"Consciousness Emerges in the Ash of Stellar Alchemy"
A view through the sun obelisk of the memorial Carl Sagan Planet Walk on the Ithaca commons. Farm Sanctuary (from nearby Watkins Glen), an animal advocacy and ecology group is about to break down their display for the day.
Stellar Alchemy is a reference to "Stellar Nucleogenesis", where early stars fused simple Hydrogen into all of the other elements, including Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Calcium, Iron, etc. - all the heavier atoms that make up you, the earth, and all other matter in the cosmos. When stars age and go nova, these heavier elements are then ejected back into space where over hundreds of millions of years, gravity draws them back together to form new solar systems. Our own solar system is probably made from 2nd or 3rd generation stars that blew up.
Less than a couple of weeks ago, i got to talk to theoretical physicist and string-theory guy Brian Greene, who worked at Cornell before Carl died. He holds Carl in high esteem. Brian told me that he's a Vegan, and became one after touring the Farm Sanctuary near Ithaca in Watkins Glenn (there's also one in Calif). Brian had gone vegetarian before that. Carl was the faculty adviser for the Cornell Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - but i didn't get to ask Brian if he and Carl ever talked about animal rights or diet.
If you're curious about where the title of this photo came from, check this out:
"Starstuff- the ash of stellar alchemy had emerged into consciousness." -Carl Sagan
Some humans it seems, are more conscious than others.