April 6, 2012

What Happens When You Die?



Alongside the age old question regarding the meaning of life, what happens when you die is another one of those, seemingly unanswerable, questions most of us will ask ourselves at various points throughout our lives. The reason for such a morbid question couldn’t be simpler; it’s going to happen to each and every single one of us. Death is something we share with everyone and every living thing. We are born, we live, and we die.

To understand what happens when you die, we must first understand what death is. The dictionary definition of death is as concise at it is stark: The end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.

In times gone by, the end of life was determined to be when a person stopped breathing or when they no longer had a pulse. This resulted in many instances of people being declared dead when they were not, with some “miraculously” coming back from the dead – and others being buried alive. More recently, end of life has been determined to be when brain function has ceased. When your brain is gone, you are gone so to speak.

So, your brain has ceased functioning, you’ve stopped breathing and you have no pulse. To put it bluntly, you are dead. What happens now?

Many different cultures and religions have their own opinions on what happens when you die, but the majority of them all have one thing in common; the belief in an afterlife. What that afterlife is differs according to which religion you follow. The afterlife, or “Heaven” is prevalent in all of the major religions, but the details vary from one religion to the next. Christianity tells of a heaven of eternal life, living together with God and one another in peace and harmony. Many other religions, including Islam and Hinduism, tell us of a heaven of many levels. The better you did in life, the higher you will rise in heaven. The Buddhist religion takes that one step further, explaining that residence in heaven is temporary, with a rebirth as humans or animals signalling the start of a new life.

The belief in rebirth, or reincarnation as it is more widely known, is not limited to the Buddhist faith, or even religion in general. Films such as What Dreams May Come and Made In Heaven(a personal favourite!) have helped fuel speculation about reincarnation and the afterlife among the more general population.

In addition to the combination of religious belief and popular culture creating a widely-held belief in life after death, the “Near Death Experience”, or NDE, has cemented that belief even further. A Near Death Experience is a varying set of experiences reported by some people who have nearly died and been brought back, usually by resuscitation.

Many people who have experienced a NDE have reported seeing an intensely bright, white light at the end of a tunnel. Others have reported seeing long dead family members and friends, while some people have reported seeing their body below them while they float above it.

The plurality of experiences might suggest there is something to the notion of life after death, but an almost complete lack of physical evidence would tend to suggest otherwise…

Religious belief in an afterlife requires no evidence for the believer. Religion is built on faith and no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway those who firmly believe they are going to a better place after death. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Such a belief gives comfort to millions and lets them concentrate on living their life while not having to worry about what comes afterward.

What about the Near Death Experiences? The term “near death” gives a huge clue as to what might be happening here. The (vast) majority of people who have experienced them were not actually dead, but simply “nearly” dead. The visions of seeing loved ones are more than likely no different to the dreams we experience when sleeping. By the same token, seeing your body while floating above it could also be a result of dreaming coupled together with the captured senses of the environment around you. Your unconscious self may not be aware of what’s going on around you, but your brain will still be collecting the sounds, smells and sometimes the sights of that environment.

The staple of the NDE, the white light at the end of a tunnel, may also now have a less exciting explanation than confirmation of life after death. Scientists believe this sensation is triggered as a result of the brain shutting down and being starved of oxygen. Tests in high gravity environments have shown that our eyes naturally create a tunnel effect when they start to lose oxygen, so seeing a white light at the end of a tunnel when close to death suddenly becomes much less enigmatic.

For all that is written about life after death, there is not a single shred of verifiable evidence to confirm that we, or more specifically our souls, live on after our bodies have died. In those instances where people claim to have found proof of it, a cursory look at their data reveals shoddy research, vague assumptions and a distinct lack of objectivity.

We’ll be looking at some of those claims in a future article, but assuming what happens after you die is nothing, why should this be a reason for so much concern in the first place?

Multi-award-winning writer/comedian Ricky Gervais said it best; You remember what it felt like for the 14 billion years before you were born? It’s exactly like that.

 

What do you think happens when we die? Let us know in the comments below.



Filed under: Reality — Tags: , , , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 5:12 pm




49 Comments

  1. avatar

    Excellent review, and should be continued.

    I am aware that this phrase from Steve’s essay: “…no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway those who firmly believe…” is the core requirement to define a delusion. As an Anglican who believes…I am sobered by this. Also, it causes one to be a bit more charitable, I suppose, in discussion with others who have delusions of other sorts…there but for the Grace of God …

    Comment by Kit Green — April 6, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  2. avatar

    The atheist would say there is a certain smugness in the Christian’s belief (assumption) of an afterlife. The Christian would say there is a certain smugness in the atheist’s belief (assumption) there is nothing after death…..

    Let me just say this; when the “scientist” says, “There is no evidence, therefore, there is no afterlife,” he is not drawing a scientific conclusion. After all, evidence is a little hard to come by in this case! Choose to believe, choose not to believe, but absence of evidence is not proof of non-existance.

    Comment by Paul Young — April 6, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  3. avatar

    There is a wealth of material, now five decades worth, “housed” now at the Dept. of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia….with, for me, the most intriguing body of work involving children and where “biology and reincarnation intersect”.

    http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/publications-page

    The psychiatrists and researchers there have for decades been known as the place to refer very young children, in the early stages of speaking in sentences, when their parents hear them say very strange things about being so and so, and having died in very memorable traumatic ways. The birth marks, the autopsy and medical records of the person the child claimed to be (found by researchers), and the tie in between the two is pretty intriguing.

    I guess there will never be the possibility of proof against life after death. Or, perhaps even for.

    In a sense, “soul”, “ego”, “surviving self”, are merely conceptual elaborations on what is. They are objectived via language and our internal imagery and thoughts. As the Buddhists point out, there really is no objectified “self” that survives moment to moment.

    Answering your last question…..I would say you will find that “you” are still pondering questions like this after the body has died. Belief is useless……a lot of people have had experiences, including out of the body perceptions and vivid past life memories (not hypnotically induced). The latter factor perhaps contributes to the sense of an ongoing show? (For apparent individual awareness or individuated life streams, to put it in Buddhist terms re: the “soul”.)

    I think that the best preparation for the ride is meditation.

    Comment by Mike Jamieson — April 6, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  4. avatar

    It is probably impossible to “prove” the “reality” of people’s NDE’s. It also may be impossible or very difficult to dis-prove them. It is not “proven” that they are not “real”. Statements that they are “dis-proven” are actually more like elements of a belief (or non-belief) system. I don’t think that anything is proven yet. It is incorrect to say that “scientists believe that this is caused by” because not all scientists think that or have done any research into the subject. It would be more accurate to say “So and so had theorized that this is caused by…”. Also, I doubt that there is real proof of this conjecture….it is a logical hypothesis based on our partial knowledge of Neurology.

    There is not “not a shred” of evidence for NDE’s; there is a mountain of evidence. Due to it’s nature though this is an experience of consciousness and not a crystal growing experiment you can do in a laboratory. Throughout history it is possible that billions of people have had this experience. Firstly, I would say that it is, in fact, a real experience. It is a very real type of experience that very real people have and they are not lying about them. Instead, it is a very real part of the experience of human consciousness.

    Questions remain: How can someone have clear, lucid consciousness, complex and life changing spiritual experiences, and memory of them afterwards, when their hearts are stopped, the brain is receiving no oxygen, there are no measurable brain waves, or their hearts and brains have both been stopped for hours by cooling of the blood and inducing of a coma?

    How can some people encounter people during these experiences….that they don’t know are dead yet?

    How can they be conscious while clinically “dead” and under anesthesia and “see” or know what is going on around them, down the hall, or in a home miles away?

    It is very interesting that, during these experiences people are told how to live a good life and told that this is what they should do with the rest of it. They are never told to do anything bad or selfish. They are never told to make more money or spend more time at work or to take advantage of anyone. Instead, they are told to be selfless, and to care for others first. I see no evolutionary advantage in people having experiences like this. I would think that evolution (as we know it) would pattern our brains instead to go back and take advantage and kill that cave bear, etc. So I find it very hard to believe that nature has created our brains to make us have “delusions” at the moment of death like these. It does seem more likely to me that there may be another sort of evolution that is possible in the universe that is not based on survival to reproduce but maybe on evolution of character, or of spirit. Just a thought.

    Today, in the 21st century we still have no real theory or mechanism as to how consciousness is “created” or exists. Some state flatly (with no real proof…this is just their belief) that consciousness does not exist and free will are impossible. They say this because they maintain that everything must be explainable by a deterministic system and because there is no theory or proof as to how a deterministic system could cause consciousness or free will…they therefore cannot possibly exist. My consciousness and free will tell me otherwise.

    People who have experienced NDE’s all seem to report a remarkably similar story. Some say they have experienced all of the common elements, most report experiencing some or most of the elements. One thing they do seem to imply is that there is a completely other world that they “go” to during an NDE. This other world seems to be timeless and place-less. They do not see, hear or speak like we do; rather they have instant “knowledge” that corresponds to seeing, hearing, and communication. Many report “seeing” or having knowledge that corresponds to visual information that is 360 degrees in scope. Many report that they have instant knowledge of everything they ask about in this state but are told they will only be allowed to remember certain things when they return. They usually report there new existence in this bizarre other world as “more real than the one they just left behind” and spent their entire lives in. This reality, when in this state seems like the dream and that other one, the true reality. Many report that they are given a sense that everything is absolutely and instantaneously connected. Many report that in this state there is no past, present, or future, that they have all always existed simultaneously.

    I find it very interesting that only with the technology to begin to measure the very small we had to start developing a new physics, quantum mechanics to explain the completely non common sense things that were being observed for things at the atomic level. Merely because of a difference in scale we find that there really is, in fact, a completely different world out there. It is invisible to “our world” and operates by completely different rules. Objects do not have a location, objects do not always have more than a temporary, virtual, existence, objects behave like waves or particles depending on how you look at them but never as both waves or particles at the same time. In this world there is no space or time. Some objects can be on the opposite ends of the universe and when a change occurs in one it will also occur instantaneously (infinitely fast) in the other, entangled object. There is no cause and effect, no simple determinism. This other world that is completely invisible and alien to us and which was completely unknowable until relatively recently is, in fact, the foundation of our reality.

    It strikes me as very interesting that NDE’s and consciousness could both possibly be occurring in non-local space. Quantum mechanics predicts non-locality for certain entangled objects but I suspect that the entire universe which is founded on virtual particles may actually be based in non-local space where there is no space, no distance between anything, and no time.

    Perhaps when people experience NDE’s, or after death communications, or other spiritual experiences that seem impossible “in our deterministic world”, they are really occurring in non-local space which is, rather than a complete and laughable impossibility, in fact, the very foundations of our true conscious existence. I wouldn’t be laughing.

    If the unknown and mysterious beings encountered in NDE’s have told billions of people over human history to change their lives to always be more caring for others I think it would be the height of foolishness to merely reject the possible reality of this out of hand. Instead I tend to think that this advice apparently being given routinely by “beings of light” could be safely followed and provisionally believed. Who would that hurt? Instead of being obvious hallucinations of temporarily demented people and never to be believed, if followed and put into practice, wouldn’t it instead, change society permanently for the better? Who would that hurt? Is that a dangerous delusion or the best advice any one has ever been given? If so, why have we almost never followed it?

    Again, I wouldn’t be laughing.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 7, 2012 @ 5:24 am

  5. avatar

    It is also very interesting to me that we are now told that there could be entire actual universes (other worlds) just 1/4″ away from the one on this brane and completely unknowable and invisible to us. We are also told that, according to physics (and Einstein, no less), there may be no such thing as a past, present, or future….that they may have always existed simultaneously and forever. How would ordinary people who have never once had a thought about this, be told, or made to know this during their NDE’s?

    Comment by NIMNL — April 7, 2012 @ 5:39 am

  6. avatar

    Really interesting explanation on the floating out of body experience. I think the bottom line is. Nobody knows for sure whether there is or isn’t anything after death. Any scientific conclusion is only true at the point at which it is conceived based on the evidence gained up to that point. How many theories or conclusions have been disproved to date when the studies on that subject and the evidence progresses? Everything we ‘know’ to be true now could be thrown out the window in a hundred years. Belief, be it religious or otherwise should be respected as long as its not thrust upon anybody.

    Comment by Dean Dent — April 7, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  7. avatar

    Great subject, Stephen!

    Given that death is common to all life, any suspicions regarding an afterlife must also be addressed through common experience. Our universe — through the Second Law of Thermodynamics — makes death inevitable; there can be no survival of life wherever entropy defines the scope and extent of the environment. It stands to reason, therefore, that any survival of life after death can only exist outside of the effects of our physical universe.

    On the other hand, life, being the temporary absence of death, can only be examined within the confines of entropy and the physical universe. It is this commonality alone that enables our understanding of death, because life, like entropy, is experienced only through the passage of time. To a limited extent, life is a means to decrease the effects of entropy through time — the longer the life, the greater the limitation.

    There is no immortality in a physical universe; in the end there is only our Second Law and its oppression of existence. Given that both life and entropy are susceptible only to time, it stands to reason that any afterlife beyond our physical limitations must also exist outside of time — the binding of the space-time continuum. Whenever I’ve contemplated the suggestion of immortality, I’ve always categorized it as being outside of time, a state of which we know very little. Time is the leveler of mountains, but it’s an effective cage as well, a realm that can only be examined by consciousness if that consciousness is also caged. But no examination can possibly be initiated without some means to defy entropy, even if it is only of a temporary character.

    I think consciousness, of which we are only a small part, is trying to “colonize” the physical universe under the sway of time. Death is necessary for consciousness to learn and to develop within time, and a great portion of this is motivated by belief.

