Interview with Edgar Mitchell, ScD., Captain USN (Ret)
RT: You’ve been involved with consciousness studies, including the exploration of UFOs, for some time. What’s your primary focus?
EM: My focus has never been primarily on UFOs. My focus has been consciousness studies for thirty years. I kind of back doored into this because of my work in consciousness studies and talking to John Mack about abductees or experiencers as he prefers to call them.
I ran into a large number of what I call the “old timers,” people in government, in the military and intelligence work going back fifty years, who say, “Yes, it’s all true.”
RT: When I was a parish priest on the edge of an air force base, I was told by a member of the parish, an air force fighter pilot, that some basic reports were true – that pilots encountered vehicles which paced fighters and flew rings around them, doing things that even in black budget projects at the time to my knowledge were impossible. Because I know that black budget projects create technologies that seem fantastic to ordinary people, I like to focus on early reports, from 1947-1952, when the waters were not quite so muddy.
EM: That has been my focus too. I grew up in Roswell NM and remember when that story broke. I was just a kid in high school. When it was dismissed the next day as weather balloons I wrote it off and went about my business. My grandparents were in the cattle business and knew the Brazells. So we were there but it never really came back to me until ten-twelve years ago when I really became interested in the consciousness stuff and John Mack and I started getting literature and seeing names I recognized from Roswell. I was close personal friends with Werner von Braun. Although he never mentioned that event, he was very interested in my consciousness work. And then a few other people, military, retired generals and admirals, that years ago I happened to encounter, and they all said oh yes, it really was all real, we just couldn’t talk about it at the time. They’re still reluctant to talk about it.
RT: “It” means …?”
EM: Something like the Roswell incident was real. I’m not sure we have all the details correct right down to the nitty-gritty fundamentals but the fact of the incident itself and it being a non-earth craft, that seems to be without question according to the testimony of these people.
RT: What is your understanding of the phenomena at this point?
EM: We discovered 8-9 years ago a mechanism in physics called the quantum hologram. It was discovered trying to perfect MRI machines and build quantum computers. Trying to improve the resolution and imaging on a MRI resulted in the quantum hologram. It’s rooted in the fact that matter at its most basic level does not consist of ping-pong-ball atoms but flowing dynamic energy. Quanta of energy are emitted and reabsorbed by all matter down to the most basic level.
Those emissions from all physical objects are quanta but it has turned out that they are sufficiently coherent that they carry information about the object and we now have both theory and good experimental evidence on that fact. The interesting thing is that the information is non-local. The formalism of the quantum hologram is non-local.
To have nature having a non-local information structure that carries the event history of each physical object puts a whole different perspective on things. When these guys brought this to me I had given a lecture at Cambridge University, St John’s College, in England, on what I call a dyadic model, which says, if you start with energy and information and define information as patterns of energy, then the basis of our universe has two fundamental aspects. It exists because of its energetic structure and it’s knowing because of the information structure. If you start with that basic premise, that energy has two forms, a structural form and a patternal form which is the basis of knowing anything, so that information is the basis of knowing anything and patterns of energy are just information, if you start with that you can build a pretty decent cosmology for an evolving knowing thinking universe. Because we evolved out of it and are part of the universe, therefore it must be a knowing thinking universe.
This also goes back to the very definition of non-locality coming out of quantum physics, that particles ever interacting maintain a spin correlation wherever they go until they interact with something else. The quantum hologram takes that idea from the particle level and expands it to all macro scale objects. It extends quantum mechanics from the particle level to virtually all matter. And it says that all matter not only has a local here-and-now structure but also a non-local everywhere informational structure. The history, the events in the life of that object, are carried non-locally throughout the universe. We know so little about the characteristics of non-locality. With the quantum hologram, it is mathematically defined that information is recovered through resonance. We have written the math on it and we have physically done it in the laboratory. But still, exactly how a non-local resonance takes place, we don’t know; we know it takes place in far distances compared with the size of a particle, but what that means in terms of the universe, I haven’t the faintest idea. And neither does anyone else. But still, the mathematics shows that the hologram is non-local and if you look carefully it starts to show why we have psychic experience and internal mystical experience, in fact, it seems to be why we have subjective experience at all.
RT: When I was a priest, I used to use exercises in psychometry, which is a kind of clairvoyance during which people attempt to receive impressions or information from objects, to illuminate the porosity of boundaries. Some results were striking.
