the moon and the Blue Planet (Earth)
Image by Arek Socha

For years I made my living on the lecture circuit and as a consultant. All the while I assimilated the results of ongoing research in consciousness studies into my work whenever appropriate, generally to assist individuals in finding a broader viewpoint for themselves. As a result I was regularly asked about my views on subjects as diverse and far out as whether we were followed by UFOs on the lunar voyage, to the nature of guardian angels.

Because I try to take the attitude that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers, I attempt to address each question seriously. By demonstrating the courage to ask unconventional questions, people indicate an authentic desire to find answers, albeit sometimes in strange places.

Paradigm Shift

In the late 1980s I observed a marked change in the general attitudes of people and the questions they asked. Consciousness was becoming a topic of serious concern to scientists. Professional businesspeople who had shown little interest in such arcane subjects were suddenly asking questions too.

It seemed as though, worldwide, there had been arising a deep sense of malaise, as people began expressing their concerns, often­times simple intuitive ones about the future course of civilization. They were puzzled and felt that traditional answers were no longer adequate. Judging from my personal observations, this was, and still is, a global phenomenon.

A few of us have been talking about paradigm shifts for more than 30 years, and it seems we now have one emerging. Suddenly there is renewed interest in spiritual matters, family values, and scientific explanations for the mystical experience. We want to know how to improve this world we were born into; we want to know how to avert what is perceived by many as the approach of man-made apocalypse. We also want more order in our lives.

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The primitive fight-or-flight response to threat and conflict has only been modified in small mea­sure through the millennia to provide reasoned, negotiated outcomes for human society. Today’s cultural cosmologies and value systems that are incompatible with an evolving universe have to yield as sci­ence finds ever-new confirmations of that theory. But the religions from which our personal values are traditionally derived have sought to remain changeless.

With populations doubling in each quarter-century, and the subse­quent strain on planetary resources for an acceptable level of comfort for this exploding population, we find ourselves in trouble. And with most of the world seeking the lifestyles and affluence of the industrial­ized countries, global civilization itself is in a dilemma. It is, I believe, the monumental size of this problem that is resonating as concern at the intuitive level.

Problems of Our Own Making

Many predicted that the end of the millennium would bring about an apocalypse in the vein of the Second Coming. Others believed that it would initiate intervention by alien intelligence, and still others antic­ipated sage solutions by guardian angels and channeled entities. Some believe our dilemmas are merely political. By whatever process individu­als have arrived at their conclusions, there is general consensus that the problems are real. Through the years I’ve come to the realization that the problems of postindustrial civilization are not only real, but that they are also severe, and deepening.

However, such problems are of our own making and can only be solved by human beings using their individual and collective creative resources in more constructive ways. We possess ample resources for the task. But first a readjustment in our thinking is in order; a worldwide change in the interests of creating a sustainable civilization, not just for ourselves as individuals, but in the larger sense.

Guardian angels, channeled wisdom, and divine revelation are tra­ditional explanations for the perception of the deep cultural resonances and collective consciousness available nonlocally to any individual at any time. Of course, such information will be interpreted and assigned meaning according to the beliefs and biases of the percipients. The more rich and more varied the information base, and the more closely that belief is aligned with natural process, the wiser and more meaningful the interpretation can be. I am both delighted and amused that channeled wisdom seems to have become more earthy and practical during the 40 years I’ve observed such phenomena. Ageless wisdom based upon integ­rity, tolerance, and goodness is still pertinent to the modern experience.

Avoiding Responsibility

I was often asked my opinion as to whether or not the end of the millen­nium would bring about any extraordinary event, or whether it innately carried any special meaning. There seems to be suspicion or hope that some sort of extraordinary intervention will magically relieve us of our problems here on Earth. Many assumed that some deep significance lay in the date itself. When asked whether I believed it did or not, I generally answered the question rather curtly: only if you lend it meaning. Two thousand years is just an arbitrary number on a man-made calendar. Again, nature knows nothing of time, only process. That date has now passed, and the same problems still need to be solved.

The transition from traditional reliance on external authority to save the day, be it God or government, is a difficult one. The ego-self is a mas­ter at avoiding responsibility and looking to others for satisfaction, often evoking the basic fight-or-flight impulse. Similarly, the ego is skillful in avoiding recognition of our interconnectedness, preferring to be con­cerned only with satisfaction of Self. But such impulses are inappropriate in today’s crowded world. Guardian angels, channeled information, alien visitation, or mere prolonged government subsidy are all forms of post­poning the inevitable day when we must own up to our responsibilities for Self and the full use of our inner resources for the larger good.

The Antidote: Purpose Beyond Self 

Traditionally we’ve been taught to respect authority. Yet “author­ity” itself is in a dilemma, for traditional institutions are not structured to handle these modern issues. So it’s not surprising that today we see respect, not only for authority, but also for civilized behavior itself breaking down. Conditions are accurately interpreted as heralding a paradigm shift, but it also has the characteristics of a bifurcation point that is unpredictable as to outcome. The crisis is of both existence and knowing—too much existence and not enough knowing.

The antidote lies in knowledge, awareness, finding meaning and purpose for one’s existence that is beyond Self, and then exercising the personal responsibility to carry out that purpose. It seems clear that continuing to seek only material ends, to glorify unlimited economic growth in the face of the hazards that such a worldview entails, is foolhardy. I have full con­fidence that as a species we can transcend those limitations and create a sustainable society, though the challenge isn’t an easy one. 

Evolutionary Leap 

Our species seems capable of evolving the attributes the ancients ascribed to deities. God sleeps in the minerals . . . and thinks in Man. But is humankind actually ready to accept the responsibility for this evo­lutionary leap?

Are we ready to assume godlike status? It surely lies in the offing, provided we create a nurturing environment wherein we can understand and live harmoniously with natural processes, and develop all the capabilities already resident within us. But we have yet to grow into the brain nature provided.

Because we truly do have volition, we can also, through foolishness or ignorance of natural processes, terminate our existence. Within my lifetime this has become not only possible, but more than minutely prob­able.

We live in a trial-and-error learning universe; to intelligent beings, what does not work is as valuable a lesson as what does. Likewise, the growth and evolution of the universe toward wise, self-reflective aware­ness won’t end, should Homo sapiens decide to behave like lemmings.

Copyright ©2023. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission.

Article Source: From Outer Space to Inner Space

BOOK: From Outer Space to Inner Space: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds
by Edgar Mitchell.

book cover of From Outer Space to Inner Space by Edgar Mitchell.The sixth man who walked on the moon shares his journey to the stars, into the mind, and beyond.

In February 1971, as Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell hurtled Earthward through space, he was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. He intuitively sensed that his presence 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.

From Outer Space to Inner Space traces two remarkable journeys―one through space and one through the mind. Together they fundamentally alter the way we understand the miracle and mystery of being, and ultimately reveal humankind’s role in its own destiny.

Previously published as The Way of the Explorer, this edition includes a new foreword by Avi Loeb, an afterword by Dean Radin, and a postscript chapter by the author.

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available as a Kindle edition and as an Audiobook.

About the Author

photo of Dr. Edgar MitchellDr. Edgar Mitchell (1930 – 2016), a graduate of MIT with a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics and captain in the Navy, founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences. As an astronaut, he flew as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14, where he landed on the moon and became the sixth person to walk on its surface.

He spent thirty-five years studying human consciousness and psychic phenomena in the search for common ground between science and spirit.