Traditional Science, pre-NDEs and Classic NDEs.
I trained as a scientist and I am a fan of traditional, evidence-based science, which has achieved an amazing amount by a fairly rigid application of the Scientific Method. However, if the boundaries of knowledge are to be extended, it is appropriate for science to loosen up a bit in a number of fields – NDEs being one.
Science already helps us to comprehend pre-NDEs and will open doors to deeper understanding in this area year by year as our knowledge of the dying brain moves forward. However, some scientists hope to explain away all NDEs in terms of brain activity. Some cannot even conceptualise memories forming outside the brain because their prior experience has been memories forming within the brain – any more than scientists of earlier eras could conceptualise continents drifting, a hypothesis that they ridiculed year after year; none-the-less, continents continue to drift.
Science becomes severely limited when it comes to probing post-separation NDEs in the spirit world, as its scope is sadly tied almost exclusively to the material Universe. It does not need to be so to the extent that it is, but its development has been such that to theorise and investigate outside of the material box is a difficult challenge, but one that hopefully more and more research scientists will accept. There are constraints in doing so. For example, the self-imposed requirement for reproducibility – it is obviously difficult to conduct reproducible experimentation in a parallel but linked spirit world out of human control.
Dr Michael Marsh 11 and Dr Sam Parnia 12 express an important point of view when they argue that a dead brain doesn’t make memories. Nevertheless, NDEs have produced provable memories of events happening around the corpse and afterwards.
Resuscitation specialist Dr Sam Parnia 12 explores the significance of this:
We know from clinical tests that the brain doesn’t function after death, therefore you can’t even hallucinate. It’s ridiculous to say that NDE people are hallucinating because you have to have a functioning brain. If I take a person in cardiac arrest and inject them with LSD, I guarantee you they will not hallucinate.
Remember, NDEs beyond the OBE stage happen outside of the brain’s immediate proximity.
Despite the huge difficulties, certain scientists are interested in how consciousness survives beyond death and are turning their attention to a study of NDEs. Sam Parnia is one. Regarding NDEs he said during an interview 12: ‘As a scientific community we have tried to explain these away, but we haven’t been successful.’ He points out that the brain might be dead for a time, or damaged, but nevertheless if the patient is revived, the consciousness may return unchanged. This indicates that consciousness probably exists beyond the brain.
I don’t believe that your consciousness is annihilated when you reach the point of death. How far does it continue? I don’t know. But I do know that at least in the period of time in which we can bring people back to life, that entity of the human mind has not been annihilated.
On the 7 October 2014 Sam Parnia 13 published the results to date of the AWARE study, involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals, the biggest study of its kind of NDEs. It raises issues for further study, and it quotes individual cases. In particular, the case of one carefully investigated patient caught my attention. This patient reported ‘memories of visual awareness compatible with so called out-of-body experiences’ that corresponded with actual events. This validation by scientists of what thousands of NDErs have already reported may prove a game changer for the thinking of some scientists. The AWARE study also suggested that ‘A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.’
Society is being impacted by a growing awareness of the afterlife, and good information is needed to set appropriate social, moral and spiritual compasses here on Earth, such that people are not led down blind alleys regarding matters of life after death.
To do this, we need to lay bare the essentials of each stage of an NDE as best we can, beginning with the mysterious pre-NDE.
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