|Photograph of Earth from the surface of Mars|
This is a pretty unusual film that was made about astronauts who had an unusual side effect after traveling in outer space. They started to relate to the Earth in a different fashion. An author coined the phrase "the overview effect."
Essentially it's that once you see a photograph of the Earth from the moon, there's an effect that alters our perception of the Earth.
Here's the video:
This effect was noted by famed astronomer Carl Sagan in his reference to the big blue dot:
“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Also, as a side note, the fellow who leaked all the information to WikiLeaks, claims (as reported in the film "Wikileaks" by Alex Gibney) that it was Carl Sagan's quote about the pale blue dot, that inspired him to release this information. I don't know if that's a quantifiable effect, but it certainly moved one person to do something completely out of the ordinary, no matter how one views the effects of that kind of revelation.
and finally, here's a photograph from the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn - and at the very bottom, you can view that pal blue dot as a bit of light. On July 19th, Cassini will take a photo of Earth from deep space. We we all should be waving. Floating through space in the Spaceship called Earth.
|Saturn from Cassini|
|Artist rendering of photo July 19th|
As was said to me during my own between life session as recounted in "Flipside" - I asked if there was any one message I could bring back from that session that would help others. And the answer was to tell people to "Just let go."
Which I took to mean let go of fear, let go of anger, let go of the borders between us, let down the defenses that disconnect us, let go of everything that doesn't point to the fact that we're all on this spaceship together, what happens to one of us happens to all of us, what happens to the air and water and soil happens to all of us - and that is a fundamental shift in perception. My two cents.