    There is no assured evidence of immortal consciousness — whether inside or outside of time — that I have ever discovered throughout the entire span of my life save one: we are substantially more capable of great feats, both mental and physical, when we are motivated or otherwise compelled by our beliefs; the greatest of human feats, however, are achieved by our beliefs of an afterlife. It is these beliefs that compel us to self-sacrifice, the adoption of ethics, and the expressions of nobility. Humans become heroic when motivated by belief. Is this by chance or design? I can’t possibly say. What I can say is that our capabilities increase the most when our beliefs govern them; it is in this that we find purpose and focus, both of which are necessary to absorb the greatest amount of knowledge in the least amount of time.

    We should remember as well the fact that our beliefs make life tolerable to a great extent. We can be comforted in ourselves and compassionate to others, and this too is important.

    Comment by James Carlson — April 8, 2012 @ 2:16 am

  8. avatar

    Thanks Kit, I have at least another two articles planned on this subject which should be ready once I’ve done a little more research.
    I agree with you regarding the core requirement to define a delusion – we’ve come across this a lot. Thanks again.

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 8, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  9. avatar

    I agree with you Paul, absence of evidence is not proof of non-existence. More often than not however, evidence has been manufactured in order to support the “reality” of life after death. I’ll be looking at that in an article update in the near future.

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 8, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  10. avatar

    Thanks for that Mike, I’ll certainly take the time to have a look at that link. What I have read regarding past lives and the like, has always left me doubting the conclusions.

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 8, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  11. avatar

    James, on the other side of the physics question regarding the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of the conservation of energy may provide a subtle, if not ever so fleeting, hint at the survival of consciousness.

    Curious area that might be of interests is that at clinical death (absence of brain activity, cessation of heart function-asystole-, and irreversible multi-organ failure) on the cellular level normal activity continues on for 6 to 12 hours after fact. Cells continue to take in what available nutrients and oxygen that can be had from a stagnant blood supply. This accounts largely why we are able to carry out organ transplants. In the end, even this short lived cellular function ceases due to the cell’s building up of toxic wastes.

    NDE’s seem to manifest more from a cardiac event. Hypoxia certainly would account for the individual reporting seeing a tunnel effect, but what about the visions of seeing “dead” relatives or friends? NDE’s cross all spectrum of the belief systems, including secular beliefs…a non-discriminating factor. If we are to say that this is merely a “calming” mechanism built into the brain that allows, close to the moment of death, as a hallucinatory manifestation due to the last second flooding of neural transmitters, then this makes no logical sense.

    Comment by Tim Hebert — April 8, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  12. avatar

    As a clarification, after reading my above post. I find that the argument that has been made from those that discount NDE’s as merely a “last second” dumping of neural transmitters causing simple hallucinations as illogical, IMHO.

    Comment by Tim Hebert — April 8, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  13. avatar

    Hi NIMNL, thanks for your comments – they are much appreciated. I only have time at the moment to answer one of the points you raised, but will try and get to the others within the next week. You wrote:

    Questions remain: How can someone have clear, lucid consciousness, complex and life changing spiritual experiences, and memory of them afterwards, when their hearts are stopped, the brain is receiving no oxygen, there are no measurable brain waves, or their hearts and brains have both been stopped for hours by cooling of the blood and inducing of a coma?

    I have not yet seen any reports of people having experienced a NDE while having no measurable brain waves. If you could provide an example or two I would be very grateful, thanks!

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 8, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  14. avatar

    Here is an example, a fairly well known one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds_(singer)

    Actually, you may get clues to your original question, what happens when we die!! She references folks she doesn’t know now, but clearly does know in a larger context. And other things…..

    Comment by Mike Jamieson — April 8, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

  15. avatar

    Ridiculous article. Firstly THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “YOU” – So “you” cannot die as “you” were not ever born

    Reality is One supreme consciousness – spinning itself out of itself. like a spider spins a web. Its one thing, multiple simultaneous perspectives, all conscious at varying degrees.

    Many off world life forms including the Tall Whites and Plejarans confirm reincarnation as real – Read this as its not “you” or “me” reincarnating, but consciousness itself , manifesting through potential.

    Supreme Consciousness is playing all roles here – you, me , it, here, now, then, past present and future – all just concepts or in form [ -ation ]

    Comment by Dr Roy W Gordon — April 9, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  16. avatar

    Thanks Mike. I already knew about this case, but I personally don’t attach much clout to it being proof of life after death. It IS a typical NDE, but I think there are far more mundane explanations that apply to this case then people like Michael Sabom would have us believe. The following page is an excellent review (and rebuttal) of the supposed facts.
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html#pam

    This is one case where it could be argued the brain was flatlined during the procedure, but the brain wasn’t actually dead at any point – assuming I understood the procedure correctly of course!

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 9, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  17. avatar

    @Dean Dent: Thanks Dean and you are of course exactly right – no one knows for sure, yet. Will we ever know?

    Comment by Stephen Broadbent — April 9, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  18. avatar

    There are lots of free e-books about the afterlife written by mediums here:

    http://www.spiritwritings.com/library.html

    scroll down to the section on future life in the spirit world

    evidence for the afterlife with links to more informaiton here:

    http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence

    Comment by owu5ynt3ytgol — April 9, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  19. avatar

    “We”, collectively, probably will never know….or adopt as a universally shared reality. It’s a backstage, or off stage, context (if the afterlife scenario is real).

    To get back to your basic question, there is a whole body of reports going way back, from different cultures, that are based on “excursions” that supposedly are experiences of realms and discarnate entities. Some basic things are said in answer to that question you pose.

    Funny thing is….with your question “will we ever know”: if your suspicion is right, then “no” we will not. If there is an afterlife, you will eventually know (even if, in your shock of the unexpected, you think you are having some weird, trippy, lucid dream, lol). But, that of course, will be a private “knowing”.

    Not having that certainty while alive is probably a good thing. Makes the show more interesting and makes the developmental process a true challenge.

    Comment by Mike Jamieson — April 9, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  20. avatar

    Kit wrote, “I am aware that this phrase from Steve’s essay: ‘…no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway those who firmly believe…’ is the core requirement to define a delusion. As an Anglican who believes…I am sobered by this.”

    This is not exactly true, but for reasons other than the obvious classical physical (medical) parameters under discussion.

    Scientific evidence continues to build in favor of a Multiverse, which contains emergent features that collectively appear as “many worlds” of “parallel universes.” (For the best argument for why parallel universes must exist, I would suggest checking out Max Tegmark’s (MIT) excellent explanation here:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.1283v1

    “The key question is not whether parallel universes exist — Level I is the uncontroversial cosmological concordance model — but how many levels there are.”)

    Since the Multiverse must, by its very (presumed) existence, contain an infinite number of copies of all of us, the question (in the first person) moves from “what happens when I die” to “what about all the other copies of me with whom I share the same memories of the past, who do not die?” — or — “why do I experience this awareness, of this physical self, and not experience any awareness of my other physical copies?”

    This, of course, leads directly to the “hard problem” of explaining consciousness.

    So … I would say (IMHO) that the question “what happens to me when I die” is premature, until we better understand what it means to be conscious (to experience unified emergent self-awareness) in the first place.

