The very first time I read the words that Carl Sagan speaks in this video, I was forever changed. And I cannot thank him enough. This world has become so much more beautiful since I realized just how tiny and fragile it is. We are so fortunate to have the ability to study the universe the way we can, and to come to understand where we exist within it.
Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World released me from fear and superstition. It also rekindled my love of science. But reading the speech in this video for the first time, that humbled me in a way that no religion could ever attempt. Because it was real. No smoke and mirrors, no guilt or intangible, undefinable, ineffable shadow creatures that reach out from under the bed in the night and scare us. Just our planet, in our universe: complete, unobstructed, and in the full light of the blazing inferno that is our nearest star. There were no monsters lurking there. Just endless, spectacular, unique, brilliant, and amazing creatures that no god could ever plan.
We live in a universe of wonders. To quote the late Douglas Adams, a man far more brilliant than I could ever hope to be: "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
I wish I could make an icon that included Sagan's entire speech, but every icon I've attempted has been too large.