Widening Perspectives The Intellectual and Social Benefits of Astrobiology, Big History, and the Exploration of Space



Astrobiology is the field of science devoted to searching for life elsewhere in the Universe. It is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating results from multiple fields of science, and in this respect has strong synergies with ‘big history’. I argue that big history and astrobiology are both acting to widen human perspectives in intellectually and socially beneficial directions, especially by enhancing public awareness of cosmic and evolutionary worldviews. I will further argue that these perspectives have important implications for the social and political organisation of humanity, including the eventual political unification of our planet. Astrobiology and big history are also concerned with the future of humanity, and I will argue that this future will be culturally and intellectually enriched if it includes the exploration of the universe around us.