    For anyone interested in the hard problem, I suggest starting with David Chalmers essay:

    “The really hard problem of consciousness is the problem of experience.”

    http://consc.net/papers/facing.html

    Comment by Gary S. Bekkum — April 9, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  21. avatar

    This was another Stephen Broadbent classic – and now I remember why I enjoyed staying up so late having discussions about these topics with Steve.

    I know that there is a strong argument for the idea of nothing, but (as you probably know), I don’t believe it’s possible to have an energy that makes us conscious, that simply disintegrates into nothing when we die. As the old Physics 101 saying goes – energy can not be created nor destroyed…therefore I guess that’s the only evidence I can point to to say that what happens when we die is that we change energy states.

    Into what other form of energy? I guess that’s the big question – the one that keeps us up at night wondering what’s coming next.

    Anyway, another brilliant piece Steve. I love it when you write like this.

    Comment by RyanDube — April 10, 2012 @ 12:08 am

  22. avatar

    I’ve been following up on news of any pending published reports coming out of the AWARE Study and it appears something may be published this year…..with one report dated January 19, 2011 noting that after checking in with Dr. Sam Parnia, head of that project. Various European hospitals appear to be involved, English and northern European (I think). Here is the notice from the start:

    http://www.nourfoundation.com/events/Beyond-the-Mind-Body-Problem/The-Human-Consciousness-Project/the-AWARE-study.html

    It appears that those have nde memories, following resuscitation, is 10 to 20% and from updates I read it appears they may have interviewed 700 to 1000 people in 2010 to 2011.

    I know that famed neurologist and CNN newsman Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a study of all this, including in depth conversations with nde survivors reporting experiences, and he seemed to shift his own perspective, now suggesting something is going on that indicates possible survival of consciousness following physical death.

    But, that was small scaled of course, compared to the scope of the AWARE Study. So…..maybe some material to pore over later this year?? Maybe around the time the Higgs Boson and Field is confirmed thanks to the Hadron Collider?

    Comment by Mike Jamieson — April 11, 2012 @ 1:52 am

  23. avatar

    To Paul Young: You are correct, but the best way I heard it said is, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Also, if you have ever read Richard Strass’ book, DMT, The Spirit Molecule, there is evidence that a huge amount of DMT is released into the brain during near death or actual death. That could account for some of the “visions” reported by the dying. Also, there has been research that showed the human body losing approximately 170 grams (6 ounces) at the time of death- no reason for this has been determined, or at least released to the general public. I choose to believe in an immortal energy that continues after death, but I am aware that there is no evidence to support my belief.

    Comment by Karen Waes — April 11, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

  24. avatar

    Before the Spiritualist movement of the late 1800′s and early 1900′s got derailed by frauds, some writings were given to mediums (those who can communicate with spirit) which provided answers as to the nature of the afterlife. Here is a website which has some of these communications

    http://www.meilach.com/spiritual/spiritual.html

    There is also a Yahoo group which has a good-size library of online books that were written during that period which have further information for any who may be so inclined. That group is ‘NewAgeBooksOfTruthAndInspiration’.

    As for myself, I had a NDE and it has changed my life. Unless you have experienced it, you have no idea of what it is like or how profound it is. There is an afterlife and it is beyond anything that can be imagined or spit out by a dying brain.

    Comment by Lemarch — April 11, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  25. avatar

    Stephen:

    I am also NEMO, registered user….I used NIMNL because I had forgotten my user name.

    I was going to mention the Pamela Reynolds case as an example. I will also read the link you posted by the way but first this is what I remember from it: She had an aneurysm in her brain. To surgically repair the aneurysm she was under general sedation throughout the entire 4-6 hour surgery. Her heart and lungs were completely stopped (in effect, dead) by cooling her body to about 50 degrees F. The blood was drained from her brain (I assume to relieve pressure on the aneurysm and to remove low oxygen blood which is toxic, from the brain for such a long surgery). While under general anesthesia and completely unconscious she saw and heard her surgery being done, saw and heard the tool used to open her skull, saw them working at her legs on one femoral artery then the other when the first was unusable. She did not even know, before the surgery, that work would be done there. She correctly heard and remembered conversations during the operation. She saw and correctly described surgical tools which her surgeon says were covered before her anesthesia to maintain a sterile environment. Her cerebral cortex and brain stem were monitored throughout the surgery to record any detectable brain waves or brain activity. There was none. Her brain was effectively dead by any definition. Based on the sequence of events in her NDE, when they occurred relative to the femoral artery activity, etc, her tunnel experience and later NDE, as opposed to her OBE occurred after her body was cooled, her brain activity completely stopped, her lungs stopped, her heart stopped, and the blood drained from her brain. A person under these combined conditions is physically dead and brain dead. It is impossible for the brain to function or have activity with no blood or oxygen or sugar supply.

    When she was made to return to her body (by her grandfather, I believe) she “saw” her body jump. This would seem to correlate very well to the moment when her heart was, in fact, restarted for the first time in 4 to 6 hours.

    Her NDE included very lucid, cogent, and consistent details of a very meaningful nature and in no way seem like the ravings of a temporarily insane or hallucinating person. The consistent and profound MEANINGFULNESS of these experiences argues strongly, to me, of events which give profound meaning, rather than meaningless ravings of a mind starved of oxygen etc.

    If a case like this isn’t evidence for the literal reality of these experiences………will there ever be ANY case, under ANY circumstances, that won’t be reasoned away based on the convenient assumptions skeptics will always make?

    Also: In any case where the heart has stopped there is a flat EEG and complete unconsciousness after 20 seconds. The cerebral cortex therefore has no detectable brain waves at this time. I assume that is what this means. There may be some activity of the brain stem at this time but I would doubt that would have much to do with consciousness. Anyway, according to the medical definitions, consciousness is impossible after the heart stops and there is no blood flow. Yet these people have their experiences at this time according to the sequencing of their experiences.

    Consciousness is also impossible, according to medical knowledge, when under general anesthesia, yet these people routinely have OBS’s followed by NDE’s when under anesthesia.

    There are maybe 20 or more “explanations” given by skeptics, which are never really more than educated guesses and not “proven” under controlled conditions, etc. The very number of “explanations” alone tells me that they can’t all be true…..in fact most PROBABLY CANNOT true.

    The fact that people have lucid consciousness inconveniently against the established medical definitions of consciousness reminds me of when humans were defined as the only beings that could make tools. As soon as animals were found making and using tools….the definition changed. Then it relied more on humans being the only beings that had language. As soon as gorillas and chimpanzees were shown to be able to count, learn and use (human) sign language, understand some syntax (I think), and create their own communications of trans-personal feelings, facts, etc, this was either completely denied or the definition was changed yet again.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 12, 2012 @ 1:59 am

  26. avatar

    Stephen:

    It also occurs to me that if you don’t consider a stopped heart, stopped lungs, hypothermia, measured zero brain wave activity in any part of the brain, and a brain drained of blood for several hours a state of death…….you yourself must believe people cannot die! I would consider this not only to be dead….but deady, dead, dead.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 12, 2012 @ 2:21 am

  27. avatar

    I spent a little time going through the Keith Augustine site Steve linked. Also, reading the debunking article on the Pam Reynolds’ case.

