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24.11.14

The weird psychological effects of Space
The weird psychological effects of Space

There's a lot of weird stuff about Space around at the moment, isn't there? Interstellar looks quite trippy and Gravity was all about psychology and internal reflection.

Do you ever think about how everything that has ever been, everything we understand about the world, everything that human understanding *is*, is located on Earth? It's probably not good to think about things like that too much – you could go a bit strange. But I recently read this fascinating thing about "The Overview Effect", which is often experienced by astronauts:

"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.'"

Others have a different sort of highly emotional moment of awareness, though. Another astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison, felt a more universal sense of connectedness: 

"People started talking about their hearts connected to this planet. But my response when I went into space is that I was connected to everything," she says. "I felt much more connected to everything else in the universe, and sometimes on Earth I felt much more separate from the rest of the universe. I felt like I had as much right to be in space or in this universe as any speck of stardust. I was as eternal as that."

And let's not forget Carl Sagan's famous 'Pale Blue Dot'...

 

 

If you were forced to think about it all, how would you react?