ann druyan quote

I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance…That pure chance could be so generous and so kind…That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time…That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful…The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
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Ann Druyan

“There is a famous love story attached to the Golden Record project […] The project started in 1976 when NASA asked Sagan to assemble a committee to decide exactly what this celestial mix tape should contain. It took almost two years to decide everything. Carl Sagan and his wife, Linda, collaborated on the project. They even enlisted their six-year-old son to do one of the greetings. Other key members of the team included the astronomer Frank Drake and the writers Ann Druyan and Timothy Ferriss. The engineers constructed the record so that it might survive for a billion years.

The Golden Record included greetings in fifty-four human and one whale language, ninety minutes of music from around the world, and 117 pictures of life on Earth. These pictures were meant to suggest the widest possible range of human experiences. Only two things were off-limits. NASA decreed that no pictures could depict sex and no pictures could depict violence. No sex because NASA was prudish and no violence because images of ruins or bombs exploding might be interpreted by aliens as threatening. Ann Druyan tells what happened next:

“In the course of my daunting search for the single most worthy piece of Chinese music, I phoned Carl and left a message at his hotel in Tucson…An hour later the phone rang in my apartment in Manhattan. I picked it up and heard a voice say: “I got back to my room and found a message that said Annie called. And I asked myself, why didn’t you leave me that message ten years ago?”
Bluffing, joking, I responded lightheartedly. “Well, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that, Carl.” And then, more soberly, “Do you mean for keeps?”
”Yes, for keeps,” he said tenderly. “Let’s get married.”
”Yes,” I said, and that moment we felt we knew what it must be like to discover a new law of nature.

[Ann Druyan] went into a laboratory just two days after that phone call. She was hooked up to a computer and began to meditate. All the data from her brain and heart was turned into sound for the Golden Record.

“To the best of my abilities I tried to think about the history of ideas and human social organisation. I thought about the predicament that our civilization finds itself in and about the violence and poverty that make this planet a hell for so many of its inhabitants. Toward the end I permitted myself a personal statement of what it was like to fall in love.”

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Jenny Offill, from Dept. of Speculation

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Ann Druyan & Carl Sagan // Caitriona Balfe & Sam Heughan

But, the great thing is that when were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief & precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive & we were together was miraculous - not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance…that pure chance could be so generous & so kind. That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space & immensity of time. That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful. - Ann Druyan

( insp )

When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me – it still sometimes happens– and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again.

Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous – not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind…That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time…That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful…

The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the Cosmos, and that was wonderful.
—  Ann Druyan, about her husband Carl Sagan
Most of the philosophers adjudged great in the history of Western thought held that humans are fundamentally different from the other animals. Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Pascal, Locke, Leibniz, Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel were all proponents ‘of the view that man differs radically in kind from [all] other things’; except for Rousseau, they all held the essential human distinction to be our 'reason, intellect, thought, or understanding.’ Almost all of them believed that our distinction arises from something made neither of matter nor of energy that resides within the bodies of humans, but of no one else on Earth. No scientific evidence for such a 'something’ has ever been produced. Only a few of the great Western philosophers—David Hume, for instance—argued, as Darwin did, that the difference between our species and others were only of degree.
—  Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors’
We know the insect decides who to eat, who to run away from, who to find sexually attractive. On the inside, within its tiny brain, does it have no perception of making choices, no awareness of its own existence? Not a milligram’s worth of self-consciousness? Not a hint of a hope for the future? Not even a little satisfaction at a day’s work well done? If its brain is one millionth the mass of ours, shall we deny it one millionth of our feelings and our consciousness? And if, after carefully weighing such matters, we insist it is still ‘only’ a robot, how sure are we that this judgment does not apply to us as well?
—  Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors’
Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we this way and not some other? What does it mean to be human? Are we capable, if need be, of fundamental change, or do the dead hands of forgotten ancestors impel us in some direction, indiscriminately for good or ill, and beyond our control? Can we alter our character? Can we improve our societies? Can we leave our children a world better than the one that was left to us? Can we free them from the demons that torment and haunt our civilization? In the long run, are we wise enough to know what changes to make? Can we be trusted with our own future?
—  Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors’