Few Dutch people have ever been higher. And now Wubbo Ockels has left earth permanently. The first Dutch astronaut died of cancer last weekend at age 68. In January, the scientist wrote an open letter. His message, above everything else, was spiritual. It is time for change. A change of consciousness, to begin with.
All together now
In his letter, Wubbo pleads for a new faith, a faith in humanity. “Let’s greet the “human era”. Let’s stop destroying earth, destroying mankind, destroying ourselves. Let it be clear to everyone, we need to find a new attitude, a new culture, a new state of mind, a new unity of mankind, for survival.”
He sees a new religion, a new faith, as absolutely necessary. “There are many religions that bind people together, but never all the people. The different deities in which people believe, divide mankind in groups. That has led to conflict and even war. These religions are not sustainable. But if we believe in mankind, we will no longer have any conflicts, because we will be one. [letter]
Wubbo Ockels is no exception. Countless astronauts gather spiritual insights in space. Floating through the vast emptiness of our galaxy and watching earth from a distance; it affects people. Back on earth they talk about an overwhelming feeling of euphoria and unity. They go up there as scientists. They return as spiritual pioneers. This experience has been named Cosmic Consciousness or The Overview Effect. [book]
Russel Schweickart (Apollo 9, 1969). “When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. That makes a change… it comes through to you so powerfully that you’re the sensing element for Man.”
Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14, 1971). “It was as though my awareness reached out to touch the furthest star and I was aware of being an integral part of the entire universe, for one brief instance. Any questions that my curious mind might have had about our progress, about our destiny, about the nature of the universe, suddenly melted away as I experienced that oneness.” [interview]
Let’s all blast off
At the moment, mankind without a doubt finds itself on a collision course. If we keep going on like we do now, we dig the earth away beneath our own feet and poison the air we breathe. It is clear that something has to change. Time for a new faith, as Wubbo tells us? A noble endeavour, but how feasible is it?
It would help if everyone had a spiritual experience like these astronauts had. You can read what they have to say, but that cannot be compared to riding a spaceship and experiencing the overview yourself. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to send every living human into space. We would have to destroy our planet just to get the fuel needed.
Luckily, there are more ways to gather these valuable insights. The cosmic awareness as astronauts describe, is very much alike to what psychonauts experience during their trip. And while you aren’t there yet with the psychedelic compount alone, it is an experience that can be made available on a large scale without destroying mother earth. If you listen to Terence McKenna, psychedelic bard, you’ll hear a message not that different from Wubbo Ockels.
Rick Doblin (President MAPS) “Psychedelics are not a substitute for faith. They are a door to authentic faith, born of encountering directly the sacred dimension of everyday experience. This is not the only gate to that discovery, but it is the most ancient and universal, and potentially the most accessible to the majority of the human race.”