It’s been a little over a year now since the last time anything was posted on here, and if there ever were avid readers, sorry about that, and for anyone who hated everything on here, you’re welcome (but do brighten up). Despite a total lack of activity, there have been over 14 thousand page views in this time, so thanks must go to my family for sitting down and hitting refresh about 13990 times, and thank you to the remainder of the people who wound up here, presumably due to some typo or cat-on-keyboard style incident.
And what a year it’s been.
While this site has been gathering dust in some small crevice of the internet, the world at large hasn’t stopped to draw breath. Imagine trying to explain the last year to somebody who’s been in a coma; where would you even begin? Perhaps with the resignation of the Bulgarian Prime Minister, or maybe the Zika crisis. How about Myanmar holding its first democratic elections, the reveal of the Panama Papers or the world being subjected to the release of Batman Vs Superman. And what about the news that humanity has been drinking beer since 3400 BC, or exploding Samsung’s, and of course Leicester City’s unbelievable triumph. The fifty-day phenomenon of Pokémon Go, Tim Peake on the ISS, Brexit and all that jazz, the small matter of the Rio Olympics, a 392-year-old shark and a dead gorilla. Of course, that’s all even without mentioning that Donald Trump has gone from punchline to President-Elect. Yeah, it’s been one busy year.
Who knows what the next year and the entire infinite amount of time that follows will bring (hopefully a few less celebrity deaths). All I can say is that this particular monkey is sitting back down in front of his figurative typewriter and gearing up to smash away at the keys…
I’m writing this on the 26th of June, 2015. This is a date which will be remembered by many for a long time to come. It is the day that America finally legalised gay marriage across the country, enshrining it as a right for all citizens.
This huge development comes after many years of campaigning by gay rights activists which led to a Supreme Court ruling, which was today released as being in favour of legalising gay marriage.
This is great news, there is no denying that, but America still has a long, long way to go, like almost all other nations, before it can truly be said that “All men are created equal”. Perhaps the best illustration of this is the Supreme Court ruling itself. Out of the 9 judges, 5 voted in favour of legalising gay marriage, with the other 4 voting against.
There is still widespread homophobia, not only in America, but across the world, and allowing gays to marry does not bring an end to it, although it is a very good place to start. I am straight, but I support gay rights, because it is my simple belief that we are, essentially, all the same. We are all human. The same. Equals. Nobody should be persecuted, made to feel less, intimidated, bullied, abused or attacked just because of who they are.
And that extends to religion and race as well. America is making strides, but it cannot be denied that there is still racism in America today. The numbers of unarmed black people shot by the police force in America is staggering, and is quite disgusting really. America, this bastion of freedom and equality, so willing to wage war on those doing harm abroad, must now take a long, hard look in the mirror and decide to move forward, and past differences so trivial as sexuality and race.
This may seem like a rant directed solely at America, but it is not. Everybody must learn to put aside their differences, let the past be the past and go forward, together, into a new world. That is my hope, and there are many who will object, but I do believe that it is possible. I really hope that you do too.
I would love to say more about this picture, and I could, but Carl Sagan has already written about this picture, and his words are far more elegant and powerful than mine could ever hope to be, in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of Human Future in Space:
"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam... Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
A bit of a lengthy quote certainly, but one that is deeply profound, challenging the ideas we have about ourselves and where we stand in the grand cosmic stage of the Universe. The Pale Blue Dot is one of my favorite pictures, and I really hope you can see why.