An Apollo Astronaut’s Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds
This is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I hope persons who visit this website and read the in-depth book review [below] will go on to read Edgar Mitchell’s book. His book includes a number of scientific concepts and findings and the review on this site will make the reading of his work more easily comprehensible for the non-scientist. However, every sentence, every paragraph of “The Way of the Explorer” is packed with meaning, and learning, and my review is in no way intended as a substitute. “The Way of the Explorer” is based on Edgar Mitchell’s unique, and rather exceptional, observations and personal experiences which are described in his book – a fine contribution to humankind’s evolution.
Leslie Taylor – Boise, Idaho 2017
Introduction and Biography
Dr. Edgar Mitchell (September 1930 – February 2006 on the eve of his 45th anniversary of his lunar landing) is an extraordinary individual; not only is he exceedingly brilliant and capable, but it is as though he experienced many lifetimes in one. He grew up in Texas during the depression in a ranching family then later moved very near to, of all places, Roswell, New Mexico (famous for the 1947 UFO incident – a crash involving an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants). His religious upbringing was that of traditional Christianity; his mother was a Christian fundamentalist. He learned to fly at thirteen, was a high ranking Boy Scout – a Life Scout, then later became a member of a Masonic Fraternity and inducted into its Hall of Fame. Mitchell received his Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1952 following which he joined the U.S. Navy and, while on active duty, he earned his second Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics from the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in 1961. In 1964 he received a Sc.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mitchell attended the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School for certification as a test pilot, graduating first in his class. During this period, he served as an instructor in advanced mathematics and navigation theory for astronaut candidates. Over the course of his career with NASA he was part of the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team which performed no less than a miracle; transforming a potential tragedy into one of the most dramatic rescues of all time. He operated an Apollo simulator learning how to fly (control the altitude of) the Lunar Module back to Earth with a damaged Apollo Command/Service Module attached to it. (It was designed to work the other way around).
Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 movie features Mitchell’s part in the rescue. It’s a great movie, by the way. In 1971 he then went on to serve as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14, landing on the Moon with Alan Shepard aboard the Lunar Module “Antares” and with Stuart Roosa orbiting the Moon in the command module “Kitty Hawk.” They stayed on the Moon for 33 hours, deployed and activated lunar surface scientific equipment and experiments, and collected almost 100 pounds of lunar samples to bring back to Earth.
Mitchell publicly expressed his opinion that he was “90 percent sure that many of the thousands of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, recorded since the 1940s, belong to visitors from other planets.” Dateline NBC conducted a televised interview with Mitchell during which he discussed meeting with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He offered his opinion that the evidence for such alien contact was very strong and classified by governments, who were covering up visitations and the existence of alien beings’ bodies in places such as Roswell, New Mexico. He further claimed that UFOs had provided “sonic engineering secrets” that were helpful to the U.S. government. In 2015, Mitchell made what Huffington Post U.K. characterized as “the astonishing claim that it was aliens, not diplomacy, which prevented the Cold War from descending into the Third World War.” In another interview, Mitchell said “White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons—and that’s what the extraterrestrials were interested in. They wanted to know about our military capabilities. My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth …” He was the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS – YouTube channel link below) for the purpose of consciousness research and other “related phenomena” (as in telepathy, remote viewing, telekinesis, teleportation, etc.). He felt this research was important for the advancement and evolution of humankind. Mitchell’s description of the Apollo 14 Space mission is gripping; well worth the expense of the book alone. However, my work here begins with his samadhi experience, a profound state in which a person experiences oneness with the universe, a unity with the Divine as it is sometimes described. He claims that this experience changed his perspective and the trajectory of his life even more than the Apollo mission itself, although it was certainly a contributor.
What Mitchell points out here is there are many advanced cognitive faculties available to us that we could be developing and utilizing. Yet presently (and these are my words, not Dr. Mitchell’s) they are being ignored in favor of but a few: as in rote memory, mathematical, reading and writing skills. Our species, all earthly life forms in fact, depend upon our evolution – our developing our innate connectivity with the world around us instead of pursuing outrageously expensive college degrees in engineering, computer science, banking, law, etc., then finding a spouse and having babies in an already overpopulated (now doubling every twenty-five years) world filled with hungry and neglected children, and swaddling ourselves with mortgage payments and other onerous forms of indebtedness the result of excessive polluting consumerism that in turn demand that we overwork to pay our bills leaving us without the time or energy to evolve, to save ourselves, to say nothing of just being happy and at peace. We cannot look to political, military, corporate, or media industry leaders for salvation. It’s up to each one of us to do whatever we can, even dedicate but a couple of hours a week, twenty minutes a day, toward developing our innate, natural connectivity, to evolve, enabling us to think and act as one and this will save us all.
The other thing the author addresses that I and so many others sense is that a paradigm shift is in the works presently; that suddenly there is a renewed interest in spiritual matters, family values, and what is revealed by the mystical and near death experience. I would add to his list psychic and paranormal phenomena which the scientific community in general (certainly not all) has refused to acknowledge for two hundred years. He states that this shift is largely due to the want to avert what is perceived by many as the approach of a man-made apocalypse.
The Way of the Explorer
Mitchell’s Samadhi Experience
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell describes his samadhi experience during his return to Earth (having been the 6th man to walk on the moon) in the space capsule, Kitty Hawk, with his two comrades, Al Shepard and Stuart Roosa, as it rotated in what he described as the barbeque mode (so the Sun was not always shining on one side of the capsule): “Perhaps it was the disorienting, or reorienting, effect of a rotation environment while the heaven and Earth tumbled alternating in and out of view in the small capsule window. Perhaps it was the air of safety and sanctuary after a two-day foray into an unforgiving environment.” “Somehow I felt turned into something much larger than the planet in the window. Something incomprehensibly big. Even today the perceptions still baffle me.” “Looking beyond the Earth itself to the magnificence of the larger scene there was a startling recognition that the nature of the universe was not as I had been taught. My understanding of the separate distinctness and the relative independence of movement of those cosmic bodies was shattered. There was an upwelling of fresh insight coupled with a feeling of ubiquitous harmony – a sense of interconnectedness with the celestial bodies surrounding our space craft. Particular scientific facts about stellar evolution took on new significance.” “This wasn’t a religious or other-worldly experience, though many have tried to cast similar events in that mold. Nor was it a totally new scientific understanding of which I had suddenly become aware. It was just a pointer, a signpost showing the direction toward new viewpoints and greater understanding.”
“The human being is part of a continuously evolving process, a more grand and intelligent process than classical science and the religious traditions have been able to correctly describe. I was part of a larger natural process than I’d previously understood, one that was all around me in this command module as it sped toward Earth through 240,000 miles of empty black space.” “Billions of years ago, the molecules of my, of Stu’s and Al’s bodies, of the spacecraft, of the world I had come from and was now returning to, were manufactured in the furnace of an ancient generation of stars like those surrounding us. This suddenly meant something different. It was now poignant, and personal, not just intellectual theorizing. Our presence here, outside the domain of the home planet, was not rooted in an accident of nature, nor the capricious political whim of a technological civilization. It was rather an extension of the same universal process that evolved our molecules.” “And, what I felt was an extraordinary personal connectedness with it. I experienced what has been described as an ecstasy of unity. I not only saw the connectedness, I felt it and experienced it sentiently. I was overwhelmed with the sensation of physically and mentally extending out into the cosmos. The restraints and boundaries of flesh and bone fell away. I realized that this was a biological response of my brain attempting to reorganize and give meaning to this information about the wonderful and awesome processes I was privileged to view from this vantage point. Though I am now more capable of articulating what I felt then, words somehow still fall short. I am convinced that it always has been and always will be a largely ineffable experience.”
Here I am reminded of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance where he cites a particular organism’s biological, and behavioral perhaps, mutations (an evolutionary transformation) in response to a dramatically changed, inhospitable environment ultimately enabling the species to continue to survive. The Apollo 14 crew, like Sheldrake’s example, not only experienced a dramatically different and inhospitable environment but had sudden and unexpected survival issues to grapple with on a couple of occasions during their mission following which Mitchell had his transforming, samadhi, or enlightenment, experience. And, even more importantly, as astronaut, this then put him in a unique position enabling him to share (thus extend) this transformational experience with us all. Consider also (previously mentioned by Mitchell but here a bit more in depth) the processes of stellar atomic and molecular fusion. Or, cellular differentiation processes that, for example, from a single fertilized egg cell divide, multiply, and specialize (as in becoming a bone, or kidney, or heart cell, etc.) ultimately developing into an exceedingly complex adult organism. These, and other (not just biological, but behavioral) developmental processes extend beyond a singular organism to include the collective whole of the species enabling their survival, their increasingly complex functioning and evolution. And, beyond that even; as in the similarly unfolding evolution of the entire cosmos. Mitchell says that he felt vastly extended, physically and mentally, as one with this universal consciousness; this unfathomable, indescribable creative intelligence at work. He goes on to suggest, “What was clear, however, is that traditional answers to the questions; “Who are we? “How did we get here?” as derived both by science and religious cosmologies, are incomplete, archaic, and flawed.”
The Remarkable Norbu Chen and Uri Geller
Following the mission Mitchell left NASA and in late 1972 he had a series of events described by him as, “… governed by the mysterious cadence of synchronicity.” He attended a conference in Little Rock and his mother met him there. She was in her early 60’s and had severe glaucoma. At the conference he met a man by the name of Norbu Chen, an American who studied the earliest form of Tibetan Buddhism. He was purported to be a healer. Mitchell’s mother was a Christian fundamentalist all her life and had definite ideas about how the mind was capable of influencing matter through healing – either by the hand of God or by that of Satan. The next day Mitchell and his mother met with Norbu. She settled into a relaxed state in a chair following which Norbu placed himself in a meditative trance. His hands floated over his mother’s head pausing over the eyes and there seemed to be an unspoken acceptance on her part. Norbu then prescribed that she rest and take nourishment from grape juice and broth (as if following a surgery).
At 6:00 a.m. the following morning she came rushing into Mitchell’s room exclaiming “Son, I can see, I can see!” She could read from her worn bible and drive the several hundred miles home without her glasses. He states that he knew his mother’s reaction was authentic and she hadn’t been duped. A few days later, after going about her business with nearly perfect vision, she called wanting to know if Norbu was a Christian. He knew what this meant and did not want to say that he was not. However, she did not drop it and when he told her that Norbu was not a Christian she claimed that her new sight was not the work of the Lord but by that of darker forces and that Norbu was an instrument of the devil. Her gift had soon gone away and new thick glasses were required. Later in the book he states his mother surrendered her eyesight rather than seeing the world through what she thought were the eyes of evil. She did not realize that both healing and the ability to deny it dwelled within her all along. Though she began to suspect this was the case in later years over which her sight began to improve again. He learned that Norbu was not particularly remarkable in general, nor especially complex; just a fellow with a peculiar capacity to heal that he, Norbu, couldn’t adequately explain. Mitchell says he naively believed that if other scientists could witness such legitimate phenomena in controlled environments they would see that it was at least worthy of further study and would become excited by the prospects. Instead, if the scientists were not genuinely disbelievers, they were outright hostile and would deny the obvious evidence before their eyes.
He then met the 25 year old Uri Geller from Israel who was brought to his attention by an American physician who had witnessed his extraordinary abilities in telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis. Years later Uri made a modest fortune dowsing for oil, gas, and mineral companies. He repeatedly demonstrated his obvious ability to bend metal by thought alone. Mitchell interviewed Uri for several days and was adequately convinced (overwhelmed, in fact) that his abilities were real. Uri agreed to come with Mitchell to the SRI [Stanford Research Institute] and participate in laboratory tests. Mitchell thought, unfortunately wrongly, that this research conducted by a team of scientists could help prompt real interest amongst the established scientific community. Uri did not disappoint, but rather the scientists did. They would claim that Uri had extraordinarily strong fingers (Uri did not touch the metal) and other explanations that were even more far-fetched than the actual event itself – seeming at times like little more than tortured rationalizations.
Norbu Chen, Uri Geller, and Russell Targ at the Stanford Research Institute – SRI
Shortly after the tests at SRI Uri made a series of television appearances. After the broadcasts Mitchell’s phone would ring informing him of frantic parents reporting that their children were bending the family silverware. Mitchell goes on to say that there were dozens of these children he investigated who had watched Uri bend spoons in this manner on TV. (There were others besides Mitchell that investigated these children as well). Typically it was a boy, less than 10 years of age, who would lightly stroke the metal spoon that Mitchell brought with him and it would slowly bend and twist 360 degrees along the handle just as Uri demonstrated on TV. “Innocent children who had not yet learned that this could not be done,” writes the author. Uri himself had these abilities as a child and assumed others did too. Uri also demonstrated to the physicist Russel Targ and team at SRI his excellent abilities to remote view; meaning to mentally see a distant location (referred to as a target) and promptly draw, quite recognizably, what was there.
Norbu Chen, not to be outdone by Uri when Mitchell mentioned his work with him, demonstrated to Mitchell his abilities to manipulate metals. He told Mitchell to remove the heavy gold ring he was wearing and hold it loosely in his hand. Norbu then appeared to concentrate and pass his hand above Mitchell’s closed fist several times. This resulted in what had been but seconds earlier a fine piece of gold jewelry set with his birth stone was then bent, twisted, and impossible to wear; appearing as though it had been crushed in a vise. Mitchell writes, “Norbu Chen was clearly a very powerful man.”
During the six weeks they conducted formal experiments with Uri at SRI there were an incredible number of equipment failures and downright strange occurrences no one could readily explain. For example: a video equipment part Uri had no access to would disappear and suddenly turn up in an adjoining room, or jewelry would suddenly be missing only to be found locked in a safe with a combination Uri could not have known. There were dozens of such events. Uri was also purported to be able to perform psychokinesis (the ability to move or transport objects from a distance [teleportation] by thought alone) so Mitchell asked him to recover a camera that he had jettisoned while on the moon two years prior. Somehow, this request seemed to spur a flurry of strange happenings. As they were sitting at a table in the SRI cafeteria Uri asked for a dish of ice cream, which the waitress brought to him. After a couple of bites he cried out in pain then blood seeped from his lips. From his mouth he took a tiny metal object; a small silver object with a miniature hunting arrow and image of a longhorn sheep on it; something an archery aficionado might have. Though Mitchell had never been a hunter he had been given a tie bar with such an emblem on it at a booth at a trade show. He lost it soon after along with an entire box of tie pins and cuff links during his frequent trips to and from Cape Kennedy.
Mitchell and Uri returned to the lab (along with others with whom they were dining and had witnessed this event) and they heard the strike of metal against the tile floor. Dr. Hal Puthoff picked up a small shiny object that seemed to fall out of nowhere and land at his feet. It was the tie bar that matched the emblem that appeared in Uri’s ice cream; even where it and the emblem were broken off matched. Then, as he and Puthoff were standing at the laboratory table they both caught a glimpse of something as it dropped between them onto the floor. Mitchell picked it up and it was a pearl tie pin his brother had given him as a gift which he kept in the same lost jewelry box; three of these lost objects appeared in a span of 30 minutes. What Mitchell claims here is that items recovered thus are deeply significant to a particular individual – something quite personal.
Anita Rettig, who would eventually become Mitchell’s second wife, was ill with a kidney disease that threatened to require a lengthy series of dialysis treatments. As a last-ditch effort before admitting herself into the hospital she agreed to fly to Houston for a session with Norbu. Dr. Ed Maxey from Florida flew Anita to Houston. He along with a number of other NASA flight surgeons helped with the checking of records of this session and other similar events. She was frightened, pale, and very uncomfortable when she arrived. Nevertheless she went on Norbu’s diet regimen of grape juice while the doctors assembled, checked her records, and watched Norbu initiate his treatment. He knew nothing of her disease yet soon gave the correct diagnosis. Then after about 20 minutes in his meditative trance, Norbu ordered her to sleep for the night, treat herself kindly for a few days, and drink more grape juice. Her problem appeared to clear up immediately and dialysis was never required. Almost two years later she had a check-up by an eminent internist in San Francisco who found no trace of the kidney disease.
