The Interconnected Nature of Reality

Noetic sciences reveal a deeper understanding of our inner worlds, our shared reality, and the interconnection between all things.

Defining Noetic Sciences

no•et•ic: From the Greek noēsis/ noētikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, intuition, or implicit understanding.

The way we understand ourselves and our world is always evolving. From instinct to intuition to intellect, part of being human is using multiple ways to gather and utilize information. Noetic sciences are one of many frameworks we can use to engage with our daily reality.

On his way back to Earth after his pioneering moonwalk, Apollo 14 astronaut and IONS founder Dr. Edgar Mitchell had the profound experience of feeling interconnected to everything he was observing from the window of his space capsule: the stars, the moon, our blue planet, and the vastness of the cosmos. He realized quickly that in order to explain such an extraordinary experience (and others like it), there would need to be a rapprochement between the scientific and spiritual interpretations of reality.

As a scientist and visionary, Dr. Mitchell saw a need to reconcile his training as an engineer and astrophysicist with the wisdom of the ages to transcend the limitations of what he saw as an outdated materialist worldview. A new framework would be needed: one that could help explain the unexplainable—and spark transformation.

He called this framework noetic sciences.

[Noetic refers to] states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority…William James, philosopher

Bridging Science and Spirituality

For millennia, science has governed the exploration and discovery of our inner, personal worlds as well as the world outside of ourselves. In the past one hundred years alone, the powerful tools of science have driven tremendous advances including doubling our lifespan, dramatically improving our quality of life, and birthing a technological age beyond our wildest dreams, taking humans to the moon and soon, beyond.

sci•ence: Systems of acquiring knowledge that use observation, experimentation, and replication to describe and explain natural phenomena.

Even with these advances, science has not yet revealed everything about how reality works, and humanity’s promise – to ourselves, to each, and to the planet – has not been fully realized.

While science observes and experiments in our largely physical world, spiritual wisdom practices on the other hand allow us to explore, describe, and express some of the deepest mysteries of being human. How we can overcome our baser instincts. Practices for making love and compassion central orienting principles in our lives.

These two ways — of gaining knowledge through scientific exploration and of gaining deep knowing through direct experience — have generally remained separate.  Some people value science. Others value spirituality and direct experience. IONS values both. It is time to bring them back together — allowing each to inform one another, weakening neither, but rather strengthening our overall understanding of reality.

Our premise: at the nexus of inner knowing (noetics) and outer investigation (science), we will discover entirely new ways of being and of doing that uplift humanity and advance thriving for all.

no•et•ic sci•ences: A multidisciplinary field of study that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the nature of reality.

The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.Nikola Tesla, Inventor and Futurist

Now more than ever, humanity is facing vitally important questions that will directly affect our individual and collective realities. Our future demands that we explore our inner space with the same rigor and ingenuity as we explore our outer world. Our technology must increasingly be infused with the wisdom that comes from personal inquiry, and the lens of science must be applied to the further reaches of human potential. This, for the survival and thriving of humanity and our planet, is one of the most important endeavors of our time.

Noetic Experiences: The Leading Edge of Human Possibility

Despite humanity’s ever-expanding knowledge about our physical world, there remains a gap in our understanding when it comes to consciousness. How does it arise from a physical system? Is it limited to our brain? How do I explain my experiences, from aha! to awe, that I know to be true, yet don’t fit any current scientific explanation?

Have you ever had a hunch, intuition, or gut feeling that seemed to come out of nowhere? How about an insight on a project you’ve been hard at work on that suddenly comes to you in a dream? Or you’ve thought of a dear friend or loved one, and they instantly called or texted?

While it may be easy to chalk up these occurrences to mere coincidence, the greatest thinkers, scientists, philosophers, and artists report that such noetic experiences have been central to their process as well as their great works of art and scientific and cultural breakthroughs.

People say I have created things. I have never created anything. I get impressions from the Universe at large and work them out, but I am only a plate on a record or a receiving apparatus — what you will. Thoughts are really impressions that we get from outside.Thomas Edison, Inventor

Today, The Institute of Noetic Sciences trains the lens of science onto noetic phenomena such as these to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of reality. How can we better access this place of inner knowing? What are the practices that enhance our experiences of transformation, innovation, and well-being? What can science reveal to enhance those practices? How does this positively transform our lives and create a better world for all?

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