Dec 23, 2012

The Overview Effect and the Psychology of Cosmic Awe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, philosophy, space

The spirituality of space exploration as self-exploration.

Since the dawn of recorded history, humanity has been mesmerized by Earth’s place in the cosmos. Overview is a fascinating short film by Planetary Collective, written by Frank White, exploring the “overview effect” — the profound, shocking feeling that grips astronauts as they see our planet hang in space and the strange new self-awareness it precipitates. The film is based on Frank White’s 1987 book The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution and celebrates the 40th anniversary of NASA’s iconic Blue Marble photograph

Read more/video here


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  1. Vlady Oliver says:

    I Think he is a difficult man to contact, hehehe.
    In recent publications, Sir James Gardner intends to reward us with an interesting proposal on the creation and possible evolutionary path of our universe, this time considering that life and intelligence arising phenomena need to be — and therefore incorporated — the script “chosen” by the universe to develop and evolve. In a nutshell, a universe “pre-selected” or “pre-scripted” (and therefore predetermined) that favors life, intelligence and consciousness, would eventually constitute a gigantic living organism capable of reproduction and lead to new universes increasingly refined and prone to existence of life processes increasingly more accurate. His model, however, has just eclipsed by what we might call “sophistry”, of which the most obvious is to simply ignore factors that may threaten the elegance of the proposed model. I think it is impossible to talk about evolution without incorporating two important terms in the “equation” that characterizes this evolution: ethics and code. Without both, there is no evolution possible. The first is only mentioned in the work of Gardner. The second is never mentioned. Let’s both. Gardner reduces the issue of intellectual evolution to three basic lines: Philosophy, religion and science — with a special note to the friction between them, which has no scientific rigor in the ditch just common beliefs of the faith. An obvious oversimplification. I dare imagine that “Darwin’s natural selection” just passed the social model of the early human groups. This means that the caveman (or woman cave, to be precise) soon discovered that the “male breadwinner” — one who returns with a fag in the back to feed the group — is a better partner selected for the “mating” but not so much better that they “dance and draw on the walls”, which also has its charms. These are, ultimately, that ultimately lead early. Not without showing knowledge, intelligence and common sense to legitimize their leadership. That’s what Gardner ignores in its proposal. In the grounds of religion, faith, love, rules of social conduct “ethics” and “fair” and determination to defend life must exist — at least in theory — to legitimize the “religious body”. The effect — even for the nonreligious — are stocks and maintenance of their “ethical codes” that pervade modern societies. Nobody wants to live in the barbarity of pure rationalism. Translated, I would say that today you can invite a friend to open a good wine at home and to enjoy good music without any specific purpose other than the pursuit of pleasure that such a situation would provide. A code not rational that you can not “explain” any computer or network of computers or a cybernetic organism resulting from the junction of all possible computers. You underestimate the human capacity to “remove the section of the socket” when it offers some risk to human ingenuity. Man is much more than a computer well done. Your emotions are not reducible to a rational process, much less their answers. I doubt very much that a “mainframe” is thus a giant breath to heavy “cyber souls.” I still want to have sex, if Gardner does not care about that anymore. With love, inclusive. The pleasure pure and simple seems banished model techno-conscious Gardner, an unbearable boredom. A significant flaw in the system proposed by him. I am radically against the singularities of which the biggest one is that the “BigBang”. The proposed Gardner is interesting in this regard, since it implies that other “BigBangs” can happen during and resulting from the history of the Universe. The problem, however, is that the “path to God” because he proposed me a new singularity appears. It eliminates the “initial singularity” of the universe but expandable eventually replace it by “uniqueness end” of a single consciousness whose purpose is its offspring. It seems to me the big mistake made by most physicists, who confuse the reality of processes observable by “pure mathematics” that expresses. I’m more of the belief that every distribution is probabilistic, drawing a curve of probabilities that determines functionality in a narrow region where such a relationship occurs and is observable. You can set a “constant of expansion” for steel, for example, but the short heating period between a frozen bar and a liquefied object. At both ends of the process to such a relationship does not make sense. It does not apply to the extremes, where the functionality ceases to act. The such “entropy” are merely effects of this disruption of the features. A universe mobile objects break, melt or spread to become mobile, not dissipate. It is reasonable to imagine that a universe with an “energy signature and dimensional” set would make their components seek always a resonance with this supposed harmony. Not “will” or “celestial design.” Simply to equate their intrinsic energies. This is because once “works.” Otherwise, it would not work. Simple as that. Finally, I believe that one of the biggest fallacies: Where Gardner took elements to categorically state that we are a young civilization and therefore delayed? If Gardner’s mosquitoes speak, we would talk with them, with absolute certainty. The story of “universal zoo” is stupid in many stupidities. I still say that a society progresses only maintain ethical concepts in its structure. This involves taking the ants from your home, but never annihilate. The annihilations committed by man are more the result of his absolute unawareness that otherwise. It is worth remembering the great cosmologist that the first “astronaut” was a monkey. Or was it a dog? I’m more of the belief that the universe evolves in a more homogeneous, where all your planetary societies enjoy more or less the same technological condition and are in the same race for the perpetuation of the species, which is populating a second planet. Until then, all societies — including our own — are strongly endangered by a new meteor or cosmic event, or even by itself autophagy, for diseases caused by their own kind and waste and by continuous and exponential exploitation of its natural resources, to saturation of the planet. Do not even get rid of our own potential silence, to speculate the causes of the silence of others. The death seems to be an inexorable feature of life, whether its individuals, the entire species or their own “living universe”, proposed by Gardner. We have a “function” in the universe, and not a “mission”. We will continue it while we have it function. And cease to exist when we lose our tune with it or vice versa. It’s simpler than it seems. And the universe seems complex while our complexity not simplify it. Get there? Hopefully yes.