The Science behind the Miracle, or Extraordinary Phenomenon
Mitchell states that following these experiences with his mother, Norbu, and Uri, it was clear to him that not only individual belief (as in in the case of his mother’s religious belief system causing the loss of her gift of sight) but also human intention plays a large, though quiet, role in shaping our lives (as in Uri’s ability to manipulate metal with his thoughts alone). Deterministic theories of nature cannot accommodate these events as both volition and intentionality are denied in the old deterministic (mechanistic) scientific framework. He also felt that supernatural theologies did not explain, for example, his experiences with children mentally bending spoons after watching Uri on television do it unless “God was asleep at the switch allowing Lucifer to run the show.” Mitchell is of the belief that the answers lay in the natural realms, likely within quantum mechanics, and some new theory of mind. He claims that research carried out in the last decade strongly suggests, “… that the consciousness experienced by all living systems are inextricably tied to a mysterious property of the quantum world called nonlocality.”
The story of quantum mechanics is in the discovering that matter in motion not only possesses energy [referred to as kinetic energy], but rather that matter is energy-solidified energy. In a sense, he goes on to say, matter is the death of free energy transforming into physical reality; just as it can be transformed back into free energy. Wood burning is an example of converting mass into energy. Another is a seed which takes energy from the sun (and water, air, minerals in the soil) and converts it into plant matter. Another example, fission (the breaking apart of an atomic nucleus, or nuclei, as in the violent explosion of an atomic bomb) isn’t exactly turning matter into energy. It just releases the binding energy of the nucleus.
If you want to separate “matter” and “energy” this is not really possible for, E=MC^2 [E being energy and M being mass]. Mitchell states that atomic matter is a continuous flux of energy combining and splitting. Although, he adds, the physical/material appearance of things always seem more “real” than the invisible world from which they emerge.
The Collapse of the Wave Function
Paradoxes abound with the entire edifice of our knowledge resting upon two fractured, incomplete, competitive, and teetering foundations – physical measurement and mystical insight – and, the author claims, this is largely because there has not been an acceptable model for mind and consciousness. The current mathematical models of reality require a multidimensional universe and a quantum reality (that’s indescribable with words) in order to make a strong, yet less than complete picture of reality. Scientific interpretations of quantum mathematics require a phalanx, or horde, of observers to “collapse the wave function” (the probabilistic states) of the entire universe to its existing state. And, on the other hand, religious models require a hierarchy of angels, deities, and demigods ascending to heaven and a progression of levels descending to hell. Mitchell goes on to say that both scientific and religious models seem a bit strained, having to make outrageous claims to account for the mysteries of the universe.
He believes that if we allow certain mental attributes to be a fundamental aspect of the processes of the universe, and that mathematics is understood not as an intrinsic characteristic of nature, but as a creation of mind (a language actually), and that mystics’ visions, voices, and insights are understood as simply information the mind needs in order to interpret, then the Cartesian notion of the division of mind and matter thus collapses.
In 1905 Einstein put the wave and particle ideas together along with the mathematics showing that light came in little packets of energy [photons]. Light clearly had both wave and particle characteristics. A few years later, the physicist Louis de Broglie asserted that not only light but all matter possessed both wave and particle properties at the subatomic level. Mitchell later adds that our concept of the “wave particle” duality as observed in the micro world of quantum mechanics is actually assigning it macro-type characteristics; that which we experience in the everyday world (as in hard spherical objects and waves in the water). And, all such descriptions are just keys we have chosen in order to represent our map of reality. However, the map is not the territory.
Note: The wave function, is commonly referred to in physics. It is an equation (the Schrödinger wave equation) that determines the probabilities, the odds, of a particle being at a particular place in time (or as close as you can get during its trajectory). The wave function is its probabilistic state, where it might be, and the collapse of the wave function is the state of the particle, where it is located, upon observation, or measurement. One cannot know both at the same time (all positions where it potentially, or probabilistically, could be and where it is at, at a particular point in space-time) which is meant by what is referred to as the uncertainty principal.
Complementarity and the Uncertainty Principal
It would be good for us here to include along with wave particle duality the physics properties of conservation of energy, conservation of momentum (momentum = mass times velocity, and kinetic energy is the energy equivalent of a particle’s velocity), and non-locality, also referred to as entanglement. Entanglement is when two subatomic particles interact, they then can become entangled – their spin, position, or other properties become linked through a currently unknown process. If separated (any distance between them doesn’t matter) and should a measurement be made on one it simultaneously effects the state of the other. Measurement, the observation of a thing, a system, does indeed have an effect on that thing; this is referred to as the observer effect. Mitchell goes on to posit that “miraculous” phenomena and these observed physics properties are related.
Also, he links complementarity: One of which is wave particle duality (the wave function and particle state being complimentary quantum states). Another is the uncertainty principal: that being one cannot know the position and momentum of a particle simultaneously. Also included are the complimentary states of objectivity (outside the observer) and subjectivity (an observer’s mental interpretation). On objectivity and subjectivity, he elaborates stating that these two modes are complimentary in that both are required to complete our picture of reality. The outer, objective, experience reaches its zenith in the scientific method and is characterized by specificity, precision, and detail, and most often uses the language of mathematics – it is understood intellectually. (I will add: and, agreed upon, confirmed, by many minds). Whereas the highest expression of the inner, personal subjective experience is in the ineffable mystical insight which is characterized by holistic [overall] patterns, and lack of precision is replaced instead with deep feelings of certainty. However, he notes, objective observation is not, strictly speaking, possible as all observation is inherently a subjective experience.
Mitchell further informs that the uncertainty principal denotes that it takes at least a single photon of light to illuminate and therefore measure a particle’s state (to know in science is to measure). Thus the energy from the photon[s] imparted to the particle through the act of observing it changes the attributes of the particle and makes its future state uncertain; again, the observer effect.
Here I will add that consciousness may be light-like (though not light, not electromagnetic radiation, and this has been tested and confirmed) and effects matter just as the photon effects the particle described above. And non-locally, meaning regardless of the distance between, the separateness, between the two (as is the case with entanglement). Consciousness and its effects on matter, or other consciousnesses, need not be hampered by space-time and sometimes, it more than adequately demonstrates by its effects on matter that it is not (as in teleportation, telekinesis, miraculous healings, telepathy, remote viewing, and precognition).
Entanglement or Nonlocality
Nonlocality, or entanglement (what Einstein famously referred to as spooky action at a distance), was verified by decisive experimental evidence first in 1972 (Clausen and Freedman) and again by more extensive testing in 1982 (Aspect). The relativistic speed of light is not violated (meaning that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light – 186,000 miles per second or 300,000 kilometers per second) by the instantaneous interaction between two entangled particles. Again, entanglement means that they previously interacted locally then were separated by any distance – a few meters or billions of light years – and continue to interact as if still together. Hypothetically, the wave aspects of the entangled particles, are in some way interconnected nonlocally, and “resonate” so as to maintain the correlation of the particle’s characteristics; as in spin (meaning if the spin is reversed on one the other simultaneously reverses its spin – thus “spooky action at a distance”). Although quantum theory cannot in its current form address how these properties are orchestrated and mediated nonlocally maintaining the particle’s correlation.
Again, consciousness, (thought, awareness and intention) is not electromagnetic radiation, not light, and therefore the laws of physics including the law that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light is not applicable. And he goes on to make a very good argument that awareness and volition are everywhere and in everything, including inanimate things.
Mitchell feels that resonance, and nonlocality are fundamental clues to all psychic functioning and are attributes of the quantum hologram (to be discussed later).
He cites the ancient philosophical question of whether a tree falling in the forest makes a sound if there is no one there to hear it. This question has a new spin on it today given modern technology; as in remote recording devices. He adds that the falling tree creates a pressure wave which a pressure-sensitive instrument can record if tuned to the proper frequencies. But, that is neither hearing nor sound. Hearing and sound relate to the subjective experience of a living organism.
However, according to quantum theory, if neither the person nor the device were there, one could not know or say what is happening with the tree and its pressure wave; no observer, no measuring device, to collapse the probabilistic wave function (what the state of the tree is upon observation). Along these lines, Mitchell mentions Einstein’s quip that the moon doesn’t go away when we close our eyes.
