Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

—Carl Sagan

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.

—Jimmy Carter, speaking of the Voyager's Golden Disk

On Time Capsules and Humanity

This fall will mark the 30th anniversary of the launching of the Voyager probes, and I just wanted to do something to mark the occassion.

I guess it is hard to explain, but I grew up with these probes. I remember talking about them 5 years before they launched. I studied them and when they launched in 1977, I wondered if they would ever reach Jupiter. It only took 2 years, but that was a long time for a kid.

I remember sitting up all night with cups of hot cocoa watching the televised images when Voyager 2 flew by Uranus… and then again when it flew by Neptune. Last year, Voyager 1 passed the 100 AU mark… that makes it 100 times farther away from the Sun than the Earth. Arguably Earth's most successful scientific venture.

But I've been stewing about something a little more human on that probe. Knowing that these probes would be flung out into outer space, Carl Sagan and crew put together a message to explain about the makers of the probe to any aliens that would discover it.

Inside they included a gold record with pictures and sounds to explain what life is like on this "pale, blue dot." Even though this record will survive longer than our Sun will shine, the chances of it actually getting picked up and analyzed by an alien race is next to impossible. Besides, every science fiction story makes jokes about not being able to interpret it.

So why bother with such a project? Essentially it becomes a message, not for aliens, but for us. An introspective reflection what we think it means to be us. We are nothing more than germs on an egg floating in the middle of nothingness, but we prize it, and are so egotistical as to think we are special.

I took some of the sounds and mixed it with some of the music in my collection, and created a painting of sound as a tribute to the probe and to the billions of creatures it took to actually produce it.

It is also my interpretation of what it is to be. Give it a spin.

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