    The first article linked in the list of Keith’s articles mentions “evidence against the soul”. And, elsewhere mentions something along the same lines regarding “God”. If one appears to be a missionary for the atheist view, then the examination such a person brings to a matter like this is going to obviously be in the debunking mode. And, done through a conceptual filter.

    Of course there is the flip side of the coin, with those who want to eagerly proclaim the reality of an afterlife! Ian Stevenson was good, consistently refusing to do just that. Others are like that. We have to watch for any research studies that are led and funded by those who may be too missionary about all of this.

    Comment by Mike Jamieson — April 12, 2012 @ 3:25 am

  28. avatar

    By “debunking” you might mean “skeptical beyond reason” or something like that? And it is a possibly biased “conceptual filter”. It is also just so easy to assume “meaningless coincidence”, delusion, etc. for anything you want to apply it to. Some skepticism is anything but objective. Some “answers” sound as implausible and presumptive as the claimed unusual experiences. Some have even used the explanation of psychic abilities to “explain away” an OBE or NDE with verifiable evidence. That’s not supposed to exist either. Objectivity is important. I agree with the latter part about being biased.

    Defining “God” or “soul” or “proving their reality seems difficult. However, we also do not have any definition or mechanism for explaining consciousness either in the year 2012. Yet, I was conscious while I wrote this….did it all by myself……and used my own free will to do it. Some who claim to be geniuses seriously claim we don’t possess any of these things. I was just being a chemical robot or a collection of deterministic particles and could do nothing else. Now that is skeptical nonsense.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 12, 2012 @ 3:57 am

  29. avatar

    Fundamentally, this all comes down to the relation of the psyche/mind, to the physical brain/body. For the reductionist view, the former is dependent on the latter, while for the survivalist view, the latter is either dependent on the former or both are independent of each other.

    There is no direct evidence, for example, that memory is actually stored in the physical brain. Despite all of the experiments to do so, neuroscientists have failed to find any actual trace of memory in the brain. This has led some to conclude that “memory seems to be both everywhere and nowhere in particular.”

    Sheldrake has his own theory of how memories may be stored outside of the brain, and notes that:

    “There may be a ridiculously simple reason for these recurrent failures to find memory traces in brains: They may not exist. A search inside your TV set for traces of the programs you watched last week would be doomed to failure for the same reason: The set tunes in to TV transmissions but does not store them.

    But what about the fact that memories can be lost as a result of brain damage? Some types of damage in specific areas of the brain can result in specific kinds of impairment: for example, the loss of the ability to recognize faces after damage to the secondary visual cortex of the right hemisphere. A sufferer may fail to recognize the faces even of his wife and children, even though he can still recognize them by their voices and in other ways. Does this not prove that the relevant memories were stored inside the damaged tissues? By no means. Think again of the TV analogy. Damage to some parts of the circuitry can lead to loss or distortion of picture; damage to other parts can make the set lose the ability to produce sound; damage to the tuning circuit can lead to loss of the ability to receive one or more channels. But this does not prove that the pictures, sounds, and entire programs are stored inside the damaged components.” [1991, p. 116-117]

    It isn’t definitive proof either way, but it doesn’t seem to favor the view of the functions of the physical brain being all there is to a person.

    With NDEs, the key to solving them doesn’t lie in the details of their recalled experiences (obviously, they’re going to vary from person to person), but in their feelings/mental states while having them as well as their after-effects. In this case, I am more inclined to Peter Novak’s idea of the soul being binary, with 1 part of it being the conscious (left) mind, and the other part of it being the unconscious (right) mind, with both separating at death. This explanation accounts for the available information more consistently than do other ones.

    Also, I’ve noticed that the reductionists, in all their debunking of the standard characteristics of NDEs as being reducible to brain function, have never really addressed the characteristics of negative NDEs. How do they explain those hellish NDEs that some NDErs experience?

    However, it isn’t just NDEs and OBEs that people experience, but also “past-life regressions” (PLRs) and of course “pre-birth experiences” (PBEs). It is at a point now, where survivalist explanations seem to better explain the available data than do the reductionist explanations.

    Comment by Anonymous Observer — April 12, 2012 @ 5:56 am

  30. avatar

    About entropy being what causes finite, relatively short lifespans: That might be part of the cause but I think life forms on earth are generally pre-programmed to die. This is because, the way evolution works here, if there is no death there is no room for a future generation and evolution would not take place. Physical evolution depends on things living long enough to reproduce, and raise their young to be independent. After that evolution doesn’t care so much if you continue to exist. Entropy probably helps this by causing faulty DNA replication after awhile but the DNA itself is programmed to only keep replicating faithfully for only a certain number of copies. Then we age.

    Otherwise I could see something living for a very long time but not forever.

    The way it is done on this planet, evolution requires death. Complete speculation, of course, but I have wondered if there could be another sort of evolution of the character of consciousness which depends instead on the perpetual existence of individual consciousness which is improved by experiencing multiple incarnations on this side of existence, where we are limited by time, separated by space, limited in travel speed by relativity (this would help keep living planets safe as separated oases or islands of life) and limited in perception and knowledge. The things people report time after time in NDE’s is the opposite: No time, no space, no separation, complete and total interconnection, highly enhanced perceptions, a feeling of complete knowledge, and a certainty that we live forever.

    Again…….why would physical evolution favor giving us these elaborate and rather uniform experiences when we are dying or near death? Unless it is to get us to survive to reproduce, etc. it makes absolutely no sense.

    Also, I can see no way evolution would have our brains tell us elaborate stories for a few moments while we are dying. That makes absolutely no sense to me. As I see it, these experiences improve our character, tell us how to be better people if we survive, tell us how we could better have a sustainable future if we survive, but I can’t really see normal evolution doing that.

    I don’t think the skeptics take these things into account either. Read some of the “exceptional experiences” at the NDERF website for some accounts to ponder.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 13, 2012 @ 4:36 am

  31. avatar

    IRT: “About entropy being what causes finite, relatively short lifespans: That might be part of the cause but I think life forms on earth are generally pre-programmed to die”, and the rest:

    I agree completely about evolution and changes incorporated by life for the improvement of life; what I intended to suggest (and apparenly failed to do so) was that entropy makes death inevitable throughout the entire universe, not on Earth alone, and certainly not limited to a short period of time. I didn’t mean to imply that entropy is the cause of short life-spans; only that it will eventually create an environment that makes life impossible — all life, everywhere. Consider this in relation to the supposition that life (or our perception of life) can only exist within space-time, a condition that will eventually end. This makes immortality impossible in our universe, and if immortality is impossible, any immortality assumed after death can only exist outside of time. Evolution can only achieve its genetic “goals” within space-time, making it irrelevant to the issue of “life” after “death” outside of space-time. Any surviving consciousness has to exist outside of space-time to achieve true immortality — our universe eventually makes it so.

