I bought a packet of round pale blue stickers today. They’re the sort that go on to calendar charts in the office to mark out the couple of weeks that you’re going camping in France.
I bought them to wear.
It has been such a horrible year in so many ways. Refugee crises, politics, Trump, Brexit and so many other things. Most people I speak to say that they have had their own more personal difficulties as well.
When I take a few minutes to find a bit of perspective, the place I go to repetitively is Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot essay, part of Cosmos.
When the Voyager spacecraft, which is now way beyond the edge of our solar system, was passing the outer reaches of our planets, the technicians turned Voyager’s camera towards earth to take one last photo. Sagan describes Earth as a ‘pale blue dot, a mote of dust in a sunbeam’.
It’s an extraordinary photograph, conveying how small the Earth is in the vastness of space. Sagan’s impassioned argument is against the bitter, divisive and futile disputes that rage on such a fragile and insignificant speck in the cosmos.
Badges and ribbons are plentiful – and I often wonder whether they really make a difference – but I like the idea of wearing a pale blue dot as a reminder that whatever walls we create or parochial choices we enact, we really are all in this together. The world would be a better place if we all just tried to get along. Go and raid your office sticker supplies and join me. I’ll keep an eye out.
Here’s Sagan’s argument. It’s short and well worth a listen.