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HarbingerDawn
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Carl Sagan appreciation thread

03 Dec 2017 04:24

I know that there are quite a few people on the forum who are Carl Sagan fans and whose lives he has fundamentally influenced. This thread is here to discuss all things Carl Sagan-related and/or share how Sagan has influenced your life (continuation of this thread from the old forum).



To start things off, I'll share a fun little image that I made to be my Discord avatar :)
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Carl Sagan appreciation thread

03 Dec 2017 18:36

Since the debate that arose appeared to be less about Carl Sagan and more about Mouthwash's more fundamental views about the politics of science communication, I decided it should be split out.  That conversation can be continued here.
 
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Carl Sagan appreciation thread

03 Dec 2017 23:51

I mentioned elsewhere that what I find more remarkable about Sagan than his scientific merits is his eloquence, his skill with words, which I think resemble so much that of the classical orators.  Indeed, if Sagan did not study them, that would be very surprising.  His language was very similar to the orators of antiquity.

Here's one example, from his "pale blue dot":

"every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam."

We find the same kind of construct in Cicero's "in Catalinam":

"nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis uigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora uoltusque mouerunt?" ("Do not the nightly guards on the Palatine Hill, do not the watches in the city, does not the fear of the people, and the union of all good men, does not the assembly of the senate in this most defensible place, do not the looks and countenances of the people here present, have any effect upon you?")


He uses a long sentence and keeps the listener in suspense with the repeated "every", which is not completed until he finally ends the sentence.  Like Cicero repeats "nihil" but didn't reveal the meaning until last and all the pieces of the sentence fell into place.  It forces the listener to pay attention, remember everything and wonder what all these things possibly can have in common, before the answer is given.

Also, he plays with alliteration: "superstar ... supreme leader ... saint and sinner ... suspended in a sunbeam".  Also possible carefully worded: "hunter ... hero", "(coward) ... creator ... king".

How the language consciously can be used in such manners is what I appreciate most about Sagan.
NIL DIFFICILE VOLENTI
 
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Nantes
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Carl Sagan appreciation thread

07 Dec 2017 16:55

He has been my personal hero for many years now. Having been born in 1991, I never watched Cosmos and he died when I was still a child. I found about him by chance from [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc]this music video[/url] starring him[size=100], and his ideas just resonated with me immensely. Since then I have read A World Haunted by Demons and his Contact novel, which is brilliant, and I plan to read many more of his books over my life. Truly an inspiration of what science communication should be. I remember once I was in bed trying to sleep, then I started thinking about him and the fact that he was dead, and I just started crying. For a man I never met![/size]

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