Chris Hadfield: How looking at 4 billion years of Earth’s history changes you

Chris Hadfield: How looking at 4 billion years of Earth’s history changes you


When we are born we have a very small view
of the world: our mother’s womb and the delivery room. And, as you’re raised, your parents are
probably trying to control the environment that you’re in and so you end up with a
very centralized, tiny little view of the world—naturally. As you get older, as you travel more, as you
read more, you start to understand a little more of the world around you; and all of those
influences affect your choices in life. What are you going to imagine that you could
be? If you’ve never left Main Street, small
town, Ohio, then you’re probably not going to visualize yourself doing something that
is wildly different than that. You’re never going to be the head of a religious
sect in Pakistan; it’s not inside your worldview. You can only draw your own aspirations and
hopes and decisions based on the things that you even know exist. It’s easier now to understand and see the
world than ever in history. Our ability to communicate and our ability
to travel has greatly improved. But space travel is sort of like the wildly
exaggerated version of that, where you can go around the whole world in the time it takes
to eat supper, and see everywhere, see the whole world 16 times a day. That widens and deepens your worldview like
nothing we’ve ever seen before in history. And it’s very difficult to maintain artificially
drawn biases like nationalistic borders and “my little tribe”, “my little street”,
“my little gang”, “my little town”, my little whatever when, 15 minutes later,
you’re over at the exact same-looking sort of town—but it’s in Africa, and 40 minutes
later the exact same-looking sort of town and it’s in Australia—and then you come
up to Indonesia—and you go, “Man, it’s all the same. They build their towns just like we build
our towns, and how are they “They” then? It’s just sort of all “Us”. We’re all doing this thing together, and
everyone has got the same sort of hopes and dreams amongst themselves. And that pervasive sense of the shared collective
experience of being a human being, that seeps into you onboard a spaceship. Not the first time around. The first time is overwhelming, but somewhere,
you know, a hundred times around, 500 times around, suddenly the world becomes one place
in your mind. It’s not very big, and that I think is a
really important worldview to have. Life can be full of magnificent experiences. Being at the wedding of a loved one in a beautiful,
big house of worship somewhere where there’s the sound and the beauty and the structure—it
affects how you feel that day, and you act a little bit differently. Or walking into a gigantic ancient redwood
forest, your head is naturally drawn upwards and you think a little different. It’s not the same as just walking down your
street. Imagine what it’s like on a spaceship, where
you’re floating weightless at a window, where you see an entire continent in the time
it takes to drink a cup of coffee, where you go from L.A. to New York in nine minutes and
you see all of that history and culture and climate and geography and geology, and it’s
all right there underneath you. And you see a sunrise or a sunset every 45
minutes; you see the world for what it actually is. It has that same sort of personal effect on
you, of a feeling of privilege and sort of a reverence, an awe that is pervasive. When we’re floating in the bulging window,
the Cupola of the space station—normally it’s just one person because everybody is
busy, but if there is two of you in there—you talk in hushed tones to each other just because
you feel like you’re just wildly lucky to even be there to see this happening. And that sense of wonder and privilege and
clarity of the world slowly shifts your view, of course. Your understanding of what is “us” and
what is “them”; what is old and what is new; what does four billion years actually
mean? You can see where the ice ages were, you can
see where the volcanoes were and the huge asteroid impacts and such, and it all starts
to shift in your head. There was a fellow in the late-’60s, early-’70s
who wrote a book trying to capture that. He called it ‘the overview effect’. You can call it whatever you like. It doesn’t have to be involved with spaceflight. It’s more when you sense that there is something
so much bigger than you, so much more deep than you are, ancient, has sort of a natural
importance that dwarfs your own—but you’re a person seeing it, you’re a person that’s
interpreting it, you’re understanding it in your own way, and you’d have to be a
stone to not have that effect you. It changes how you think about things. But it’s not the same for everybody, and
it’s not instantaneous, it’s not like, “Hey I’ve gone over 60 miles an hour now,
I’ve done this thing.” it’s very much a gradual, creeping improvement
in perception of the world around us. I think that’s what the author was trying
to talk about when he wrote about the overview effect. And some people are much more emotive and
it affects them very deeply; some people, they just have a better understanding of the
world itself. Either way, it’s healthy. It’s a perspective of the world that allows
us, hopefully, to make better collective, global decisions about what’s happening—less
jealous, narrow, local decisions. And we need that type of thinking if we’re
truly going to have this many people and this standard of living for the foreseeable future. We just need to see the world as one place,
the fact that we’re all in this together, and that we are in the position to actually
understand it and appreciate it and therefore make different decisions about it.