Note: Here I simply must interject the remarkable fact that the moon appears the very same size as the Sun as viewed from Earth. The Sun’s diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon – and the Sun is also about 400 times farther from Earth than the moon. So the Sun and Moon appear nearly the same size, within a 99.9 percent accuracy, as seen from Earth; thus the solar eclipse.
The author writes that whenever trees have fallen in the past, they behave just as they had before humans made an issue of it by asking annoying questions. Likewise, the universal processes proceeded to unfold as they did before quantum mechanics, Newtonian mathematics, and telescopes came along; long before humans began to second-guess cosmological processes and created “maps.” In other words, the territory the maps represent seems to have existed long before our maps and the anthropoid mentality that created them.
Back to particles that exhibit nonlocality, or entanglement: Mitchell states that particles know nothing of space-time thus their behavior is not hampered by the separation between them maintaining their wave function, their correlation and resonance. In other words, the wave still retains its “existence” as a particle even when behaving as a wave going down two paths simultaneously. The wave function does have real existence he emphasizes.
Here I will elaborate: This “going down two paths simultaneously” is observed in the famous “double slit experiment” where a particle, an electron for example, is sent through a barrier with two slits and the detector beyond the barrier produces a wave pattern suggesting that the electron went through both slits simultaneously (not one or the other slit); producing a result suggesting that the electron is not a particle but more like a wave. If there is but one slit in the barrier the detector produces a pattern suggesting the electron went through as particle (just as if a pellet were shot through the slit) exhibiting no wave properties.
What this tells us is that the wave/particles respond to the process they are undergoing at the behest of the experimenter, whatever that process is (e.g. the spin of one particle is measured and simultaneously correlates the spin of the other, or the electron acts as particle or a wave depending on how many slits are made at the barrier and where in the experimental apparatus the observer is looking; the observer effect). Mitchell adds that space-time is not relevant to particles. The entangled particles immediately adapt maintaining correlating resonance throughout the experiment. Space-time is just our measure of the change of states involved in a systems’ processes. It does not have an independent existence in nature.
Again, Mitchell adds that the 1982 Alain Aspect experiment demonstrated entanglement, nonlocality, between two particles (the simultaneous interaction between two separated particles that previously interacted locally) proving that basic matter is correlated, connected nonlocally in ways that the prevailing classical theory said couldn’t be.
Mitchell and colleagues studying rocks brought back from the moon on the Apollo 14 mission.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Many-Worlds Interpretation
The problem here, Mitchell states, is the confusion between the maps and the territory. The maps are the images, the thinking, the beliefs, and the measurements, that we carry around in our heads. They are indeed the only information about reality of which we are aware. The territory is the world itself. At any moment our conscious awareness is not accessing all the information available in the world around us. If it were, then our map could precisely depict the territory and we could really “know” reality. He asserts that in an evolving universe it must be an ongoing process of learning. Yet, he adds, knowing and being aware have important differences: knowing requires attaching a meaning to information based on prior experience (or learning) that conveys a sense of certainty.
With all due respect, I disagree with Mitchell here at least in regards as to how I define “knowing.” My own personal experiences of “knowing” that I refer to throughout this website (along the lines of precognition, telepathy, teleportation, etc.) did include a sense of certainty, but they seemed not to be linear occurrences requiring preconditions. In other words, “knowings,” at least in the way I think of them, seem to convey an experience, or circumstance, in advance of its actual occurrence, or impart specific information transcending the requirement of prior experience or learning. Knowings come whole, not in parts as in words in a sentence, and as if they already happened, like a memory. In the cases of teleportation, the thing is just suddenly present.
He later refers to a situation, a famous thought experiment referred to as “Schrödinger’s cat” where, should the experimenter be psychokinetically active (the action of mind on matter), he might possibly influence the circumstance (whether or not the cat kept in a box would be observed to be dead or alive upon opening the box) by thought alone. Here, however, the experimenter’s observations alone, simply looking inside the box containing the cat thus collapsing the cat’s probabilistic dead or alive state (the wave function) couldn’t harm the cat, but intending to might.
Mitchell cites the scientific Many-Worlds Interpretation that proposes all probabilities in the wave equations are real. By choosing to open the box where the cat is kept and discovering it either dead or alive, the experimenter causes the universe to divide into two universes: one where the experimenter discovers the cat is dead, and the other where she finds it alive. In this interpretation, each choice one makes branches the universe into the many probabilities available. Mitchell finds it amusing and absurd that physicists will believe that even casual choices can create innumerable universes we can’t observe or verify and must violate conservation laws. Yet, they can’t acknowledge telepathy (psychic resonance), or intentional psychokinesis (mind over matter) which can be observed and verified and don’t violate conservation laws given that they utilize nonlocal resonance, entanglement, and coherence.
The act of recognizing that there are things that exist separate from one’s self allows us also to think “I am” or “I exist.” Otherwise consciousness is undifferentiated; without a distinction between self and other; the organism is merely aware, yet not self-aware. For example, there are simple responses to stimuli (pain and pleasure) and the storing of information (what to again do or not do) while still in the womb but, not a sense of “I am.” The sense of “I” is the result of the aware organism’s need to coherently organize sensory information. The sense of self emerges after it begins to experience the environment with the five physical senses thus noting and mapping the external, objective, environment. And, in doing so it finds that this perceived information is not a part of self, rather it is separate.
The external sensory information thus begins to obscure the more subtle internal sensing and nonlocal resonances that provide an awareness of connectedness and limitlessness, as in the samadhi, or enlightenment, experience (certain, whole knowing, “one with all” state of being). Over eons, as physical organisms evolved greater complexity (as in from single celled organisms to mammals) the scientist would claim that life on earth became more “intelligent” as it moved up the evolutionary chain toward the homosapien. Both matter (as in a brain and a body) and consciousness concomitantly become more complex as they mutually evolve – individually, and as it does it contributes to the evolution of the whole of the species, and beyond; all parts of a universal evolutionary process.
Idealism is a philosophical concept which asserts that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further asserting that all entities are composed of mind, or spirit. If we interpret this as an evolutionary process involving moving from the simple toward the more complex, it mirrors the progression of physical evolution. Species, planets, stars, galaxies all seem to grow in complexity and, out of necessity become increasingly more organized – evolve in other words. This implies, of course, that the experience of undifferentiated awareness (no separateness), before the “I am/thou art” self-awareness, is actually the most fundamental experience of consciousness. Therefore, awareness is inherent, at the very least, in all living organisms – even the simplest.
Amongst primates, for example, studies suggest that these animals have a concept of self in that they are capable of signaling their desires and internal states in very subjective, personal, terms. Moreover, they have long term memories. However, the author claims, self-reflective function is not likely present in life forms with brains that cannot accommodate language.
Here I think it is important to define self-reflective awareness, or function, for Mitchell refers to it often throughout his book: recognizing and realistically assessing one’s own knowledge, values, skills, and behaviors in order to self-improve.
Awareness is Everywhere and in Everything
Mitchell thinks we should consider the possibility that language (a predominantly left brain, human capability) deepens the divide between the objective, the external, versus the subjective, internal, state. This is why animals, possessing limited or no language skills, display collective behaviors beyond human capabilities …
Here I’ll add: … as in flocks of birds and schools of fish functioning as a perfectly synchronized and simultaneously coherent unit. Some animals also can be observed to possess telepathic awareness (Dr. Rupert Sheldrake has studied this extensively) and as well display extraordinary migratory knowledge without the use of maps or GPS units, etc., to say nothing of their advanced physical sensory perception functions as in hearing or sight.
The more organized aspects of conscious functioning, including self-reflective awareness, clearly (or so here presumed by the author) requires a highly complex brain produced by the evolutionary process. This evolutionary aspect can be labeled as mentality. The more evolved the brain, the more complex functions it can accommodate and perform. It is mentality that most closely conforms to the materialist notion contained in the doctrine of epiphenomenalism; meaning that consciousness is but a byproduct of the brain.
