“If Only We Had Taller Been”
We lost the great Ray Bradbury on this day in 2012. To celebrate this amazing writer, here is his poetic ode to exploration.
Every time I watch this, I almost cry.
In November 1971, Ray Bradbury joined Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and others at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena to commemorate the Mariner 9 mission to Mars. Here he reads his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been", an ode to exploration, and a fitting tribute to his legacy as a writer and dreamer. In full above (with a captivated Sagan included) and excerpted below:
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson)
Enrico Fermi (1943)
A Quick Proof That There Must Be Something Rather Than Nothing, for Modern People Who Lead Busy Lives
Suppose there were nothing. Then there would be no laws; for laws, after all, are something. If there were no laws, then everything would be permitted. If everything were permitted, then nothing would be forbidden. So if there were nothing, nothing would be forbidden. Thus nothing is self-forbidding.
Therefore, there must be something. QED.
Jim Holt in Why Does The World Exist.
I strongly reccommend Why Does The World Exist by Jim Holt if you’re interested in the fundamental questions of our existence. Jim Holt explores the human intellect by asking scientists, philosophers and man of faith the easiest and the at the same time the most complex question of all time: why is there anything instead of nothing?
Holt takes a tour around the world to converse with:
- Oxford philosopher Richart Swinburne about the universe being created by God,
- Oxford physicist David Deutsch about the existence of multiple universes,
- Russinan physicist Andrei Linde who thinks as the universe being a simulation of other intelligent beings,
- Pittsburgh philosopher Adolf Grünbaum who rejects any mysteriousness in the cosmos and considers nothing to be the natural state of the Universe,
- mathematician Roger Penrose and his neo-platonic approach to creation,
- science fiction writer John Updike about the relationship between science and religion,
- Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg on how a unified theory should look like
- and physicist Alex Vilenkin about the universe sprouting from nothing as a quantum fluctuation.
In the tour Holt explores the works of thinkers like Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, Leibniz and Sartre, showing the various philosophical approaches to the fundamental question throughout history.
Get the book Why Does The World Exist by Jim Holt on Amazon.
Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke - God, The Universe and Everything Else.
Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan (via satellite) discuss the Big Bang theory, God, our existence as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.
POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC