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February 06, 2011


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you admit you do not know what happens after death. Stop there! it is UN-known right??

You know people die though that you know. You must also know that people are born then, right? Where does that life come from? Do you know? Or are you as un-conscious of it as the exist?

What about NDEs where people DO report experience after body is 'dead'...what about that?

What about supposed contact with spirits of the dead?

I am not saying yea or nay, I am saying 'dont know' But i feel its deeper 'I dont know' than your 'I dont know', because I am aware of anomalies I canot explain.

"The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain," which persuasively argues that near-death experiences are entirely physical, a passage from Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" is used to show how the brain distorts the passage of time in a stressful situation.'

why do you say his brain 'distorts the passage of time'. This assumption would mean that you believe YOUR interpretation of time as you see it is the 'right' one? HOW do you know that?

You assume a Big Bang? But how do you KNOW THAt isn't a myth, yet you seem to accept that without any doubt

What I am saying is is that I feel your dedicated repugance to the 'afterlife' and 'religion' refelcts more the ACCEPTED patriarchal notions of religion and spirituality and science rather than a Pagan religious understanding.

But who am I?

Juliano, I accept the big bang because there is lots of evidence for it. Where is the evidence for God or the supernatural? Just because people claim that something is true, doesn't mean it is true. Imagination isn't reality; thoughts aren't the way things really are. We need to go beyond the confines of our subjective minds.

Near-death experiences can be explained by how the brain reacts to stressful situations. That's the subject of the book I mentioned in this post. It's by a neurologist who has studied near-death experiences and finds no evidence that anything supernatural or out-of-body is going on.

Before God is invoked as an explanation for what is unknown, it's important to look at simpler scientific explanations first. People who don't know much about science often make this mistake. For example, it is entirely possible for something to come out of what appears to be nothing. See:

Juliano - it is not called a Near Death Experience for nothing. Near Death is not death. Anyone who reports an NDE is alive, and therefore, could not have been dead.

There is no experience of being dead, and, therefore, nothing to report.

Willie R. -- exactly. This is the precise point that the neurologist makes in his book about near-death experiences. Even other MD's who talk about this subject usually don't understand very well how the brain works.

People can be aware, even when it seems that they are at death's door. The brain can survive loss of blood and oxygen for a while, so "brain death" isn't what many people, even doctors, consider it to be.

Juliano: "What about NDEs where people DO report experience after body is 'dead'...what about that?"

when i read that, my response was pretty much the same thing as willie r., but he beat me to it.

NDEs are NOT death. the body and brain are not actually dead. dead means DEAD. its not the same as 'near-dead'. nobody ever has actually died, meaning totally dead, and lived to tell about it. almost dying, is just not the same as total death. so all these claims that are predicated upon "near-death" experiences, simply do not prove there is life after death. period.

but thats not to say that the totality of 'existence' does not continue on existing.

Which brings up some interesting concerns ref. organ donations. If absence of a heart beat and brain flat-lining are not indisputable signs of death then what? Most people who lived to tell the tale of death were declared clinically dead in the absence of brain and/or heart function. But if doctor's wait until rigor mortis sets in to make sure the potential donor isn't still lurking about in the brain somewhere the organs may prove unusable.

I'd pay a psyhcologist to help me reframe the experience so
I don't feel like a victim of my own ignorance and niavete

The creation is one big resounding belly laugh and religion - like science - or any vain pursuit of perfection (truth, beauty, whatever), is just the side show of existence. Ideas of past and future are mythical fictions of a fictional creation by a fictional creator.

The question to ask with respect to organ donations as alluded to by jon weiss would be this: how many bodies with flat-lined EEG and absence of heart beat have recovered on their own, with no intervention by application of resuscitation techniques? If a body's vital functions are being monitored, that implies that it in a scenario where resuscitation techniques are available.
If the heart stops, there is no circulation. If there is no circulation, oxygen cannot reach the brain. Brain function lingers until oxygen is depleted. You can be confident that resuscitation involves getting oxygen to the brain, which, conventionally, involves getting the heart re-started and forcing oxygen into the lungs.
I would guess that NDE's are common among those whose EEGs were flat-lined and whose hearts had stopped and then were revivied. But I would bet my last nickel that during the flat-lined interval there is no experience whatsoever. Therefore, the near-death experience remains what it is called; experiences are generated by metabolic activity in the brain.

Death is very unpleasant, but only for the living.

We shouldn't waste it on imaginary things, imaginary pursuits, imaginary fantasies. We shouldn't waste it on religion.

Yes, but look at consciousness. It's hardly dealing soberly with the 'here and now'. Thought is a relentless, uncontrolled tsunami. Most are scarcely aware of their thoughts. Where and why and how do they arise... One moment useful but mostly insanely trivial or irrelevant. No idea where the segue will lead next. Sublimity, this moment; hell, the next.

Who can dismiss others' imagination, fantasy, or childish dreams when everyone's lost in thought. Or skewer religion as a useless opiate. The hope of heaven, or a savior, or a pony may be disciplines to stop mental trains in their tracks. And who says they can't or won't succeed.

Dungeness, you make some good points. Yes, most people always are thinking about something. And thoughts can comfort us in important ways.

I'd still argue, though, that there's a big difference between thinking about something that is possible, natural, attainable, conceivable (even minimally), and something that is wholly other-worldly, fantastical, and imaginary (like religion).

The first sort of thought can lead us in a fresh attainable direction; the second sort causes us to bump into dead ends where all we find is our own mental imaginations.

Just as we are not aware of antibodies fighting infection or the firing of neurons and how genes affect biological growth and the outcome of certain traits.These and a whole host of other bodily functions happen silently and invisibly.In other words they happen without our direct knowledge,totally bypassing our conscious state.Yet,vitally important for the survival of this body.Could it be possible?that something survives 'death', a 'soul or atman'without our knowledge in the same way as the above described unconscious body functions.This is pure speculation on my part.I don't know what happens after death,just like I don't know what if anything transpired before birth.If there is some transimigration of soul or whatever,then we are entirely in the dark about it,as its nature is on autopilot and undetectable,supposing there is such a thing.
Experientially all we ever know is the immediate presence.Conceptually we can project a past and a future,and extend those thought projections into 'past lives' and 'future rebirth'(BELIEFS).Personally I'm inclined to side on that death of the bmo is end of all experience as we know it.


We might not be aware of the antibodies, but we can see them with a microscope. Unfortunately a microscope has not been developed (yet?)that can detect a soul running about heart, or brain or wherever. Nor have we developed a telescope that can spot soul's fleeing the earth, aiming for the pearly gates of Andromeda (dodging the Devil Nebula) after this queer lil' body thing bites the dust.

All this business about past,present,future,existence and non-existence. And the why's and how's seems to be resolved at least temporarily evey night in deep dreamless sleep and intermittently between thoughts during the day. One day sooner or later there will be permanent resolution... :-)
And even if there are thoughts,still not a problem really unless identified with the content,even then...

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