What is the overview effect? Its an effect reported by astronauts usually while viewing the earth from space or the lunar surface of a totally euphoric feeling of oneness and enlightenment, a feeling that we are all connected with each other and every creature on earth, and of the earth itself.
Observers of individuals who have reported this effect report also a noticeable change in attitude and perspective. It has been compared to the experience of a monk meditating or the use of shamanic ritualised plants and often includes changed perceptions of space and time.
Astronauts experiencing this have said national boundaries immediately vanish, and there comes a strong desire to work together as a people to unite and protect our planet. The Overview Institute (see sources) states that around 500 astronauts have had this experience to date.
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell had a very profound experience as the Apollo 14 Lunar module slowly rotated through space in 1971 on its way back from the moon. As he gazed out of the window at the Earth he became no longer an outside observer of the universe but part of and within the universe, and so was everyone and everything else. “I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity,” he later explained. “The thought was so large it seemed inexpressible, and to a large degree it still is.”
“It was the experiencing of unity, of feeling at one with the universe, of recognizing that I was star-matter, literally a physical construct of the universe; that was the key thing. I had studied stellar formation and how the furnaces of the stars and galaxies created our chemical elements, but I suddenly realized that those were my molecules being manufactured and prototyped in those stars.”
“As I looked at the planet from the moon, and from our spacecraft, it was kind of a signal event in human consciousness, a symbol that we were evolving into a new level of humanity. The pictures that we took of the earth are the most published pictures in the history of humankind. They’re enormously widely published pictures. Why? It’s because they speak to us at a rather deep, emotional level and they beg the questions, ‘How did we get here? How do we fit into all this?’ Those are the questions I was asking when I came back to earth. Instead of being an intellectual experience, it became a very deep, personal, emotional one, a knowing.”
With the advent of commercial space flight such as Virgin Galactic it is expected that soon hundreds of ordinary (though at first very rich) citizens will be having this experience. What sort of changes will that bring to the world?