Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Golden Record

Derrick recently re-introduced me to the Golden Record. I am infinitely intrigued in the contents of this object/project and the potential story that could follow should it land in the hands (if they have hands?) of other life forms. For those who are unfamiliar, the Golden Record, a voice for mother earth, was created by the late astrologer Carl Sagan. Carl and wife Ann Druyan describe the project best as such:
If you could send a long message to such extraterrestrial beings - words, pictures, sounds, music - what would you say? How would you describe us? What would you leave out? Could you communicate intelligibly to very different beings with a wholly independent evolution? In 1977, at NASA's behest, a few of us had a remarkable opportunity to attempt such a (one-way) communication. Frank Drake suggested not a plaque, but a phonograph record. As described in the book, Murmurs of Earth, we designed and prepared the record to carry a rich message to the stars - 116 pictures and diagrams about our global civilization and our species, greetings, samples of the world's great music, the brain waves of a young woman in love and much else.
The "young woman in love" is Carl's future wife Ann Druyan. The record was created in 1977, the year Ann and Carl were falling in love. Ann was the subject of the brainwave recordings and as Dr. Helen Fisher has now illuminated, a very uniquely active brain high on the endorphins of love. Of all the thing we humans spew recklessly into the atmosphere, maybe this one contribution has the ability and reach to prove that despite it all, we are loving. intelligent creatures.

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