The Big Picture



There's a great anecdote about the very first photograph taken

of Earth from the vantage point of space.

The idea was that this photograph

occasioned a profound shift in our understanding of ourselves.

You see, for the first time in human history

we could look back at our planet in its entirety

and see the big picture.

This provided an ontological awakening.

It changed our story, our narrative.

It upgraded our self image. it expanded our consciousness.

New maps for new realities, as they say.

Astronauts in orbit call this experience the Overview Effect,

aa a boundary shattering sense of revelation and global


Where we shake off our petty differences

and emerge with a sense of global responsibility,

global consciousness, and global citizenship.

Carl Sagan's famous Pale Blue Dot film echoed the same idea.

From the vantage point of space there

are no lines dividing nations, no geographical subdivisions,

no flags, or racial divides, or disputed territory.

There is only Earth.

A single celestial body teeming with life.

The womb in which we dwell.

Yet, the fact is our historically myopic point

of view, most certainly are limited perspective,

has resulted in much animosity.

We have, all too often, organized ourselves

into competing hostile tribes.

Subjugating each other for land and resources.

And misrepresenting the big picture

into a story of borders, subdivisions,

and dividing lines.

Too much hostility, not enough empathy and compassion.

Cultural differences, religion, tribes, nation, race, these

are creative expressions and variations that

should and could be celebrated.

Instead they become symbols that are all

too often used to create suffocating boundaries.

And they are increasingly ill conceived

to address the challenges of a hyper-connected global world.

As advancements in technology and information

enable greater mobility of ideas, goods, and people,

the role of the physical border is shifting

and due for an upgrade.

Conflicts remain, and too many people

are restricted access to the increasingly fluid means

of migration, transportation, and movement.

Migration has always been a defining factor

of the human experience.

Migration has, and continues to touch, all nations, cultures,

and regions, all peoples on the planet.

Migration has been the seed at the heart

of thriving societies.

Accelerating the dissemination of knowledge and ideas.

Restricting migration is ultimately

like restricting the flow of ideas.

In much the same way that we don't tolerate censorship

or book burning, we might consider

the ways in which restricting the free movement of people

can be equally punishing to the idea of human flourishing.

The desire to become a global citizen is human.

We all have it, and we all share the same goals

for safety, comfort, and prosperity for our family.

Some are fortunate enough to be able to invest

in a second residence and citizenship.

While others are forced to seek asylum for their survival.

Being a global citizen is also about the strong

and the wealthy helping the weak and the poor.

As we saw with the Global Citizen Tax Initiative.

Boarder disputes, conflict zones, armed borders, these

are things that persist and need to be addressed.

We need a new story, a new lens with which to address

these inconsistencies.

We need to scale up, to unleash a truly

global citizenry, exchanging ideas, beliefs, goods,

and services.

It has been said that empathy rarely extends

beyond our line of sight.

So, perhaps it is by extending our gaze,

using marvelous new storytelling tools like virtual reality,

that we can bridge divisions and bring worlds together.

Ushering in a form of radical empathy

to see the other as ourselves.

Where boundaries are dissolved and compassionate

reins supreme.

Massive transformation of conscious.

A software up-grade for mankind.

Birthing a new kind of global citizen.

We can do this.