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Science

Astronaut shares the profound 'big lie' he realized after seeing the Earth from space

This change in perspective could change humanity.

earth, overview effect, ron garan

Our home, from space.

Sixty-one years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to make it into space and probably the first to experience what scientists now call the "overview effect." This change occurs when people see the world from far above and notice that it’s a place where “borders are invisible, where racial, religious and economic strife are nowhere to be seen.”

The overview effect makes man’s squabbles with one another seem incredibly petty and presents the planet as it truly is, one interconnected organism.


In a compelling interview with Big Think, astronaut, author and humanitarian Ron Garan explains how if more of us developed this planetary perspective we could fix much of what ails humanity and the planet.

Garan has spent 178 days in space and traveled more than 71 million miles in 2,842 orbits. From high above, he realized that the planet is a lot more fragile than he thought.

“When I looked out the window of the International Space Station, I saw the paparazzi-like flashes of lightning storms, I saw dancing curtains of auroras that seemed so close it was as if we could reach out and touch them. And I saw the unbelievable thinness of our planet's atmosphere. In that moment, I was hit with the sobering realization that that paper-thin layer keeps every living thing on our planet alive,” Garan said in the video.

“I saw an iridescent biosphere teeming with life,” he continues. “I didn't see the economy. But since our human-made systems treat everything, including the very life-support systems of our planet, as the wholly owned subsidiary of the global economy, it's obvious from the vantage point of space that we're living a lie.”

It was at that moment he realized that humanity needs to reevaluate its priorities.

“We need to move from thinking economy, society, planet to planet, society, economy. That's when we're going to continue our evolutionary process,” he added.

Garan says that we are paying a very “high price” as a civilization for our inability to develop a more planetary perspective and that it’s a big reason why we’re failing to solve many of our problems. Even though our economic activity may improve quality of life on one end, it’s also disasterous for the planet that sustains our lives.

It’s like cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Actor William Shatner had a similar experience to Garan's when he traveled into space.

"It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered," Shatner wrote. "The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna … things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind."

“We're not going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality,” Garan said.

However dire the situation looks from the surface of Earth, the astronaut has hope that we can collectively evolve in consciousness and wake up and embrace a larger reality. “And when we can evolve beyond a two-dimensional us versus them mindset, and embrace the true multi-dimensional reality of the universe that we live in, that's when we're going to no longer be floating in darkness … and it's a future that we would all want to be a part of. That's our true calling.”


This article originally appeared on 12.16.22

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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It took them awhile to figure it out, but once you see it, you can't unsee it.

"People chicken" sounds…disturbing

One of the best parts of having kids is having a full-time, front row seat to the way they interpret and use language as they grow. There's the classic mispronunciations of "spaghetti," of course, but there are also one-of-a-kind terms they coin based on their limited vocabulary and the unique way they look at the world.

Kids say the darnedest things, and as Dillon White shared on Instagram, one of those darned things could be a young child requesting "people chicken" for dinner. Not just requesting, but demanding: "I WANT PEOPLE CHICKEN!!"

People chicken. There are only so many ways to interpret that, all of which could land you on the FBI's radar.

Of course, it was a small child saying this, so there had to be an explanation.

White explained that he and his wife tried everything to get their kiddo to clarify what he meant by "people chicken," including having him draw a picture of what he was wanting. Unfortunately, the stick figure person he drew did not help relieve any concerns that their child might be a cannibal.

Finally, White's 7-year-old daughter came up with a solution that revealed what her younger brother wanted. It was not, in fact, chicken made out of people. Phew.

Watch:

It's true. Once you see Colonel Sanders' bow tie as a stick figure, you can't unsee it.

Even KFC's official account responded to the video, writing, "You see it once, and you can't unsee it." HA.

White was not alone in his kid seeing the stick figure Col. Sanders.

"The SAME thing (conversation) happened to us 22 years ago!! My toddler was practically throwing himself trying to make us understand that he wanted 'Old Man Chicken'!!!!!! And yup, it was KFC he was asking for. We have referred to it as ‘Old Man Chicken’ all these years now 😂!!" shared on commenter.

"About halfway through we figured out what he was talking about but that’s only because my kids have been saying for years that the KFC man is a stick figure with a really big head. Tell Mason he’s not the only kid who thought that.Lol 😂😂😂" shared another.

"I think I’ve been working with children too long because the instant you said people chicken my brain said 'that’s kfc,' 😂 wrote another.

Other people chimed in to share their kids' hilarious naming conventions for chicken places:

"My son was in tears for 'Pinky Toe.' Turns out he thought the Chick-fil-A emblem was a foot 😂," wrote one parent.

"Lol. My daughter refers to Chick-fil-A as 'foot' because their logo actually reserved a footprint. So interesting thinking of the different ways that children see things that we adults don't. It's amazing!" shared another.

"My kids call Buffalo Wild Wings 'stinky skunks' because from a distance, the logo looks like a skunk to them. We went through a similar very confusing moment to figure that one out as you can imagine, 🤦♀️🤣" shared another.

White is right. We should let kids name everything. They're so much better at it than adults are.

You can follow Dillon White on Instagram here and TikTok here.

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