Lessons From Sasha Sagan
From her book entitled For Small Creatures Such as We, the daughter of the famed astronomer and author Carl Sagan leaves us with a few lessons that would make her father proud.
It’s hard to overstate what Carl Sagan did for science. His individual contributions would have surely made for a successful career, but it’s the legacy he left behind that truly makes him unique and a gift to not only the science community but to anyone curious about the wonders of this world.
Science is very difficult to explain, and nearly impossible to do it in a way that is entertaining and enjoyable to the average reader. However, that is where Dr. Sagan separated himself from his peers, publishing server bestsellers and notably Cosmos, which has been seen by over 500 million people in 60 countries.
His daughter, while not a professional scientist by trade like her father, seemingly has inherited her dad’s greatest gift, and that is her ability to use her magnificent storytelling ability to help the reader better understand a piece of this complex world. Her novel, For Small Creatures Such as We, is a peek into the daily rituals we lead in our lives to find meaning in what can seem routine. Her mindfulness around the seasons, sex, birth, death, and more, help give you a deeper appreciation for the small things in life that often go unnoticed in today’s attention driven ecosystem.
And that deeper appreciation is, unknowingly, the critical lesson in the book; that reminder that wonder exists not only in the universe her father so elegantly described, but in the smallest of details of relationships, family, the rising of the sun, and our unique traditions.
There is one important question, found early in the book in Chapter 4: A Daily Ritual (page 66 in my print) that has stuck with me, and ultimately what led me to write this article on the book.
“Why does the provability of something rob us of the thrill of it?”
In that powerful question, one is left to challenge his definition of magic, and throughout the book, Sagan challenges us to accept that the fact that something wonderful is explanable, makes it all the more magical. There are things in nature that truly leave me in awe, and the more I know about the origins and rhythms of these things, the more I am inspired.
A mountain by itself is cool to see, but knowing it’s ancients beginnings is jaw-dropping. Life itself can be mystifying, but when you dig deeper and learn just how unique it is to our universe, it becomes magical. And without the knowledge of how it came to be, the Grand Canyon is just a big hole in the ground.
You can find this book directly on Amazon