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Thursday, 11 February 2016 12:23

Moonbeam: In Memory of Apollo Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell

By Dr. Joel Goodman

For Saratoga TODAY


He was out of this world… and also very down to earth. He was Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the Moon… 45 years ago this week. Edgar was also here in Saratoga Springs 15 years ago on the 30th anniversary of Apollo 14. 


I felt connected with Edgar for a long time — my father had worked for many years at NACA (The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics - a forerunner of NASA)… and my uncle had actually worked on the Lunar Module back in the 60’s and 70’s. I had the pleasure of meeting Edgar at the Creative Problem Solving Institute’s President’s Convocation years ago. Although he passed away this week at the age of 85, Edgar’s creative accomplishments and imprint will be with us for a long time.


Over the decades, The HUMOR Project has sponsored 55 international conferences on “The Positive Power of Humor and Creativity,” including 20 years in a row here in Saratoga Springs. This conference has honored laughter luminaries like Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Victor Borge, Bob Newhart, Jay Leno, Gilda Radner, Art Buchwald, the Smothers Brothers, Lucie Arnaz, Al Roker, Soupy Sales, Teri Garr, Carol Channing, David Hyde Pierce, Meadowlark Lemon (see January 15 edition of Saratoga TODAY), and others.  


These programs attracted people to our city from all 50 states, 6 continents, and the Moon (thanks to Edgar). As the title of our conference suggests, I really believe there is a link between humor and creativity (I call it the HAHA-AHA alliance). I was delighted to honor Edgar at our Saratoga Springs conference by presenting him with the  “Creativity in Action: Making a Difference Award.” 


Dr. Edgar Mitchell had a resume that must be unique in the entire history of the universe. He held a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and four honorary doctorates.  On February 4, 1971, he piloted the Lunar Module to a landing on the Moon with Alan Shepard. Two years later, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, an organization dedicated to sponsoring research into the nature of consciousness. This career and life-changing transition was inspired by his trip back to Earth after his walk on the Moon: 


“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth… home. My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity. We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians.” 


As a lecturer and prime mover in the field of consciousness research, he delivered addresses throughout the world on cosmology, human potential, and the implications of recent discoveries in science as they affect our individual lives in the home, the workplace, and society at large. He was a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows. Dr. Mitchell received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. He was the author of Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science and The Way of the Explorer, which traces the progress of two remarkable journeys: his life-changing space flight and his exploration of the mystery of consciousness and being.


In fact, at our 2001 Saratoga Springs conference, he made two presentations that are described below:


The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut’s Journeys Through Outer Space and Inner Space: 

From January 31-February 9, 1971, Dr. Mitchell embarked on a journey through space of some 500,000 miles that resulted in his walking on the Moon with Alan Shepard. Of that journey, he has written, “On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.” Scientist, test pilot, naval officer, Apollo 14 astronaut, entrepreneur, author, and lecturer, Dr. Mitchell’s varied career personifies humankind’s eternal thrust to widen its horizons as well as to explore its inner soul. In this session, you’ll have a chance to take your mind for a ride in this intellectually stimulating, provocative lecture on his experiences in outer space and his exploration of the inner space of consciousness.  


2001: (Inner) Space Odyssey: On the Frontiers of Creativity:

Guided by Dr. Edgar Mitchell and Dr. Roger Firestien, this is a unique, brain-stretching opportunity to focus on such topics as:

*Cutting-edge research on creativity and innovation:  what works, what doesn't in business, education, health care, human services, parenting, and life

* Strategies for developing a climate for creativity and innovation in your own organization or classroom

* The four critical behaviors needed to be consistently creative

*Research of 30 years in consciousness studies

* The connection between understanding the universe and understanding your Self

* The lessons of Apollo 13: creativity under pressure, solving unsolvable problems


Edgar’s pioneering planetary paradigm provides powerful perspective on the universe around us… and the universe within each of us. I feel honored that this very well traveled astronaut landed in Saratoga Springs and had another out-of-this-world experience while he was here.


Recipient of the International Lifetime of Laughter Award, Dr. Joel Goodman is founder and director of The HUMOR Project, Inc. in Saratoga Springs (www.HumorProject.com). Although he has not yet been to the Moon, Joel is a globetrotter himself: One of only two professional speakers on the planet to present in all 50 states and on all 7 continents.


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