But to my mind nobody spoke more eloquently about science nor as passionately about life than Sagan. He wanted people to be awestruck by the realities of our natural universe instead of mesmerized by fiction, superstition and the paranormal. To this end he dedicated his life and there is now a gaping black hole where once this man stood. Some have speculated that possibly Michael Shermer (Skeptic Magazine) or Neal DeGrass-Tyson (Hayden Planetarium, NOVA Science Now) have stepped into the void left by Sagan. The former comes across a bit too academic and the latter a bit too cutesy, in my opinion. Sagan possessed class and dignity but with the down-home familiarity that made him genuine and personable. The truth is there will never be another Carl Sagan, there cannot be.
In the last year several friends of mine have died, both too young and too unexpectedly. Many find comfort in believing myths we tell ourselves about living on forever; but for me, there exists a greater relevance for appreciating the wonder life through recognizing that it is indeed finite. The following comments were written by Anne Druyan following Sagan’s death.
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.This blog essay is dedicated to:
Copyright ©2003 Ann Druyan