Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
—Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, 'Universe Song'
It's a great big universe
And we're all really puny
We're just tiny little specks
About the size of Mickey Rooney.
It's big and black and inky
And we are small and dinky
It's a big universe and we're not.
My travels in the ancestral mazes have memorized uncounted places and events which I never desire to see repeated. I have seen peoples and planets in such numbers that they lose meaning even in imagination. Ohhh, the landscapes I have passed. The calligraphy of alien roads glimpsed from space and imprinted upon my innermost sight. The eroded sculpture of canyons and cliffs and galaxies has imprinted upon me the certain knowledge that I am a mote.
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, 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.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
— Carl Sagan
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
— Carl Sagan
Let's face facts: in the larger context of galactic civilization, we're the guys standing in the corner with no pants on clanking rocks together.
—Michael Swaim, "The 8 Most Misguided Sci-Fi Versions Of 2008"
In one such world, in the corner of some backwater galaxy, humans rule over a senseless planet...However, that's about as important as a speck of dust in this pluralistic cosmos.
— Pram, Makai Kingdom
That cloud of stars is our galaxy, the Milky Way. Our solar system is on the edge of it. We hurl through an incomprehensible darkness. In cosmic terms, we are subatomic particles in a grain of sand on an infinite beach.
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes
Earth? Horrible name for a planet. Might as well call it Dirt. Planet Dirt.
—Jetfire, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Ah, Lucifer, look back upon our Earth;
First did the flowers vanish from our sight,
And then the swaying branches of the woods;
The well-known landscape, with its pleasant haunts
Merged fast into a flat plain, featureless,
And every landmark faded and grew dim.
Then dwindled mighty rocks to clods of earth,
The cloud that lightning veils and thunder's roar -
The voice of God to them which dwell below -
We saw as vapour driven by the wind.
The boundless ocean's ever surging waves,
Where are they now? A shadow on the globe
That turns and mingles with a thousand stars.
And yet that Earth was all the world for us.
—Adam, The Tragedy of Man
Think of all the rivers of blood, spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
— The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's (revised) entry for "The Earth" in its entirety.
And crawling, on the planet's face,
Some insects, called the human race,
Lost in time, and lost in space...
... and meaning.
I know now that I am just a tiny grain of sand
Upon a vast beach
Without mercy the tide's rolling in...
"Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything can you offer me today?"
"An obscure body in the SK system, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet... Earth."
What are the lessons to be learned from this journey of the mind? That humans are emotionally fragile, perennially gullible, hopelessly ignorant masters of an insignificantly small speck of the cosmos.
Have a nice day.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, Death by Black Hole