"We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the Cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff."
- Carl Sagan
"All the elements of the Earth except hydrogen and some helium have been cooked by a kind of stellar alchemy billions of years ago in stars, some of which are today inconspicuous white dwarfs on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy. 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."
- Carl Sagan, _Cosmos_
In his book, _The Dragons of Eden_, Carl Sagan proposed that one of the reasons that we seem to fear dragons is that our proto-human ancestors retained this fear of reptiles and dinosaurs in their DNA make-up. And this fear has been transmitted from one ancestor to another. Freud and Darwin also spoke of dragons and their impact on our dream states.
"It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to fifty words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese."
-- Carl Sagan
sagan /say'gn/ /n./
[from Carl Sagan's TV series
"Cosmos"; think "billions and billions"] A large quantity of anything.
"There's a sagan different ways to tweak EMACS." "The U.S. Government spends
sagans on bombs and welfare -- hard to say which is more destructive."
- _The New Hacker's Dictionary_ by Eric S. Raymond
USING THE PSEUDONYM "Mr. X", Sagan wrote about his pot smoking in an essay published in the 1971 book "Reconsidering marijuana." The book's editor, Lester Grinspoon, recently disclosed the secret to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. Davidson, a writer for the San Francisco Examiner, revealed the marijuana use in an article published in the newspaper's magazine Sunday.
"Carl Sagan: A Life" is due out in October.
"I find that today a single joint is enough to get me high ... in one movie theater recently I found I could get high just by inhaling the cannabis smoke which permeated the theater," wrote Sagan, who authored popular science books such as "Cosmos," "Contact," and "The Dragons of Eden."
In the essay, Sagan said marijuana inspired some of his intellectual work.
"I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves," wrote the former Cornell University professor. "I wrote the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down.
Sagan also wrote that pot enhanced his experience of food, particularly potatoes, music and sex. Grinspoon, Sagan's closest friend for 30 years, said Sagan's marijuana use is evidence against the notion that marijuana makes people less ambitious.
"He was certainly highly motivated to work, to contribute," said Grinspoon, a psychiatry professor at Harvard University.
Grinspoon is an advocate of decriminalizing marijuana.
Ann Druyan, Sagan's former wife, is a director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The nonprofit group promotes legalization of marijuana.
Sagan died of pneumonia in 1996. He was 62.