On the Shoulders of Giants – Quotes from Great Thinkers

To add a little spice to my upcoming book about life, civilization, and the universe, each chapter is kicked off by a quote from a great thinker from civilization’s deep history. These quotes closely tie into what you will be reading throughout the chapter. Here they all are in one scoop!

Opening: “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” – Edwin Hubble

Introduction: “When scientists are asked what they are working on, their response is seldom ‘Finding the origin of the universe’ or ‘Seeking to cure cancer.’ Usually, they will claim to be tackling a very specific problem – a small piece of the jigsaw that builds up the big picture.” – Martin Rees

Chapter 1 – Setting the Stage For Life and Civilization: “The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. From it we have learned most of what we know. Recently, we have waded a little out to sea, enough to dampen our toes or, at most, wet our ankles. The water seems inviting. The ocean calls.” – Carl Sagan

Chapter 2 – Evolution and the Building Blocks of Life: “The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.” – Richard Dawkins

Chapter 3 – The Rise of Civilization on Earth: “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.” – Carl Sagan

Chapter 4 – The Engine of Modern Civilization: “Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.” – Jacques Ellul

Chapter 5 – A House of Cards: “Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Chapter 6 – Exploring the Cosmos: “I think it would be a very rash presumption to think that nowhere else in the cosmos has nature repeated the strange experiment which she has performed on Earth.”
– Harlow Shapley

Chapter 7 – The Boundaries of Habitability: “Some may argue that a diamond is still a diamond, even if it is one among millions. It still shines as brightly.” – Guinan, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Chapter 8 – The Scale of Things: “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long walk down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Chapter 9 – Is Anybody Out There?: “In very different ways, the possibility that the universe is teeming with life, and the opposite possibility that we are alone, are equally exciting. Either way, the urge to know more about the universe seems to me irresistible, and I cannot imagine that anybody of truly poetic sensibility could disagree.” – Richard Dawkins

Summary – A Lonely Pale Blue Dot, Likely One Among Many: “Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring–not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive.” – Carl Sagan

I hope you like the quotes that I chose! Stay tuned for more about the book in this regular blog series. As the podcast is rolled out later next month, I will add more related juicy posts here.

Meanwhile, if you like what you see in this book’s premise and these associated updates, I would greatly appreciate support by following @OurCosmicStory on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you!