Noetic What ?

Founded by the 6th man to walk on the moon, the term “noetic science” has been floating around in space since 1973, yet primarily only outside of the mainstream.  Throw the term out at the next cocktail or dinner party you’re invited to and unless you’re socializing with some seriously enlightened brainiacs, or the likes of Edgar Mitchell (the aforementioned moonwalker), Tom Shadyac, Oprah, or Deepak Chopra, you’re going to get some disconcerted stares.  Yet if you’ve ever said “my heart tells me this” or “my gut feeling is that” you’ve used your internal and subjective knowledge, what Mitchell coined as  a “noetic” way of knowing.

 The Institute of Noetic Sciences that former astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded defines noetic sciences as, ” A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences.”  Mitchell’s trip back from the moon led him to feel that  there was more to reality and consciousness than he had been taught and thought he understood.  His internal experience, by way of his external experience on a rocket to the moon, prompted him to devote his energy to questioning the relationship between the two and sharing that work with others. Talk about fascinating stuff!

Most of us think of consciousness as simply being awake and aware.  Upon deeper investigation we discover the existence of terms like collective consciousness, moral consciousness, and class consciousness, to name just a few, all of which lead us to posit more questions about the complex nature of consciousness and how consciousness relates to and affects our emotional, spiritual, and yes, physical worlds. 

While teaching  the components of the scientific method and the elements of a science fair project to students in elementary school, I found they were always surprised when told that it’s OK if their hypothesis turned out to be wrong.  How can that be good science they wondered.  I’d argue that the essence of a “good” science experiment is that it leads to more discoveries, and also more questions.  So it is with noetic sciences. 

I’ve always believed that part of what constitutes a great teacher is that they teach you to question while simultaneously  teaching you how to search for the answers.  Thank you Oprah and Tom Shadyac for asking the big questions and urging us all to wake up and be part of the answers. 

Peace and Love

PS   If you’re interested in reading more about Noetic Sciences check out

You can watch the trailer for The  Tom Shadyac movie “I Am” at

Other projects that Tom is involved in include the movie “Happy” which you can check out at and “Finding Kind” a film and project about girls and bullying at

Check them out!  I think you’ll find them worth your time.

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2 Responses to Noetic What ?

  1. How can we know if we do not seek? How can we seek if we merely look at the facade of face value?

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