Kindness as a Cosmic Virtue

This is not the “official” video of Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”, but it’s my favorite.

My favorite line of this speech is at the end:

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

I agree whole-heartedly with this quote, with the entire message of this speech. It’s why I find the state of the world right now so distressing: Far too many people find far too many ideologies that allow themselves to be cruel to each other. Anti-semitism is on the rise now. Racism is on the rise. Kindness and sympathy are cast aside, and that casting is seen as a virtue by folks on both sides of the political divide.

But in the end, what matters is how kind we are to each other. Neil DeGrasse Tyson said:

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

Every kindness and cruelty that we experience or visit onto others takes place on the same tiny little dust mote in the same Cosmos. I don’t think this is at all meaningless; on the contrary, being kind is a vast responsibility. A cosmic one.

When Peter Capaldi ended his tenure as the Doctor in the British TV series Doctor Who, before he regenerated into Jodie Whitaker, he gave a marvelous speech about the importance of being kind in the cosmos. I can’t remember it, and I can’t find it online anywhere (maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough). But some of the Twelfth Doctor’s words about kindness remain embedded in my brain: “Without hope, without witness, without reward. Be kind.” And also: “Love hard, run fast, be kind.”

And, of course, in the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”, Kirk tells us that somewhere in the galaxy in the 22nd century some poet suggests that “Let me help” is a more loving statement than “I love you.”

So in the middle of this vast Cosmos, be kind to the Earth and the people who inhabit it. It is, after all, all we have. And as Carl Sagan also said, “For such small creatures as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”

Oh, that’s right, I have a blog!

I keep forgetting that I have one of these things out in the world. So, a quick miscellany.

First, I want to point out the the first issue of the rebooted Daikaijuzine is out, featuring some fantastic fiction and poetry. Go over and check it out.

Second, I’m going back to library school! People who’ve known me since before, oh, 2004, know that I originally enrolled in San Jose State University’s MLIS program back in 2003. I let my enrollment lapse a couple of years later because, if I’m being honest, I was intimidated by one of the classes I was taking. Since then, I’ve regretted not completing the program (especially since I’d just volunteered to work on a website with JAMES FREAKING BURKE, he of the Connections TV series fame from a few years back). A few years back I checked in and discovered that since it’d been over seven years since I’d dropped out, all of my grades had been wiped out and I’d essentially have to start over. I shrugged then, but this time around I decided to give it another serious go. So, here I go. Since the last time I was in the program it’s gone entirely online, which should be interesting. Classes start in spring 2020.

Third, the writing progresses aplenty. I’ve begun outlining A Plague of Ghosts (working title), my Big Project which is both a World War One epic and a space opera. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to get both of these things working together but I will. I’m really looking forward to writing this one, even if I am intimidated by it. Draft one will be started in November, as my NaNoWriMo project. (Remember NaNoWriMo? Yeah, I sort of passed on it these past two years, but I’m raring to go again.) I’ve been reading plenty of WWI history, and plenty of space opera to get myself into the mood.

The other writing news is that… Well, nothing. I have yet to make a professional sale, which I’ve been aiming for for some years now. I have been sending out submissions, of course, but getting no bites. Ah well. These are all stories that I feel are in a complete stage. I have several others that I am still working on: “Sauromancy”, “Anamet”, and “Sparrow Court” are among them.

Oh, I’ve also gotten solid feedback on two novels that I have written, Padma and The Solitude of the Tentacled Space Monster. These I will polish up in my copious spare time and then move on to the next stage of novel-hood, whatever that may be.

Fourth, a health update: For the past couple of years I’ve noticed a strange twinge in the top of my left foot that happened every once in awhile. I finally went to a podiatrist who said she thought it was an impingement, possibly caused or exacerbated by my flat feet. She gave me some special insoles for my shoes, and when they didn’t help she gave me a boot to wear. I wore the boot for three weeks or so, and while it helped a bit, it didn’t stop the pain entirely. The podiatrist pronounced herself baffled and decided to order an MRI. So that’s coming up. For now I get to wear the boot “for the foreseeable future”. No walking or running or any sort of high-impact exercise. Which means I will be moving the recumbent stationary bicycle into the guest room so that I can use it without bugging Jennifer.

Oh, I also sprained my right ankle. That was about a month ago. It still hurts. The same podiatrist said it would hurt for 2-3 weeks, then feel “weird” for a couple of months after that. I guess it doesn’t hurt so much as it does “feel weird”. Color me annoyed. I’ve been limping on both sides for some time now.

Um, I think that’s it.

Hopefully it will be more than five or so months before I get around to updating again. October is almost here — it’s my favorite time of year — so I hope to have some spooky content up here soon.

Until then, be well my friends.