This nOde last updated November 18th, 2001 and is permanently morphing...
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- Edgar D. Mitchell
- during the Apollo 14 mission, he experimented with telepathy.
"To explore is to expand the horizon. Through this process we have found more questions to pose. But in this grand effort, we have fallen in closer step with the Tao. - Dr. Edgar Mitchell
On January 31, 1971, Navy
Captain Dr. Edgar Mitchell embarked on a journey of over 500,000 miles
in outer space, that resulted in him becoming the sixth man to walk on
the moon, during Apollo 14. This historic journey
ended safely nine days later on February 9, 1971 and was made with two
other men of valor - Admiral Alan Shepard and Colonel Stuart Roosa.
His academic background
includes a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from Carnegie
Mellon University, a Master of Science from the U.S. Navel
Postgraduate School and a Doctor of Science in Aeronautics and
Astronautics from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. In addition he has received
honorary doctorates in engineering from New Mexico State
University, the University of Akron and Carnegie Mellon.
Dr Mitchell has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the USN Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Medal, and three NASA Group Achievement Awards.
In a little known report (Krichevskii, 1996), records the experiences of two Russian cosmonauts living aboard the Mir spacecraft for six months. Their concerns about official reaction to the experience requires their anonymity. I cite the report in this paper because the quantum hologram (discussed in several papers at this conference) offers a valid explanation for the unusual experiences of the cosmonauts. They each, but not simultaneously, experienced dream and waking states featuring extraordinary perceptions. They also experienced distorted time perception during these events. The cosmonauts frequently perceived themselves as other creatures on Earth, including dinosaurs, other humans and extraterrestrials. They discussed these experiences in great detail, including hearing voices, instructions and precognitive predictions about their spacecraft's future problems, which were all subsequently fulfilled. They experienced these events as though the information originated outside themselves. With good reason they could not report these events to their controllers nor to the medical monitors for fear of mental disqualification and loss of flight status. Only the quantum hologram permits a framework to explain these events within the context of science, without resorting to hallucination and mental dysfunction.
Science and spirituality: one is based on reality and form, the other on feeling and sense. They seem like complete opposites, yet those in the theological field keep trying to mash them together like two magnets with similar polarities. As a kid, you never could push them together, could you? Well, there is a man who is trying. He is from the moon, well versed in human theological thinking, and attempting to scientifically dissect the human mind. Sounds fictitious, but the man spoken of is in fact real. His name is Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the sixth NASA astronaut to prance upon the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, founder of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and author of _The Way of the Explorer_. Mitchell has participated in experiments, and researched and funded research into the nature of consciousness as it relates to cosmology and causality. He is in search of a scientific definition for human consciousness. He, along with a handful of other scientists, has almost found it. “That’s what I’ve been about for the past thirty years or so,” said Mitchell. “Recognizing that we had to crack this understanding of consciousness, because that was the fundamental remaining mystery before we could start to perceive an answer to those questions of who we are, how did we get here, and where are we going.” In the years prior to Mitchell’s space adventure, he was driven more toward outer space than inner space. However, something about the monumental nature of his mission shifted him. For Mitchell, it was only the backdrop for his self-described “epiphany.” During a quiet moment on the return trip while gazing at Earth, thinking of the Vietnam War, he shifted into an altered state of awareness. Something about the vastness of the universe surrounding the place where we fought over such miniscule portions of land shifted him into an awareness of “ubiquitous harmony” a sense of the interconnectedness of the universe surrounding his spacecraft. “A crass way of saying it in virtually all these [religious] systems is, ‘We can mess it up, and god cleans it up,’ ” he said, explaining what drove his emotions at the time, “and there is just utterly no evidence that is true. We have to transcend that notion. The inner core of virtually all religion and mystical experience does transcend that. All you have to do is be there [in an altered state], and you’ll recognize that cooperation and connection is the only viable option; that killing each other off is not.”
As a result of his experience, Mitchell founded the Institute for Noetic Sciences in 1973. Today, the Institute has become a forum for research and discussion pertaining to human consciousness for over 50,000 worldwide members and a vehicle for Mitchell to continue his exploration in a 180-degree kind of way. Since ancient times, humans have attempted to understand why they are and where they are going. Only today, with the advent of advanced technologies and the bravery of a small group of scientists in stepping across that forbidden line and applying scientific method to the prior domain of religion, do we seem to see some sort of dull gray emerging from the blackness. “What is powerful about the scientific methodology is the protocol of validate, validate, validate,” Mitchell emphasizes. “Before the scientific method developed with Newton, people just assumed that what went on in their head was real and accurate. Science has proven that wrong. Unfortunately, scientists can get as dogmatic, and their beliefs can be as strong as anybody else’s. They think we’ve discovered everything, when in fact we haven’t; we’re in an ongoing evolutionary universe in which we’re really just babes in the wood.”
The primary basis for
theological study, and the big motivator for scientific research into
consciousness, is not institutionalized religion. Mitchell describes
that as the “exoteric core.” In fact, the majority of studies are
based on the esoteric inner core essentially, the seeds that
planted religion. “Religion is dogmatic, political, egocentric, and a
perversion, generally, of the esoteric inner experience,” he said.
