The Overview Effect written by a 15 year old.
“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.
It 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.” Wikipedia.
When I first stumbled across this on the internet, I had a really odd emotional reaction to it. All at once, I was feeling Hopeful, and like I had a new way to look at issues in life today. But also I felt small, insignificant, and like there was no way that I would ever do anything to help change the world.
I thought about this for a while, and I decided to do something. I decided that no matter how little I can do, I will try my best to do what I can.
From my home in Springfield, MO, it’s easy to develop an opinion. But that’s true pretty much everywhere. But everywhere is different, in the way that you develop your own opinion. As much as some people don’t want to believe it you are ultimately influenced by your surroundings in what you believe.
Ever since discovering the Overview Effect, I’ve gotten less and less attached to my own opinion. Granted, I still have an opinion, because there is a fine line between those two things. I also am not becoming the most selfless person that I know. I strive to help others and do what I can to be a nice person, but I still worry about myself and my own needs. I’m saying that I’ve decided to never do one thing that Americans (and people in general) are historically famous for doing. People that are too attached to something that they believe in will fight for it, much past the line of friendly debates. People are willing to harm others to make sure that they get their way.
The american civil war was fought because the south believed that states needed the right to make big decisions on their own, but the north wanted a strong central government that could make the big decisions for the entire country. The issue that the civil war was centered around was slavery. As we all hopefully know, in the end, the south lost and the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States. But of course, the fight to end racism and to bring racial equality to the U.S. and The World is still an issue we fight today.
You’re probably asking yourself what the overview effect has to do with this. Like said in the quote in the beginning, being able to see the world from a greater perspective, in a lot of cases, changes your entire perspective and opinions. While I haven’t gotten a chance to see the earth from that view, I can definitely imagine it. And I see that we are all one people, one species, living on one “pale blue dot”. When imagining being up there, there are no country borders, and the conflicts that threaten to divide us become insignificant. Harming someone for the sake of getting your way (terrorist attacks) seems crazy. Genocide for the sake of making people believe the same things you do (the holocaust) is insane. Why do we have riots and protests just because we aren’t getting what we want from the government?
As cliche as this sounds, We need to forget our opinions for just a moment and stand together as one united country and world. If we can successfully do that, we will drive out the people who only want to change our way of living. The one thing that scares a country more than a strong army is a country of citizens that can all stand together with their government and do something much greater than any government can without.