I read this today, and was somewhat moved by it.
I agree that knowing life is brief and precious is paramount to making the best choices you can in life, and that seeking refuge in illusions is pointless and probably distracting. However I feel that in the search for verifiable truth Carl and Ann have closed the door to things which may exist.
That was their choice and I can understand it helps to focus your attention on the now. Not missing those moments which are in reality not a certainty and all too fleeting.
Unlike Ann Druyan, I am uncertain if I will ever get to experience my wife again.
Unlike Ann and Carl, we were uncertain of any reunion in something beyond our perceptions of the universe. Which is different to being certain there will not be.
My wife and I most certainly took each day as a gift, living and loving perhaps to the real expectations of what two humans can do. Unlike this couple we were taken from each other suddenly and unexpectedly. I cherish and loved every moment of our years together, it was altogether too short. Being greedy, I wanted much more.
You know if you talk (as Carl and Ann have) about the vastness of the cosmos and how people come together it somehow implies that those spirits could have existed in different worlds.
This begs the question then of:
did those spirits come from somewhere or only from the stuff (the atoms) that is here?
If not then it is just the patterns that were formed from stuff and situations here on this planet. In which case it vastly lessens the odds of meeting (compared to the entire cosmos).
My wife and I came from as far apart on the planet as two people could possibly come together from - her from Finland and me from Australia. Almost at the opposite sides of the sphere upon which we reside.
To me the chances of our meeting were astronomical too. Yet in a place which was distant for both of us, we came together by chance.
Is this all just random?
Certainty I have no answers to that question. But just because I reject the answers provided in the dogmas of many religions does not mean that I feel that all there is to life is death.
There is too much that we can not yet see or comprehend to say with certainty that we simply start and then stop.
As yet science can not grapple with this concept. So it seems to me to be a kind of arrogance to attempt to suggest that physics proves there is no spirit that endures. The truth is that it is a question which science can not yet answer.
Still (of course) I struggle to find a meaning and a purpose to my life in the void left by her departure. I question too much to be able to simply accept the fairy tales which the worlds religions promulgate. I am certain that just as no human can truly comprehend infinity, no human can really grasp all the possibilities and realities which make up the universe.
For as quantum phyics is showing us, the universe is a strange and infinite place.