

Cosmos (1980), p. 284 (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

7. On Consciousness and Empathy

“It’s hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness.”

Contact (1985), Chapter 9 (p. 147). (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

8. On the Results of Aggressiveness

“In the long run, the aggressive civilizations destroy themselves, almost always. It’s their nature. They can’t help it.”

Contact (1985), Chapter 20 (p. 359). (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

9. On the Existence of Human Kind

“We humans appear on the cosmic calendar so recently that our recorded history occupies only the last few seconds of the last minute of December 31st.”

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1990 Update), The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, Episode 1, min 57:00. (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

10. On Alien Life

“In the vastness of the Cosmos there must be other civilizations far older and more advanced than ours.”

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1990 Update),  Encyclopedia Galactica, Episode 12,  min 00:45. (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)


Red Flag Raised

“The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.”

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1990 Update),  The Backbone of Night, Episode 7,  min 00:40. (Source provided by: Wikiquote.org)

Image information: This file is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted”.

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