Does it only exist during life? Or also before, after and in between lives?
Part 1 in a developing series on Consciousness. Part 2 is What is Consciousness?
Scott Smith is the type of journalist who is fast becoming one of my favorite kinds of people — the freelance journalist. He is the author of “God Reconsidered: Searching for Truth in the Battle Between Atheism and Religion.” In this piece he dives straight into the world of life after death, avoiding the hype on the one hand, while on the other hand not hesitating to grip the facts — whichever way they may fall.
In a Huffington Post article called “Is There Evidence of Life After Death?” Smith lays out some investigative conclusions. Conclusions which fly in the face of the often dismissive comments that the brain is somehow firing up a super-chemical soup of ecstasy for the dying patient. My own opinion on that is, “Okay?”
In other words, brain chemicals and subjective (perhaps even clinical) observations are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Have we truly become so unflinchingly dualist that we can’t conceive of two things being true simultaneously?
The Pauli Exclusion Principle says, two identical fermions (matter particles) can’t occupy the same quantum state. In simple terms, two identical things can’t occupy the same space. — Source
Ideas occupying the same space, however, is far different than physical matter occupying the same space. Yet, I think our scientific objectivists can become overly rigid, subconsciously carrying a physical way of thinking about the world into a place and space where physical rules don’t necessarily cross over.
“Karlis Osis, a noted physics professor, and Erlendur Haraldsson, a clinical psychologist carefully examined 5,000 cases of death-bed visions for nearly two decades starting in 1959. These were culled from observations by 17,000 physicians and nurses.”
- Patients who were given painkilling drugs were not more likely to have such visions than those who were not.
- Brain malfunctions were more likely to reduce such visions.
- A history of using psychoactive drugs did not increase the likelihood of these visions.
- There was no evidence that a lack of oxygen induced the visions.
- Stress played no role in predicting which patients would see “the dead.”
- Whether the patient believed in an afterlife did not matter.
- In some cases, the death-bed visions came to people who did not know they were dying.
Is There Evidence of Life After Death?
To listen to skeptics, only the gullible masses believe in an afterlife, desperate to be reunited with loved ones. As…
If we want to explore proof of an afterlife, we must first get past our pre-conceived notions that it is impossible to prove. You can’t prove water is wet without first allowing for the possibility that wet exists.
In Beyond: On Life After Death, Fred Frohock attempted to weigh the evidence objectively and concluded:
The problem with the materialist explanation that NDEs are a purely neurological reaction to the stress of death is that we would have to stretch the powers of the brain to new and unproven levels of achievement. The weight of the likelihood, of possibilities, seems to be in favor of transcendent experiences, although NDEs could be both transcendent and part of the physical world.
In this case, it strikes me as an odd, unscientific behavior, that when science is forced into making uncomfortable scientific leaps versus gathering available evidence that tends to appear subjective, the scientist seems to prefer the comfort of the uncomfortable. It’s this whole notion of rejecting the subjective because it’s not deemed objective… even when it is approached objectively.
Clearly the field of the paranormal has its share of imposters. But so does science, religion, business and politics. Using false flags as an excuse to ignore evidence is weak logic.
There comes a point when the approach of, “Just give me the facts, and only the facts,” becomes self-defeating, particularly when the facts being presented are not necessarily bound by physical laws, and sharing as they do common experiences and occurring across a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.
Where is Consciousness?
This is an essential question.
As early as the 1980s, the ability of consciousness to affect matter was being discovered and revealed. At the same time, the old, well established paradigm that the mind was restricted to the brain was beginning to be demolished. Consciousness was not only being viewed as residing throughout the entire body, it was being viewed as extending beyond the body. These were highly disruptive propositions.
If we were to assume these theories to be true, the implications — as we begin to bore into substantial experiments in the field — begin to reveal that the nature of reality is formed by consciousness. The implications of this catapult us far past parroting eastern mysticism and its teachings of ‘oneness’, because science forces us to delve into day-to-day, practical ramifications. It brings us front and center with the far-reaching effects of our own will. We are what we — and others, collectively — will.
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” — Max Planck
What comes first? Consciousness or the brain? Isn’t that one of the essential questions? For if consciousness comes first, if mind exists before brain, then the manner in which we approach the concept of life after death gets turned upside down.
Current science is overrun with a reductionist materialistic reasoning. In this paradigm, consciousness is a quirk of our biology, contained safely within our brains and completely separate from the objective physical world outside. The arrogantly named ‘pure sciences’ such as physics, chemistry and biology regard consciousness as some philosophical backwater, completely irrelevant to the job of understanding the ‘real universe’ which, according to them, can and would function just as well without consciousness at all. — Dean Radin, Ph.D.
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I can see both sides of the coin, because while at times it is correct to disparage a scientific approach that is overly conservative and too limited and constrained by approaching everything purely physically, it is also highly appropriate to give science a chance to peel away the physical and discover what is hidden beneath.