Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"I Am a Cosmocentrist"

What does it mean to be a cosmocentrist? It means that you look at everything from the perspective of the greatest whole system of which we can be aware, which is the cosmos, or universe. The universe is evolving, and we human beings are evolving with it. It is understandable and somewhat appropriate that we are incredibly anthropocentric, ie, focusing on humanity, because that is where our consciousness is at the moment.

However, we now know enough about the universe of which we are a part to start identifying with it. I have noted that many of the astronauts interviewed for my book, The Overview Effect, speak about the universe almost as much as they speak about the Earth.

I am now working on a new book, The Cosma Hypothesis, and in it, I am documenting what astronauts have said about their perceptions of the universe as a result of their spaceflights. One of the most significant quotes in that regard comes from Al Sacco, Jr., a shuttle payload specialist. It was in The Overview Effect, but I think it is even more relevant to The Cosma Hypothesis.


People ask why you would risk your life to fly in space,  and I tell them it's in response to a dream and a vision. Once you get into space,  I tell  them  about  something  I call “The  Astronaut's Secret.” It's  a realization all of the astronauts have, which is that we are a member of the whole human family. It goes beyond even being a citi­zen of the Earth;  you are really a citizen of the universe.  When  you are  in orbit,  you ask yourself, "Why  do people  have the differences they have down on Earth?" You see that the Earth is just a small part of a large  universe, and you have a feeling about it that is hard to describe.

Al Sacco, Jr., in The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Frank White, AIAA, 2014

I hope this quote will explain why I am a cosmocentrist and why all of us are likely to become cosmocentrists as more people experience the Overview Effect.

(To be continued.)

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime
http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Cosmocentric Perspective

Since concluding that our next step conceptually is to see the world from a cosmocentric, rather than anthropocentric perspective, I have become increasingly convinced that this is the key to everything else. If we, as a species, do not adopt a cosmocentric perspective, we will be missing out on the essence of our own reality.

The reality is that our species is part of a universe. While I realize that we are facing a great challenge in getting humans to think of themselves as part of a planet, I do not think we should hold off on looking to the even greater challenge of considering ourselves as part of the universe. Truth is truth, after all.

If we take a cosmocentric perspective, we will be looking beyond our individual lives to something larger than ourselves and it will inevitably change how we view our individual existences.

More on this later. But just keep in mind the simple fact that the cosmocentric perspective changes everything.

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime
http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Impact of The New Camelot

Apogee Prime has been kind enough to publish The New Camelot: The Quest for the Overview Effect. It has now moved from being available on Kindle to being available in print.

Recently, I have been in touch with an outstanding writer named Steve Finegan, who is pioneering a new genre of fiction that he and I are calling Overview Effect Fiction, or Overview Fiction.
 Here is what he had to say about The New Camelot after reading it:

"The Overview Experience as the Holy Grail. That iconic image of Earth floating in the vastness of space is something akin to a religious or archetypal symbol, filled with motive power, a power symbol, which brings to mind the Grail, yes, but also the Christian Cross, only the Earth symbolizes a new unifying myth for this “Space Age” in which we live. As such it operates on two levels simultaneously: 1) it acts as the catalyst for a transcendent mass movement directed outward and reaching forward in time (evolution) and space (exploration), and 2) it also reaches downward into the individual's very marrow and releases those latent, pent-up powers immanent within each and every one of us. The universe within." 

I think we need more of the mythological spirit, the kind that informed the stories about King Arthur and Camelot, as we begin to explore the solar system and the universe that lies beyond. Space exploration is a grand adventure, a quest, a tribute to the human spirit. Let's give it a context that recognizes this reality!

To read The New Camelot, please go to: http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html

To learn more about the work of Steve Finegan, go to: http://www.stevefinegan.com


(c) Copyright, Frank White, All Rights Reserved, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Tribute to Ken Cox

One of the great leaders of the space exploration movement died recently. Ken Cox worked on the Apollo program and he founded the Advanced Technology Working Group as a part of NASA.

