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A Step Removed

Getting closer to the Overview Effect | Flight Wlg-Ack 2011

At several thousand feet high, a different sense of scale is offered that’s a step removed from life with Self at the centre. Within minutes we’ve flown over the lives of tens of thousands of people, each with a story both told and unfolding. We cover hundreds of kilometres of land that in just a few hundred years has been hugely transformed by our presence, and our footprint is set to enlarge further.

Not quite astronauts

Astronauts often return to earth reporting a shift in awareness, a deeper understanding of the planets ecology, of which we are part of.

This state of mental clarity, called the “overview effect,” occurs when you are flung so far away from Earth that you become totally overwhelmed and awed by the fragility and unity of life on our blue globe. It’s the uncanny sense of understanding the “big picture,” and of feeling connected yet bigger than the intricate processes bubbling on Earth. – Business Insider, Australia

Most of us won’t experience the ‘overview effect’, unless we can afford a ticket in to space. Yet, I suggest that with some quiet reflection at a few thousand metres high, we can get close to it – even on a flight from Wellington to Auckland! Importantly, we need these shifts in perspective to get ‘out of ourselves’ and consider what we are part of, how we influence and impact others (and the planet) and how we want to shape the future?

Avoiding this reflection risks entertaining the myth that individually we’re simply a neutral component of life, when actually, however small, we make a difference.



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