"When you consider the nearly infinite number of forks in the road that lead to any single person being born, they said, you must be grateful that you’re you at this very second. Think of the enormous number of potential alternate universes where, for example, your great-great-grandparents never meet and you never come to be. Moreover, you have the pleasure of living on a planet where you have evolved to breathe the air, drink the water, and love the warmth of the closest star. You’re connected to the generations through DNA — and, even farther back, to the universe, because every cell in your body was cooked in the hearts of stars. We are star stuff, my dad famously said, and he made me feel that way."
New York Magazine has run a piece from Sagan’s daughter Sasha about what it was like to be raised by the thoughtful, poetic astronomer. The entire essay is well worth a read, but the above quote, which is recalled by Sasha, after she remembers asking her father why she had never met his deceased parents is very telling of how inspiring Sagan was. His view of life, death, chance, and choice is lovely, brave, and brilliant.
Remember, gang, we’re all just “space stuff”.