The Overview Effect

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, Look at that, you son of a bitch!”
—Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut
& Sixth Human to Walk on the Moon

(And then leave them there!)

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell (1930–2016) was born in Texas and raised in Artesia, New Mexico.

Even before Mitchell walked on the moon, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard M. Nixon in 1970 for his role in helping rescue the Apollo 13 astronauts.

The Overview Effect refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void,” shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

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Randy Cassingham is best known as the creator of This is True, the oldest entertainment feature on the Internet: it has been running weekly by email subscription since early 1994. It is social commentary using weird news as its vehicle so it’s fun to read. Click here for a subscribe form — basic subscriptions are free.

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