EM: Richard, that is precisely what the quantum hologram as a structure explains. So I have written several papers on this, as are others. I started working on it in 1995 after these fellows came to me after my lecture and said we think we’ve found a structure that seems to validate what you’re saying about information, we’re using it for quantum computers and MRI machines. Those guys and I have been working on this for five years and the concepts are finding their way through the science and physics literature. Not in Nature yet but a few mentions, no major article yet – they’re too conservative – but papers have been written on how DNA learns, how cells learn. Our thesis is that consciousness is not a thing but a feedback loop in nature. How does an electron know what its spin is supposed to be if it’s across the universe from its partner? If you take that to the complex level of the organized brain, then the knowing is appropriate. But the very basis of this non-local resonance that occurs at the particle level, if you then say, it is a feedback loop, a resonance feedback loop which we observe here in macroscopic nature, it would appear that this is precisely what consciousness is, except that I prefer the words awareness or perception, because it appears that only animals with brains have self-awareness and only Homo sapiens have self-reflective awareness and can reflect upon our reflections. All animals with a brain can distinguish self from nature, but animals without brains have awareness and perception but not self-awareness, they’re part of the environment. If you trace that down to the inanimate world where the quantum correlation of particles prevails and the quantum hologram is still a property of inanimate matter, it’s saying that nature does not lose its experience, nature is informational and conscious at some level. That’s the work I have been pursuing. To say that consciousness is not amenable to scientific study is just plain wrong.
RT: The biggest barrier is scientific –
EM: Kuhn was right and so was Max Planck, who said that progress in science is not made by convincing skeptics but funeral by funeral. That’s what we’re dealing with.
RT: Whether it’s religion or science, the dynamics are the same.
EM: To jump to the bottom line, the quantum hologram is as close as we come in the moment to the theological concept of spirit of soul. What it doesn’t do in this model is have discarnate action, it’s an informational structure, and that fits into the great sea of consciousness concept which this model suggests is absolutely right.
RT: Are other astronauts involved in this search?
EM: Not many astronauts are philosophically deep. But many of the younger ones accept UFO phenomena and are open to meditation or the paranormal and other consciousness explorations. I have often been a lone wolf, a voice in the wilderness, but I have worked in this for thirty years and it’s finally paying off.
RT: What you’re saying makes sense from so many converging points of view that are helping us construct reality in new ways.
EM: The Cartesian division between materialism on one side and spirituality and mentality on the other in a different realm is wrong.
RT: Paranormal phenomena is difficult to discuss because, by the time you can say what “it” is, the names disappear. They names don’t distinguish real differences.
EM: They don’t mean anything. That’s exactly right. And that’s what the quantum hologram shows. People who purport to communicate with the dead or have psychic experiences are picking up information from the morphogenetic field or the holographic field and as far as they’re concerned, it’s real, and it is real, but their interpretation is not correct.
RT: Abduction “evidence” too comes from people in altered states either at the time or afterward at the hands of researchers. So how can we know the objectivity of what’s reported?
EM: That’s right,. People will interpret it through their own experience and biases. That’s how I got involved. John Mack was reading some of my material and asked me how to interpret some of his work. That’s what got me into the ET stuff. Also, given this type of model, and chaos theory, the bottom line is, we live in a self-organizing creative intelligent learning trial-and-error participatory interactive evolving universe. That’s quite a different story than we had twenty years ago. And it sets the stage to say that life has evolved everywhere the environmental conditions are correct.
RT: If life can happen, it will happen.
EM: Exactly. Much of 20th century science, like special relativity, limits on the speed of light, dismissing non-locality as unimportant, all that is being challenged as just being wrong. I think over the next few decades, we will discover the physics that allowed ETs to get here.
RT: You wrote a very strong endorsement of Paul Hill’s “Unconventional Flying Objects: a scientific analysis” (Hampton Roads: 1995) which articulates a solid basis in contemporary physics for understanding the propulsion systems of UFOs as observed and reported. You wrote, “Paul Hill has done a masterful job ferreting out the basic science and technology behind the elusive UFO characteristics and demonstrating they are just advanced and exotic extensions of our own technologies.”
EM: Yes. He was right on. He did a good study of the data. The data says things on radiation, energy, he uses “force field,” we would call that zero-point energy field now, but by and large he approached it correctly. He had very good data, categorized it and evaluated it according to science as understood now. He said, we don’t have it yet but it’s not outside the realm of science that we understand.
RT: What’s your sense at the age of seventy of where this is all headed? How will you be thinking about this in five or ten years?
EM: In space I had an epiphany, an experience of the connectedness of everything. I later came to understand it. It’s where you experience, see the separateness of things with your physical eyes but experience the connectedness of all things in an altered state. From that point on, life was never the same for me. I had to come out and find what these deep issues are, recognizing that our scientific cosmology was incomplete and out religious cosmologies archaic. I was looking for a new myth about ourselves, but by myth I mean truth.
For thirty years, we have been looking at connecting these dots and finding new dots to connect to create the picture better. All of these changes in science, beginning with chaos structure and special relativity and its limitations. and discovering what the devil resonance means in terms of non locality, to me those are the key elements because they bring consciousness into it. They bring the fact that information in the universe is not limited by the speed of light and maybe nothing else is either. I think within the next decade or so and probably within the next few years the real truth of this visitation we have experienced will be uncovered. The momentum is building for that right now, very strongly. Now, I always have to qualify my remarks by saying, I have no firsthand experience with ET stuff or even UFO stuff so I have to preserve some wiggle room by saying I could be totally wrong –
RT: But that’s the way it looks.
EM: That’s the way it looks at the moment. Our science in the 21st century will do very shortly to Einstein and Pauli and Schroedinger what they did to Newton a hundred years ago. Their science is great as far as it goes but it doesn’t go far enough.
