Have You Heard About Noetic Science?
– Kainat Azhar
Human mind is complex, so is the man’s quest for knowledge. From the day God has sent him
on this earth, he is finding ways to conquer the world using the power of his brain. Whosoever
has read Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”, Noetic Science is not a new or strange thing for
them. For others, it may sound weird or maybe they would find it hard to believe on.
The term ‘Noetic’ was first used by Plato to define human intellect especially agent/patient
intellect. Noetic is derived from Greek word noēsis/noētikos which means inner wisdom, direct
knowledge, subjective understanding or the highest form of knowledge which is even beyond
mathematics (Oxford dictionary of philosophy, 2nd ed., 2014).
Noetic psychology is a new branch of study in which human mind’s influence on its
surroundings is observed. The influencer can be one or many. Similarly, the impact can be
studied on one or more than one objects in the influencer’s vicinity. This new field of study also
sheds light on how one’s beliefs (religious/spiritual), intentions (both constructive and
destructive) and thoughts (both positive and negative) affect the world around him.
More formally, “Noetic Psychology is a specific theme in psychology dedicated to the discovery
of meaning and purpose; resolution of existential angst; the integration of affect (emotion) with
cognition (thinking i.e. intelligence) through forming meaning. Values are a key component of
Noetic Psychology” (“Noetic Theory,” 2012).
In the past, this area of science was mostly used by the spiritualists or by the philosophers.
Today, working in this field can be dated back to early 1950s. However, in 1973 Apollo 14
astronaut Edgar Mitchell brought this term to the public’s view by founding the world’s first ever
Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in California, America.
A set of new skills should be learned in order to practice the art of Noetics. These include Neuro-
Emphatic Programming, some meditation techniques, etc. For the betterment of humankind, all
human body-mind relationships are studied in it to work on the development of new and stronger
bonds between the two.
According to the IONS’ official website, “From a purely materialist, mechanistic perspective, all
subjective—noetic—experience arises from physical matter, and consciousness is simply a
byproduct of brain and body processes. But there is another perspective, suggesting a far more
complex relationship between the physical and the nonphysical. The noetic sciences apply a
scientific lens to the study of subjective experience and to ways that consciousness may
influence the physical world, and the data to date have raised plenty of provocative new
As per Wikipedia, research on spontaneous remission, meditation, consciousness, alternative
healing practices, consciousness-based healthcare, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities,
psychokenesis and survival of consciousness after bodily death this field is going on in IONS.
Around 35,000 members are registered with the institute (“Noetic Theory,” 2012).
Research in Noetic psychology has also influenced the literature and the glamorous worlds of
film and drama. A character, Katherine Solomon, in Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol was
portrayed as a Noetic scientist. Similarly the famous X-men series and the Fringe have also been
written inspired by the ideas of this emerging world of psychology.