The Overview Effect and Our Search for Truth

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

Planetary Collective created this short documentary addressing the profound experience astronauts have when they first look down at the earth from outer space.  In 1987, author Frank White coined this The Overview Effect.  More specifically, it describes how the literal change in perspective of looking at the Earth from above can effect one’s cognitive perspective and associated belief systems.

Edgar Mitchell, astronaut on Apollo 14, eventually compared it to savikalpa samadhi, a non-dual state of awareness in which the subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still.

The result is often a shift in worldview that involves a sudden concern and appreciation for the fragility of the planet coupled with a deeper connection to mankind.

As someone with a deep and somewhat inexplicable interest in space exploration, astronomy and cosmology, I’m moved and fascinated by this.  My experience has been that we’re always chasing ourselves throughout life; our beliefs, our values and points of greatest connection to the world.  Astronauts have this incredible opportunity to move so far beyond themselves in the literal sense that I think it actually allows them to reconnect with their truths in a very immediate and inspiring way.

Space exploration, at it’s core, is a search for our deepest truths – how and why we are here.  The faithful individual searches for these answers in scripture and religious doctrine while the scientific, quite literally, looks up towards the heavens.

Ironically, the focus during the Apollo missions was always about where we were going and what was ahead of us.  This idea of, literally and figuratively, turning around to look back on ourselves, as pointed out by David Beaver could have been the most important reason for going to the moon.  It, in a sense, confirmed that the answers that we seek throughout life, were both inside and among us all along, but that it required a significant journey to reveal them.

Big thanks and congratulations to the Planetary Collective of the creation of this film and thanks to Christian for his selfless sharing of this piece.

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