The Overview Effect

Imagine you are on the International Space Station.  Pause for a few moments and allow yourself to imagine that you are looking back at the Earth.  It’s a lot to take in.  Some people have described it as seeing the earth “to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere.”  

Again, take a moment, maybe even close your eyes, and imagine what you are looking at is the Earth suspended in space. 

What begins to shift for you?

For over four decades, astronauts from many cultures and backgrounds have had that real experience, not just imagined.  They report a common shift in perspective, that “national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this ‘pale blue dot’ becomes both obvious and imperative.”  This shift in perspective has been called “The Overview Effect”.

While many of us will never go into space and have a direct experience of The Overview Effect, we can imagine it and allow it to permeate our perspective;  to allow it to alter how we see the Earth and each other.

Many astronauts also reported that creating such a planetary society and protecting the “pale blue dot” is imminently achievable, if only more people could have that experience, that shift in perspective.

Take another look up from what’s immediately in front of you.  Begin to see the Earth in its totality, to see the innate interconnectedness of each of us.  What stirs in you?  What’s important to you about that? What is your vision for the future of the planet? 

How will you act boldly now?

Quotes taken from The Overview Institute

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