Monday

The Martian and the Overview Effect

Via Paz on FB

Are you familiar with the "overview effect?"

You should be.

It's what astronauts report after coming back to Earth after spending some time in space, circling the "pale blue dot."

It's important because a number of people have cited it as a "consciousness altering event" that occurred when seeing the earth from outer space.

Carl Sagan mentions it and coined the phrase "the pale blue dot."

Scientist/Philosopher Giordano Bruno had an out of body experience where he "saw the earth" from outer space, and it altered his idea of the heavens (and he was burned at the stake for it.)

Private Manning cited it in the film by Alex Gibney as to why she felt compelled to share the secret military files she's spending life in prison for.

"The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface."

In my life of research, a "cognitive shift" is what I'm hearing over and over in interviews with people who either have had a near death experience, an out of body experience, a run in with someone who is no longer on the planet, or while under deep hypnosis. ("Flipside" and "It's a Wonderful Afterlife.")

People who've had these profound experiences claim that they've gone through some form of cognitive shift, where they no longer see their lives, or the lives of those around them in the same way.

During one hypnosis session, a woman was asked "what's the reason behind this shift?" and her "spirit guide" replied - "In terms of the cosmos, it's not a big deal.  However, if you want to understand a shift in consciousness, imagine yourself a crab walking on the ocean floor and you suddenly open your eyes and realize - you're in an ocean. That's a shift in consciousness."

So how is "The Martian" like the "Overview Effect?"

It's in the plant. (Funny. "Plant" and "planet." Can't get much closer than those two words).  

The plant that the "Martian" says hello to on Mars, and later we see a plant on another planet, which the actor in the scene says hello to as well.

How fragile. How precious. How indelibly linked are we to this place.  How incredibly amazing it is that we can actually have food and light and water - when obviously the experiment on Mars didn't have the same effect.  The experiment on Mars, for lack of a better term - we could call it the Universe's ability to turn a planet into a lush place teeming with life - didn't take hold on Mars.  For whatever reason.  And yet it did on Earth.

So when you go to Mars, and inevitably you will go to Mars when you see this amazing film, think for a moment how that sister planet - Mars might be an example of what Earth will look like in the future. 

If we don't take care of it. 
If we don't realize how precious it is. 
If we don't consider, embrace, understand the overview effect.


Here's a booklet from the overview project that is worth reading about space exploration:
http://www.overviewinstitute.org/images/overvieweffect.pdf

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