On Christmas night I read through some diaries on Daily Kos, and caught one that has the famous Earthrise photo in it: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/12/24/65153/671
When I look at a photo of Earth, and see land mass I recognize the shape of, it reminds of reality: it reminds me that on that orb, there are countries, nations of sapient beings--their societies and their cultures. When I think of that, I’m reminded of two quotes:
All of nature is metaphor to the human mind. --R.W. Emerson
Man lives in psyche. --C.G. Jung
These two quotes remind me how reality--this orb, everything on it, everything yet to be--is all a collective dream, colossal, unfolding this moment.
The comments to the diary with the Earthrise photo contained much of what you'd expect, plus a YouTube clip of Carl Sagan and his speech about this Pale Blue Dot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJE_Ld-UyCk
I’m not posting it again here, asking you to watch it to get mushy with me. I’m asking you to read the rest of this oped, and then watch it. Because if you've really visited the planet of these images--really lived on it--really cared how special it is, you'd look at facts concerning it, be aware of problems facing it, as well as solutions to remedy them.
When I see the Earthrise photo, I see it as the world I’d like to make it home to one day. Where the beings in its most powerful society exercise their sovereignty and convoke a convention which involves their entire nation.
How is it that Henry Thoreau and all the other great American thinkers and artists never sat down and examined the Constitution? How did Carl Sagan and all the other great American scientists never recognize the convention clause of Article V? How has that happened? Maybe they did and we’ve just never found it. Or maybe it’s because WWII and the Cold War scared everyone away from it for so long that we just forgot how to think about it.
The writer Gore Vidal has talked about a constitutional convention since the 1980s. But he’s always talked about it as this thing where we could turn the Dalai Lama into the president if we want. He’s never discussed it seriously and at length, it’s always been a quip to gain laughs at university lectures. He never broke it down in all seriousness and showed anyone who cared, or who could really make a difference, about the ratification process; and how difficult it would be to craft a 28th Amendment with a chance at becoming part of the Constitution, yet how the dynamic of the ceremony itself would promote transparency.
When we look at photos of Earth isn’t that what we all like to think is down there on it, transparent governments?
Facts are we’ve got a situation where the U.S. Government lobbies itself. How could a “constitutional convention” create anything worse than institutionalized corruption? Or a Treasury Secretary bailing out people he has partied with? How could a "constitutional convention" create anything worse than a Congress asleep at the switch?
Now think about the pale blue dot and this nation on it this moment. Not pale, but a radiant and piercing blue! Now think about it, now listen to Carl Sagan’s solemn words and how just within the past thirty months, the particulars surrounding the convention clause of Article V have been clarified.
Are you real? A real citizen? The planet is real enough--its sky is exploding orange, pink, and purple now. Somewhere. Its biosphere is in real enough trouble too. But are you real? Or something that likes to get weepy over pretty pictures one moment, then deny your place in them the next? Whatever unfolds in 2009, we all know where it will be taking place.