Amoebae, which possess no brain at all, may still have awareness. They receive information from the environment and react accordingly. But, do they perceive information? Does a sunflower perceive sunlight? Or does it merely maximize the Sun’s energy by continuing to face it through a mechanistic feedback loop (meaning that the process having been favorable automatically sets a repeating pattern in motion)? There’s a critical difference between perceiving information and receiving information without awareness.
Mitchell believes undifferentiated awareness exists even at simple levels of organizational complexity. The true primordial state of awareness is undifferentiated; before the idea of “I am/thou art” has arisen. Basic undifferentiated awareness may extend all the way to inanimate structure. Inanimate structures (e.g. crystals) require energy that organizes its parts into a cohesive structure just as is the case in any complex mobile organism.
We cannot, however, discover [other] awareness directly, as awareness is a subjective attribute unique to the particular organism. I would here add that, certainly a highly differentiated state of consciousness such as most, but not all, human consciousnesses could not discover [other] awareness.
Mobile structures require that we utilize inferences from other observations. For example, some simple organisms that are mobile move neither randomly nor deterministically. They seem to move with intent – toward food and away from danger, toward a mating opportunity and away from rivals. But not always. It is easier to deduce intent by observing organisms in nature than it is to deduce awareness. Intent is suggested when movement is neither random nor deterministic, but appears with purpose; at the very least the purpose of survival.
When I was studying cellular biology I was reminded of a comment I had read somewhere, “Clearly there is a creative intelligence at work here.” For, it is as if the micro intracellular parts display intention.
Mitchell informs that from chaos and complexity theory we know that complex processes in nature (as in atmospheric processes) are only reasonably successfully mapped with nonlinear equations and feedback loops that are suggestive of learning (although weather prediction is not possible presently). In other words, the observed and mapped processes, for example, the planet’s atmosphere at work, exhibits learning producing non-random patterns of activity sometimes out of previous non-random patterns of activity and sometimes out of chaotic activity (as well does the observer doing the mapping). And, learning produces a feedback loop: incorporating that which had been and worked then repeating the process. If there is intention in the behaviors that an organism, or system, such as a colony of algae, exhibits then there is likely awareness as well. Awareness is the perception of patterns of energy, thus information, leading to activity; the arranging of things, the organization of systems. It is aliveness and it is everywhere and in everything.
Mitchell addresses the concept of reincarnation; the transmigration of souls from lower to higher forms. In some cultural traditions the soul of the individual is sent back to inhabit lesser life forms to learn again. This concept rests on the belief that external judgment and decision-making determines the fate of the souls – assumptions that seem nearly impossible to validate. However, he suggests, that if we think of life experiences as mere information, then other ways of addressing these issues, such as reincarnation, seem to open up.
Patterns of Energy
Learning is memory; the storage of information. With science we came to recognize that nature stores information in a number of ways, such as in the molecular DNA [genetic] code. Atomic matter itself (in an atom: the nucleus and surrounding electrons), being organized energy carries information. Atoms, molecules, simple cellular organelles (the internal organs of cells such as mitochondria, ribosomes, centrioles, etc.), then organs (heart, lung, etc.) and on up the evolutionary ladder, have definite patterned, organized, structure; they’re not haphazard. He includes inanimate structures as well.
Note: Mitchell often refers to “patterns of energy” (let’s not forget E=MC^2, energy = matter and visa versa). In a crystal, for example, the atoms self-organize into repeated patterns and you have, for example, a ruby, or a piece of quartz. Here’s a definition of a crystal: a solid composed of atoms, ions, or molecules arranged in a pattern that is periodic (recurrent) in three dimensions. All forms throughout the universe from the smallest to the greatest, including the whole of the universe, are patterned structures – patterns of energy.
In some way nature repeats these same processes again and again throughout the universe as though a template created them all and the information retained is thus continuously available. Science has not revealed the mechanisms by which nature is lawful, but has merely codified, or systematically arranged (as in the standard model, the periodic table, etc.) the rules it appears to obey. Regardless, the laws of physics and chemistry are but man-made maps of nature’s processes.
Awareness and Intention
Mitchell mentions the biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s hypothesis referring to certain modes of information storage as morphogenetic fields, and the mechanism to access or share information with and amongst species, and over distances, as morphic resonance.
Here I will add: What is resonance but a synchronized vibration; to harmonize, coordinate, to unify with. Is not nonlocal information, as in telepathy or remote viewing, but a resonance, being as like one consciousness with the other? If the reader is not familiar with Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s work, please go to the website Miracles For All, chapter (K) Rupert Sheldrake “Morphic Resonance” [link below]. Sheldrake has also researched paranormal phenomena in depth. And, having studied telepathy in animals, he has written a very popular book on the topic titled “Dogs That Know When Their owners Are Coming Home.”
The evidence that learning processes and intentional action are present in nature and communicated by nonlocal resonance (whether we are aware of it or not), is far more prevalent than that of mere random or deterministic, mechanistic, processes. That is, nature’s way appears to be purposeful. (I certainly got that impression when studying cellular biology. Inside, cells carry on like little cities! And, of course, this is observable throughout nature and at all levels). Mitchell goes on to say that the awareness and intention of evolved organisms (as in humans) is likely a repetition of awareness and intention at lesser scales of organizational complexity (as in their cells). And, as well, with nonlocal resonance playing a role in how information propagates between levels of scale size. [From the cellular level to the whole of the organism. Then from there information, transmitted locally and nonlocally, effects the whole of the colony and extends outward toward same or similar colonies of organisms (or species) at a distance. And, ultimately well beyond these communities to other species, including celestial species (planets, stars, etc.), to solar systems, then galaxies, and galaxy clusters, and on upward to include the whole of the universe]. His point is that awareness and intention permeates the whole of the universe, and he goes on to make a good argument this process of information propagation includes the inanimate (as in a crystal or plant) as well as the animate.
Here Mitchell notes the philosophical literature and the scholarly mystical literature that refer to “The Great Chain of Being” and the “Perennial Wisdom.” He perceives the Great Chain of Being as an interconnected, self-organizing, evolutionary system. Its structure mirrors that of the whole of the universe. It’s a chain connected to itself; not a hierarchical structure beginning with matter at one end leading to God at the other end. He goes on to say that the sciences are doing a fine job of ferreting out the secrets of the physical aspects of matter, but will doubtless do a much better job when the role of consciousness (awareness and intention) is brought into the equation as the unifying concept.
Perennial Wisdom, he adds, is meant to suggest the enduring ideas and knowledge are prevalent in all ages and cultures; knowledge derived not only from the rational thinking process, but primarily from deep within the mysteries of the intuitive.
Mentality is a word he uses to refer to those functions of the brain such as problem-solving, self-awareness (knowledge of your own self; your existence), and self-reflective awareness (you acknowledge what you know or know not). Mentality is dependent upon the evolutionary complexity of matter. [In other words, the complexity of the brain’s functioning and its further development is directly associated with the complexity of that which it interacts with and learns about].
Although, here I feel we should acknowledge that since the advent of MRI technologies persons have been found that function normally, even at highly complex levels of cerebral functioning, yet they have no brains (there’s fluid where brain tissue normally is). Mitchell believes in these cases that the brain stem has somehow managed to compensate by functioning as a fully developed brain. I disagree. Even a localized consciousness (as in a particular human) may not require brain matter in order to complexly function through matter, as in the rest of the body and beyond; its environment. This certainly goes along with the argument he is generally making throughout his thesis.
Note: This is a perfect time to refer to some research findings as reported on in my other website “Miracles For All” chapter (H) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James, page 139 [above], citing individuals whom, it was discovered, had no brains yet functioned normally, and in some cases, better than normal.
MRI scans: On the left are the normal scans and in the center are and right exhibit adult cases of hydrocephalus (infants born with this condition generally last but a few days).
The Miracles For All Link:
Here’s another source, “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” by Dr. Stephen Schwartz from “The Schwartz Report:
Undifferentiated Awareness – No Separateness
Undifferentiated awareness refers to awareness not confined to a brain, or reduced to brain function alone, but is more likely associated with all matter (a rock, a tree, an insect, a computer even), its nonlocal properties in particular – meaning extending beyond. In other words, undifferentiated awareness is everywhere and an aspect of all things, animate and inanimate alike. Intention is as well an irreducible concept; awareness and intention are everywhere being and doing.
