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on 5 March 1999
Dr. Mitchell's spiritual/scientific quest is utterly fascinating. He does an excellent job of uniting the two realms in a way that avoids the narrow scope of rationalism while eschewing the subjective excesses of much New Age thinking. What he gives the reader is nothing less than a paradigm that might help explain how life, mind, and spirit are cosmic phenomena with far more potential than we realize. Just plain excellent!
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on 5 October 1998
Dr. Mitchell, astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, discusses his mystical experience in space and tells about the ESP experiments that he performed while in transit to the moon as well as his theories about the nature of human consciousness. He tells of how he became convinced of the realities of paranormal events and tries to explain these events by rejecting the sacred cow of epiphenomenalism by intuiting that human consciousness is an integral part of the structure of the universe. Not always completley convincing, but always intensely interesting. This is an example of a man who refuses to be hemmed in by traditional ideas of what science should be.
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Apollo 14 astronaut and moon-walker Edgar Mitchell has written a uniquely challenging book in which he explores the nature of reality, the universe and human consciousness and lays out a new paradigm of understanding from his life experience combined with years of research as founder and head of The Institute of Noetic Sciences.

"The Way of the Explorer" is not all easy reading, particularly for someone not schooled in the complexities of particle physics, quantum theory and informed discussion about the zero-point field. If you have read "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot, then you'll be in roughly the same territory here but whereas Talbot's book is racy and populist, Dr. Mitchell's is a deeper and more demanding read, more radical and original.

This review is of the third, updated edition published in 2006 which includes a number of minor revisions and is slightly extended from the earlier editions. The book is co-authored by Dwight Williams but it is not clear what parts he wrote or co-wrote.

The first part is a brief autobiography of Dr. Mitchell's life story up to and including involvement in the Apollo missions, and a fascinating and detailed description of his trip to The Moon in Apollo 14. It's generally known that experiments in ESP and telepathy were carried out by NASA on this particular Moon mission, and Dr. Mitchell relates the details of how this was done. On the return trip to Earth from the Moon, Mitchell experienced a kind of epiphany, a spiritual awakening reported by many of the Apollo astronauts on seeing the Earth as a small but vulnerable jewel in space from great distance: "Certain truths seemed brilliantly clear, truths that became suddenly obscured within the atmosphere of the Earth. In space it seemed so obvious that the processes of the universe are innately and harmoniously connected."

In common with most of the astronauts, Edgar Mitchell is a smart guy. He has degrees in astrophysics and aeronautics. On leaving NASA he began researching into "two critical flaws in traditional thought structures - evolution and intentionality, which tended to distort the western view of reality...(I wanted) to discover if determinism and epiphenomenalism were clearly outdated ideas." Well, now the reader knows what's ahead: not feather-light reading.

Dr. Mitchell's contribution to the fundamental discourse is his "dyadic theory" of reality: that the universe incorporates intention, and continuously evolves from conscious interactions. The idea bridges science and religion and explains why, to the mystic, everything in creation seems alive and connected. This goes against classical creationism, determinism or the soulless intellectualism of "natural selection" and presents far more interesting and deeper possibilities than the simplistic narratives offered by either conventional religions or prevailing materialist scientific models.

In exploring the idea of the brain as a "quantum hologram" with both particle (physical, local) and wave (spiritual, universal, non-local) aspects Dr. Mitchell extends the holographic universe theory to offer an explanation for spiritual and paranormal experiences and for example the accurate perception of places and objects at distance through frequency resonance as in remote viewing. Under Dr. Mitchell's direction, the Institute of Noetic Sciences did experimental work with OBEs, lucid dreams, telepathy and telekinesis in laboratory-controlled conditions. One of their long-term experimental subjects was Uri Geller.

"The Way of the Explorer" is good, challenging stuff but I emphasise that parts of it do not make easy reading. Intelligence and persistence are needed by the reader to follow the narrative and distil the meaning. Is the book worth the effort? Yes, definitely. It offers an expanded understanding of consciousness and reality, and is unusually (for this field) scientifically grounded. From me, four stars rather than five simply because parts of the book are difficult to digest, but my struggle with these passages may be due to lack of brain-power: having met Dr. Mitchell several times face-to-face I freely admit to being not intellectually in his league.
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on 24 September 2013
The first third of the book is pretty straightforward: the story of Mitchell's life and his journey to the moon. A very interesting record of the trip to anybody who loves these things. During the return trip to earth the author experiences a feeling of connectedness to the universe that will change his life. Trying to explain this vision of connectedness becomes his obsession to the point of esablishing the Institute of Noetic Sciences, it's purpose being the study of human consciousness and its place in the universe. The rest of the book is the result of his studies. I do not recommend it to the casual reader for the simple reason that it requires a thick philosophical background to make anything out of it. Some simple introduction to ideas he makes reference to would have been much appreciated. I also have the feeling that Mitchell enjoys using complex language just for the sake of it.
One example of his overly complex style: "Concepts of the Perennial Wisdom emerge, though somewhat differently, when the Great Chain of Being is thought of as information perceived with awareness and given meaning within consciousness by its relationship to other information."
I am also deeply skeptical of his relationship with Uri Geller. Everything that Uri did or said was totally believed in by Mitchell, and this was one of the experimental basis on which he builds his philosophy and theories. Well, just google "Feynman" and "Geller" to see how Feynman debunks the psychic. While I do leave the door open to such phenomena I do not believe this was the case with Uri. Edgar Mitchell makes some bold statements in his book but he is not always convincing.
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on 11 June 2015
Great. Had been looking for a book by Edgar Mitchell for ages and he also tells you about his Noetic business journey. Nearly finished now, and looking for a companion touring volume. Great read, and informative 1Spudder RDR
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on 25 February 1999
Did man really go to the moon? In view of so very many unanswered questions concerning our moon trips, I feel compelled to ask that question. I wonder, did "we" really go?
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