“I love humanity; it’s people I can’t stand.”
~ Charles M Schultz
I always enjoyed that quotation partly because there are so many ways to read it. Do you like our species collectively but hate individuals, or do you like our idealized concept, but think collectively we’re a bunch of jerks?
You can make a great case for both.
I’m endlessly fascinated talking with individual people, but as a species I’m not quite so bullish. More accurately, I think we are going to reap what we sow, and we’re sowing a whole lot of nasty into everything from our food supply to our global climate. I would not be surprised if I could gaze a thousand years into the future and find Earth entirely devoid of people.
That long-term pessimist in me is one of many reasons I love people like Carl Sagan (and Richard Feynman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, et al). They are far smarter than I, and not only have an optimism about the future but spend/spent much of their lives trying to take us there… kicking and screaming if need be.
The video below is the first part in The Sagan Series, which sets video to some of his more well known quotes. The Frontier is Everywhere looks out to imagine a world where we’ve finally reached the stars, and what those far descendants of ours will be like.
If you enjoy this, they are starting a companion series featuring Richard Feynman, which is different but just as fascinating. Feynman was a little more… cantankerous than Sagan, but just as brilliant.
I hope the optimism both of these esteemed scientists have for humanity proves well warranted.