Carl

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —

I only had lunch with him the one time. Marky Mark went down to Caltech to hang out with his VLSI Tech Dweeb pals, and I went along… I actually have no idea why… I guess I was infatuated with him back then.

When those guys get started… it’s really fascinating for the first five minutes… and then I don’t understand another word after that.

I slipped out at the first opportunity and wandered over to the Athenaeum for a lite lunch, and wound up having it with Carl Sagan.

I only had lunch with him the one time, so it’s kind of cheeky to title this post “Carl,” but I think that for those who knew him, he wasn’t Carl Sagan, or Dr. Sagan, it was just “Carl.” And I think they still miss him a lot.

I cannot describe how much I love living in the Tim Berners-Lee generation. It is such a time of empowerment, of voice, of democratic values, of Read-Write Culture. It is such a time of possibilities.

Still, the Tim Berners-Lee generation is about Cyber-Space. It is about gazing inward to a fascinating new consciousness and new humanity.

But a generation ago, in the Carl Sagan generation, it was about Outer-Space. It was about gazing into the night sky and contemplating a vast universe of possibilities. If you will, it was about “the glory of creation.”

I’ve been struggling to clear my lungs of a bit of bronchitis for a couple of weeks now. It’s true, the Burning Man Organization has not been the only thing making me feel weak and fatigued, a restricted airway has pitched in too.

So I’ve been trying to take it easy. Trying to veg out and watch DVD’s. I watched Contact again today. Tears stream down my face every time I watch that film. It’s human dreams, human longing, human adventure, both small and large, painted across a canvas the size of the cosmos itself.

Jodie Foster is amazing. I want to be her.

Matthew McConaughey is also nice. He actually reminds me of Marky Mark: kind of an adorable jerk.

The work we create in these virtual worlds of ours is amazing, still, I can’t help feeling that our vision is smaller now. It is all Cyber-Space, Inner-Space, and we don’t gaze into the night sky so much any more.

We can create anything in these world. We can create things that are impossible in the physical world. But we still have to imagine them. In cyber-space the only limit is your imagination. In outer space there is the promise of inconceivable wonders beyond the realm of your imagination.

portrait of Carl Sagan by Pat Linse

I miss Carl.

— VB

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