IONS50 Series: From Paul Temple, Chairman of the Board

January 16, 2024
IONS Former Chairman Emeritus (1983-1999) and Cofounder Paul N. Temple, Foreword by IONS Board Chair and Interim CEO Claudia Welss

This month’s post in our IONS50 Blog Series is by Paul Nathaniel Temple Jr.  Cofounder of IONS in 1973, Paul was a close friend and visionary partner of IONS founder Edgar Mitchell.  In 1989, he and wife Diane Temple, who served IONS alongside Paul, established the Temple Awards for Creative Altruism at IONS, given to uncelebrated champions of humanity who exemplified unselfish service motivated by love.   

Paul met Edgar during an interfaith conference in Chicago. He was inspired by Ed’s speech as a just-home-from-the-moon NASA astronaut who performed experiments in telepathic transmissions while in space.  Their relationship was crucial to the successful establishment and enduring potential of IONS, evident now, 50 years later.  Paul’s strong belief in people’s ability to achieve a personal realization of nondual consciousness fueled his commitment to exploring the science behind such experience.

Esteemed by many, Paul was described by then U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell — convenor of the 1987 IONS conference in Washington DC, “Greater Self: New Frontiers in Exceptional Abilities Research” — as “the most truly good man I know.” His support of IONS and various international peace and planetary restoration initiatives demonstrated his tendency toward action and yearning for novel, practical ways to create a better world.

Reading Paul’s contribution, reprinted from the 1991 IONS Annual Report, I believe he would be proud of IONS today, and how we remain “flexible to the process and steadfast to the mission” as we navigate toward having maximum impact.  I also believe Paul would be struck by how, despite our progress, the worst of human history continues to repeat itself  — instead of experiencing “a global society based on mutual understanding and respect,” the world still reflects the reductionist paradigm that continues to dominate, even as the evidence for a new science based on our fundamental oneness reaches critical mass. Our 50th anniversary online conference, BEYOND: Global Mind Change in Action (spring, 2024), recalls our very first international conference, referenced in the article, and furthers our mandate of moving vision into action for global transformation through noetics.  

The Temples have made a singular contribution to the creation, endurance and growth of IONS over the decades, and we’re truly blessed to have Diane and Paulina Yampolsky, their daughter, serve on our Board of Directors today — Paulina as board member, and Diane as active Life Director.  They are two of the most transcendentally inspired women we know.  Our abiding gratitude goes to the Temple family for their vision, their compassion and their action, then as now. — Claudia Welss

From the Chairman of the Board

Remarkable events ushered in this last decade of the second millennium. They have introduced an era in which “global mind change” is an everyday experience. Like it or not, we have all become global citizens, or “earthlings”, to a greater degree than ever before. What does it mean to be a global citizen? Our answers to that question will profoundly impact the economic, political and social structures of humanity throughout the world.

For nearly twenty years the Institute of Noetic Sciences has explored fundamental questions of human consciousness and human potential on the frontiers of science, philosophy and psychology. We have held a grand vision of human potential. We have had faith that the many fragmented belief systems that have dominated human thought would be replaced by new concepts more fully attuned to our God-given capacities to heal, to create, and to serve. Our president, Willis Harman, has for several decades written and spoken unstintingly about these changes.

Yes, many old structures are in decline, something new and more promising is aborning. The Institute is trying to serve society by encouraging and articulating these emerging worldviews. Because genuine solutions to current global dilemmas require each of us to examine our fundamental assumption and beliefs, changes are also taking place at the individual level. We are helping to legitimate nothing less than the foundation for a new global society based on mutual understanding and respect.

Vaclav Havel has said, “We must see the pluralism of the world, and not bind it by seeking common denominators of reducing everything to a single common equation. We must try harder to understand than to explain.”

And so we must. Our three-point strategy of research, education and member participation is a dynamic and creative matrix. The interdisciplinary nature of our work means that we organize our resources around key issues rather than traditional disciplines. We value interconnectedness. It is therefore appropriate for us to pursue at the same time projects on health and healing, new business paradigms, creative altruism, and exceptional human abilities. Being mindful of why we are here and what we are doing, we shall remain flexible to the process and steadfast to the mission. Our collaborations with other organizations, our international network of researchers and scholars, and our expanding membership suggest we are performing an important role.

As I write this letter, over one thousand members, colleagues and friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences are preparing to meet for four days in Santa Clara, California, for our first international conference. “Global Mind Change: From Vision to Reality” is the theme. Dozens of scientists, scholars and social innovators will share their perspectives on sustainable personal and global development. Through the keynote addresses, roundtable discussions and members’ working groups, a primary goal of this event is to identify strategies and tools that support the concept of sustainability. Practicality and relevance are also high priorities. The current global landscape, with its political, economic, social and environmental paradigms in mid-shift, evokes in us a deeper call for service.

Specifically, our international network of researchers and scholars continues to grow, as do relationships with organizations whose values and work are compatible with ours. These include The Fetzer Institute, the Center for Frontier Sciences, The Scientific and Medical Network, Esalen Institute, the Hartley Film Foundation, the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, the World Business Academy, and Commonweal.

Our Causality Project has met on numerous occasions and thus far has generated three reports. Our role as a “safe house” for creative, sometimes daring conversation promises to generate meaningful progress toward the goal of helping to define a new science.

Momentum and relevance are also reflected in the happy news that our six-hour television series, “The Healing Mind,” is officially in production, and will appear on the Turner Broadcasting System in the autumn of 1993. This series is based on the lnstitute’s decade of research on mind-body issues and healing.

Our new relationship with New Dimensions Radio supports the satellite distribution of this wonderful radio program to more than 300 public radio stations. Through it millions of listeners are exposed to the Institute of Noetic Sciences every week.

In a year of tremendous economic challenge, the lnstitute’s balance sheet for 1991 reflects healthy renewal rates and ready growth. (Total members reached 25,000 in 1991, with a renewal rate of 65%.) Members are participating more actively. Local study group activity increases each month. It is more than double that of the previous year. Member-to-member networking was facilitated by our first voluntary Membership Directory, with nearly 3,500 members participating.

Our publishing efforts also continue to be fruitful. The Feminine Face of God, by Patricia Hopkins and Sherry Anderson, was written with the help of a Noetic Sciences grant. It is already in its fourth printing by a major publisher, and by the Quality Paperback Book Club. Our own publications, the Noetic Sciences Review and the Noetic Sciences Bulletin, continue to grow and evolve as feedback and mindfulness to our vision lead us to stretch, make changes, and take risks. Our newly established research report series has published three reports: Meditation Research, Creative Altruism, and, Causality Issues in Science. The Noetic Sciences Collection: Ten Years of Consciousness Research, 1980-1990 was published by the Institute. Edited by Barbara McNeill and Carol Guion, it has become a popular book among our members, and is now in its second printing.

We are deeply gratified by the dedication of so many committed individuals who continue to make our accomplishments possible. We invite all of you who are in sympathy with our mission to join us in this stimulating and rewarding work.

Paul N. Temple

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