Scaling Up to Look Down

I recently read about this topic in an article a few weeks ago. I was browsing through the science & technology articles on the “News” app on my iPhone when I stumbled upon an article published by Wired, entitled, So You Think You Love Earth? Wait Until You See It in VR. As is the case with most people, it caught my attention. So, I clicked, or tapped, on the article to read more. Through reading the article, I learned about the Overview Institute, the Overview Effect, and future plans for space exploration and space habitats. So, what’s it all about?

The term “Overview Effect” was first coined in 1987 by author and philosopher Frank White in his book, The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution. The phrase refers to a genuine feeling most astronauts begin to feel as they travel into space and orbit the earth for any given amount of time. As astronauts orbit the earth, they begin to see human life in a different light. A quote on the Overview Institute’s website states, “From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us 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”. In simpler terms, The Overview Effect is a giant reality check for all of mankind.

The Overview Institute is a nonprofit organization that was created and co-founded by White other close friends of his to share and spread awareness of the Overview Effect. Their vision is to create a way for all humans to experience this. In turn, the scientists and philosophers at the Overview Institute believe that this could solve a large amount of humanities problems and unite us as a species. The institute is working towards creating space exploration programs that humans can regularly use to travel into space and experience the Overview Effect.

As I was reading the article on Wired, I instantly became intrigued by this whole concept. I think a lot of the world’s problems today sprout from close-mindedness from individuals or groups. For example, terror attacks by radical religious groups who believe their beliefs are superior to others, or democrats vs republicans and who’s political views are right and wrong. I think a lot of these silly conflicts would be resolved in humans could experience the earth from space. If we could go out into space and orbit the earth for a while, our mindsets would really change. We would become more open-minded as a species. As the vision statement on the Overview Institute’s website stated, our world is only a tiny blue dot in the vast ocean of stars and galaxies.

“Humanity must rise above the earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond. For only then will we understand the world in which we live.” – Socrates

–Visit the Overview Institute’s Website here to learn about their cause

Article from

The Overview Effect book by Frank White



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