No single big epiphany for me. It's just sort of a learning process all throughout life. Learning that we're all connected, that we never see ourselves the way others see us. Also, that everyone is doing the best they can at the time. Maybe not the best they know how, but the best they can at the time.
I guess if I were to pick one big one, it's that lost opportunities are almost never able to be regained. You can't be afraid to grab them when they come along. Fear paralyzes so many people and it kills growth.
The single most important thought that changed my whole outlook was to question and throw out everything I was ever taught about life and God. Evidence often hasn't equated to what I was taught, and so I had to derive my own core beliefs.
From there, it's a combination of rethinking my own self talk, science, etc.
I can do that... If we're willing to learn and try we can do most anything we want to. The biggest hurdle in life for most people is the thought that we can't do something. Only if we truly believe that we CAN do it will we ever accomplish much.
I've taught myself to fix my own cars and homo. I learned to paint, however poorly, but it pleases me. I am learning to write just be being on HP and working on it. None of that would be possible without the first thought that "I can do that...."
There isn't any ONE thing, for me it's a series. Something happens to awaken you, and you begin to be drawn to the truth. I've learned many things in the last year or so. I've learned that our creation as told by society, is bogus! I've learned that our government not only lies, but it's a way of life with them. I've learned that almost, if not EVERYTHING is run by a handful of money and power hungry elite individuals. Basically our entire existence is nothing less than a "matrix" that has been created to control the masses.
The very real problems you describe are a result of our own political apathy, we no longer have a true from of democracy but rather a four year guaranteed dictatorship. When Che Gueverra was murdered in Bolivia all our dreams of freedom died.
It takes three days for a radio message to reach mars, the same for a reply. Most of the stars we see in the sky no longer exist, it took so long for their light to reach us. Nothing as far as we know can travel faster than the speed of light and those stars are millions of light years away. The Universe is expanding in all directions away from its point of origin, our part of the Universe is not any where near the edge. Advanced civilizations could have come and gone before the earth even formed. As we are seperated from the the far flung parts of the Universe, not only by distance but by time, what chance is there that two advanced civilizations would come into contact?