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Astronaut shares 'enormous lie' he discovered after seeing the Earth from space

Astronaut shares 'enormous lie' he discovered after seeing the Earth from space

It changes everything you think you know.

Viewing the Earth from above the atmosphere is a spectacle many people can only dream of.

Just a select few have been able to travel up to space, enjoying a glimpse of our planet from orbit in spacecraft or at the International Space Station.

It’s a sight that would really make you question a lot about life back on solid ground, and that’s exactly what happened for one cosmonaut during his time in space.

Seeing Earth from space is known to cause the 'overview effect' (Getty Images)
Seeing Earth from space is known to cause the 'overview effect' (Getty Images)

Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who made history by becoming the first human to go to space over 63 years ago.

Once there, he experienced what scientists now refer to as the ‘overview effect’, which is a cognitive shift that some astronauts report to have experienced while viewing Earth from space.

It’s said to cause an overwhelming appreciation and connection to other people and to Earth as a whole and can change the observer’s own value system.

It’s an effect that is known to make worldly worries seem insignificant and displays Earth as one united planet.

Ron Garan is another astronaut who has experienced this phenomenon after spending 178 days in space.

Yuri Gagarin was the first person to enter space (Keystone-France/Getty)
Yuri Gagarin was the first person to enter space (Keystone-France/Getty)

Talking to Big Think, he said: “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.

“I saw an iridescent biosphere teeming with life, 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.”

Astronaut Ron Garan has talked about his experience with the overview effect (Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
Astronaut Ron Garan has talked about his experience with the overview effect (Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Since returning back to Earth, Garan has become passionate in changing people’s mindsets away from the economy and turning their attention to the planet.

Actor William Shatner also wrote about a similar experience when he traveled to space, writing: “It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered.

“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.”

Environmental issues facing the planet are known to become a main concern after viewing Earth from space.

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

Featured Image Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images