Overview Effect

The Overview Effect means viewing Earth with a new lens

Written by Alan Ladwig on Wednesday, 24 June 2009. Posted in Overview Institute, Overview Effect

Those people who have traveled into space have had the benefit of seeing the Earth from a unique perspective. To see the planet from an extraterrestrial perspective reveals a fragile spaceship protected by a thin atmosphere. Many who have had the privilege to experience this view have returned with a new sense of purpose and perceptive that is more global, more spiritual, and more humane.

By working to achieve the goals set forth through the Overview Institute, we hope to expand the ability for the global community to see the Earth through a new lens and experience the evolution in consciousness that often takes place.

In the not so distant future, we can achieve the prediction of the late Krafft Ehricke who observed, "Perhaps as we place the extraterrestrial domain into the service of all people, we may be permitted to hope for the greatest benefit of all: that the cheapness of opportunism and all else that is small, narrow, contemptible and repulsive becomes more apparent and far less tolerable from the vantage point of the stars than it ever was from the perspective of the mud hole." After all, should we not take a cue from the fact that since the beginning, Man has placed his dreams and aspirations among the stars and his nightmares into caves from whence he came.

The Overview Institute and planetary unity

Written by Jeff Krukin on Wednesday, 24 June 2009. Posted in Overview Institute, Overview Effect

With all the challenges facing humanity, we know the likely response will be competition between nations, if not outright conflict. The Overview Effect has proven to be a perspective-transforming experience, leading people to clearly appreciate how deeply they are connected to all of humanity and our planet Earth.

It is vital that the Overview Effect be experienced and appreciated by people all across our planet, especially political leaders at the highest levels of national governments, and this is the mission of the Overview Institute. I strongly urge you to support this vision of a united and peaceful world that also benefits our belief in the importance of space exploration and settlement.

An epiphanic insight into ourselves

Written by David McConville on Wednesday, 24 June 2009. Posted in Overview Effect

Our world view - literally how we see the world with our senses - shapes our perception of reality and profoundly effects how we relate to ourselves, each other, and the Earth. The Earthrise photograph was transmitted around the globe after it being shot by the Apollo 8 crew before I was borne, but many alive at the time have claimed that this novel photographic view of the "whole Earth" intuitively communicated the fragility and isolation of our home planet.

Today, the need to both intellectually and emotionally understand the Earth as a interconnected system has never been greater. But the famous photographs from outer space that capture our planet in the visible spectrum tell only part of the story. To get a more comprehensive view of "whole Earth," we can now visualize flows and relationships beyond the scales of everyday perception of space and time. While astronauts have the rare opportunity the experience one version of the "Overview Effect," it immersive environments are beginning to further expand the overview experience to include insights into even more previously unseen phenomena. We are the first generation of humans to have the capabilities to visualize our impact as a global superorganism. Harnessed properly, these remarkable capabilities can serve to cultivate epiphanies of a different sort, helping us more fully appreciate the that we are not just (in the words of Buckminster Fuller) astronauts aboard Spaceship Earth, but a self-conscious species that is integral to a dynamic, living biosphere. This is a unique evolutionary capability, and the extent to which it is used to expand our collective imagination by reflecting on the interdependence of life on Earth will in large part determine the prospects of humanity's success. 

Overview Effect simulation gateway to holistic understanding

Written by Ray Idaszak on Tuesday, 23 June 2009. Posted in Overview Effect

Simulating the Overview Effect through advanced virtual environments offers a glimpse of an introduction towards expanding our awareness that we are part of a larger reality. Driven by the ever increasing capabilities of interactive media, immersive display technologies, computer-generated special effects, 3D graphics hardware, and various sensory apparatus, virtual simulated environments take us seamlessly from this reality to another alternate reality.

But from the perspective of our consciousness, what differentiates the simulated experience from the real experience? A hint is our lifetime of learned expectations. The Overview Effect is a new type reality…an event that as we experience it, we know to be real yet a seemingly surrealistic experience that goes profoundly beyond our lifetime of learned expectations. Simulating the Overview Effect is humankind’s runway to the actual experience enabling all of us – as collective stewards of planet earth – to understand more holistically not only our place in the created universe, but our role as well.

From tree-huggers and planet-destroyers to global citizens

Written by Alex Howerton on Tuesday, 23 June 2009. Posted in Overview Effect

When we gaze upon that awe-inspiring, full-Earth image from Apollo 17, it is no wonder we feel a strong pull of something ineffable, something transcendent. It is a pity, then that that very image, and others like it, which were produced by the highest pinnacle of our technological achievement at the time, are used by some to deride that very technology as the doom of us all. Some champions of technological progress are inclined to call people of that sentiment liberal tree-huggers. Many of those deeply feeling, deeply caring people respond by calling the former crowd cold-warrior planet-destroyers. But the tossing about of such incendiary labels only fans the flame of controversy, and does nothing to mitigate the underlying problems. All this sound and fury, signifying nothing, merely serves to mask the true irony of the situation, which is that, increasingly, the champions of technology and the environmentalists are strong natural allies, and are more often than not, these days, one and the same person.

To be able to find solutions to the grave problems facing us all these days, one must have hope that the problems are indeed solvable. To be able to do that, one must have hope for the future, that solutions are within our grasp, that tomorrow can be better than today. That is one of the prime goals of the Overview Institute: to give us a sense of wholeness, of wonder, of unity on this delicately-balanced, wondrous blue ball of ours, floating in the blackness of space. It is when we perceive this whole, this majestic beauty of the mother of us all, Gaia, that we realize our deep responsibility to use all the technology at our disposal to ameliorate conditions on the planet. We are all in this together, and together, we can rise to the challenges that we ourselves have created. That is the ultimate message of the Overview Institute, and its program of bringing images like the Apollo 17 picture and other advanced simulation technology to bear on the problem of increasing awareness, of fostering a desire to properly care for this beautiful, wonderful planet we call home.