    The second law of thermodynamics describes this ending. All energy dissipates, making the universe very big , very lonely and very cold. When there’s no real perception of energy (the effect of dissipation in an expanding universe of finite energy), there’s no life. Everything decays, so eventually there will be no free energy and life has to end — that’s the way I look at it, anyway. I should have made it more apparent by stating that my examination of “life” applies to the entire universe — not just Earth.

    Comment by James Carlson — April 13, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  32. avatar

    I find near death experiences to be very interesting. I personally have never had a near death experience but I have had an out of body experience-many actually. I have not read of another experience like mine but I’m sure it can’t be unique. I was in the hospital for surgery. Obviously they
    had already given me my pre-op to make me drowsy and less anxious. The next thing I remember I am
    parked on a gurney outside of the surgical suite and though I was ‘asleep’ my physical body was standing
    beside my sleeping form on the gurney. I could therefore see the bright lights of the surgical area and I
    could hear the clanging of metal instruments on a a metal table. I could also hear staff members in the
    surgical suite talking back and forth. My awake form standing at the bedside could see that I was covered
    by a sheet that was tucked tightly. My hair was covered with a hairnet. I had never seen a surgical suite before and had no idea what to expect. It would be some years later when I was a nursing student
    that I saw the very surgical suite I was parked at and everything I had seen was correct including the
    staff taking me to the surgical suite and we got off the elevator at the back side which was to be used just for surgical patients going to surgery and for the hospital staff.

    Comment by Drenda S. — April 17, 2012 @ 5:29 am

  33. avatar

    Stephen:

    I just read about a case yesterday that involved an NDE with supposedly no brain activity: Eban Alexander, M.D, an academic neurosurgeon. He contracted a form of meningitis which very few survive and spent 7 days in a coma with no measurable activity in his cerebral cortex. His brain stem was also damaged from the infection. I don’t know if his brain stem also had no activity while in the coma. He had a profound NDE and other paranormal conscious experiences which he remembers while effectively brain dead. He could not breathe on his own and was on life support. It seems that just before he was to be disconnected from life support he started having brain activity and regained consciousness. He says that he tried to explain what happened by existing knowledge of the brain and consciousness but could not. This has changed how he sees neurosurgery, the definition of death, meaning of life, etc. This should be a good case to look into. He is an expert on the subject of brain science.

    Comment by NIMNL — April 18, 2012 @ 3:21 am

  34. avatar

    If anyone knows the details of it, I would like to know whether or not NDEs have been examined from other cultures, and if so, what are the primary characteristics encountered. So many NDEs that I’ve heard of could be explained as cultural responses to stressful situations. This assessment ought to be easy enough to prove or at least suggest by simply examining NDEs originating within other cultures. Has anybody ever tried to examine this aspect? I ask, because such a stressful environment centered around India has ocassionally resulted in past-life memories; past-life beliefs, however, are more typical of Asian belief systems. Is there a valid reason for this? If anyone does know of such experiences, please let me know. On a related note, I find it kind of difficult to get past the fact that NDEs tend to occur during periods in which the subject is fundamentally under the influence of drugs, sleep, or the biological effects of dying. That doesn’t mean I believe such incidents are false, only that the characteristics they have defined are entirely one-sided, cannot be tested, and can be explained as mental constructs. As for me, I haven’t decided one way or another.

    Comment by James Carlson — April 18, 2012 @ 5:41 am

  35. avatar

    I am deeply fascinated by this subject, regardless of having my own beliefs about what death means. What I find interesting is the way in which most everyone, nonbelievers, skeptics and believers alike, are comfortable with calling the beliefs of others delusions but balk at having that label applied to them. Since we can not prove that any of these positions/beliefs/arguments are correct they are all 3 belief systems. There is far and away much more we do not and will not ever know about the death state when we are so very caught up in the living state, and our own egos are screaming at us that we must be right . It’s as nebulous to determine when life ends as it is to pinpoint the moment when it begins, or for that matter what the levels of consciousness are as we approach and move beyond the boundaries of life.
    I loved reading this discussion, I don’t often get to participate in this type of thing as I’m disabled. As I approach my own death with increasing rapidity, I find the desire for answers wanes and the fascination with the possibilities of what is to come increases.

    Comment by Karen — April 18, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

  36. avatar

    @James,

    I have in my personal library a book about the Comanche Native American culture based on audio interviews conducted by the University of Oklahoma in the 1930s. There are two narratives where NDEs are described and are consistent with what is currently described by those who have had a NDE.

    Drug induced effects may be a factor for some, but it does not explain all NDEs as those who have had sudden cardiac arrest (asystole) and have been revived solely by chest thump or defibrillation absent of any cardiac medication induction have had a NDE. With that said, the question of the biological manifestation of the dying process with the flooding of the brain with neurotransmitters and/or metabolic compounds can not be overlooked and discounted.

    Is this simply the natural physiological consequence of the dying process (similar to the effects of the flooding of calcium ions causing rigor mortis)…or is this a pre programmed neurological effect that is inherit in all of us with a specific purpose?

    Comment by Tim Hebert — April 18, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  37. avatar

    Very interesting; would you please let me know the basics (title, date, etc.) regarding the Comanche Native American interviews? Do you know if transcripts are available online? IRT: “physiological consequence of the dying process”, that’s what I was referring to as the “biological effects of dying”. Unfortunately, I have no idea what those might be, nor the methodology involved that might suggest such a cause for NDEs.

    Comment by James Carlson — April 19, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  38. avatar

    James,

    The book is titled, “The Comanches, Lords of the South Plains” published in 1952 by the University of Oklahoma Press. Authored by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel.

    I bought the book back in 1992 (I believe Barnes and Noble, but not totally sure) and have used it as a reference for studies in ancient religion and Native American cosmology beliefs. The original interviews were conducted back in 1932 by the Ethnological Field Study Group of the Santa Fe Laboratory of Anthropology. Check the University of Oklahoma online sites, it may be referenced there, but not totally sure.

    The purpose of the study was to catalog the Comanche language and its culture by those then tribal members that had been born in the mid to late 19th century. It’s interesting from a sociological point. As far as most Native American religious beliefs, it was frustrating trying to find the original belief systems that had not been corrupted by Christian missionaries. This is not a slam against the missionaries (I’m a Christian), but I have to admit that Christian theology had covertly infiltrated the belief systems in one fashion or another rendering any study of original native american belief systems difficult.

    The Ghost Dance is a prime example as it was based on a Christian apocalyptic view, by a Paiute prophet named Wovoka (Jack Wilson) which was adapted to then Native American spirituality…perform the dance and the white man would eventually go away. The Ghost Dance (Circle Dance) had been around for centuries, but the missionary influence on Wilson allowed him to adapt an apocalyptic view towards use of the dance. History records the outcome…Wounded Knee and other incidents.

