When astronauts leave Earth, there is a well documented phenomenon that occurs.
The Overview Effect.
The Overview Effect is a cognitive shift: a sudden change in awareness reported by astronauts, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.
It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be this fragile ball of life.
A tony, fragile orb of blue and green suspended in the void.
Shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere, 60 miles thick.
From space, astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish.
The conflicts that divide us become less important.
It’s the uncanny sense of understanding the “big picture.” Of feeling connected to — and yet bigger than — the complex interactions that exist on the ground.
And more than anything, looking at Earth from space and recognizing the fragility of this “pale blue dot” transforms into an overwhelming desire to protect it.
As Carl Sagan profoundly says:
“There is perhaps no better a demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant imae of our tiny world.”
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