All quotes from Carl Sagan’s

We wish to pursue the truth, no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate. But we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.

The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore we have learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out—maybe ankle-deep—and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

There may be many worlds on which matter has grown to consciousness.

The building blocks of life are everywhere. They’re easily made. On how many worlds have such complex molecules assembled themselves into patterns we would call alive?

There are a hundred billion galaxies and a billion trillion stars. Why should this modest planet be the only inhabited world? To me, it seems far more likely that the cosmos is brimming over with life and intelligence. But so far, every living thing, every conscious being, every civilization we know anything about lived there, on Earth. Beneath these clouds the drama of the human species has been unfolded.

In the cosmic perspective it is, for the moment, unique. The only world in which we know with certainty that the matter of the cosmos has become alive and aware.

“Cosmos” is a Greek word for the order of the universe. In a way, it’s the opposite of chaos. It implies a deep interconnectedness of all things: the intricate and subtle way that the universe is put together.

The Greek kings of Egypt who succeeded Alexander regarded advances in science, literature and medicine as among the treasures of the empire. For centuries, they generously supported research and scholarship. An enlightenment shared by few heads of state, then or now.

An unswerving respect for the facts—however disquieting they might be.

We on Earth have just awakened to the great oceans of space and time from which we have emerged. We are the legacy of 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. We have a choice: we can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us, or we can squander our 15-billion-year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first second of the next cosmic year depends on what we do, here and now, with our intelligence and our knowledge of the cosmos.