Edgar Mitchell’s Message from space.
FOR THE LAST TWO DECADES EDGAR MITCHELL HAS BEEN A PRIME MOVER IN THE FIELD OF CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH. FOLLOWING A COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS EXPERIENCE ABOARD APOLLO 14 AS IT HEADED BACK TO EARTH, MITCHELL PLUNGED INTO HIS QUEST FOR THE TRUE NATURE OF THE CONSCIOUS SELF. HE FOUNDED THE INSTITUTE OF NOETICSCIENCES IN 1973 AND IS THE AUTHOR OF TWO BOOKS, PSYCHIC EXPLORATION AND THE WAY OF THE EXPLORER. REPORTER JOHN CHAMBERS VISITED DR. MITCHELL ON BEHALF OF KINDRED SPIRIT AT HIS RAMBLING RURAL HOME IN AMERICA’S SUNSHINE STATE OF FLORIDA.
Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Dr. Edgar Mitchell has a resumé that must be unique in the entire history of the universe about which he writes so eloquently. Born in the plains of West Texas in 1930, he graduated in engineering from Carnegie Mellon, became a test pilot for the Navy, and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, obtaining a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics. Drafted into the Astronaut Corps, Mitchell was a member of the back-up crew for Apollo missions 10 and 16, and was the lunar module pilot for Apollo 14, becoming the sixth man to walk on the surface of the moon.
It was during the journey back from the moon that Mitchell had the experience of ‘cosmic consciousness’ that changed his life forever. Gazing out of the porthole of the spacecraft, he was seized by what he calls ‘an ecstasy of unity’. He sensed the universe around him as not accidental, but as an intelligent process at work, in some way conscious, and interconnected via every atom of its being.
The experience so transformed him that he spent the next 20 years studying human consciousness, including its mystical and paranormal aspects, in the search for some common ground between science and spirit. In 1973 he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, now located in Sausalito, CA, which, with a staff of 30 and a membership of 50,000, continues to disseminate knowledge about the latest discoveries in the field of human consciousness.
In 1974 Mitchell published his first book, Psychic Exploration, which has been translated into three languages. For years he has been a familiar figure in laboratories and at conferences around the world, propounding his leading-edge ideas about the nature of reality with the precision, focus and expertise that one might expect from a former astronaut and engineer. The essential elements of those concepts have been gathered into his new book, The Way of the Explorer.
The moon explorer and ‘psi’ researcher held forth eloquently and affably on a wide range of subjects. Among his most startling assertions:
Our universe has volition and intentionality inherent in its processes, and if we do not seize conscious control of these attributes within ourselves, we may find we are the stragglers in the inexorable march of evolution.
The existence of the zero-point field, or substratum of aware energy underlying all reality, provides a theoretical basis for psychic phenomena.
Out-of-body experiences most probably arise from an archaic mechanism, evolved in the prey-predator food chain, to permit a minimum of struggle and trauma surrounding the death of the prey so as to ensure the maximum efficiency of the overall process.
There is strong circumstantial evidence that covert U.S. government operations related to the UFO phenomenon have been subverted by quasi-private interests and are now operating out of control with secret funds.
In your book you speak of the universe as inherently possessing volition and intentionality. What do you mean?
I mean that the universe is not mechanistic, nor is it pre-planned or pre-plotted, as the ancients thought. Rather, it seems that we are an evolving organism with the universe in charge of its own evolution. We don’t need a pre-existing, all-wise deity for the universe; it is self-organising, just as we organise our own lives.
You feel that it is extremely important that we know this. Why?
Because we are a part of that universe and, as a result, we too have volition and intentionality. But we’ve relegated the big choices to the supernatural, when, in my opinion, there is no supernatural. We have to recognise that, instead of saying volition and intentionality are out there, in the domain of the deity, it’s necessary to affirm that the deity is within ourselves. This is all wrapped up with self-responsibility, with responsibility for the planet, and brings what happens to us right down to here, right down to each of us. That’s what we need very badly: to recognise that what happens to us starts with ourselves.
Can you give us an idea of how your thoughts evolved in this direction? You had your experience of ‘cosmic consciousness’ on the way back from the moon. You founded the Institute Of Noetic Sciences. But were there other incidents that prompted you along the way, or have your beliefs grown out of the science that you have practised?
I did have some experiences along the way, experiences that startled me, experiences which demonstrate volition and intentionality. I then tried to replicate these events in the lab. There was one which had to do not only with the power of the mind, but also with the power of our beliefs. My mother had travelled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to meet me at a convention where I was speaking. At the time she had glaucoma so badly she was legally blind without thick glasses.
