12 Inspirational Carl Sagan Quotes

Words from an incredible scientist, thinker and educator.

Dr Alan Jones PhD FRSA
3 min readDec 2, 2021


I remember watching Carl Sagans TV series, Cosmos, many years ago. The “special effects” may have been a little “twee” and of course some of the detailed science has changed in the intervening years, but the charm and the infectious wonder Sagan radiated is simply irreplaceable. He was, for me, a man with the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet. He was in a very real sense a mystic who saw in nature not the anonymous hand of a deity, but the true beauty of our universe in its chaos and its order.

I thought I’d like to share some of his words, his inspirations if you prefer. They are perhaps more relevant today than when he spoke them.

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

In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.

Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

If we continue to accumulate only power and not wisdom, we will surely destroy ourselves.

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Don’t judge everyone else by your own limited experience.



Dr Alan Jones PhD FRSA

Director of Elyn Bres writing about personal development, the mind, spirituality and future histories. Elyn Bres is Cornish for Clear Mind www.elynbres.com