Yuri Gagarin was the first human in history to leave our planet. Since that first off-world journey, more than 500 astronauts have followed to date. Writing both space and mankind’s history, many of these astronauts are seen as heroes and role-models for us here on Earth. They have achieved something so few humans have, experiencing first-hand a new perspective of our planet. A new perspective – a new way of seeing the world – a new way of thinking. And it is a new mindset we ourselves can learn.
Peering down at Earth from the vastness of the universe astronauts report on how amazed they are by just how small our blue planet really is. How small and how fragile. Floating above, they can see with their naked eyes the true beauty of our planet, but also the traces we humans are leaving upon it.
A German astronaut recently talked about how shocked he was when he saw from space the immense deforestation happening in the Amazon. He saw bomb explosions from up high. He wondered what aliens would think about, seeing the world as he was from space, and what we were doing to it.
Astronauts are not known for sharing such thoughts with the public, but it is clear that none of them return to Earth with the same view of it in mind. But before I go any further, I want to do a simple experiment with you, dear reader.
… as an astronaut, looking down at the Earth from space, seeing the world surrounded by black nothingness. You realize how alone we are and in turn, you feel alone up here.
… now as you look in the other direction towards space. You see the beauty of the constellations clearly for the first time in your life. Without the atmosphere, stars and planets are much more visible. They shine brighter, and you see their different sizes. You know that the light of these stars can travel for lifetimes until it arrives at you. No question: the next habitable planet is out there somewhere, but out of reach.
… as you look back to Earth and enjoy its beauty. A small blue marble within a sea of black. You see how thin the protective atmosphere is. You realize that this is the only planet we have and so need to care for it or else…
… thinking of your family, your friends, and looking for that small piece of Earth where they are. It’s not easy to find. The places you know are tiny compared to the ‘huge’ Earth, which in turn, is tiny compared to the ‘huge’ black of the universe – and you know that you only can ever see a tiny fraction of that universe anyway. You think on how meaningless we all are compared to the universe – but for you, your family and your friends mean more than everything else.
… overwhelmed by these emotions you feel for life on Earth, you then realize how vulnerable you are in your rocket floating in space. One break or breach and all is lost. You realize that your life is the most important thing you have, and you only have one.
…wondering what time it is. However, time only applies to Earth something humans have created. There is no time in space, only eternity. So, how is your time on Earth measured when compared to the vastness of the universe…
As we hope you see, those mental moments as the astronaut were all centred around the fundamental questions of life. For astronauts, their experiences are so intense that their thinking about our world and about us humans changes permanently. Their change of perspective as to what really matters is never the same for them. They realize how insignificant and transient they are – that their life, their family and their planet are all they have for the briefest of moments.
What we conclude... Spaceborn
Presumably, most people agree with this seemingly simple insight. I know, I do. My life has always been full of plans and fixed ideas. These were the ones that determined how I spent my days or wasted them. But, these astronauts’ testimonials opened my eyes and put many things into perspective: at last, I realized what my life is about. Although my life is insignificant compared to the universe, for me, it is all I have. I only have one life to live. One chance. From the astronauts, I learned that you can see things in a new way by changing your perspective and that there are things that are different than you may have thought them to be. Anyone who understands this can shift their own boundaries – change their world.
This realization was so important to me that I not only made it my constant mental companion but also declared it the ideology of Werenbach, giving it a new name: ‘Spaceborn’ – born of space.
What I did with this ideology and how it changed not only my life but my business and the world around me I share with you next through the article ‘Inspired by Astronauts‘.