There was an American named Norbu Chen at the conference who had studied an early form of Tibetan Buddhism and was purported to be a healer. I asked Norbu if he would try to heal my mother. He agreed, and in my hotel suite that night he put himself into a meditative state, recited his mantra, and made passes over her eyes. Then he told her to rest as if she’d just had major surgery. At six o’clock the next morning, my mother came running into my room exclaiming, “Son, I can see, I can see!” She proved this to me by reading from her Bible. Then she ground her glasses underfoot with the heel of her shoe. She proceeded to drive home alone, several hundred miles, without her glasses.
There’s a telling sequel to this. My mother was a fundamentalist Christian. Several days after the healing, with her vision still near-perfect, she telephoned me to ask if Norbu were a Christian. I didn’t want to tell her, but she finally dragged it out of me. The result was that, over the next few hours, the gift Norbu had given her ebbed away, and she had to have thick glasses again. My mother believed that if such healing didn’t come from a Christian, then it must come from Satan, and she didn’t want to be healed by Satan.
What conclusions did you draw from this experience?
I thought at the time the healing might be due to physical laws that hadn’t been discovered yet. I certainly saw that all I had heard about faith healing, shamanistic practices, etc., had some basis in fact. The fact that my mother could reject the healing, after it was there, brought home to me decisively the powerful role that belief systems play. Experiences like this gave me avenues to investigate as a scientist, where I could seek to replicate and to understand them.
You write that the experiments you conducted with the Israeli psychic Uri Geller at the Stanford Research Institute further changed your beliefs. What kinds of experiments were these?
Primarily, they had to do with ‘remote viewing’, (out-of-body travel) where random ‘targets’ were picked and the subject, Uri in this case, was to describe the unknown object. We did a series of these experiments, with very good results. Uri also displayed a lot of ability in bending metallic samples. But the most remarkable thing that happened was when, outside the context of the lab, I challenged him to prove his avowed telekinetic abilities (the ability to move objects with the mind) by recovering a camera I had left on the moon nearly two years before. He tried, but the camera failed to materiaise. Two days later, though, while we were eating together in the cafeteria, Uri bit into an object that made his lip bleed profusely. He took it out; I washed it and it turned out to be half a tie clip that I had lost nearly two years before. That afternoon, alone in a lab, I heard the click of metal against the tile floor outside. I went out; the object turned out to be the other half of the tie clip that I’d lost. Later that afternoon, a colleague and I were working in the lab when we glimpsed something drop to the floor between us. This turned out to be a pearl tie pin my brother had given me, which I’d kept in the same jewellery box. No jettisoned camera, but in a matter of days three other objects that I’d lost reappeared!
What explanation did you come up with for this phenomenon?
It wasn’t anything we could investigate scientifically, since it wasn’t replicable. But several of us saw it happen. The tie clips didn’t seem to come from anywhere: they just appeared. This made me wonder if what I’d seen was like the behaviour of an electron when it jumps from one level of orbit to another around the nucleus without traversing the space between the two. I wondered if we weren’t seeing quantum jumping on a macroscale. Later lab experiments by other scientists, with children as participants, have tended to validate this similarity to quantum jumping.
In your book you allude to an experiment carried out by Alain Aspect in Paris in 1982 as the ‘missing link’ between the older, dualist view of mind and body as separate and distinct – the view that has God separate from physical reality and making all our decisions for us – and the newer view, espoused by yourself, of the mental and the physical as two sides of the same coin. Would you explain?
To my mind, Aspect proved the existence of nonlocality. He and his colleagues produced a series of twin photons. They enabled the photons to travel in opposite directions through a conduit that aimed them at one of two polarization analysers. They saw that each photon was still able to correlate its angle of polarization with that of its twin. Since nothing can travel faster than light, then it wasn’t a case of information being transferred from one particle to the other; rather, the wave aspects of the particles were in some way interconnected nonlocally and ‘resonated’ so as to maintain the correlation of their characteristics. They didn’t behave as particles at all but like fields, filling all space, orchestrated and mediated in their properties by a mechanism not yet understood.
What does nonlocality have to do with the fact that Uri was able to transport your tie clips to you?
There are a number of sharply conflicting explanations of what nonlocality means, so it is very difficult to answer that question; but I do believe that the notion of nonlocality was involved. We must look at the concept of quantum holography as well as nonlocality to have a good explanation of how these psychic events work. Holography, of course, refers to the indications we have from the structure of nature – for example, the brain’s memory-storing capabilities – that every part contains the whole. In the past year-and-a-half, research I’ve been conducting with European scientists in quantum holography has succeeded in taking the idea of nonlocality out of the subatomic realm and showing that it pertains across the whole spectrum, scale-size, from the subatomic to the cosmic. The universe is a hologram, with each part containing the whole; the mathematics we’ve done suggest that nonlocality pertains across all scale sizes.
