Actually, it’s not all that surprising, is it? Even if you look out the window in an airplane, and see, say, “your town” down there, all the petty squabbles you have with others who also live there seem pretty foolish. Just imagine how that recognition, that there are no boundaries, that there is no separation, that we are all in this, whatever “this” is! — together — deepens and expands, the further out —or in — we travel.
Which reminds me of a post I read today by Albert Bates —
— in which he asks us to imagine some people together in a disaster shelter:
Imagine a group of people in a disaster shelter. If they go outside they will not likely survive, but to stay within means learning to get along, despite their differences. Two of the people are very wealthy, and they inherited that wealth by their parents enslaving or otherwise mistreating the parents of several of the other people in the shelter, engendering feelings that linger as simmering anger.
But, those two people are learned and skilled at the process of organizing groups to work towards a common goal, and they get everyone to agree to join and discuss what needs to be done. Certain things are obvious priorities: food, water, sewage management, personal security, and First Aid for the injured. Other things, like working through the emotions of those old hatreds, are less immediate but still need to be addressed for the process to move along.
Many in the group feel that although they have not achieved the wealth of the two wealthiest, they are on the path to achieving it, or were before the disaster struck, and when the disaster is over, they still intend to pursue that goal.
What happens? Every issue that the group takes up – from the smallest to the largest seems to arouse animosity more than a spirit of cooperation. The two wealthiest, and many of the would-be wealthy, feel sorry for those who have nothing, but they are not willing to share the food and water they have brought with them. They are happy to provide first aid assistance, but reticent to have hands-on involvement in pollution management, infrastructure maintenance and health care, other than by designing systems on paper, and they would like to be paid for that.
The poorest, many of whom are used to maintaining good hygiene despite difficult circumstances, are unwilling to perform work for the wealthy that the wealthy are unwilling to perform for themselves. They would prefer to suffer from bad sanitation than from indignity.
These things play out on the international scale just as they play out in a small group. Unless differences can be put aside, as they were not in Bonn but must be in Paris, there is little hope for the survival of our species, and many others.
If, on the other hand, these things can be put aside for this moment, and we can find common ground and a spirit of shared sacrifice, much is yet possible. This is a true challenge. If the story that is told is one of avarice, private gain and exceptionalism, the human race will go extinct. For this story to end happily it must be a story of our noblest attributes, elevating us above our history.
June 14, 2015
by Andrei Burke, Ultraculture
Several astronauts who have seen Earth from space have had profoundly awakening spiritual experiences. Here’s three of them.
In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates said that if you could see the Earth from space, you would recognize “that is the real heaven and the real light and the real earth.”
Your eyes, no longer bound to the horizon, see the Earth both from space and in space. Your whole perspective shifts. What was once the endless expanse of blue sky now appears to be just a thin halo surrounding the planet. You can now see above the clouds to the changing atmosphere, raging thunderstorms, and auroras of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. One half of the planet turns dark and the continents light up with networks of cities. Everything appears interconnected.
This view of Earth has only been in popular awareness since 1968, when the first color photographs were taken on the Apollo missions. It represents a major shift in consciousness. Twenty years earlier, the British Astronomer Fred Hoyle said that a photograph of Earth would be “a new idea as powerful as any in history.”
Only around 500 astronauts have ever witnessed this view first hand. For some of these astronauts, seeing the Earth was a profound, life-changing, and outright mystical experience.
Below, three astronauts recount their experiences of seeing Earth from space, and the profound effect it had on their perception.