…And you think about what you’re experiencing and why. Do you deserve this? Have you earned this in some way? Are you separated out to be touched by God, to have some special experience that others cannot have? And you know the answer to that is no. There’s nothing you’ve done that deserves this experience, that earned it. It’s not a special thing just for you. And you know very well at that moment, for it comes through to you so powerfully, that you are the sensing element for all of humanity, you as an individual are experiencing this for everyone. You look down and see the surface of that globe you’ve lived on all this time, and you know all those people down there and they are like you, they are you – and somehow you represent them. You are up there as the sensing element, that point out on the end, and that’s a humbling feeling. It’s a feeling that says you have a responsibility. It’s not for yourself. The eye that doesn’t see doesn’t do justice to the body. That’s why it’s there. That’s why you are out there. And somehow you recognize that you’re a piece of this total life. And you’re out there on that forefront and you have to bring that back somehow. And that becomes a rather special responsibility and it tells you something about your relationship with this thing we call life. And that’s a change. That’s something new. And when you come back there’s a difference in that world now. There’s a difference in that relationship between you and that planet, and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you’ve had that kind of experience. It’s a difference and it’s so precious.
During a five-minute pause tethered outside his spacecraft, Schweickart felt he underwent a metaphysical experience as he stared at the Earth, contemplating its place in the universe.
Do you deserve this? Have you earned this in some way? Are you separated out to be touched by God, to have some special experience that others cannot have? And you know the answer to that is no.
Mm. In a sense. But in an equally true sense, you are standing on the shoulders of giants. I don't know about God, but I do think that if by some chance Isaac Newton had lived to be 500, and had orbited the Earth, no one would argue that he deserved it about the same as, for instance, me.
Isaac Newton could not live to be 500, unfortunately (?), but someone had to pick up the mantle. It could have been many of us, but it wasn't. It was people like Russell Schweickart. Yes, they earned the experience, and yes, they're special.