The Institute of Noetic Sciences
For centuries, the power of science has propelled us forward. It has unlocked the mysteries of the natural world and driven human innovation. Robust scientific inquiry serves as the basis for progress by providing a sturdy, objective foundation on which to build.
At the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), we are inspired by the power of science to explain phenomena not previously understood, harnessing the best of the rational mind to make advances that further our knowledge and enhance our human experience.
The mission of the Institute of Noetic Sciences is to reveal the interconnected nature of reality through scientific exploration and personal discovery.
As scientists focused on what are common but not often understood phenomena, we are also aware of the vast historical records of wisdom practices that also speak to the mysteries and possibilities which allow us to access more of our human capacities. At IONS, our scientists apply the rigors of their respective disciplines to explore such phenomena, with a focus on understanding humanity’s inherent interconnectedness and the inner wisdom common to us all. When we collectively embody our true interconnection and embrace our inner wisdom we envision the creation of a more compassionate and thriving world.
"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence"
For most of us, this shared wisdom shows up in many forms—inspiration that leads us, intuition that protects us, awe that compels us, and awakening that transforms us. Whether it comes in a flash, a flicker, or a steady flow, this innate guidance system has allowed us to uncover deep insights about ourselves for generations.
This inner wisdom is inherent to our humanness and has been accessed for millennia through meditation, prayer, yogic practices, and other ancient methods. At IONS, we draw on the evidence of these age-old traditions to construct carefully-formulated hypotheses about the power of interconnection and its potential to help us thrive, both individually and as a collective. Through direct-experience research, we apply the lens of modern science to topics often perceived as mysterious or elusive, such as the power of belief to accelerate healing or the connection between intuition and invention.
Evidence from every domain—from medicine and technology, to education and business—demonstrates that when we access our innate knowing to gain clarity and discover deeper truths about ourselves, it fuels progress for everyone. Every day, the team at IONS is using the power of science to reveal the link between an individual’s inner wisdom, the interconnectedness which unites us all, and its power to enhance our lives.
The Interconnected Nature of Reality
Noetic Sciences reveals a deeper understanding of our inner worlds, our shared reality, and the interconnection between all things.
Defining Noetic Sciences
no•et•ic: From the Greek noēsis/ noētikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, intuition, or implicit understanding.
The way we understand ourselves and our world is always evolving. From instinct to intuition to intellect, part of being human is using multiple ways to gather and utilize information. Noetic Sciences is one of many frameworks we can use to engage with our daily reality.
On his way back to Earth after his pioneering moonwalk, Apollo 14 astronaut and IONS founder Dr. Edgar Mitchell had the profound experience of feeling interconnected to everything he was observing from the window of his space capsule: the stars, the moon, our blue planet, and the vastness of the cosmos. He realized quickly that in order to explain such an extraordinary experience (and others like it), there would need to be a rapprochement between the scientific and spiritual interpretations of reality.
As a scientist and visionary, Dr. Mitchell saw a need to reconcile his training as an engineer and astrophysicist with the wisdom of the ages to transcend the limitations of what he saw as an outdated materialist worldview. A new framework would be needed: one that could help explain the unexplainable—and spark transformation.
He called this framework noetic sciences.
"[Noetic refers to] states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority…"
William James, philosopher
Bridging Science and Spirituality
For millennia, science has governed the exploration and discovery of our inner, personal worlds as well as the world outside of ourselves. In the past one hundred years alone, the powerful tools of science have driven tremendous advances including doubling our lifespan, dramatically improving our quality of life, and birthing a technological age beyond our wildest dreams, taking humans to the moon and soon, beyond.
sci•ence: Systems of acquiring knowledge that use observation, experimentation, and replication to describe and explain natural phenomena.
Even with these advances, science has not yet revealed everything about how reality works, and humanity’s promise – to ourselves, to each, and to the planet – has not been fully realized.
While science observes and experiments in our largely physical world, spiritual wisdom practices on the other hand allow us to explore, describe, and express some of the deepest mysteries of being human. How we can overcome our baser instincts. Practices for making love and compassion central orienting principles in our lives.
These two ways — of gaining knowledge through scientific exploration and of gaining deep knowing through direct experience — have generally remained separate. Some people value science. Others value spirituality and direct experience. IONS values both. It is time to bring them back together — allowing each to inform one another, weakening neither, but rather strengthening our overall understanding of reality.
Our premise: at the nexus of inner knowing (noetics) and outer investigation (science), we will discover entirely new ways of being and of doing that uplift humanity and advance thriving for all.
no•et•ic sci•ences: A multidisciplinary field of study that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the nature of reality.
"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence."
Nikola Tesla, Inventor and Futurist
Now more than ever, humanity is facing vitally important questions that will directly affect our individual and collective realities. Our future demands that we explore our inner space with the same rigor and ingenuity as we explore our outer world. Our technology must increasingly be infused with the wisdom that comes from personal inquiry, and the lens of science must be applied to the further reaches of human potential. This, for the survival and thriving of humanity and our planet, is one of the most important endeavors of our time.
Noetic Experiences: The Leading Edge of Human Possibility
Despite humanity’s ever-expanding knowledge about our physical world, there remains a gap in our understanding when it comes to consciousness. How does it arise from a physical system? Is it limited to our brain? How do I explain my experiences, from aha! to awe, that I know to be true, yet don’t fit any current scientific explanation?
Have you ever had a hunch, intuition, or gut feeling that seemed to come out of nowhere? How about an insight on a project you’ve been hard at work on that suddenly comes to you in a dream? Or you’ve thought of a dear friend or loved one, and they instantly called or texted?
While it may be easy to chalk up these occurrences to mere coincidence, the greatest thinkers, scientists, philosophers, and artists report that such noetic experiences have been central to their process as well as their great works of art and scientific and cultural breakthroughs.
"People say I have created things. I have never created anything. I get impressions from the Universe at large and work them out, but I am only a plate on a record or a receiving apparatus — what you will. Thoughts are really impressions that we get from outside."
Thomas Edison, Inventor
Today, The Institute of Noetic Sciences trains the lens of science onto noetic phenomena such as these to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of reality. How can we better access this place of inner knowing? What are the practices that enhance our experiences of transformation, innovation, and well-being? What can science reveal to enhance those practices? How does this positively transform our lives and create a better world for all?
Visit https://noetic.org to learn more