Carl Sagan Quotes About the Life, Universe and The Future

If you’re looking for some words of wisdom, you need look no further than these Carl Sagan quotes. The famed astrophysicist had a lot of insightful things to say about life, the universe, and everything in between.

carl sagan quotes

Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 9, 1934. He was a brilliant astronomer and one of the most famous science communicators of our time. Sagan was also an author, educator, and advocate for science and reason.

 He was best known for his work on the television series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” Sagan’s legacy continues to inspire people around the world to learn more about science and to appreciate the universe we live in.

In the pantheon of great scientists, few names are as revered as that of Carl Sagan. His work on the nature of the universe and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has inspired generations of scientists and helped to popularize science among the general public.

 Sagan’s legacy is evident in the many ways that his work has touched the world, and his influence is sure to be felt for many years to come.

Here are some of our favorite Carl Sagan Quotes

66 Carl Sagan Quotes

  1. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

2. “We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”

3. “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”

4. “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

5. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”

6. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

7. “I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”

8. “Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.” 

9. “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

10. “You have to know the past to understand the present.”

11. “Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.”

12. “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” 

13. “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”

14. “Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.”

15. “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”

Famous Carl Sagan quotes

16. “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”

17. “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”

18. “Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.”

19. “All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” 

20. “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.”

21. “If I finish a book a week, I will read only a few thousand books in my lifetime, about a tenth of a percent of the contents of the greatest libraries of our time. The trick is to know which books to read.”

22. “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

23. “The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.”

24. “When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.” –

25. “I think if we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we will have failed.”

26. “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”

Carl Sagan quotes about life

best carl sagan quotes

27. “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy”

28. “We can’t help it. Life looks for life.”

29. “Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.”

30. “In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.”

31. “We tend not to be especially critical when presented with evidence that seems to confirm our prejudices.”

32. “There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths.”

33. “Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.”

34. “If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.”

35. “For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.”

36. “A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.”

37. “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”

38. “People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.”

39. “I believe that the extraordinary should certainly be pursued. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Our best Carl Sagan quotes

40. “It’s hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness.”

41. “We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

42. “We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.”

43. “Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.”

44. “It is said that men may not be the dreams of the god, but rather that the gods are the dreams of men.”

45. “The visions we offer our children shape the future. ”

46. “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.”

47. “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”

48. “We are alive and we resonate with the idea of life elsewhere, but only careful accumulation and assessment of the evidence can tell us whether a given world is inhabited.”

49. “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.”

50. “If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

carl sagan universe quotes

51. “Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family?”

52. “When we look up at night and view the stars, everything we see is shinning because of distant nuclear fusion.”

53. “Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.”

54. “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” 

56. “The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.”

57. “Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire.”

58. “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgement, the manner in which information is coordinated and used.”

59. “The lifetime of a human being is measured by decades, the lifetime of the Sun is a hundred million times longer. Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their lives in the course of a single day.”

60. “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is coordinated and used.”

61. “Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe.”

62. “Those at too great a distance may, I am well are, mistake ignorance for perspective.”

63. “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”

64. “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.”

65. “I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star.”

66. “We are privileged to live in, and if we are lucky to influence, one of the most critical epochs in the history of the human species.”

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