So holography is also tied up with Uri’s ability to get your tie clips back?
Yes, that’s what it looks like. We haven’t pursued that to its ultimate scientific, mathematical, experimental prime argument yet. It’s just too wild.
Can we all, and should we all, in terms of the need to acquire mastery of our lives, learn to do what Uri did?
There’s no question that we can all learn to do it. The question is, do we have the moral and spiritual values to properly utiise such capabilities? That has been the concern of the spiritual community for millennia. Even today, the proliferation of misguided psychics masks those people of real psychic ability who have a true grasp of the values involved. But certainly we all have these innate capabilities.
The brain is the only organ of the body to have produced capability well in advance of the need. We are still growing into our brains; we are still far from knowing how to optimally programme it. The problem is that if psychic abilities are not developed very early, then they will atrophy and die. It’s a matter of initiating exercises before the brain begins to abandon and prune away neural connections during childhood. And this is the key to our conscious control of evolution.
We know now that we can begin to develop these faculties prenatally. In Japan, Makoto Shichida used the repetition of key words to precondition fetuses for postnatal learning. Shortly after birth he employed simple game-like exercises with flash cards and sounds to teach numbers, words and ideas. He found that the children quickly achieved almost perfect accuracy in guessing the identity of flash cards that lay face – down. The intuition of such children – their coherence between conscious and subconscious functions – quickly develops to the point that information from the subconcious, the rational functions, and nonlocal sources seems to be equally available.
You speak occasionally in your book of the zero-point field. Can you define it?
The zero-point field is the field of quantum fluctuations that exists at a temperature of absolute zero. More recently, however, it has also been defined as that field of energy that underlies all matter. This is the basic, infinite unstructured quantum potential from which the Big Bang arose. Everything we know (and everything we don’t know) arose from the zero-point field of energy. This is the domain of nonlocality.
And by resonating with this ‘place’ in some way, Uri fetched up your tie pins? Are other sorts of anomalous phenomena connected with the zero-point energy field?
It looks as if all phenomena that we associate with the paranormal, including apparitions, visions of the Virgin Mary, poltergeist phenomena, and all psychic effects, are somehow tied up with intentionality, nonlocality and quantum holography. Our group of scientists in Europe is looking at the mathematical, the experimental, and the practical applications of these concepts. It may take years but, based on the study of quantum holography, we may yet master the techniques of telekinesis and teleportation.
You suggest that phenomena like channelling and past-life recall may be examples of information being nonlocally perceived. Are these channelled entities ‘mouthpieces’ for the universe; energies stemming from that zero-point field?
I believe that channelling is what the current organism is pulling out of its own information system. Ramtha, for instance, is not a 10,000 year-old discarnate warrior operating through the body of a woman. This is information that’s available to anybody. It’s information from a previous life’s experiences. But it’s information that is interpreted according to the belief system of the channeller.
Are you saying that the information arises out of the interface between information in the woman and something coming out of nonlocality, out of the zero-point field where – as some interpret it – all information up until the present moment has been preserved?
We’re wrestling with this issue right now. I think that, in channelling, this currently living organism is the agent, having access to what I facetiously call the giant hard disk in the sky, and retrieving that information from quantum holography into the here and now and giving it meaning. The formalism of the quantum holography suggests that the event history of every quantum object is preserved in the hologram.
You say in your book that the zero-point field consists of conscious energy, that mind and matter are two sides of the same coin, and that this is the basis for your notion that the universe is a ‘dyadic model’ as opposed to being a duality of mind and nature. Can you expand on that?
To simultaneously reveal the nature of mind and the mind of nature is a single, interconnected, interactive process. Science has entered the realm where the abstract, ineffable, and ubiquitously interconnected prevail – the realm previously dominated by theology alone.
We can’t any longer keep the two separate in our thinking; matter, which has been considered the real reality, is at bottom nothing but empty space containing energy – a mental abstraction; and mind, which has been considered undependable ethereal stuff, is our only source for discovering ‘reality’. Together, they point to nature as being but a single reality, yet one with two aspects: physicality and mentality – or, in other words, existence and knowing, matter and information. That’s the dyadic model.
You’ve suggested that apparitions, visions of the Virgin Mary, channelled entities, etc., may derive their existence from the interface of our minds with the zero-point field, pulling in information stored holographically. Why has there been such a tremendous upsurge in our time of these sorts of anomalous phenomena, from just a few reports of past-life recall in the fifties to thousands upon thousands of cases in this decade, for example?
In part it is simply because there is far more information available; civilization is a bit better educated now, and we’re asking questions. I find that in the past few years, particularly in the ‘sophisticated’ areas of the world, there is a feeling of malaise, a feeling that there is something going on that is not very good. People are scared. Right now the stock market is raging, the economy seems good, but apart from that, underneath the surface, there’s an environmental concern; people are concerned that the old mythologies are not the right mythologies, and the infrastructure is crumbling.
