Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey through the Material and Mystical Worlds

Overview

On January 31, 1971, Apollo 14 lifted off from Cape Kennedy, and three days later, Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard walked on the lunar surface. It was an audacious time in the history of mankind. For Mitchell, however, the most extraordinary journey was yet to come. As he hurtled earthward through the abyss between the two worlds, Mitchell became engulfed by a profound sensation - "a sense of universal connectedness." He intuitively sensed that his presence, that of his fellow astronauts, and that of the planet ...
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Overview

On January 31, 1971, Apollo 14 lifted off from Cape Kennedy, and three days later, Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard walked on the lunar surface. It was an audacious time in the history of mankind. For Mitchell, however, the most extraordinary journey was yet to come. As he hurtled earthward through the abyss between the two worlds, Mitchell became engulfed by a profound sensation - "a sense of universal connectedness." He intuitively sensed that his presence, that of his fellow astronauts, and that of the planet in the window were all part of a deliberate, universal process and that the glittering cosmos itself was in some way conscious. The experience was so overwhelming Mitchell knew his life would never be the same. The direction his work would take for the next twenty-five years was another journey of sorts, one that would carry him inward as he explored the ineffable mystery of consciousness and being. Having been reared in a Southern Baptist family, and gone on to study the revolutionary sciences of the day at MIT, he felt the need to reconcile what had always been thought of as separate in his life and in the Western mind - science and religion. Consequently, in the early 1970s, Mitchell left NASA to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The Institute allowed him to initiate research in areas of study previously neglected by mainstream science. Through his work, Mitchell began to construct a theory that could explain not only the mystery of human consciousness, but the psychic event as well - what the spiritualist refers to as "miracle" and the scientist dismisses altogether. His story culminates in a new "dyadic" model of reality that brings consciousness into the equation of how our self-aware universe works. What he reveals through this model is that we live in a universe that is not predetermined by the laws of physics, not preordained by deities, nor infinitely malleable. While human intentions are generally subject to the laws of physics, these la
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Among authors trying to bridge the gap between science and spirit, former astronaut Mitchell brings unique credentials. Originally scheduled for the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Mitchell, as told in this smooth blend of autobiography and exegesis, journeyed to the Moon in 1971 (and generated great controversy over ESP experiments he conducted on the flight). As he gazed on Earth, surrounded by blackness and an unfathomable number of stars, he experienced "an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness" that was to change his life. Within a few years, he had left NASA and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, aimed at the systematic study of the nature of consciousness. At the institute, he came to some fascinating conclusions, detailed here and based on principles of resonance, regarding a possible natural explanation for psychic powers. In later years, Mitchell has developed a "dyadic" model of paired opposites-mind/matter, life/death, etc.-that he also covers here and that owes as much to quantum physics' wave/particle duality as to Taoism's yin/yang. Mitchell isn't afraid to go out on a limb; his contention that the universe "intended" to evolve to higher levels, for example, goes against mainstream Western science. He grounds his ideas in data and reason, however, making this a strong offering for those who enjoy the books of Larry Dossey, Ken Wilber and others pushing the envelope of the science/spirit paradigm. BOMC, QPB and One Spirit selections. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
Apollo 14 astronaut Mitchell offers a vision in which technology and intuition are harmonized in pursuit of a more advanced consciousness.

When Mitchell was hurtling back to earth after walking on the moon in 1971, he had a profound sense that all things are interconnected and that the universe is an intelligent process with which we need to link up. We hear how Mitchell began a career as a fighter pilot in the years following WW II, switched to NASA with the hope of being part of the new space program, and came to know the legendary Wernher von Braun, whom he believes was a true visionary rather than a Nazi opportunist. Mitchell tells how, while returning to earth, he carried out a private ESP experiment that seemed to yield positive results. Subsequently, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, in order to test paranormal phenomena scientifically. We hear of Uri Geller's ability to bend spoons at a distance and of how Mitchell's own mother had her eyesight restored by American psychic Norbu Chen—until she realized that Chen was not a Christian and her near-blindness returned. Mitchell concludes that our own consciousness and beliefs are profoundly part of reality. He offers us a tour of Western thought from Aristotle to Newton, arguing that intuition and science were divorced until the advent of Einstein and quantum physics. We hear a lot about synchronicity, left and right brain, and the concept that psychic events are quantum exchanges in the brain that link us with the larger world. Unfortunately, Mitchell's insights, exciting but frequently obscure, depend excessively on one-sided generalizations about European philosophy and on his espousal of Joseph Campbell's views on religion.

A stimulating attempt to reinvent the wheel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564149770
  • Publisher: Career Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 376,861
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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