The Profound Interconnection of Life - An Astronaut's Perspective
by Nikki Eisinger
April 21, 2021
In 1968, we went to the moon for the first time. Mankind was eager to explore the surface of the moon, the stars and space. But as it turns out, seeing the moon and stars up close was only half the reason to go.
For everyone watching - from the astronauts to the TV audience - seeing the Earth from a distance, dangling in space was perhaps the most important, monumental collective event that humanity had experienced. This short film by the Planetary Collective documents astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the "Overview Effect."
When you see our planet from a distance, just hanging there in space, that changes your perspective completely. The earth is one system, and you realize that we are all part of that system, and that there is a unity or coherence to it all.
The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
The short film "Overview Effect" demonstrates this awe and gives perspective to the feeling of seeing the Earth from space. It's well worth twenty minutes of your time.
Edgar Mitchell, one of the Apollo 14 astronauts appears in the film. Because of his profound experience in going to space, he founded the The Institute of Noetic Sciences and has dedicated his life to "supporting individual and collective transformation... through consciousness research, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential."
Many wisdom traditions, from the Mayans to Native Americans and early Christianity have pointed to this interconnectedness (here called "overview effect") the unity, this oneness of all life was the way of life. Today, we operate from a sense or feeling of separation in Western cultures. Yet this modern thinking is the exception. In other cultures from the past and even in modern Eastern cultures, it has always been realized that the individual self, and the species as a whole, and all of life on this planet, are completely interconnected.
It's a basic understanding of who we are that is at stake.
If you loved this as much as us, you'll also enjoy this animated tribute to Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot."