First off, please take 5 minutes of your time to watch the video below.

It’s a speech made by the late great astronomer Carl Sagan who was reflecting on a distant photo of Earth taken by the Voyager spacecraft as it reached the edge of our solar system. This speech is one of the most powerful, profound and relevant speeches of all time, and it always brings a tear to my eye.

Here it is:

Sagan’s message is one which we all need to hear, especially the loathsome individuals of this world who care about nothing but bloodshed, terror and misery.

One section of what Sagan said is particularly relevant considering the terrorist attack in Manchester this week:

“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.”

I can’t think of a more eloquent way to express the insanity and sheer pointlessness of religious extremism.

As Sagan said, the Earth is a tiny “lonely speck” in a vast universe, and when you look at the Earth in this way you can see that we are nothing special. Nothing we do on earth has any significance in the grand scheme of things. Yet so many people are willing to die in order to kill their fellow human beings, just because they have a twisted and deluded ideology.

They are willing to destroy their own and many others’ lives by being consumed by hatred. What a pathetic existence they must have. A life filled with hatred is a life wasted. It’s as simple as that.

The attacker in Manchester targeted an Arianna Grande concert because they knew there would be lots of young people there. These young people were just trying to have a fun night out and enjoy themselves, and that is what life should be about. They should have had many happy years ahead of them but now, 22 of them are dead – at least one of them only 8 years old. It’s sickening.

We are one

We are all one species and yet we behave as if we are alien to each other. We kill one another because we are brainwashed into thinking it’s for some perverse higher purpose. It’s insane.

The earth is the only planet that we know of in the whole universe capable of sustaining life, and it does that spectacularly. Yet we seem to have a total disregard for life, whether it be human or animal.

If people with extremist views could see the world through Carl Sagan’s eyes I’m sure the world would be a much more peaceful place. If we could all step back and see the Earth at a distance, maybe we would all understand that all of us are part of one single system, which we need to work together to protect. We are all one. Astronauts call this profound shift in perspective from seeing the Earth in space The Overview Effect.

We should all be working together for the betterment of mankind, not continually shooting our species in the foot because of ridiculous beliefs. We need to stop fighting with each other because in the end, once we destroy the environment and all life on it, there will be nowhere else for us to go. There are no second chances. The Earth is all there is.

All our perceived differences are man-made. We created borders where none exist naturally. We created religions and we created nationalities – all of which drive us apart. Yet ultimately we are all the same. We are just too blinded with hatred and greed to see it.

Hopefully, one day the plague of religious extremism will be eradicated and mankind can move forward as one united species. I hope that our world leaders realise sooner rather than later that becoming “momentary masters of a fraction of a dot” means nothing on the cosmic scale.