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Morality

Astronauts report an extreme transcendental experience of interconnected euphoria when they view Earth from space.

Overview Effect astronaut

First we should understand why we don't already know of this profound experience, despite decades of astronaut reports.

Widely known in the space community as the Overview Effect, it is little known by the general public and poorly understood even by many space advocates. Phrases like "strange dreamlike experience", "reality was like a hallucination", and feeling like they had "come back from the future", occur time and again. Finally, many astronauts have emphasized that space images do not come close to the direct experience, and may even give us a false impression of the real nature of the Earth and space. "It is virtually impossible to describe... You can take people to see [IMAX's] The Dream Is Alive, but spectacular as it is, it's not the same as being there." - Astronaut and Senator Jake Garn.

(2022) The Case for Planetary Awareness Source: overview-effect.earth
(2022) The Overview Institute There's more to the pale blue dot than we know. Source: overviewinstitute.org

Psychologists have been attempting to explain away the astronauts their profound experience by calling it Overview Effect.

Many astronauts return to Earth transformed and dedicate their life to causes such as world peace.

Astronaut Nicole Stott, who spent time on the International Space Station, referred to space as a model for peace on Earth.

When you see the planet the way [we] did, it really does change your view. - Astronaut Sandy Magnus

The pity of it is that so far the view has been the exclusive property of a handful of test pilots, rather than the world leaders who need this new perspective, or the poets who might communicate it to them. - Michael Collins, Apollo 11

There shouldn't be wars and all the difficulties that we have. That's a very common feeling among people that have flown in space... – Astronaut and Senator Jake Garn

Getting outside of Earth and seeing it from a different perspective will have a direct impact on philosophy and value systems. – Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14

Nothing had prepared me for [it]... I did not have the words to match the scene. One result was that I had become much more philosophical... - Eugene Cernan – USA – Last Man on the Moon

(2020) Creating Ambassadors of Planet Earth: The Overview Effect Source: philpapers.org (philosophy paper)

Why does the experience of astronauts result in the idea that there shouldn't be wars on Earth? And what does that have to do with morality?

Let's delve into the question using philosophy.

The Nature of Morality

woman moral compass 170

When it concerns morality, a good way to view it is that morality can only be neglected and principally it is never possible to know in advance what moral is. Morality always involves the question “what is good?” in any given situation.

Greek philosopher Aristotle considered a state of philosophical contemplation, which he named eudaimonia, the greatest virtue or highest human good. It is an eternal strive to serve life: the pursuit of good from which value follows.

That is what morality is: an intellectual pursuit of good.

Science and the Attempt to Break Free from Morality

Science considers itself capable of being morally neutral and it considers morality as a relic of religions and superstition that is to be abolished.

GM: science out of control 110 (2018) Immoral advances: Is science out of control? To many scientists, moral objections to their work are not valid: science, by definition, is morally neutral, so any moral judgement on it simply reflects scientific illiteracy. Source: New Scientist
Friedrich Nietzsche

The declaration of independence of the scientific man, his emancipation from philosophy, is one of the subtler after-effects of democratic organization and disorganization: the self- glorification and self-conceitedness of the learned man is now everywhere in full bloom, and in its best springtime – which does not mean to imply that in this case self-praise smells sweet. Here also the instinct of the populace cries, “Freedom from all masters!” and after science has, with the happiest results, resisted theology, whose “hand-maid” it had been too long, it now proposes in its wantonness and indiscretion to lay down laws for philosophy, and in its turn to play the “master” – what am I saying! to play the PHILOSOPHER on its own account.

Science has attempted to rid itself of morality and to become the master of itself, i.e. to 'advance immorally' on behalf of the the greater good interests of science.

William James

[Scientific] Truth is one species of good, and not, as is usually supposed, a category distinct from good, and co-ordinate with it. The true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and good, too, for definite, assignable reasons.

Science is a moral practice because science is a pursuit of a qualitative truth that is part of the good.

However, when science assumes that the scientific truth is separate from the moral good (separate from philosophy), science is practicing a dogmatic fallacy with far reaching consequences, especially when it concerns the idea that science can be used as a guiding principle for life, as is the case with eugenics.

woman moral compass
Immanuel Kant

Thus every empirical element is not only quite incapable of being an aid to the principle of morality, but is even highly prejudicial to the purity of morals, for the proper and inestimable worth of an absolutely good will consists just in this, that the principle of action is free from all influence of contingent grounds, which alone experience can furnish. We cannot too much or too often repeat our warning against this lax and even mean habit of thought which seeks for its principle amongst empirical motives and laws; for human reason in its weariness is glad to rest on this pillow, and in a dream of sweet illusions (in which, instead of Juno, it embraces a cloud) it substitutes for morality a bastard patched up from limbs of various derivation, which looks like anything one chooses to see in it, only not like virtue to one who has once beheld her in her true form.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant/

Morality Beyond Science

A recent study by Stanford University showed that belief by the mind can overturn both nature and nurture, and go beyond what exists.

(2019) Learning one's genetic risk changes physiology independent of actual genetic risk In an interesting twist to the enduring nature vs. nurture debate, a new study from Stanford University finds that just thinking you’re prone to a given outcome may trump both nature and nurture. In fact, simply believing a physical reality about yourself can actually nudge the body in that direction — sometimes even more than actually being prone to the reality. Source: Nature

The study involves the idea of mind over matter but it also provides evidence for actual free will - a level of freeness to create the world - which goes beyond a choice.

The idea that morality involves more than the empirical scope of science is supported by the philosophical idea that the sum is greater than its parts, which is not just a philosophical wisdom but is also a well-known concept in business teams.

The whole is not only more than the sum of its parts, but is also something different from the sum of its parts. ~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. ~ Aristotle

The whole is not a mere heap, but a system of parts whose interactions produce a new phenomenon. ~ Thomas Aquinas

The whole is not comprehended by the sum of its parts. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The cooperation between biological cells lays at the root of human conscious experience so it is plainly obvious from a subjective experiential sense, that those tiny cells combined are capable of a whole lot more.

The source of that more is a priori to the world, thus does not causally originate from either one of its parts and therefore must lay outside the scope of science.

In the cooperation of life's parts, a higher consciousness becomes manifested and that higher consciousness is what astronauts are experiencing when they view Earth from space, which explains that astronauts seek to make a case for Planetary Awareness (planet consciousness).

Conclusion

What austronauts are experiencing in space is morality in effect on a grand scale or the in-the-moment signifying on behalf of a priori meaning, which is an intellectual pursuit of good on planetary scale.

This explains that after experiencing planetary consciousness, astronauts are inclined to hold a stronger philosophical conviction of the idea of good and intend to act accordingly, for example by dedicating their life to advocacy for world peace.

Edgar Mitchell

Something happens to you out there, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell said. You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.

Astronaut Gene Cernan: It was too beautiful to happen by accident.

We're causing potentially irreversible impact on the Earth, so hopefully it will wake people up to see that there are more things we can do to help save the planet, protect the environment, and live in more harmony,.

(2022) The Case for Planetary Awareness Source: overview-effect.earth
(2022) The Overview Institute There's more to the pale blue dot than we know. Source: overviewinstitute.org

The following philosophy paper provides more insights:

(2020) Creating Ambassadors of Planet Earth: The Astronaut Overview Effect Source: philpapers.org (philosophy paper)

Share your insights and comments with us at info@gmodebate.org.

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