The modern world can feel curiously unreal.
We wake, work, and sleep in climate-controlled boxes.
We can talk to a dozen people, survey a distant location, and restock our homes by making micro movements with a finger.
We can ask robots to clone voices, create art, write content.
We’re bombarded with endless words, images, and options, which has the odd effect of making none of them seem meaningful or worthwhile.
Rapid alterations in time, space, and culture have made life feel flimsy, insubstantial, weightless.
To navigate this increasingly artificial landscape, it helps to take a page from those who have literally experienced a zero-gravity state: astronauts.
Astronauts employ a variety of practices to maintain morale while living inside a confined vessel untethered from the rhythms, atmosphere, and organic materials of their home planet.
Astronauts establish a routine and have purposeful tasks to complete each day — habits that would also benefit those who dwell on terra firma.
Astronauts prevent the atrophying of their skeletal structure by exercising on resistance-providing equipment. We, too, should engage in concrete, friction-filled activities — weightlifting, cooking, tinkering, face-to-face conversing — to preserve the strength of both body and mind.
Astronauts bolt down anything they don’t want to float away, and we should likewise work to secure our most important values and relationships.
But the biggest reason astronauts stay resiliently happy in orbit is their attitude: they don’t mind inhabiting such a weird environment . . . because they get to experience the amazingness of outer space.
We can reframe our own ethereal conditions in a similar way. While the weightlessness of modernity presents challenges that must be counteracted, they’re a worthy tradeoff to exist in the best time for knowledge, power, and freedom; the best time for exploring the limits of human potential; the best time for taking a voyage on spaceship earth.