That is going on, and at the same time people in the culture are looking for new values: many go back to fundamentalist notions, some go to the occult, and some to the psychic. We see chaos now, and the theory of chaos suggests that we’ve reached a state very far from equilibrium as a result of which virtually anything can happen. We may experience what is called in chaos theory a ‘bifurcation,’ where something quite new and unexpected emerges.
What is your prognosis?
I like to be positive; I like to think that humankind, being an intelligent species, can pull the fat out of the fire. Certainly, everything will be alright with the planet as a whole; I think we can take that as an article of faith.
You mean, because nature is conscious and self-organising?
Yes. But does that mean that we’re going to survive in our current form as a species? No, it does not. Will nature’s processes find a way and keep evolving? Sure. But we as a species may very well reap the harvest of ignorant behaviour. We may very well he the next dinosaurs. We may be an endangered species, gone before we know it. The difference between us and other species on our planet is that we have the capability to transform ourselves. We must begin to act decisively on that insight, both as individuals and collectively – remembering that nature is less concerned with us as individuals than with simply utilizing the holographically stored information that represents our life’s experiences.
One of Einstein’s chief concerns was whether or not nature was kind. What do you think?
The universe in its inanimate self-organisation is a pretty violent place. If there is kindness, it is because intelligent species create kindness; if we want a kind world, it begins with us. Where the universe seems to be operating with kindness, it may simply be operating in a mode of optimum efficiency, one where struggle and trauma past a certain point might weaken that efficiency.
Perhaps the only place where you see that apparent concern with pain and pleasure, is in the prey-predator food chain, with respect to the final struggle and trauma of the prey as it is killed by the predator. At the end, pain is removed from the prey. This is simply a more efficient way for nature to operate. And we see that in humans. The out-of-body experience is a reaction, a brain reaction, to the moment of traumatic death. People get catapulted out of the body to escape the pain of death. Nonlocality permits the mind to seem to be floating above the body. But this is merely an archaic, pain-lessening instinct, a modality of nature that makes for maximum efficiency. By and large, it’s essential that we humans learn to cooperate with nature, that we develop all our faculties, that we become self-actualizing, and that we become altruistic.
There is an extremely provocative footnote in your book, at least for the UFO community. You write: ‘I’ve had no personal encounters with UFOs, although I wish I had so I could speak from firsthand experience. I have, however, met with credible professionals within two governments who have testified to their own firsthand experiences with ‘close encounters’ during their official duties. A wealth of classified information on the subject resides in military and intelligence files, which, in my opinion, should be released to the public.’ Which governments were these?
I’ve talked to individuals in the US and Russian governments. In addition, the Belgian government has been relatively open about these encounters. I was very hands off, very sceptical of this whole area, for many, many years. But during the past five years I have been looking at this business seriously, and I am looking at it with very serious people. And I find that there is strong evidence to suggest that a covert effort by governments at back-engineering has found its way into quasi-private circumstances; that is, it is no longer directly under government, or military, control, though it is using government money.
By back-engineering, do you mean examining a crashed UFO, or some analogous artifact, and then working backward and deriving alien technology from that?
Yes. I’m speaking of flight technology development and development in the area of mind control. Efforts during the Cold War on the part of both our intelligence community and the Soviet intelligence community may have been integrated with these areas of mind control technology.
How is this mind control being used?
I don’t know for certain. I can only speculate. But there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that this technology is being used to disseminate disinformation. One application may be to implant ideas in people’s minds that they are being abducted by aliens when they are not. It’s possible this disinformation campaign may also be behind the reported animal mutilations.
What is the purpose of this heinous disinformation campaign?
To take people’s attention away from the gravely serious matter that there is back-engineering and, perhaps, adaptation of ET technology with our own technology, by a group of people, out of control, no longer under government supervision, but spending billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.
So people are not being abducted by ETs?
Perhaps it has happened. But certainly not in the numbers now being claimed. The regression therapists, though many of them are sensitive and wonderful people, may well be being misled in many instances. There are two modalities for creating false images with respect to the abduction phenomenon: one aspect is archetypes stemming from the collective unconscious, along the same lines as leprechauns and good and bad fairies; the other is the implantation by mind-control techniques of images, designed to make the ETs look nefarious, and to distract attention from the real activities being carried out by humans.
Is this well-known?
No, but it is becoming known.
And where is all of this going? Not just ETs, but all that you have said about nature and the universe?
I conceive of Earth as our cradle, not as our home or our ultimate destiny. Whether we actualise or realise that destiny is strictly up to us.
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