Since the early days of the development of the U.S. astronaut corps, the study of space psychology has played an important role.
Astronauts were typically military pilots who had undergone rigorous physiological and psychological testing as well as prior hazardous duties.
As human endeavors in space continue to expand and the range of people who have opportunities to experience off-Earth spaceflight also grows, space psychology will continue to be an important and growing area of study.
Some aspects of space psychology include reactions to, and management of stress, isolation, anxiety, living in confined quarters, depression and conflict resolution, as well as other known and unknown psychological and emotional dynamics and challenges.
As with the technological and scientific advances that have been sparked by space exploration, the human factors involved may also benefit those of us on Earth.
Likewise, interesting developments in psychology, perception, awareness and cognition may be highly useful for humans in space.
One emerging and leading-edge area of human psychology and consciousness is the study of alternative or complementary cognition, sometimes referred to as anomalous cognition.
This type of awareness and perception relates to the human ability to use intuition, gut feelings, instincts, hunches and a sixth sense to complement the other five senses and logical intellectual thinking.
However, alternative or complementary cognition does not refer to only these somewhat vague descriptors. It has been scientifically examined, tested, measured and utilized in classified U.S. military and intelligence activities.
The most familiar of these efforts are those that have come to be known collectively as Project STARGATE – programs and projects conducted during the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s with funding and guidance from various branches of the U.S. military and elements of the U.S. intelligence community. These efforts involved methods and protocols usually referred to as “remote viewing.”
Alternative and complementary cognition is also related to what has historically been termed extrasensory perception (ESP). But this term may be misleading. Is alternative and complementary cognition actually “extrasensory” or outside of the five human senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch?
It seems that alternative and complementary cognition might be related to some aspects of the five senses as well as utilizing human perceptual resources that we are only beginning to understand more fully.
ON EARTH AND IN SPACE
Applying alternative and complementary cognition by humans in space seems to be similar to using this kind of perception and awareness on Earth.
However, since many astronauts report interesting and significant insights and changes in their perspectives and consciousness during and after spaceflight, it could be that alternative and complementary cognition could take on other characteristics or manifestations in space.
It has been suggested that alternative and complementary cognition in the form of remote viewing can be helpful in U.S. defense activities. One concept is that of “transcendent warfare” – using emerging and leading-edge developments in human perception and awareness to enhance U.S. defense activities.
In fact, we might call alternative and complementary cognition a significant kind of human intelligence.
Similarly, alternative and complementary cognition might be utilized in space as well as a wide and deep range of other challenges facing the human race here on Earth.
As we learn more about human consciousness and perception, maybe one day we might find new and more appropriate terminology for alternative and complementary cognition. We might find that certain modes of human awareness that we currently think of as somewhat unconventional or supplemental might actually be primary and fundamental.
Human development, including understanding human consciousness, may take us in directions we are just now discovering.
On Earth, in space or in worlds and dimensions we might encounter in the future, human awareness and understanding are areas that seem worthy of continued study and exploration.