The Overview Effect (and how it changes everything)

Jun 2021

The Overview Effect, coined by author David White in his book of that name, describes the phenomenon as a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing earth from outer space.

It is the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect our “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

One notable astronaut, Captain Edgar Mitchell had such an epiphany flying back from the moon and returned to earth to found the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS).  Forty years later IONS continues to apply scientific rigor to explore the interplay between scientific knowledge and inner (noetic) knowing.

We don’t all get to fly to the moon or travel on any spacecraft for that matter but we all possess the capacity to experience cognitive shifts in awareness through insights.   Right from the comfort of your own easy chair, you can be gobsmacked by a profound shift in understanding, a new level of awareness or a realization that literally ‘blows your mind’.

One such experience happened to Canadian Sydney Banks, on Salt Spring Island no less.   His insight revealed a completely new understanding of how humans operate and how our minds have limitless capacity for clarity, well-being and joy, regardless of any past traumatic or difficult events in our lives.   We have boundless inner resources for resiliency, creativity and happiness because those are already built into our human systems.  

To learn more about Sydney Banks’ experience I invite you to visit or  to explore the audio and video recordings you will find there.  He discovered what most of us have been looking for – the missing piece to personal fulfillment, purpose and contentment.


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