Statement by Jimmy Carter on the Voyager Probe

Among other media and information, the Voyager Probe contains this statement by Jimmy Carter:

“This Voyager spacecraft was constructed by the United States of America. We are a community of 240 million human beings among the more than 4 billion who inhabit the planet Earth. We human beings are still divided into nation states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization.

We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered and the surface of the Earth may be vastly changed. Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some–perhaps many–may have inhabited planets and spacefaring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message:

This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe.”

It was among several images I found on an imgur page from a link on reddit.  I had seen some of the images before, but do not remember having ever read his statement.

I think it’s beautiful.

For much of of my adult life, I have found myself jaded–especially within the past 10 or so years.  But seeing the images of human life and knowledge contained on Voyager as well as the president’s statement, it re-acquainted me with the friendliness and innocence of mankind.  It also filled me with a sense of hope.

There are those among us who are intelligent and friendly, those who want to greet, cooperate, and share.  This, I think, is the essential human spirit.  It is what makes us who we are, and it is the hope for our species.  Our hope does not lie in provincialism, anger, greed, or smugness–things of which I have seen a lot in people lately.

I think that looking at the content of Voyager is important.  It gives us a particular view of mankind.  We are children in a big universe.  We have to cooperate if we, as a species, are going to reach adulthood.