Presentation #212.08 in the session Public Engagement and Education Research.
Astronomy education has the capacity for expanding the perspective beyond specific racial, cultural, and socio-religious paradigms while fostering respect and reverence for the diversity, totality and integrity of all life. It facilitates comprehension of the radical interdependence of ecosystems across scales from quantum through biological and socio-cultural to cosmological. Astronomy and astrobiology education play roles in facilitating understanding of ecological diversity, appreciating with clarity the vital role of each aspect of life. As an example of astronomy as a stress reduction methodology, it was stated by an astronomer, that “a night observing on the mountain is like a two week vacation”. Literally the mind and consciousness are moving outward into participation in the vaster time-space scale beyond the Earthly confines and normative stress factors. Deep silence of such spatial focus has been experienced as remedial for the nervous system. Astronomical immersion, beyond human authoritarian constraints, facilitates a sense of participation in and connectedness to far greater reality. It facilitates that which is at the core of the leading edge of remedial stress reduction techniques in our modern anthropogenic society and culture as one becomes ontologically integral to and with universal cosmic intent. From the cosmological and astronomical encounter the universality of life moving through, within and as everything may be both deduced as well as experienced. Fundamentally healing at the ontological scale, meaning is experienced as inseparable from being. There is the sense of human beings as witness, co-creators and inseparable participants in cosmos. The sense of meaning and belonging — as one of the primary healthy human psychosocial intentions is encountered with the unbound expanse of space-time – relatively innumerable stars and clusters of galaxies strewn across potentially limitless space, including the observer and all planetary life.