Pensive late-night reading material about Carl Sagan and life and death in an excellent piece by Sasha Sagan, his daughter, via The Cut.
As I veered into a kind of mini existential crisis, my parents comforted me without deviating from their scientific worldview.
“You are alive right this second. That is an amazing thing,” they told me. When you consider the nearly infinite number of forks in the road that lead to any single person being born, they said, you must be grateful that you’re you at this very second. Think of the enormous number of potential alternate universes where, for example, your great-great-grandparents never meet and you never come to be. Moreover, you have the pleasure of living on a planet where you have evolved to breathe the air, drink the water, and love the warmth of the closest star. You’re connected to the generations through DNA — and, even farther back, to the universe, because every cell in your body was cooked in the hearts of stars.
The melancholy essay is framed by the story of a very big and relatively underpublicized solid that Seth MacFarlane did for Sagan's family.
Incidentally, it must have been a bit of an ego blow for Sasha Sagan's husband to get overshadowed in his own wedding announcement by his father-in-law.