    Comment by Tim Hebert — April 20, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  39. avatar

    An interesting video. It seems much more than a hallucination, fabrication, or meaningless, delusion but more a realization of how reality may actually be structured. http://nhneneardeath.ning.com/video/jim-macartney-describes-his

    Comment by NIMNL — April 28, 2012 @ 5:14 am

  40. avatar

    I fear this article is the start of a something too big to come to a conclusion to at this point based on what knowledge science has…if it does then I fear this site is misleading people. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into another skeptical “commandment” of scientific rationalism based on limited evidence so that someone(s) ego is stroked. We don’t know what gravity is, but now someone is going to explain what consciousness is? I don’t think so. We’ll see if a more middle path conclusion is reached or not.

    Comment by Rob — April 30, 2012 @ 6:14 am

  41. avatar

    Rob, relax…

    Its a great topic, one that has been contemplated since time immortal. The concept of “death” can be discussed on a clinical/patho-physiological level (In my practice, I’ve care for those actively dying) and on a philosophical/theological level. I still harbor a modicum of dualism…a minority in my field, so I tend to look at both concepts of dying and consciousness.

    Yet, in the end…we know nothing about the final outcome of the question, only speculation and correlations, ie NDEs. I can describe death and the dying-process from an observational standpoint, yet the survial of consciousness falls squarely in the subjective range regardless of ones view point.

    Comment by Tim — April 30, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  42. avatar

    Then again……..even though they have absolutely no theory as to what causes consciousness or what everyone takes to be consciousness supposedly smart rationalists and “reductionists” steadfastly claim there is no such thing as consciousness, no such thing as free will. They have no real theory or explanation yet they have very strongly held and expressed opinions. They don’t have real proof yet they have strong opinions. This is nothing other than a case of skeptics or reductionists having opinions……just opinions. So there are mere opinions, when you come down to it, and subjectivity on that side too. Personally, my daily “research” tells me that I am conscious and have free will, no matter what some “expert” wants to tell me.

    I find it all very interesting that self professed experts in the 21st century still don’t know what consciousness is or whether or not it exists. Even more ridiculous to me…..and telling against so called “realism”….. is that scientifically it has not even been considered rational or career enhancing to even study or discuss the subject. That seems like prejudice, bias, and willful ignorance to me. Not rational science.

    The specific thing we are posting about here is connected to the concept and explanation of consciousness. Also, if in this late age, we cannot really say anything scientifically about what consciousness is or if it exists……how can we be so sure that it cannot somehow exist separately from the body when a straight forward interpretation of some people’s experiences says just that.

    I don’t see anything as being proven on either side. It is a difficult subject. You can choose to see it either way. I see subjectivity on both sides of the issue. I do see the possibility of an alternate existence of consciousness……especially when what we do know is so incomplete. But I also sense fear and disdain on the “rationalist” side for the possibility of NDE’s.

    What is happening is that reductionist scientists are making the seemingly logical assumption that we are our bodies. That generates consciousness. That is all. This sounds logical and like common sense. Logically that is my first assumption. Then again I find it very difficult to explain or ignore the completely lucid, and profoundly meaningful experiences of the people who relate these stories; especially when the things they relate seem to actually make sense from an ethical point of view.

    Keep in mind that quantum mechanics and what we know of the very small and the very fast and the nature of time itself departed completely from common sense over 100 years ago. It is possible that this could also apply to consciousness.

    I say publish what you seems to make sense (based on a completely limited and cursory skimming of the subject) and post what you want in response to add more clarity or contrary and relevant ideas.

    Comment by NIMNL/NEMO — May 1, 2012 @ 6:24 am

  43. avatar

    Tim I think I understand what you are saying. The near death experience may be inside or outside consciousness…the experience obviously “exists”. So then we’re at the a point of what is this article really going to investigate. It “can’t” tell you what happens when you die–other than speculate, so that’s done. So now is it going to look at NDEs? Are NDEs inside or outside the consciousness circle? So from the examples I saw it will go after what the brain does that simulates these experiences.

    Will DMT be brought into this also? Do we now have a chemical as the cause? Can we go the reductionist mode and ask: “why does this chemical exist?”. Why did the energy of the universe create such a chemical with such effects? Random? As a function to fool conscious mammals so they don’t commit suicide in a meaningless universe before they procreate? Is the meaning of life to keep reproducing until higher levels of intelligence are manufactured before all universal energy dissipates? Is getting “smarter” really all this is about in a reductionist sense…be it human or cyborg? Build a better machine to what end?

    I may be going off on a tangent but I think “what happens when you die” turns more into: why do we live? Who is to say that intelligence didn’t already find a way to live forever–we tend to think of ourselves and this “time” as the starting point. What if someone “out there” or “back then” already accomplished the jump to mind over matter, or even mind creating matter? Speculation but I bring it up to keep the subject from becoming too human centered. I don’t know if God, Father Christmas, the Spaghetti Monster or some collective intelligence created “this”, but for being all so random there seems so much pattern and “push” to higher forms of patterns, that I wonder why the spark exists to reach complexity.

    I don’t know if we die. I’ve had an NDE and though not really “typical”, I certainly did not find it dream like and I did get a talking to either by my own brain or by something outside my brain–some type of intelligence was there with me. I won’t go into it, but the quick and dirty message/feeling I got was: get the most out of this experience and don’t hinder others in getting the most out of their own experience by your actions. Experience “this” was what it boiled down to, because “this” seems to be a need/function or desire of whatever is after “this”.

    Comment by Rob — May 2, 2012 @ 4:21 am

  44. avatar

    Rob, I’ve read a few NDE accounts that pretty much states your premise and mirror your experience. I’ve never had a patient “die” and be revived to give an accounting of an NDE, most were No Code situations and in the active dying process (a point of no return).

    Personally, I liked to think that the NDE is programmed. Perhaps part of our genetic code. Speculation on my part, plus the Catholic upbringing.

    Overall, I like your comment, a lot of introspection for all to contemplate!

    Comment by Tim — May 2, 2012 @ 5:40 am

  45. avatar

    Some things brought to mind from what Rob just posted: One of the things I find it difficult to reason away is how there could be “beings of light” with their own personality and characteristics which tell people things during these experiences. The messages are often quite similar, cogent, and uniform. How, and why could this be caused by brain chemicals and why would it happen through evolutionary selection? The whole NDE experience also seems much like a systematic process that some people remember going through.

    Then, speculating I have also wondered who or what could these immaterial beings of light be? Has this universe been around long enough that they could have evolved here? I doubt it. More than one stellar generation would be required just to to create the heavier elements to allow life to exist and start to evolve in the first place, let alone then evolve into immaterial or other dimensional beings. The universe has only been around for less than 2 solar life times based on our suns estimated age and expected life.

    Still complete speculation of course, but if they could not evolve within the age of this universe, could they have actually created the universe and entered it from an earlier one that was nearing heat death? Could they have custom designed it and fine tuned certain constants to allow life to exist and evolve within it? I’m just sayin’.

    Comment by NIMNL/NEMO — May 2, 2012 @ 7:50 am

  46. avatar

    O.K. this new bioethic lecture on NDEs at UW-Madison by a cardiologist specializing in NDE research is a must-view on this topic:

    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/2012/videos2012/vid1.html

    Nonlocal Consciousness: An Explanatory Model for the Near-Death Experience -
    Pim van Lommel, M.D.

