Saturday, April 13, 2013

An earth video... perspective taking and something called the "overview effect"

After this week, I feel the need to write about perspective. Our habits of mind, what we choose to focus on, and how we think about life and people with whom we interact filters everything. We all (myself included) can easily become warped into our own limited worldview, failing to acknowledge the true greatness of potential surrounding us.

Sometimes it is healthy to step outside of ourselves, then calmly and consciously dwell on what it is we fail to recognize because we are too hurried, stressed, jaded, closed-off, or solidified in the every day of our own existence. By letting our minds wander into spaces not normally considered, a certain peacefulness can set in. Maybe a revelation will take hold. Our way of being with others and interacting in the world can be altered--if even slightly--to push us towards a different, more fully nuanced understanding of living.

Astronauts are a selective few who have an opportunity to experience living in ways most never will. There is a very cool video called "Overview" documenting what they understand since they have looked upon the earth from above. The video comes from the Planetary Collective, which is a group of people who want to explore the big questions and ideas that face our planet. The synopsis about the video from the website is this:
Astronauts who have seen the Earth from space have often described the ‘overview effect’ as an experience that has transformed their perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it, and enabled them to perceive it as our shared home, without boundaries between nations or species.
The pictures from space are breath-taking. The accounts of the astronauts make me slightly envious. But mostly, after watching it, the video has me thinking how easy it is to have a blinded perspective.

The video is lengthy. But even if you have to pause it, walk away, and return to continue watching, you will find that it was a valuable use of your time.

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