Here the author introduces the intention of psychokinesis (the ability to move objects by mental effort alone) and clarifies that it is a verified human capability. Therefore, we must conclude that its origin is within the fundamental structure of the universe, including our brains, and that which we intentionally, energetically, coherently interact with. The same could be applied to spontaneous healing. He adds that in the existentialist view, the I/thou, the subject/object state all objects are perceived as separate therefore the connectedness of everything is not apparent.
The perception that in the ground state, the undifferentiated state, all is Self is also widely interpreted as the perception of All That Is. The sensation of eternity (that consciousness is an eternal phenomenon) is understood as a certainty by all who experience samadhi. Mitchell states that the associated feeling of ecstasy is likely produced by the awareness of every cell in the body being coherently resonant, as one, with the timeless, spaceless, undifferentiated state of Being.
If we postulate that the experience of the samadhi state is the experience of resonance, or coherence, with the ground state of all matter this would tie the Great Chain of Being back to its roots in the quantum potential of matter. The modern term for this energy field is called zero-point energy or vacuum energy. Vacuum energy is the presumed energy field that is in continuous dynamic exchange with matter and that which sustains the existence and form of matter at the quantum level. Zero-point energy is also interpreted as an infinite sea of unstructured energy potential from which the universe arose and thus, being infinite, pervades all of, paradoxically, space-time in the universe (and perhaps outside as well). In this sense the universe did not arise out of nothing, but rather arose, was created, or “intended” from this quantum potential. It is, however, currently known only as a mathematical abstraction.
Note: Zero-point energy field, or ground state energy, is the lowest possible energy a quantum mechanical system may have (temperature = 0 – referred to as absolute zero, in scientific terminology).
Here Mitchell posits that nonlocality, or entanglement, (confirmed by experiment) provides a clue as to how order is ubiquitously, everywhere, maintained. That and learning, also apparent throughout nature (through trial and error and, that which works feeds back into the system and is repeated until challenged) suggest the attribute we label as consciousness is everywhere and in everything. Consider, for example, that very simple combinations of quantized energy (quarks into atoms) then shape themselves, self-organize, into molecules, and when combined with other molecules produce extraordinary structures – from ice crystals to the DNA double helix, to elephants.
Chaos and complexity theories show us that complex atomic order is repeated at larger and smaller scales alike. (For the sake of artistic imagery here to illustrate this repetition I’ve included fractal images). But, they are still deterministic theories; meaning that if one starts at precisely the same place in the process one will always get the same results. These theories have also been shown to create deterministic self-organizing systems (no choices, no free will, involved); as in a crystal, or mammalian body. Determinism, however, does not acknowledge intentionality and creativity also everywhere and aspects of the process.
Mitchell’s Dyadic Model
On learning, here Mitchell introduces dualism, as in dyads (two opposite outcomes) and dyads are necessary for learning he asserts. He introduces a “dyadic model” as an explanation for the options necessary for evolution, for learning, to occur at all levels of existence. And, that the awareness, the consciousness, that experiences the process can only experience one or the other of opposite outcomes – not both simultaneously. Pairs, dyads, of limiting outcomes of any process are: success/failure, life/death, good/evil, pleasure/pain. Along these lines I would add beautiful/repulsive. However, the book “A Course in Miracles” states that all choices, thus their outcomes, are the result of choosing either love or fear in any and all circumstances and that is the lesson. Love is the choice we are here to make (otherwise we have the world just as we now experience it) and in doing so, we come to know all, including ourselves, truthfully, as Son of God.
Back to Mitchell’s position: To the extent that any system can (from an individual life form, to a colony, and on up to the whole of the universe), it will choose outcomes that reflect success. However, the overall system will learn from the experiences of failure, death, evil, repulsion, and pain. And from what the aware system has experienced it will then shape the meaning, the learning, which it attributes to the experience.
Again, patterns of energy provide information. Information is an immediate consequence of nature’s organization processes and the engine that drives the evolving processes of awareness, intentionality, learning, and mentality (mentality as in problem solving and self-awareness). He states that it is inconceivable to him that nature’s processes might have failed to utilize information early on in the self-organization of the universe in order to evolve the process of knowing. Whatever form the most primitive processes of awareness and intention took, they were likely destined to become more complex through learning.
Meditation and Unusual Mental Abilities
Mitchell refers to two meditation methods. One involves focusing on between things, thoughts specifically, and holding the attention on nothing. With practice this can lead to the samadhi state. The other involves focusing continuously on one object without interruption. This causes the mind to discover detail it had not previously noticed. With practice, this method causes the sensation of merging with, a oneness with, the object – knowing.
Here he introduces unusual mental abilities. Like the savant that is capable of instantaneously solving complex arithmetic problems. When a question is posed, the answer pops to the surface of their awareness like a thought rather than a tedious mental calculation – often much faster than a computer. This seems to me much like entanglement – the answer transcending space-time, a collapse of the space-time wave function if you will (thus accessing the ZPF). The answer being simultaneous, one if you will, with the question asked. Much later in the book he refers to such anomalies present in some individuals with sensory impairment. They typically enhance the sensitivity of one sense to compensate for the loss of another; like the blind who can read with their hands (not using braille). He also includes those persons who can “see” sounds and “taste” visual images. Their brains are obviously organized differently than most and yet they function normally, and in some cases even better.
When I was very young I was able to immediately know, if not the exact, very close to the answer to a mathematical problem without calculating (albeit simple math problems for I was but 7 or 8 years old). Then I decided that if I did the calculations as we were taught to I would do even better. Instead, I lost that ability. Although, I still frequently have instant exact, or nearly exact, measuring capabilities. Of course, one can see this in my painting; a talent, or ability, I’ve always had and needed not to learn. For example:
“The Musical Path” oil on canvas 36″ X 48″ artist: Leslie Taylor
Mitchell notes in his book, studies in laboratories in the United States and the Soviet Union demonstrating that lower-level organisms, such as algae, also share nonlocal connection (the biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake addresses this in depth).
The author states he has witnessed experiments in which beans were grown in a controlled environment with the only variable being the kind and loving attention given by the experimenter. The effects clearly indicate that positive nonlocal intention promotes accelerated growth, and conversely, threatening thoughts hinder growth.
He goes on to discuss healing and the psychological attributes of health verses illness. States of happiness, joy, bliss and their unpleasant counterparts are “feeling” states that permeate the entire organism (and extend beyond). He adds that in traditional cultures of the world, folk medicine, nonlocal communication, universal interconnectedness, and mind-over-matter effects were the basis for cultural cosmologies and theories of existence. Today, however, the scientific work undertaken to understand these effects is ignored and disparaged by mainstream science.
Note: Nevertheless, I think we can deduce from just these brief examples and information provided here that how one subjectively, internally, thinks and feels about the subjective and objective world, either positively or negatively, impacts both and this is certainly important.
More on the Zero-Point Field
Back to the zero-point energy field which is the presumed energy field that is in continuous dynamic exchange with matter sustaining the existence of matter, or form, at the quantum level. In other words, it sustains both form and the information contained in and about any and all form. The field has no characteristics in and of itself. Nor does it have any spatial or temporal signposts – locality and nonlocality are meaningless here. Therefore it is everywhere and nowhere in particular providing the quantum potential for all physical structure and the basic potential for awareness and intention, existence, and knowing – simultaneously (again, space-time is meaningless here).
Mitchell alludes to what the mystic experiences as “chi” or “vital” energy. And, that it is understood as something that defies electromagnetic or quantum description – yet he doubts this. However, experiments with remote viewing and telepathy have been conducted in what is called Faraday cages thus preventing electromagnetic radiation from influencing results. And the results suggest that information exchanged telepathically and nonlocally is not a form of electromagnetic radiation.
Regardless, if you want to fully know about a particular form, or that which is formless even, (anything from a crystal, to a star, to God) quietly cohere, resonate with it – become one with it. Space-time is irrelevant here for the oneness is the hypothesized, ubiquitous, zero point field). This is love in its true, expansive, state of exchange. In that state you could experience telepathic exchange of information, or a oneness with it, or physically interact with it as in telekinesis or teleportation, a synchronistic event, or experience a miraculous healing.
