Noetic Psychology: Institute of Noetic Sciences and Noetic Psychology. What does noetic mean? From the Greek noēsis/noētikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, or subjective understanding. Noetic as defined by the philosopher William James in 1902, noetic refers to “states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect:
Varieties’ classic chapter on “Mysticism” offers “four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify us in calling it mystical…” (V, 380). The first is ineffability: “it defies expression…its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others.” Second is a “noetic quality”: mystical states present themselves as states of knowledge. Thirdly, mystical states are transient; and, fourth, subjects are passive with respect to them: they cannot control their coming and going. Are these states, James ends the chapter by asking, “windows through which the mind looks out upon a more extensive and inclusive world” (V, 428).
Noetic 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…”
What is Noetic Psychology? 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. Noetics began with the work of Viktor Frankl in the early 1950s with the Noetic Psychology movement being started by Dr. Leigh Kibby in the late 1990s. In Noetic Psychology, the term noetic is similar to the Greek usage of Noos meaning spirit and/or spirituality.
What Is the Institute of Noetic Sciences? From its inception in 1973, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has explored the big questions: Who are we? What are our potentials, and how can we achieve those potentials? What leads to personal and societal healing and transformation? Our work rests on the notion that limitations in human consciousness and in our understanding of it underlie many of the most pressing problems that face us as a global society (violence, inequity, misuse of resources), and that gaining a more complete understanding of the nature of consciousness will reduce suffering and enhance quality of life for all.