One year after travelling to space, 91-year-old William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, describes a death vision in his new book.
1. Awareness shift
After experiencing space, Astronauts have often described the ”overview effect”, a shift in awareness by seeing Earth from outer space as a “tiny, fragile ball of life.” The term was coined by author Frank White in 1987 in his book, The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution. Certainly, William Shatner was not indifferent to this feeling, which he recalled after joining a suborbital space journey last year with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
2. “Boldly Go“
After his memorable role on the 1960s TV show, the 91-year-old Captain Kirk from Star Trek has recently published a biography called “Boldly Go”, which he co-wrote with TV and film writer Joshua Brandon. His new book, published by Simon and Schuster, is filled with peculiar anecdotes about Shatner’s experience above the Earth’s atmosphere, denoting a grim vision of humankind.
“I saw a cold, dark, black emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on Earth. It was deep, enveloping, all-encompassing. I turned back toward the light of home. I could see the curvature of Earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her,” reads an excerpt from “Boldly Go” that was first published by Variety. “Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong,” reads the book.
3. Grief for the Earth
Shatner landed back on Earth in awe and he wasn’t able to immediately process all the feelings and overwhelming emotions of that unique moment. Later on, he described sadness and the terrible feeling that humans are slowly destroying our home planet.
I didn’t realize it [sadness] until I got down. When I stepped out of the spacecraft, I started crying. I didn’t know why. It took me hours to understand why I was weeping. I realized I was in grief for the Earth.William Shatner, CNN interview
When asked about the criticism surrounding space tourism, Shatner said the whole idea was to get people accustomed to going to space, as if it’s like going to the Riviera. “It’s not only a vanity – it’s a business,“ he said. Still, Shatner referred to what Jeff Bezos’ ambition of moving heavy industries into orbit “and get the earth back to what it was” — a concept that has its numbers of skeptics and critics.