Here’s an example of just such a state from the book “Beyond Physicalism:”
Poet and scholar Kathleen Raine (1975) was gazing at a hyacinth on her writing desk when the following occurred: “I found that I was no longer looking at it, but was it; a distinct, indescribable but in no way vague, still less emotional, shift of consciousness into the plant itself. Or rather, I and the plant were one and indistinguishable; as if the plant were part of my consciousness. I dared scarcely to breathe, held in a kind of fine attention in which I could sense the very flow of life in the plant’s cells. I was not perceiving the flower, but living it. I was aware of the life of the plant as a slow flow or circulation of a vital current of liquid light of the utmost purity.”
Mitchell brings up an important point stating that among nonscientists reading popular science accounts a point of confusion arises having to due to the fact that all scientific measurements must have a “dimension,” so to speak. Along with spatial dimensions as mathematical descriptions, other quantities such as time, electrical charge, quantum properties such as spin, etc., are also considered “dimensions.” Use of the words attributes or properties instead of dimensions for non-spatial quantities might eliminate some confusion.
The zero point field, or ZPF, doesn’t lie in another dimension, but underlies the quantum structure of the macroscale world. It is the field that all other fields arise from such as: the electromagnetic field, the gravitational field, the fields that describe forces between the elementary particles (the weak and strong force), and the Higgs Field which, presumably, gives some particles mass (as in electrons and quarks – the constituents of protons and neutrons). Again, the ZPF may be said to have no spatial dimensionality (thus no temporal dimensionality), or conversely it may be said to fill all space-time. Mitchell goes on to describe it as a cauldron of unmanifest energy.
Mitchell suggests that the ZPF is a reincarnation of the ether, in earlier times referred to as the aether, that was erroneously, or incorrectly, banished by the Michelson/Morely experiments in the late 19th century designed to measure the speed and direction of the “aether wind” by measuring the changes between the speed of light traveling in different directions in relation to the wind. They found there was no difference in their measurements, therefore no ether.
When I was studying cosmology, informally with a scientific group, this field (the ZPF) was referred to as a vacuum where “virtual particles” come into and go out of existence. Also during that time, in 2012, the Higgs boson (bosons are force-carrying particles) was declared to have been detected at the Lucerne Hadron Collider, or CERN, thus confirming the existence of the Higgs field (as in wave/particle duality – the wave being the Higgs field). A simple description of the Higgs field mechanism is a quantum field that permeates all space-time and, by way of the Higgs boson (the particle), it gives to some particles mass (as in electrons and quarks (the constituents of protons and neutrons)). Bosons in general are particles that carry any of the fundamental forces in nature (gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and strong force). Elementary particles, such as protons and neutrons interact with each other (holding together thus forming atomic nuclei) by the exchange of gauge bosons (gluons in the case of the strong force binding the nucleons, the protons and neutrons together). Bosons usually interact with nucleons (protons and neutrons within an atomic nucleus) as virtual, meaning very short lived, particles.
Holo is the Greek word for complete, or whole, and gram means graph.
Mitchell claims that the hologram is a usable analogy for the physical sensory perception system; how our brain/body constructs that which we perceive. Holograms produce three dimensional images. They are made with a laser beam (a beam of coherent, in-phase, light waves) split in two directions by a semi-silver coated mirror – half goes through and the other half reflects off the mirror. Next, the two beams are diffused, or spread out, by two lenses. Then the split beams are reflected off of mirrors, one in the direction of the object, the object beam, which reflects information about the object in the direction of the holographic film, or plate. The reference beam is reflected by the other mirror in the direction of the film (not reflecting off of the object) and the two beams combined produce a wave interference region. This produces a dark and light pattern recorded on the photographic film (the word photo as in photons). The thickness of the film, or plate, at micron levels, capturing the light waves contributes to the 3-D hologram effect. The image on the film bears no resemblance to the object recorded (whereas on a typical photographic film the image is perceptible) but contains all the information about the object in an optic code. Each and every part of the holographic record, the film or plate, receives whole information about the various parts of the illuminated object (not the unexposed portion of the object). Thus, should the film be broken up, all the parts of it contain the whole of the image of the recorded object – the smaller the piece the less detailed the image.
For transmission holograms (a type of hologram in which the reconstructed image is viewed through the hologram itself using the same laser beam that exposed it) the processed film, or plate, is repositioned at the same location and orientation that it was the case during exposure. The laser light then illuminates the processed film, the hologram. Looking from behind and through the hologram toward the location where the object was placed [see below right] the image should be exactly the same as the object. This is called the apparent, or virtual, image. It is on the 2-D holographic plate yet appears 3-D and at the same location where the object was when photographed.
Again, Mitchell states not only that the visual sensory system is analogous to a hologram but all our senses are as well. The brain is a quantum device (meaning it functions, electrochemically, at a subatomic level) and every quantum entity has both a local (particle) and nonlocal (wave) aspect. Quantum information through the exchange of its quantum energy (its waveform function; thus its wave interference pattern [see interference region in first diagram]) can record prodigious amounts of information in a hologram – a 3-D virtual “apparent” image including, theoretically, the entire space-time history of an organism. He states that this is a future technology that is quite feasible.
The Higher Self
Recent research also suggests that we (and every other physical object) have a resonant quantum holographic record associated with our physical existence. One can think of this as a halo, or “light body” made up of tiny quantum emissions from every molecule and cell in the body; a multimedia hologram resonant with our physical and subjective, inner, experiences and the zero-point field.
Another analogy he cites is when a violin string is plucked the same string on a nearby violin will resonate, or vibrate, with it. Yet, the aforementioned quantum mechanical-type resonance is an exchange of energy with the zero-point field such that the interference pattern carries complete information about the whole of the system. The author believes that this would explain a host of visions, apparitions, poltergeist activity, the in-depth life review that so many near death experiencers describe, etc.
If I may inquire here, what if the “light body” hologram, the full Self Hologram including all its learning experiences, through numerous incarnations even, and its eternal existence outside space-time (that which Mitchell posits is the zero-point field) is the real, the “actual” being? And, the physical space-time entity, or personality (you reading this, me writing it), is but a resonant part, of this Self Holygram (had to write that). In other words, the actual, the Higher Self projected the physical “apparent” self, into the space-time paradigm and not the other way around. Our physical state is temporal, exceedingly limited and vulnerable. The higher light-like Self would be eternal (dwelling in eternity) and, being light-like, it is invincible and forever extended; God-like; Son of God as described in “A Course In Miracles” (had to write that too). Which of the two would be the actual, the real Self?
The Spectrum of Consciousness
Mitchell claims that by internally shifting one’s point of view, one moves from the nonlocal God-viewpoint to the local human-viewpoint, yet need go nowhere. One’s experience depends entirely upon the point of view that awareness chooses to experience within the spectrum of consciousness.
He goes on to postulate that experiences such as out-of-body and near death experiences actually are but states of mind where one’s awareness is detached from the body thus providing the sensation of bilocation in an effort to deal with a fearful or painful ordeal. He claims that these experiences might be similar to lucid dreaming states. He even takes this further including accounts that suggest reincarnation – that they may be but experiences where historical information about another’s lifetime is accessed nonlocally.
I would again suggest that the physical state itself (along with space-time, a concomitant feature of the perceived physical/material state) is but a virtual, not an actual state. Regardless, Mitchell contends that while being surrounded and overwhelmed in this state, or paradigm, it certainly baffles any attempts to understand, let alone describe in words, those experiences where one’s consciousness transcends, experiences, other states such as the samadhi or enlightenment experience. They are all but states of consciousness, some narrow, limited, and rigid and others quite malleable and expansive.
And yet, like Mitchell suggests in more detail in his book, we really don’t go anywhere, not even while seemingly moving around and interacting within the space-time paradigm. It just seems that way regardless of how varied, or complex, or collectively agreed upon the operations and appearances this physical material state may seem.
Maybe he did not go to the moon in a space ship after all; he just went there in his mind.
