Jon Brooks 2 min read

Carl Sagan on the Shortness of Life and Absurdity of Conflict (Illustrated)

Philosophy Brill carl sagan


I just went on to find out when I might die.

“You will live to be eighty-nine years, eight months and eleven days old!” it said.

I’m twenty-six now, so based on that generous calculation I have 23,190 days, nineteen hours, thirty-four minutes, fifty-three seconds left on this pale blue dot.

That’s not too bad I guess. But actually, you can subtract a third of that off for sleep.

15,537 days left.

Then there’s two years of watching commercials, one year cleaning, three months stuck in traffic, and three months on the toilet.

14,262 days left.

Oh, and ten years of work (applicable to those who dislike their jobs).

10,612 days left.

And that’s without the waiting in queues, watching worthless tv, staring at loading screens, and anticipating the microwave to “ding”.

Life. Is. Short.

Many of us don’t count down the days we have left to live and for good reason: nobody really knows what the future holds. The “death clock” said I would live to be eighty-nine years old, but I’m aware that tomorrow I could get struck by lighting, develop super powers and live to be 1000. Anything is possible…

One man, however, who has spent his lifetime contemplating the wondrous flicker of consciousness we call “life” and its puny brevity when compared to galaxies, solar systems, and the stars which inhabit them is American author, cosmologist, and HE-favorite Carl Sagan.

In the following comic by Zen Pencils we hear Sagan’s perspective on the shortness of life and the absurdity of war. We may only have a few thousand days to live, but that’s still a few thousand more than none.

carl sagan zen pencils

If you’re ready to stop procrastinating and do something extraordinary with your short, precious life…

Our new course was designed for you.

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Recommended Reading:

Pale Blue Dot — Carl Sagan

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier–space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is a Stoicism teacher and, crucially, practitioner. His Stoic meditations have accumulated thousands of listens, and he has created his own Stoic training program for modern-day Stoics.

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