How Robert Monroe Explored the Uncharted Wilds of Space, Time, and Beyond
1. One Small Step for a Man. . .
In an epoch that is nearly forgotten, there was a mighty collective entity named Western Man. He had conquered the Earth by proving to himself that the whole vast universe consisted of nothing but the physical matter and energy he could see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and manipulate. He applied this bedrock premise to a new system of arts and crafts which he called “science”. By this means he created a plethora of amazing tools which greatly extended the reach of his senses and magnified his power to manipulate the physical world.
Throughout the centuries ruled by Western Man, there often appeared individual men (and sometimes even women) who embodied the collective entity so well, or epitomized its essence, that each could be said to be Western Man incarnate. Such individuals usually did well for themselves because the heartbeat of the culture was their own, and their most intimate thoughts arose from the wellspring of the Spirit of the Age in all its Faustian exuberance. They might be pathfinders or inventors or researchers or leaders in any field, and often they were successful entrepreneurs.
Such a man was Robert A. Monroe, who reached his creative maturity at the very crest of the epoch, the 1950s, and was rolling along in a very productive career. Suddenly his progress was halted when something happened to him that was utterly incredible, and in fact impossible by the laws of science: he was cast out of his physical body, night after night, while awake and alive. So it was that in the person of Robert Monroe, Western Man got a look at what lies beyond the world perceived by the physical senses. To his astonishment, he discovered that it was not the void of non-being, but a mind-boggling multiverse peopled with the creatures of myth, the souls of the dead, and the wildest dreams come real.