Happy Birthday Edgar Mitchell

September 17, 2019
Cassandra Vieten, IONS Senior Fellow

“All matter in our universe is created in star systems and so the matter in my body, the matter in the spacecraft, the matter in my partners’ bodies was the product of stars. We are stardust. And we are all one, in that sense.”
~ Captain Edgar Mitchell, ScD, PhD, NASA Apollo 14 Astronaut

It’s hard to believe that three years have already gone by since the passing of our founder, Dr. Edgar Mitchell. On this anniversary of Ed’s birthday, when he would have been 89 years old, I so clearly recall Ed’s vibrant presence, his passion for bringing together hard science and deep spirit, and his lifelong dedication to correcting outmoded worldviews – all in an effort to create a more peaceful and thriving planet.

Edgar firmly believed that human potential goes far beyond what we have imagined so far. He once said that we are like twelve cylinder engines operating on only one cylinder, and envisioned that once we were able to unlock the mystery of how the mind is nonlocal – how it can transcend both space and time, and influence the material world – we’d reach an entirely new level of extraordinary human capacity.

He also thought that personal recognition combined with scientific validation of the ways we are interconnected with one another and all life on the planet would very naturally turn the tide from war, competition for resources, and degradation of the environment to collectively innovating for peace and sustainability – much in the same way that Ed’s parents saw the Wright Brothers first flight, and he landed on the moon.

If you knew Ed, this was his destiny – he knew from a very young age that he was meant to explore the stars. But his lifelong dedication to exploring the inner world came in no small part from the experience he had on his way back from the moon. He describes it beautifully here.

Now, we at IONS are working to bring a version of that experience to anyone with an internet connection. The Edgar Mitchell Virtual Reality Overview Effect experience is currently in production. We are proud to be working with Emmy-award winning and Oscar- nominated producer and director Bristol Baughan, two-time Academy Award winner and IONS Scientist Loren Carpenter, and composer and former NASA Fellow Robert Alexander and the amazing VR/AR team at ImmersiveVREducation (who created the award-winning virtual reality experiences of Apollo 11 and Titanic).

Executive produced by Cassandra Vieten, Claudia Welss, Marilyn Clements, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences, this 5-7 minute experience puts you in Edgar’s seat, viewing a 360-degree panorama of the stars, the sun, the moon, and the Earth. With Ed’s narration, gathered from archival footage, you’ll journey in orbit and have the opportunity to reflect from that vantage point upon the foundational questions – Who are we? How are we connected? The goal is to induce awe, wonder, a sense of interconnection, and the Overview Effect that so many astronauts report has inspired them to live a life of service to others and our world.

Our goal is that every school child, elders otherwise home bound, and anyone who learns about the moon landing actually gets to experience an echo of what it must be like to see our world from space. Accompanied by curricula, resources for further exploration, and questions for reflection and discussion, we think this project has the potential for enormous impact.

Help us celebrate Edgar’s birthday by contributing to the work of the Institute of Noetic Sciences – shifting worldviews at the intersection of science and spirituality for over 47 years.

About the Author

Cassandra VietenCassandra Vieten is Executive Director of the John W. Brick Foundation, Scholar-in-Residence at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego, and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where she worked for 18 years in successive roles as Scientist, Director of Research, CEO, and President from 2013-2019. She is a psychologist, mind-body medicine researcher, author of numerous articles in scientific journals, and an internationally recognized keynote speaker.

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