    So yes this research has over 500 individuals with no brain waves having NDEs, contrary to the claim made in the comments about no brain waves being not documented. You’ll have to watch the lecture for the details about neocortex eeg versus consciousness, etc.

    Now I have personally researched similar scenarios that are touched on in this lecture that ascribes to non-local consciousness based on the empirical NDE data. In other words certain chemicals like DMT apparently produced by the pineal gland but also in plants — or like Salvia Divinorum — also certain meditation practices. This is not to limit NDEs in anyway — only that death is not the only path to seeing what consciousness really is about in the spirit realm. I recommend this study http://springforestqigong.com verified as real by the Mayo Clinic’s randomized, controlled research and the energy master heals spirits all the time — dead people that exist as coherent light forms shaped like humans. I have seen these dead spirits as yellow lights shaped like humans — floating in from outside and hovering around the qigong master to get healed and what I saw was corroborated by qigong master Chunyi Lin.

    So I realize this topic is a big leap for people but amazingly the NDE research is coming along nicely. The skeptiko podcast does a good job debating the NDE issue but tends to get bogged down in details while losing the overall framework of evidence verified now for the first time in the above bioethics video link.

    All I can say is until people watch this new video on NDEs then they are not fully aware of the amazing evidence out there. As for a great initiation into people’s NDEs watch the cable show “I Survived: Beyond and Back” on the biography channel on Sunday nights — amazing, riveting information about the after life. Yes Hell and Heaven are real….and more. I know this is a slippery subject and of course there are fraudulent mediums with the afterlife, etc. but this NDE bioethics vid is excellent.

    Comment by drew hempel — May 7, 2012 @ 5:00 am

  47. avatar

    The creator did not leave humans without knowledge concerning what happens to a person when they die ,or put otherwise, ” what is the condition of the dead”. In his inspired word God makes it clear what is meant by death. Genesis 2:7 says God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. Note that the living soul was only brought into existence after God sort of activated it with a life-force. The life-force is kept active by eating, breathing, keeping your body health and so-forth. IF the body is starved of these life-supporting factors, the life-force operating inside our bodies or more precisely our cells ceases to be active and we cease to be alive. For you to understand, let us use a theoretical model, the way the life-force operates is analogous to the way electricity operates in electrical appliances. Take for example a fan, when you put the switch on, it runs and when you switch of or if there is some load-shedding the fan stops running gradually.
    Now, if you want to accept the bible as inspired of God, check Genesis 2:17. This is the first instance when death is mentioned to humans. Jehovah God tells Adam that death will be punishment for disobedience. There is no afterlife that is mentioned by the Creator to His son Adam. The only afterlife mentioned is a lie made to Eve by Satan through the serpent. Genesis 3:1-5 Satan is the one who lies to a human that there is no such thing as death as mentioned by the Creator. In other words Satan was saying God had not disclosed the truth to his human creation about death. But what happened afterwards, God came along and told Adam that since he had chosen to disobey Him, he was positively going to die. Death is exactly what the Almighty Creator meant, “BEFORE ADAM WAS CREATED HE WAS NON EXISTENT, AND DEATH MEANT THAT HE WOULD GO BACK INTO THAT CONDITION OF BEING NON-EXISTENCE, DEPRIVED OF LIFE”. Verify with Jehovah’s own words as recorded at Genesis 3:19.
    Ezekiel 18:4 confirms that the Soul (Hebrew – nephesh) actually dies. But why?, because the soul is not something separate from the being. The soul is the being. At death, there is no part of the person that survives. There is no part that continues to exist after death. In fact all consciousness stops as indicated at Ecclesiastes 9:5,& 6. If you read the chapter further at verse 10, the inspired writing teaches us wisdom by encouraging us to do everything in our power while we are alive because once we are in the grave it will be too late to plan anything. This means once we are in the grave, we are unable to even help our loved ones who are still alive.
    Psalm 89:48 says the soul dies and sleeps in the grave (Hebrew – Sheol)
    Pslam146:3-4 teaches us more wisdom. It discourages us from putting our trust in other humans, why, because humans are prone to death at anytime. In addition, the scripture says that at death all a human’s thoughts perish.
    For now let me end here. If anyone is interested to know or to acquire an ACCURATE truth about various other subjects including even prophesy i have all the special information. I am a special messenger carrying out a special assignment here on earth and i have been around for a couple of years. Please not that i did not bump into this network discussion by chance. Take this as a good opportunity to conquer death. If you are really interest, i will not just tell you the familiar saying that “just repent and you will be saved” but i will give an accurate truth of what you must do!.

    Comment by sim moyo — May 11, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  48. avatar

    That’s a great overview of the traditional Old Testament take on death but there is a secret reading of the Bible that belies this oblivion of God. If you read “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda we find that Sri Yukteswar explains how the serpent is the kundalini sex life force energy traveling up the spine. The apple is the life force energy. The Tree of Life is where the life force energy is stored in the lower body — below and behind the navel where the vagus nerve meets the reproductive organs. O.K. so the Tree of Knowledge is in the center of the brain which is referred to in the gospels with the statement: “Let thy Eye be Single.” This refers to the pineal gland as the secret means to spirit travel out of the body. God then in Genesis actually serves as the Solar ritual priest that keeps this secret knowledge from Adam and Eve — keeps people in the dark — by literally shutting off the heart from the harmony of Heaven and Earth. This is the secret of Freemasonry as mass ritual sacrifice through the “separation of Heaven and Earth” with Heaven being the Tree of Knowledge in the brain-heart connection and the Tree of Life being Earth. So Earth became Hell as the modern human has shut off their vagus nerve life force connection to the heart. The right side vagus nerve goes down to the reproductive organs as the internal female orgasm while the left side vagus nerve goes to the heart.

    I go into the details of the training to harmonize the Tree of Life with the Tree of Knowledge in my blog — yes I agree with your analysis. God as the ritual priests using mass ritual sacrifice wanted to keep the knowledge away from humans so that they could be controlled as healthcare is the number one civilian cost. Using tantra love healing is accessible to anyone if they can solve this secret of Genesis. Also the Muslim view that the “aliens” or “extraterrestrials” are actually the jinn as the spirit possession of the body is true — since without the harmony of the Tree of Life with the Tree of Heaven then the electromagnetic spirit of a person is stuck in their sex center and so the person is controlled by the lower emotions of lust, anger, worry, fear, sadness.

    Comment by drew hempel — May 23, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  49. avatar

    Just a note about NDE’s with no brainwave activity: Every case of an NDE after cardiac arrest was an NDE with no EEG activity, no brainwaves. Consciousness is supposed to end 20 seconds or less after cardiac arrest. EEG measurements are supposed to be flat at that time. I think I said this earlier but it was effectively hidden in everything else I wrote around it.

    Comment by NIMNL/NEMO — May 24, 2012 @ 5:03 am

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