Noetic Science – Bridging Science and Magic!!
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic“, once said Arthur C. Clarke, the noted science fiction writer. But then, why not? Today we know the science of generating electricity. But this same science would have been considered magic or something divine millennia ago. Another interesting thing is that the reverse too is possible.
Skeptics and nihilists like to argue that our forefathers, especially in ancient history, were dumb and there were no notable scientific inventions till the renaissance in Europe. Very few people can come to terms with the marvels created by our forefathers far back in history. You may be even surprised to know that what modern science discards as mythologies and “hocus pocus” of the ancients can quite possibly be a powerful science which is far beyond the understanding of modern science. Monuments such as the pyramids at Giza are still a silent example of these marvels.
As one great scientist said, science cannot go any further with inventions. All science is doing today is discovering and rediscovering what already exists. One such branch of science which is dealing with discovering and connecting modern science with ancient science is “Noetic Science”.
What is Noetic Science??
It would be nothing less than a surprise if many people knew this branch of science. And that is the whole point of writing this article – to make more people aware of the existence of this branch of science. If you are a person who has already come across this branch of science, congratulations!! The first time you may have probably come across this term would be from one of the best-selling books from author Dan Brown – “The Lost Symbol”.
So what is this new branch of science? Let us see more about what it is all about.
Noetic science has its origins from the Greek word noēsis / noētikos – inner wisdom, subjective understanding or direct knowing. Naturally, noetic science is a field of science that brings together objective scientific techniques and tools, and subjective inner knowledge, in order to study the entire range of human experiences.
What does noetic science really involve?
So, what does noetic science really deal with? Let us put it this way. For centuries, many philosophers like Plato have used the term noetic to refer to experiences such as illuminations and revelations of human mind which are regarded immeasurable for a long time. Noetic science tries to bring in scientific tools and techniques to measure these “immeasurable” experiences. These things cover a wide range of human experiences such as intuitions, collective consciousness, parapsychology, spirituality, prayers, and even life after death, which are beyond normal human intelligence and perception. You can pretty much call noetic science as that branch of science which tries to act as a bridge between modern science and what ancients used to call “esoteric knowledge”.
Science or fiction!!
Now, I see what your obvious reaction may be. You may be thinking, “This is another fictitious branch of science from a science fiction novel which has no base in reality” or “another piece of useless occult and secret society garbage”. Wait!! Don’t be so hasty in arriving to a conclusion. If an organization such as Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) can exist for discovering the existence of alien intelligence outside earth and in outer space, then why not an organization for measuring esoteric knowledge or extra sensory experiences?
The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) was established for the same reason of bridging modern science and esoteric science. INOS was founded 1973 by none other than Edgar Mitchell, the famous astronaut who participated in the Apollo 14 space mission. The mission statement of INOS stands as, “Broadening our knowledge of the nature and potentials of mind and consciousness and applying that knowledge to enhancing human well-being and the quality of life on the planet.”
Over three decades, INOS has conducted various projects and research involving mind-body interactions and healing, bioenergetics, extended human capacities such as precognition, ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) and gut feelings, and claims of reincarnation. These projects have been carried out in association with various bodies such as The University of California, Stanford University, The United Nations, California Pacific Medical Center and many more.
So, what are the implications of noetic science and its studies? “Consciousness matters” is the underlying hypothesis for noetic science. Knowledge (and of course science) is incomplete without completely understanding the world around us. There are two ways of understanding this world:
Firstly, the way of science using objective experimentation, measurement, evaluation and
Secondly, the subjective way, for example, the way you know you love your children or an experience which cannot be explained “rationally”. Both are incomplete in their own way.
A pure materialist may look everything as a product of physical matter, and a combination of brain and body processes. But there is a far more complex relationship between something physical and non-physical. Noetic science deals with this complex relationship using scientific lenses in order to look at how subjective experiences can affect the physical world in reality.
Human consciousness is like a Pandora’s Box, full of secrets. Every new discovery leads to new provocative and explosive questions. And as new discoveries are made in the area of human consciousness, new breakthroughs and solutions to old unresolved questions and problems may arise.
Ultimately, whatever criticisms this field of science goes through, noetic science is one branch of science which promises to unravel the mysteries of human consciousness, the scientific way.