Writing from Orbit
July 27, 2010 at 4:13 am by Frank White
Tags: the Overview Effect
As I wrote in The Overview Effect, it would be good for as many people as possible to experience the Effect. That would help to "change the world by changing the way we see the world." However, it is still expensive to physically place a human being in Low Earth Orbit, so it makes sense to begin simulating the experience as much as possible.
Some of us are working on that in a virtual world called Second Life. We have a simulated orbital facility looking down at a simulated Earth that rolls beneath the "avatar" that represents people in virtual worlds. I've been going there and trying to do some writing while "in orbit" to see what it would be like when we eventually have a real orbital facility and are inviting "Overview Fellows" to spend time there while doing their work.
What follows is something I wrote back in June while having this experience:
"It is June 2 and I am once again sitting in the SL TOI orbital facility watching the Earth go by beneath me. I am imagining what it would be like to do my writing every day with this view. My first thought is that it might be hard to do any writing because the view is so compelling. My second thought is that the astronauts are right that there are no borders on the planet and no boundaries between the planet and the universe, or "space." Not only is it the case that the borders we create are artificial but it is also true that the Earth/space distinction is artificial. Not only do I begin to identify with the whole Earth but I also begin to identify myself as a point of consciousness within the universe and not separate from it."
I will have much more to say on this topic later.