"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known"
Carl Sagan was a genuine rarity in the field of scientific understanding. His whole approach to our understanding of our abode in the vast Cosmos was mediated through his own unique sense of wonder and curiosity that he had as a human being. This sense extended into areas to do with our history, cultures, myths and religions as a species, and not just some smug and arrogantly defined discourse on "poor old humanity"and its pointless little existence upon this dreary rock (like Stephen Hawking and Dawkin's wrong headed crusades against all things "unreasonable" except of course their rather own irrational form of atheism, which is yet another belief system!) is an attitude tantamount of all humanity's highest instincts.
Nietzsche, In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, (and Richard Strauss's musical treatment of the Scientific understanding by way of the dry, musty and lifeless Fugue in the same piece) with his amazing antennae and clear far sighted vision, saw all this "unhealthiness" from his remote vantage point in the 1870s. Essentially to him, this unhealthiness was the very same malady, but now in a secular guise, as Christan pity which he deplored. The reason he detested pity so much was due to the fact that it essentially diminished humanity's creativity, curiosity and wonder, by making everyone into an object to be pitied by the blind forces of God, Nature and Society, and which we see in the cult of victimhood today all across western societies, with the obligatory "confession" through the media, in some shape or form. Such a humanity to Nietzsche was "decadence" in the sense that it no longer possessed any overreaching of itself towards those values that would spur humanity onwards greater achievements.
Equally in his preface to Beyond Good And Evil, where he famously compares truth to a women, he attacks the modern day equivalents of Hawkins and Dawkins, namely the Dogmatists, as being almost more unhealthy than the Christan authorities for their sheer poverty of spirit and imagination.
"But now science, spurred on by its powerful delusion, hurtles inexorably towards its limits where the optimism hidden in the essence of logic founders. For the periphery of the circle of science has an infinite number of points and while there is no telling yet how the circle could ever be fully surveyed, the noble and gifted man, before he has reached the middle of his life, still inevitably encounters such peripheral limit points and finds himself staring into an impenetrable darkness"
Carl Sagan, who like Einstein had not just a powerful and great mind, but also perhaps more importantly, both were blessed with the wonderful gift of trying to open not just our eyes, but our hearts to those potentials that can exist in the very midst of life. Their way is fresh, vital, and open to the wonder of simply being a member of the Cosmos, and they bring light into the world, rather than the dark, pointless tales of optimism spun off for no particular purpose or meaning by Dawkins et al.
"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"