100 thoughts on “Chris Hadfield: How looking at 4 billion years of Earth’s history changes you

  1. what a guy! his YT channel is great, his son uploads videos about interesting phenomena around the world, filmed on site.

  2. "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it" Albert Einstein
    The Overview Effect is a changing of consciousness and gives me hope that we can begin to solve the problems our planet faces 🌎

  3. I've always wondered what it'd be like to drop acid whilst in the Space Station, that would be one hell of a deep experience, and I bet nobody has ever done it

  4. I think polititians of high order (prime ministers, presidents) have to get that experience of the Overview Effect before being allowed to get in their chairs.

  5. thanks a lot for this video here is one of mine to thanks you see how the earth is beautiful https://youtu.be/HglS3jS3lSc

  6. All sounds very inspiring. But barrelling around the Earth every 90 minutes, looking down on the surface from 400km up does not constitute travelling any more than bugs splattering on your windshield makes you an entomologist.

    Going to a region, meeting its people, eating the local food, learning the local language, getting to understand (not necessarily agree with) their world-view.

  7. Humanity can only move forward collectively as one. Right now we only take miniscule footsteps forward that most of the time, leave the poor and impovershed behind. Imagine the things that could happen if we all could just pull our heads out of our selfish, stubborn asses and decide to evolve together…

  8. Glimpse of the future award goes to: GEOSTORM
    A cast of big hit stars give their portrayal of the improved ISS command center, and international cooperative efforts to sustain extreme weather events using HARRP!!!😱, jus kidding, they use dutchboy.
    A network of state of the art satellites designed to alleviate imbalances in the atmospheres physical composition. Though I had trouble grasping 50 shuttles primed for launch over a gentle smooth space tether.

  9. Why does it have to take a trip into the vacuum in order to illicit this insight and understanding ? It doesn't. I have been cognizant of this reality since I was 8 or 9 years old and I have never left the planet.

  10. People say "We are all the same"!
    No we are not. Some people are so fucking shortsighted and stupid, no amount of space travel will help them see any clearer.
    What you saw from up there, I saw by staring at my wall-sized picture of Earth (wallpaper in my living room), when I was in my early 20's.
    I have traveled the world since then, and I can tell you that I did it because the drive to know everything and see everything was there.
    Try that with someone who is not driven, but lives in a big metropolitan city. They most likely would not even be interested to go up there.
    We are an experiment. Performed by some insanely advanced alien civilization. We think we are so special that a God created us. When in fact, we are nothing but a lab rat.
    Do you think people will be able to see that, given their ego? I don't think so.

  11. That's why it's important to have a growth mindset, phenomenal things you can achieve with just a change in the way you think.

  12. One world one family , out technology came from Bullock carts to rockets. But we are still trying to reach the same wisdom as 500 years ago. But we are progressing there too, perhaps at a much more slower rate

  13. If Everyone experienced, this pale blue dot, like this. It would revolutionise the environmental movement and increase the harmony in humanity.

  14. I’m very familiar with this sense. I have it when on a mountain or in a plan or in a tower. That’s why I want to live in a tower. Unfortunately I’m not rich enough for that.

  15. Unfortunately, neo-nazis, neo-conservatives, extreme right and left wing parties will watch this video yet resort right back to their nationalist, narcissist frame of thought.

  16. The only problem with viewing the whole world as one, is ignoring the realities of nations and groups of peoples.

  17. Chris Hadfield for PM
    October 16th, 2023

    Share your vision with the country, Chris.
    Lead Canada into the Future; above the Earth.

  18. He should write a book. This is a powerful message that every human needs to hear. Really does have an effect on you — life is so much bigger than our petty worldly problems that are dividing us today.

  19. Too bad any time people bring up refugees, nobody gives a shit. This is all sentimentality unless people actually work to make a better world.

  20. My imagination isn’t as bound by my life experience or environment as this video suggests. I often so deeply imagine and mentally synthesise things, places and experiences that when I come to them for real, I’m like ‘meh, been here already, it’s just like I imagined it’.

