Collective Consciousness and the Overview Effect

June 26, 2020 11:00 am - 12:15 pm (PDT)

The Overview Effect signifies the profound shift in self-image and worldview experienced by astronauts upon viewing Earth from space.

The epiphany of our founder, Apollo 14 astronaut and 6th man to walk on the moon, Captain Edgar D. Mitchell, is widely regarded as the inspiration for, and the epitome of, the Overview Effect, and the reason why IONS exists.  What’s possible as more and more people have an overview experience — whether through space travel, virtual reality, meditation or other transformational experiences of awe? How might the Overview Effect help cohere collective consciousness around the recognition of our oneness?

Author Frank White will share his perspective as the person who coined the term; former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison will bring her own Overview Effect experience from orbit in the space shuttle Endeavor; and IONS scientist Loren Carpenter will spark our imaginations about how the impact of overview experiences could shift collective consciousness more quickly than we might believe possible.

Collective Consciousness and the Overview Effect
Friday, June 26, 2020
11:00 am – 12:15 pm (PDT)



Claudia WelssClaudia Welss is Chair of IONS and the board science committee, and the creator and curator of this series on collective consciousness. She’s on the board of Space for Humanity, is founding Chair of Invest In Yourself at NEXUS Global, connecting personal to planetary regeneration for a network of social entrepreneurs, impact investors and philanthropists, and is an executive producer of IONS’ Edgar Mitchell Overview Effect VR Experience. Claudia was director of the University of California, Berkeley Haas School’s center for corporate strategy programs, focusing on social and environmental responsibility in the 90s when IONS President Willis Harman first invited her to collaborate with IONS for world change.



Frank WhiteFrank White is best-known for his book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, which is considered by many to be a seminal work in the field of exploration. In his latest book, The Cosma Hypothesis: Implications of the Effect, he asks the fundamental question, “What is the purpose of human space exploration? Why has the evolutionary process brought humanity to the brink of becoming a space-faring species?” Frank is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a Rhodes Scholar. He earned an M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University.


Mae JemisonMae Jemison is an engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. In 1992, she became the first woman of color to travel into space as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, orbiting Earth for eight days. She later formed a nonprofit educational foundation, through which she is the principal of the 100 Year Starship project funded by DARPA. Mae is also an educator, futurist, and leading voice for scientific literacy, social responsibility, education, and peace. She graduated from Stanford and Cornell universities, holds several honorary doctorates and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.


Loren CarpenterLoren Carpenter revolutionized the entire film industry through his invention of rendering and modeling algorithms for image synthesis and visual effects. In 2001, he and two colleagues were awarded the only Oscar statuettes ever given for computer science. In 2014, Loren retired from his position as Senior Research Scientist in Disney/Pixar’s research division to join the Institute of Noetic Sciences as a scientist. At IONS, he has been primarily involved with experiment design and construction, using his extensive fabrication, computer and electronics skills. His contributions include new instruments for recording and analyzing quantum background noise and instruments for sensing and amplifying mind-photon interaction.




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