The WAY OF THE EXPLORER - Revised Edition
By Edgar D. Mitchell
Leaving planet Earth to explore our nearest neighbor, the Moon, was a major accomplishment of twentieth century civilization. It was, however, just continuing the precedent established by the earliest humans who followed, generation after generation, to search beyond the home territory to discover new wonders beckoning the curious and new grounds for food and habitation. We continue to be a curious and searching species as we began the expansion beyond our home planet and into the greater reaches of our solar system. There are wondrous new sights to be gained from seeing the larger vistas and new lessons to be learned about the deepest questions.
The Way of the Explorer is a book filled with food for thought. And, perhaps, tools to change the automatic assumptions many of us make as we routinely go about our daily lives. Not only does Dr. Mitchell give a fascinating summary of his life transitions, but his personal experiences catapulted him on to greater explorations through both the outer material world and the inner world of mind, thought and knowing.
Mitchell embarked on an entirely different kind of exploration after his return from the moon in 1971: – an exploration of inner space. An accomplished scientist, he became convinced that the scientific community was neglecting study of an immensely significant part of reality because of scientific ‘blinders’ regarding spirituality and consciousness that date to the early seventeenth century. He founded The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), with a deep desire to find an “integration of science and spirituality.”
“Our beliefs are our map of reality. We do not perceive reality directly, but only the information our senses present to the brain at any given moment, which is then compared with the existing remembered experiences to obtain meaning. Because this map is the only reality we humans know, we often make the mistake of thinking that our map is reality itself, when in fact it is just an incomplete portrait painted from memory.”
“This creates a problem, as all protocols and investigative procedures in science are designed for external measurement and validation. There are no protocols and procedures within the hard sciences for investigation of subjective events. Indeed, science eschews subjective data altogether. The technical term for such protocols is epistemology, yet there isn’t a proper one for studying subjectively generated phenomena, particularly those that challenge long-established physical theory.”
“All observations are ultimately subjective information organized in our brains and to which we attach a meaning as a result of experience and our accumulated belief system. There are no truly objectively observable events in the purest sense of that term.”
If science is ever to have a complete understanding of how the universe is structured, it must include why and how it is that we “know.” And, of course, the subjective experience is at the crux of the issue.”
This book provides insights beyond the realm of the ordinary and challenges automatic assumptions based on upbringing, particularly that of religious influence all the way to consideration of a new “dyadic” model of reality that brings consciousness into the equation of how our self-aware universe works. Of course, however, it is important to point out that our mental maps of reality, though incomplete and perhaps flawed, have allowed our species to evolve successfully for tens of thousands of years. During the recorded historical period, every few centuries a major new way of looking at the world, a new paradigm, has evolved to reshape culture and point evolution in a different direction. It is most likely that the 21st century that we have just begun may herald another such shift in the way we see ourselves and the universe of which we are a part.