  21. Humanity is unbelievably complex in the fact that we have came far as a collective .. but religion in my opinion is the most disruptive / hindering practice that does nothing but give false hope and slow progression… open minded individuals can lead the world but it begins getting complicated when you have so much religious dead weight to take along with you. Agree to disagree, there's more to our perspective then we think.

  22. I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Chris during his tour to Australia. Purchased the meet-and-greet tickets and in addition to a great 2+ hour show in the front row, I got to hang out with him and a small group of others backstage to have a beer and a chat. One of the nicest, most inspiring men I have had the pleasure of meeting.

  23. as well as being the only species that has created man-made borders which in turn confines us to them, we're also the only species on the planet that has to pay to live on it. pretty fucked up. you reap what you sow.

  24. "And it’s very difficult to maintain artificially drawn biases like nationalistic borders"
    Not when you realize you are in a tin-can in space that protects you from the hostile environment of space.
    National borders are just important to a nation as those walls in the space station to protect a person from space. We need to face reality and realize not all cultures are equal. Some are actually better than others and some are even very hostile.

  25. Amazing. Thanks to people like him, I no longer have to go to the ISS to get that experience of Oneness. Humanity soon needs to buckle up and carry rest of our brethren just like we do for our family members.
    You should all watch Kurzgesagt's video on altruism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvskMHn0sqQ

  26. If you need a spacewalk to tell you we're all in this together and racism/tribalism is retarded, then you have problems that NASA can't solve

  27. It's like a map with holes in it and the light shines through.
    But the map is folded and the holes of light are looking at each other.

  28. That's all well and good, but the uneducated twonks of the world don't have this kind of opportunity. ESPECIALLY when they restrict themselves because they believe 'God wants [x].'

  29. Stop validating flat earth belief by discussing it so much. You are pushing us back to the dark ages by popularizing stupid ideas again. I am aware of the irony of my comment, but I hope some of these people just stop. If the only thing that makes you feel intelligent is because you know the earth is round for sure then maybe you had better up your standards a bit, Thank you.

  30. You need to have a pervasive world view that never ends. Then take that view and apply it problems or goals to achieve in your life. Don’t ever stop.

  31. I love this. I've had this feeling / view for a long time (as long as I can remember). I didn't always know how big the world was or about the things in it, but I knew that it was all part of the same bigger thing. Call it what you want. Some people think of "it" in a spiritual sense, some in a cultural sense. I think of it in more of a material sense. We are literally all part of the same thing. There are no things, and there are no events. There is only one thing and there is only one event, and everything in the universe is "it".

  32. Seeing your colleague Tim Peak practicing manipulating virtual reality in front of a blue screen (when George Bush Sr visited NASA) changed a lot of people too! Nice propaganda though. Your handlers will be pleased.

  33. We live in a time of great knowledge. More than any other time in history. Yet armed with knowledge of that scale you would think that people could shrug off the ignorance of the past and not let it control their lives. But it still does.

  34. Hay Chris most people if any will ever go in to Space unless we go we have no idea what the hell your on about you know that NASA is the agency to Nowhere, maybe you should talk to them about developing reusable spacecraft before we're all dead of old age ? don't worry Space X will leave you lot behind.

  35. you space cadet charlatan chris when you bullshit in space can anyone hear you? 16 times a day i think that must be how many times you have to take your medication.

  36. I think that people are more inclined to the idea of space travel as a thing on our lives. More than five years agob even.I want to remind everyone the nineties are almost 20 past. Lol

  37. As you get older you get more indoctrinated if you don't turn on your critical thinking skills… trust your empirical power and intuition… please don't swallow NASA's and FAKEX fakery along with hypothetical astronomical assumptions….. wishing a wonderful globotomy 😎

  38. I enjoyed, the very well structured video of Chris Hadfield discussing how to think BIG, where he generously leaves – space – to develop. Yet it doesn't stop us needing a a window cleaner here on the ground! Cos' you lose vision, if your windows are dirty.

  39. If there was a way to send a couple of "flat-earthers" up there, fly them around and then eject all of them out. They just waste precious oxygen down here.

  40. Awesome video. I love Hadfield, you can tell he's a very honest and genuine person. Kinda funny how space travel brings people down to earth.

  41. His thoughts and perspective in this 6.30 minutes is just beyond beautiful, I'm goosebumps. What a man. What a word.

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