Saturday, March 2, 2013

Excerpts from Carl Sagan's Cosmos

In the 1980’s the Cold War entered its final stage and one of its most dangerous and important periods. It was a time when the rhetoric of nuclear Armageddon with its biblical implications had begun to consume the Western World.

During this period there were many unrelenting voices pounding the war drums, much like today. However, there were also many benevolent voices trying to educate us by showing us the beauty of life and our part in it. One of those working relentlessly towards the betterment of society was Carl Sagan, and his masterpiece was the Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, “a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter.”
“It covered a wide range of scientific subjects including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe…. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until [1990]…. As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. It won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and has since been broadcast in more than 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people.”
I first came across this series when it was finally released on DVD in 2000. I was hooked after watching part 1 and for the next few days I became a Cosmos addict and a serious Carl Sagan fan, especially after I found out that he was also a marijuana advocate.
“Under the pseudonym ‘Mr. X’, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. The essay explained that marijuana use had helped to inspire some of Sagan's works and enhance sensual and intellectual experiences. After Sagan's death, his friend Lester Grinspoon disclosed this information to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life, in 1999 brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan's life. Not long after his death, widow Ann Druyan had gone on to preside over the board of directors of NORML, a foundation dedicated to reforming cannabis laws.“
Considering our present geopolitical situation and the recent events that have unfolded regarding the legalization of cannabis I thought it would be a good idea to share some of Sagan’s message.

Below you will find two videos that I put together in 2010. They are some of my favorite excerpts from the series - just a few minutes from a timeless masterpiece.

Excerpts from Carl Sagan's Cosmos (Part 1 of 2)

Excerpts from Carl Sagan's Cosmos (Part 2 of 2)

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