RT: If it’s good science that has to happen.
EM: It has to happen. I think we’re ready for a major paradigm shift. We’re already seeing it on the frontiers of science. Mainstream academicians are still stuck but it doesn’t look like the Big Bang is the right answer. Hoyle’s most recent work, Halton Arp’s most recent work, is powerfully damning to the Big Bang, which is a knee-jerk reaction to the red shift. It’s just not right. So we have, it looks like, a whole new era of science about to open up, provided that humanity can survive.
RT: Let me take the ET hypothesis one step further. Most of the people I talk to – various individuals, never anyone on the record, but people who have had astonishing encounters, air force pilots, commercial pilots, even some in the intelligence community say that while what they are saying is not classified, they have talked to X off the record who talked to Y – these people seem to generally articulate the same point of view on the reality of UFO phenomena, the reality of visitation. But given what we know about psychological operations and counter-intelligence, cover and deception, simulated phenomena to cover technological advances, I can’t go any further that listening to what they report and remaining agnostic. I don’t know how much is bumbling, or organized forgetfulness, or confusion, or intentional disinformation.
EM: There is so much disinformation and misinformation that is deliberate. There is clearly a covert attempt to disguise and debunk this information.
RT: So how do we know? How do we know what we know? What methodology, what procedure would a reasonably intelligent guy follow to determine as clearly as he can what is likely to be likely?
EM: Richard, I can’t answer that question, only because I think in terms of chaotic systems, systems in disequilibrium. When systems are far from equilibrium they are not predictable and they can go any way, and this is a not-predictable system, it’s a pot boiling, and exactly where it will break out and bubble over, no one has the answer to that. It is going to be determined by the collective unconscious more than the plans of whoever is trying to keep the lid on this. There’s no doubt that someone is trying to keep the lid on it. Who that is, how it is, where it is, we only get glimmers.
I have personally been told by a senior officer on a joint intelligence committee a few years ago – all he would say, when asked the question, is there an organization still doing all this? all we could get out of him was, a couple of weeks later, after he did some checking, “Yes. You’re right.” That’s all he would say.
I don’t know what much more we could do. What some of us are trying to do is get congressional pressure put on it, but politicians are so politically sensitive about their careers that not one in ten thousand will touch it. We tried and tried and almost got there a few times and then they backed out.
RT: At that point, you have no idea what they’re encountering in terms of resistance.
EM: No we don’t. We don’t know if someone came in the office and closed the door and told them, shut your goddamn mouth or it’s peer pressure or election pressure or what.
RT: Without triangulating data, you can’t know.
EM: No. All we can do is go on the preponderance of data and the preponderance of data is so overwhelming that at least some portion of this activity is ET activity. A goodly portion of it, it would now appear, is not ET activity. There are black programs where they can emulate some of the so-called ET phenomenon. It appears they are doing it. But when we’ve said these things, we can’t say them with a hundred per cent certainty. We’re still guessing. It’s a terribly complex, difficult phenomena and there are a lot of people opposed. The fundamentalist religious community recognizes that it will destroy established religion as we have known it, if it comes out.
In my opinion, the theological structure that comes closest to what we’re seeing with quantum holographic work is Tibetan Buddhism. It comes right out of shamanism and Buddhism as it entered Tibet centuries ago. I consider the dispersed Tibetan scholars to be some of the greatest scholars on consciousness studies that we have. Their notion of spirit, reincarnation, etc., dovetails well with work in quantum holography. I lecture on reincarnation and say that you can’t tell the difference in principle between an old soul and a new soul with a long memory. You just tune into the collective unconsciousness, and claim the memories as your own. From a therapeutic point of view it does not matter what model or structure you use. If people trying to resolve early life trauma can pull out of the collective unconscious information about an event that can help them understand or heal their trauma, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It’s irrelevant from the therapeutic point of view but for those of us trying to articulate the new mythology disguised as truth, it’s important.
RT: Explanations have to be congruent with the other pieces of our constructions of reality. We’re trying to build a multi-faceted construction of reality now within which we can have discourse like this. That’s challenging.
EM: Much of what happened to me that I would have liked to talk about, I have not talked about for thirty years, because the culture had not moved far enough forward for it even to compute. I would have sounded like a madman.
RT: Breakthrough ideas always sound crazy. You have to build bridges to others’ consensus reality so they can speak with you.
EM: Exactly right. Thirty years ago, working with mystics and shamans, seeing what was real … yes, it was real, but how do you fit it into a framework that matches the rest of reality that we know about?
If we could get the world’s leaders out there to look at the earth from deep space, we would have a very different political system than the one we have.
In 1971, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, then a U.S. Navy Captain, became the sixth man to walk on the moon.
He is a scientist, test pilot, navel officer, astronaut, entrepreneur, author and lecturer. In 1973, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to sponsor research in the nature of consciousness. He is co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization founded in 1984 for all who share the experience of space travel.
He is author of The Way of the Explorer (Putnam, 1996) and Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974.