“Religion is based upon the experience of [its native] culture. But if
you look at the mystic experience (indefinable phenomena in nature
such as synchronicity, premonition, etc.),
which is the inner core of all this, across all cultures they’re
essentially the same. “As I’ve said for years in my lectures, if you
could get jesus, Buddha, Moses, Lao Tzu, and Zoroaster and the
primitive shamans together, they
would have no disagreement on the nature of ultimate reality,
because the inner experience they experienced is that communion with
what classical literature describes as the Godhead; to quote
theologian Paul Tillich, ‘the ground of our being.’ That is the same
in virtually all the cultures.'
That is why science is able to be a powerful modern protocol of discovery. If that commonality exists in all cultures, then it’s an appropriate subject for science to understand.” Although it is certainly debatable which esoteric tradition is most accurate, Mitchell prefers referring to the ancient mystical literature of the Tibetan Buddhist Sanskrit due to its antiquity. Therefore, those terms will be referred to for the remainder of this story. Tibetan Buddhist literature, like most mystery schools, describes various states of consciousness. The highest state (which Mitchell emphasized does not represent ranking, but is rather just a state of greater awareness) is the samadhi consciousness. In this state of awareness, one literally enters into a cellular-level connection with the surrounding universe and harmonizes with it. Much of human motivation is a subconscious drive to re-experience the ecstasy of the samadhi, which is the prototype for the pleasure side of the fundamental pain/pleasure response that drives all behavior, human or otherwise. It lies in the subconscious as an archetypalmemory, or instinct. It is in this realm that mystical experience apparently is manifested. “All of these mystics have said in one way or another, 'We’re all interconnected,' ” he said. “Well, we have discovered a mechanism for that in science called non-locality. The first discoveries, which were made at the particle level, found that particles that were ever entangled in a process, if they go apart from each other, forever remain correlated. We’ve recently discovered a mechanism in science that is non-local called quantum hologram, which carries the information about every physical object. It serves as the basis, it now appears, for what we call the inner experience.” The inner experience, or most exalted state of awareness, is described as the nirvikalpa samadhi. In this state, self becomes one with the entire field of universal mind, and pure awareness is all that appears to exist. Ecstasy sets in, and awareness and knowledge of the eternal nature of self blossoms. The most similar state the place where Mitchell claims to have gone during his space flight is savakalpa samadhi, in which one can observe things as separate from self, yet recognize that they are all connected with one another and to self; that separation is an illusion. It is also accompanied by the experience of ecstasy and eternity. Creating additional dualisms (illusions) that separate self from the purest state of awareness forms the states below samadhi. These include the existential state, in which individuals perceive things as separate from self but sense the eternal nature of being; the ego state, in which most of us are usually present, and where we lose our sense for the eternal and ecstatic; and finally, the subconscious state, in which instincts, archetypes, and most animals reside. With these definitions as a backdrop, scientists have set out to define the nature of human consciousness. In the past half-century, science has begun to recognize that consciousness is not a byproduct of physics and biology. Rather, consciousness structures the universe, and matter is a byproduct of mind. Scientists discovered this by probing deep into the structure of matter. There, they found only empty space, and labeled it the “zero-point” field of energy. It has been ascertained that all matter arose from this field the stuff of the “Big Bang.” Here, structure disappears into dynamic exchange of energy with the zero-point field, non-locality prevails, and space/time ceases to exist as all exchanges of energy are reversible, continuous, and unpredictable. The zero-point field is subatomic and also hypothesized as being macro (beyond universe). It can be found at the limits of speed (time becomes meaningless), heat (matter disappears), and cold (matter combines as coherent mass). It provides the quantum potential for all physical structure and the potential for awareness to exist, inextricably tied together.
According to Mitchell,
postulating that nirvikalpa samadhi is the experience of resonance
with the zero-point of all matter would tie all matter back to its
roots in the quantum potential of matter. If true, this is important
in that our actions, as individuals, deeply affect the universe as a
whole. “At the moment…it is quite clear that the overall good is
hardly on the radar screen in most people’s thinking,” Mitchell said,
referring to our egocentric, religion-dominated world. “You cannot
have an acceptable notion of values and morality until you have a
proper cosmology, and our cosmology is changing enormously as we’re
bringing together our understanding of how we came to be with our
understanding of how our universe itself came to be.” According to
Mitchell, this cosmology can lead us down one of two paths in the
coming century: a turn toward global communal bonding, or extinction.
“We will, in this coming century, go to Mars and explore other parts
of our solar system,” Mitchell said. “But it’s rather crude to be
standing on Mars, looking back at Earth and saying, ‘I come from the
United States.’ That tiny little point of light
out there is Earth, and we come from Earth. “We don’t have that
mentality yet. When we’re ready to have that mentality as a people,
then it’s probably an adequate time to start exploring deeper into our
universe and start to colonize, which we will if we survive that
long.” According to Mitchell, in order to survive that long,
individuals must choose to engage in activities that are mutually
enhancing. We must find our worth within the greater whole rather than
repressing others for one’s own sake. “We have to ask, 'How many VCRs
and boxes of new, improved detergent do we need in a year or in a
lifetime?' This is where value systems and perception
of our place in the universe comes in. “The best any of us can do is
say, ‘This is what I have discovered.’ Live it; practice it every day.
If it’s successful, it will spread, and that seems to be what is
happening. Whether it will happen fast enough, who knows? We’ll find
out when we get there.”
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