Artificial Intelligence and the Rationalist’s View
Mitchell refers to the book, The Physics of Immortality, where cosmologist Frank Tipler speculates that the objective information about each human being reverberates throughout space-time. And, this information could be reassembled and programmed into a giant computer, thereby emulating each individual that ever lived. From within the machine the internal experiences of this virtual world would not be different from those of an actual human being; one could not, in principle, tell the difference between the original self and the subsequent emulation. Physical immortality would thereby be achieved; anyone who has ever lived would one day “live” again.
“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” Marshall McLuhan – philosopher
I wonder if Tipler considers an individual’s spiritual self, or Self, continuing beyond the physical state which, in my opinion, would be a far preferable and advanced state than any machine made world regardless of how sophisticated.
When studying cosmology with the scientific group I mentioned earlier in this text one of the participants was an elderly woman whom I had a long talk with during which she expressed her rationalist, mechanistic views of the universe. She did not believe in the survival of consciousness following physical death nor did she believe in the possibility of any creative, intelligent, let alone loving, non-physical being, and certainly far less so, a divine intelligence of any kind, alive and at work in the universe. There were several others who held similar views in the group.
I never expect people to think as I do, that would be an absurd expectation, yet for some reason I grew increasingly uncomfortable in her presence. When I returned home I pondered what it was about her that made me so uncomfortable. She was perfectly harmless; she was an old lady. I then realized that being with her was like being with a soulless individual, an android or automaton. At one point she referred to people as units. I thought perhaps she had so neglected, rejected the spiritual, the soul aspect of her being, let alone endeavoring to discover and to develop it further, that it probably had completely atrophied in her; as would be the case with anything that is neglected.
Compare her and Tipler’s views with that of the Tibetan Buddhists. Mitchell informs us that it is their belief that our lives should be largely devoted to assure that the wisdom of today is reincarnated and carried forward to the next generation of aware and thinking matter. The final act in the process of dying is devoted to selecting, by way of nonlocal resonance and lucid dreaming, the proper individual who is about to be born, their next incarnation. In this way the experienced wisdom of the prior life is made available, keeping the chain of evolving knowledge unbroken.
In Mitchell’s dyadic informational model a prediction is that the evolving, intelligent awareness that resides in the individual human being will continue to evolve toward the God state. And the responsibility for the success of human evolution rests in the conscious choices made by and for physical hands, as he puts it. On the other hand, mystics have always suggested that transcending “thought” is the key to higher states of consciousness.
Nonetheless, the individual who exhibits startling conscious control with mind-over-matter processes represents only the tip of an iceberg in human awareness and intentionality. The continuously recurring appearance of misunderstood events such as the poltergeist effect, apparitions, miraculous healings, stigmata, and the like, are all of the same nature and quite easily explained within a dyadic model (that includes choosing between opposite yet complimentary qualities, thus outcomes). He goes on to add that both deterministic (as in a purely mechanistic universe) and volition (as in the free will of consciousness) effects are at work throughout the evolving universe; creativity unleashed produces chaos and determinism provides stability. According to Mitchell’s dyadic model complimentary (life/death, good/evil, pleasure/pain, success/failure, beautiful/repulsive) potential outcomes are all parts of human intentionality at both the conscious and subconscious level that work with quantum processes in the zero-point field facilitating greater conscious control over these choices. (Again, let us recall that the book “A Course In Miracles” is clear in that all choices are but choosing love or fear in any and all situations). Mitchell adds that within our evolving human potential are the very attributes the ancients attributed to the gods.
Kundalini, Eidetic Imagery, Intuition, and the Hundredth Monkey Effect
Mitchell refers to the “rising of the Kundalini” where one feels a sense of nearly dying before bursting through to the explosive expanded awareness of the samadhi. This is truly the dark night of the soul followed by the dawn. In confronting death, all fear is released, and kinship with the All That Is is established. Mitchell finds it extraordinary that natural processes allow for this experience.
He then addresses lower states, as in the subconscious region, of intuitive connectedness as in studies that show that twins frequently behave and dress in concert, though they live miles apart and are not consciously coordinating their activities (a macro level form of entanglement). And again, the dyadic ZPF model applies here as well.
Next he addresses studies by two Japanese educators, Makoto Shichida and Shinichi Suzuki, researching advanced learning techniques in children, and as early as in the fetus. He adds that eidetic imagery skill (unusually clear and vivid mental recall, particularly of written material) contributes to children being capable of reading with nearly perfect retention and as quickly as they can turn the pages of a book. Shichida also found in his studies, based on work pioneered by Suzuki, that children quickly achieve almost perfect accuracy in guessing the identity of flashcards that lay face down. Their intuition, meaning their coherence between conscious, and subconscious functions, develops to the point that information from the subconscious, from the rational functions and from nonlocal sources all seem equally available. He adds that although by the time of puberty when the individual’s thinking patterns and basic belief system have been established, there is ample research to support that with proper training and practice, brain function undeveloped early in life (such as eidetic imagery) can be recovered.
Along slightly different lines I learned to play the piano in my forties and the flute in my fifties. I’m not a master in either case nor am I trying to be, but I can play relatively complex and very pretty songs. And I notice I do advance rather quickly when dedicated.
One source of intuitive information is stoking one’s brain with information, posing a question, then letting go of the issue. He mentions “sleeping on it.” I’ve noticed this function not infrequently. It helps to be internally quiet in the morning and let whatever thoughts naturally arise (including dream recall) come to the fore rather than immediately thinking about the concerns of the waking day ahead. Another source of intuitive information he suggests is nonlocal resonance with another person or object. A new insight that the perceiver believes to be totally original, may indeed be nonlocal resonance with the actual originator. It isn’t surprising that scientists, writers, and musicians sometimes accuse one another of stealing original works, he adds.
We resonate with themes and ideas when our subconscious is seeking the answer to a question we have posed. This also explains the hundredth monkey effect; a hypothetical phenomenon in which a new behavior or idea is claimed to have spread rapidly by unexplained means from one specie group to all related groups once a critical number of members of the first group exhibit the new behavior or acknowledge the new idea.
What Mitchell points out here is that there are many advanced cognitive faculties available to us that we could be developing and utilizing. Yet presently, and these are my words not Mitchell’s, they are being ignored in favor of but a few: as in rote memory, mathematical, reading and writing skills. Our species, all earthly life forms in fact, depend upon it – depend upon our evolution, developing our innate connectivity with the world around us instead of pursuing outrageously expensive college degrees in engineering, computer science, banking, law, etc., then finding a spouse and having babies in an already overpopulated (now doubling every twenty-five years) world filled with hungry and neglected children, and swaddling ourselves with mortgage payments and other onerous forms of indebtedness the result of gross over-consumerism that in turn demand that we overwork to pay our bills leaving us without the time or energy to evolve, to save ourselves, to say nothing of just being happy and at peace. We cannot look to political, military, corporate, and media industry leaders for salvation. It’s up to each one of us to do whatever we can, even dedicate but a couple of hours a week, twenty minutes a day, toward developing our innate, natural connectivity, to evolve, enabling us to think and act as one and this will save us all.
Following having written the above paragraph I found that Mitchell expressed in the final chapter and epilogue of his book similar concerns, only more eloquently. The other thing he addresses that I and so many others suspect is that a paradigm shift is in the works presently; that suddenly there is renewed interest in spiritual matters, family values, and scientific explanations for the mystical experience. I would add to his list psychic and paranormal phenomena which the scientific community has refused to acknowledge for two hundred years. He states that this shift is largely due to the want to avert what is perceived by many as the approach of a man-made apocalypse.
Dr. Edgar Mitchell foresees a future of space exploration where our progeny will be able to palpably experience the immensity, the beauty, the intricacy, and the intelligence of the cosmos just as he did. He goes on to suggest that our Gods have been too small – rather they fill the universe. And to the scientist he tells them, Gods do exist; they are eternal and connected; the aware Self experienced by all intelligent beings.
If I may, I shall conclude this book review with,
Edgar Mitchell, Son of God
You may want to purchase the book “The Way of the Explorer”: https://www.amazon.com/Way-Explorer-Astronauts-Material-Mystical/dp/1564149773
The Institute of Noetic Sciences – IONS (2 links):
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