NSL Blog

The overview effect and a pioneering spirit

August 30, 2013

We are all made of the same stuff: atoms

We are all made of the same stuff: atoms

Our nonlinear world is about connectedness, our connectedness to each other and in fact to a wider universe. Something I explore in No Straight Lines. I am deeply interested in our humanity and the human spirit. I am interested in humanities capacity for a higher yearning, which inspires us to work towards a greater good. Our pioneering spirit today should be more about the quality of life, and better governance of this planet. When we see the world as a deeper system, we see the world differently as this moving film explains. This philosophical perspective is critical as it shapes the way the see and therefore act in the world around us.

On the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.

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.

‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.

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