Cosmos and Character Education


IN One of his lectures at Cornell University in 1994, Carl Sagan, who turned 60, closed the speech by saying that astronomy was an exciting experience. Who builds character.

He refers to the photographic results of Voyager 1, which show the Earth as a home to life, which appears as a weak blue dot. This is the reality of this cosmos.

Earth is but a small part of the billions of stars scattered throughout the vastness of the universe. Humans are not the center. Humans do not control natural law. On the contrary, humans are a kind of glimpses within this primordial range of cosmos.

Carl Sagan's words made me wonder how science can forge a person's character. Science, in this case, is not limited to how it is used by positivists and is instrumental to practical needs. But as a mindset.

This mentality is not only a question of the rigor of the scientific method, but involves sensitivity, imagination and even reflection that can bring humility and compassion. People who distance themselves from science are people who are trapped in shells. People who are reluctant to pursue the truth critically will be vulnerable to lies and hatred.

So, what about Indonesia? Two female scientists who discussed the education crisis in Indonesia were Premana Premadi and Karlina Supelli. They question how the educational system in Indonesia does not encourage individuals to be brave and critical.

Premana Premadi discusses how the curriculum is the main problem of Indonesian education. He proposed a sustainable curriculum that addresses three things: individual, community and natural.

Individuals can develop. Not only related to forms of survival, but also to the sustainability of society and the environment. This curriculum produces no more compartmentalized mental maps, but the ability to understand the cause and effect of collapse.

Similar views were conveyed by the philosopher Karlina Supelli in the cultural discourse of the Jakarta Arts Council. He questioned how culture and education in Indonesia did not develop free and independent reason.

Students are really taken by fear. Afraid to be different, afraid to ask questions, and run to be pious. The stuttering of society occurs because it is not accustomed to train the mind, to test assumptions before declaring the truth.

The inspiration of the two thinkers was greatly influenced by learning at the observatory. Karlina Supelli quoted Johannes Kepler, who was inspired by the movement of the planets around the sun. The elegant movement echoes space music.

Kepler's harmony music that was reinterpreted by Laura Spiegel later included Carl Sagan on Golden Voyagers, who is now wandering among the stars as an introduction to the possibility of extraterrestrial civilization in the cosmic ocean. Cosmos teaches a philosophy about how small we are, the universe makes people fascinated and tremble at the same time.

Carl Sagan criticized anthropocentrism and how the intellect of humanity would cause the destruction of life on earth. The narrow view that places humans as the center of the world has resulted in human neglect in treating the environment.

Humans must improve themselves. One is to review the orientation of education to environmental sustainability. Sagan's non-anthropocentric approach now resonates in scientific data published by the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform for Scientific Policies on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services).

Reports from IPBES compiled by hundreds of scientists around the world conclude that the Earth is being eroded into biodiversity. One million species of animals and plants are threatened with extinction at such high speeds due to human activities.

From 14 to 19 June 2019, the Jakarta Observatory was open to the public. People can come and see how astronomical phenomena are; the beautiful arrangement of the Moon, the Planet Jupiter and the Planet Saturn. Every night before night, the observatory was violent with enthusiasm from the community, especially from the children.

Amid the problem of contempt for false news and hate speech, seeing the joy of people in learning and shortening the sky is refreshing. Observation through binoculars is a gathering of mortal humans with something grandiose. The universe is an inspiration that sharpens human thoughts and personages.


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