Ken brought together an eclectic group of thinkers at ATWG, and a number of books and ideas emerged from their deliberations. On a very personal note, the key was that Ken invited me to a number of the meetings and I participated enthusiastically. Even more important, though, he played a critical role in keeping the idea of the Overview Effect alive.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution had been published in 1987 by Houghton-Mifflin, a leading mainline publisher. I had harbored high hopes for its success, and held a vision that it would start a revolution in thinking about space exploration and the human future.

Instead, we had what is called a "critical success" but a "financial failure." The first edition of about 7500 copies sold out, and the book was translated into German. However, this was not enough to justify a second edition or going into paperback. I suppose that would have been the end of the Overview Effect as a book if Ken hadn't stepped in.

A friend of mine suggested I get in touch with Ken because he was pulling together a group of people to talk about the softer side of space exploration: politics, economics, philosophy, and so on. When I did contact him, I received a warm welcome from Ken and an invitation to a gathering in Washington, DC.

It turned out that Ken admired my work and wanted the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) to publish a second edition of the book.

He was on the board of AIAA, and he contacted their publishing team about taking on the second edition. The Overview Effect was somewhat outside their area of interest, which focused more on the engineering/technical aspects of spaceflight, but they agreed to take on the book, and we published the second edition in 1998.

AIAA is still the publisher of The Overview Effect, and the third edition came out in 2014. To my surprise and delight, my editor has now approved a fourth edition!

Robbie Davis-Floyd, another ATWG member, Ken, and I also worked together on a book called Space Stories, which is a great compendium of stories from the early pioneers of the Space Age. It is now on Kindle.

Ken played a major role in bringing us to where we are today in space exploration and development, and he kept the flame of the Overview Effect alive during its darkest days. Most of all, though, he was a smart, kind, and funny colleague.

Thank you, Ken, for all you did for me and for humanity!

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime
http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html




Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Breakthrough

Recently, I have been exploring a few ideas that have come together to produce something of a breakthrough.

The first has been thinking about how it took thousands of years for people to let go of the geocentric view of the solar system and adopt a heliocentric view, as proposed by Copernicus. It took a long time to make that simple change, but it made a huge difference when it happened.

The second has been writing my book, The Cosma Hypothesis, which presents the argument that as we explore the universe, we need to give as much to the universe as we take from it. I felt that there was something going on here that was analogous to the Copernican Revolution, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

The third has been a review of the book Space Abundance for Humankind's Needs, by Bob Krone and members of his family. I wanted to bring the Hypothesis into the review and note that we should consider what we can give to the universe in tapping its abundance, as well as what we can take for ourselves.

All of this coalesced recently with the notion that we need to move from an anthropocentric view of space exploration and development to a cosmocentric view. Perhaps that might be analogous to the shift that Copernicus started back in the 16th century. Only time will tell if it is that significant.

I am not sure, at this moment, what this idea means in practical terms, but understanding it is the next step.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point!

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime
http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Correction

In a recent post, I said that 2017 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica. In fact, this year is the 330th anniversary of that monumental work being made available to the world. My apologies for the error: math has never been my strong point, and this is why I can never compare my work to that of Newton!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thirtieth anniversary of The Overview Effect's publication

This is a pretty big year for anniversaries!

In a personal vein, I am pleased to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the publishing of The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. In addition, it is the 60th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik, the first human-made object to travel into orbit around the Earth. Moreover, it is the 330th anniversary of the publication of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia, which first enunciated the Laws of Gravity.

I don't mean to compare my book with the technological achievement of Sputnik, or the intellectual accomplishment of Principia, but I am happy to celebrate all three events this year.

I was really happy when The Overview Effect came out because I had been working for many years to have one of my books published. However, I also had very high expectations for sales and hoped to begin a revolution in how people viewed spaceflight with its publication.

It now appears that the revolution might indeed take place, but 30 years after the hoped-for event.

I was probably naive to think that the shift would happen overnight, and there is still a long way to go. However, the most important thing is that it happen before we irretrievably damage our planet and ourselves, and make the same mistakes as we move out into the solar system.

(To be continued)

Copyright, Frank White, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at aiaa.org and amazon.com 

The New Camelot: the Quest for the Overview Effect is available at Apogee Prime
http://www.cgpublishing.com/prime/bookpages/9781926837383.html