Early this month we were saddened to hear of the death of Edgar Mitchell, renowned astronaut, and one of only 12 people to ever walk on the moon. What many do not realize, however, was that because of that experience, Edgar Mitchell went on to become a global leader in promoting consciousness research and was the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
From the website for the Institute of Noetic Sciences we read: Traveling back to Earth, having just walked on the moon, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell had an experience for which nothing in his life had prepared him. As he approached the planet we know as home, he was filled with an inner conviction as certain as any mathematical equation he’d ever solved. He knew that the beautiful blue world to which he was returning is part of a living system, harmonious and whole–and that we all participate, as he expressed it later, “in a universe of consciousness.”
This experience radically altered his worldview: Despite science’s superb technological achievements, he realized that we had barely begun to probe the deepest mystery of the universe–the fact of consciousness itself. He became convinced that the uncharted territory of the human mind was the next frontier to explore, and that it contained possibilities we had hardly begun to imagine. Within two years of his expedition, Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973. For over 40 years the institute has been at the cutting edge of research and education in exploring human consciousness.
As reported in the New York Times, the trip home from the moon radically changed the course of his life.
“It was a sense of the Earth being in critical condition, a recognition of the massive insanity which had led man into deeper and deeper crises on the planet,” he told the writer Francine du Plessix Gray in The New York Times Magazine in August 1974. “Above all, I felt the need for a radical change in our culture. I knew we were replete with untapped intuitive and psychic forces which we must utilize if we were to survive, forces that Western society had programmed us to disregard.”