(to whom I am truly grateful he had, shared and is changed by his experience)
While it was lightly touched on in RT's topic- The Ultimate Joke!
this topic will (likely) provide spoilers for those who have not read Dr Eben Alexander's book 'Proof of Heaven', it (from my perspective) will play with the irony & humour that he mentions in his book, and in a 'funny-serious' way apply it to his book, and the conclusions he's outlined in finding proof for himself of Heaven as a ....what? exactly?
For those who have read the book I hope this can be a 'light' discussion area based on questions in it, and of it. One that need not separate to an extent of being at odds, the physical from the spiritual, or the science from the experience, or the evidence from the criticism, or the believing in and scepticism of, or all of these and all of our perspectives vice versa and whichever combination they fall or travel.
For those who haven't read the book, what you'll read here will be out of context and missing large elements of his perspective / experience and understanding of it, but that doesn't stop you asking or answering questions - remembering that it's without the wider perspective that includes his, if that makes sense. It is an easy read, his own personal journey with understandings from his perspective before, during and after this experience, and if you have an interest and an openness in enquiry I do recommend it as his perspectives.
Above all, I really like that he realised that when he thought he had been kindly, sceptical and scientific in his approach to such things prior to his own experience, afterwards he realised that many who believe them self to be scientifically sceptical are the reverse of actually questioning and examining - to question is to be open to, to examine is to take things seriously and to explore, to be sceptical in ridicule or non-consideration, or in shutting down perspectives, is not questioning, it's arrogant (okay the arrogant bit is my words, not his arrogance believes it already has the only 'right' answer, ignorance doesn't even know it doesn't know, and true scepticism and agnosticism knows it does not know and is open to examining all perspectives on / of a thing.
It has shocked many here that I still do not know if my / his / others' nde's are 'proof' of life after death, or even more so whether clair ability accurate information sharing with those who are definitely dead in terms of the earthly physical body they once inhabited no longer being a viable vehicle - for me science doesn't have the answers yet, and yet, I still 'feel' that science is missing something, whether that something is physical, or spiritual, I don't know.
In essence he agrees, except that he seems to be leaning that his experience proved to him that 'heaven' exists after death - whatever that might be.
He says it thus -
irony/humour... a bit like he "knows" the parameters of most skeptics.(P132 after the event as he struggles with concepts and information in books, philosophies etc that had been there before his experience but that he'd never looked at before passing judgement on the experiences of others, even his own patients... and never realised how closed he had been to this body of knowledge that has been calling out for science to pay attention.)
.............. (I'm adding CAPS and other 'things' so folks don't get confused about what he's actually saying....)
Quite simply, I'd never held myself open to the idea that there MIGHT be anything genuine to the idea that SOMETHING survives the death of the body. I was the quintessential good-natured, albeit skeptical, doctor.
And as such I can tell you that most skeptics aren't really skeptics at all. To be truly skeptical one must examine something, and take it seriously. And I, like many doctors, had never taken the time to explore NDEs. I had simply "known' they were impossible.
Another irony...seriously-funny / humorously-serious nuance after reading it, brave and honest and wonderful as his explanation of it is....
I'm (me, moi, I), having now read his book, am leaning even more towards 'human experience' than 'heaven experience' for an explanation, of his and my own experience - albeit most would have to have a serious rethink of what it is to be human and where/when/what it is we are 'being' within
... and that 'spoiler' part that Sighclone mentions in RT's topic, is an important part of that not being 'proof' that could not be explained another way, for me.
Not the only part, I've written notes and highlighted all over the book, with questions and comments, but while some may take it to be additional 'proof' for me it's an important part of not proving it ... in the respectful open-questioning scepticism that he asks for, with an understanding & empathy of how one makes parts of a puzzle 'fit' absolutely without any dishonourable intention. His explanation is one possibility, but through my own travels & experiences and balancing as a sceptic-psychic, through exploring perspectives of psychology & psychiatry and spirituality, I know of another that could be more rationally supported by his own musings - not that I would be happy to burst that particular bubble, but ... it's possible.
As with all things of this though, my open scepticism is still open, his knowledge + experience is a bonus to the field of both experience and the study of it, by the nuances of human perspective, it still raises more questions than it answers, even in the notion of how could he not know 'that bit' of it when he had 'access' to 'all knowledge' and awareness? albeit yes, some knowledge does seem to be 'veiled' from us in the unfolding of experience.
- but there are definitely parts within it that are 'remarkable' (not sensational, but as in worthy of remark)
and verifiable both in scientific & psychic terms - for me - his recall and known interaction with Susan Reintjes - her not being in the room physically but with his accuracy of his 'cognition' of her 'contacting' him on his fourth & fifth nights of the coma and being part of the 'party' bringing him back from that consciousness to this one. (for me that's a gazillion 'yum' even if it proves nothing either way) It gives credence to other studies of the like.
and the irony, seriously-innocently-funny in that the good doctor admits (yay!! for me, finally!!!!) the shortcomings of neuroscience currently, and misguided 'premise' in medicine and science generally in understanding this as an experience, and how prejudice through bias and unwillingness to be truly innocently, questioningly sceptical we miss things that can be right on the tip of our noses -
and then by the shortcomings of neuroscience he dismisses neurological possibilities that may possibly just not be fully understood by neuroscience correctly because of educational bias and pre-judice and unwillingness to discuss these things with 'laymen' who haven't been 'brainwashed' in fields of science or religion and how to think about them without question. (ahem, with sceptism)
eg: factor in our bias of what is basic and what is sophisticated in terms of our biology - a craftsman in love with his craft makes a complex thing look simple, an ego-problem driven person makes the simple look like a big drama, what if parts of our brain do the same and we've overlooked things in their processing capacity?
eg: factor in the pathways and understanding of savant abilities for information processing ala 'all knowledge' collapsed & life reviewing
eg: factor in Dr Jill's stroke - right brain takeover experience for the expansion of our oneness feeling,
eg; factor in the REALITY of accurate information sharing through clair abilities and empath ranges as picking up frequencies across multiple dimensions of 'now' if you eliminate time & space as finite etc etc
What do you think? I do have quite a few pointed areas where the irony / humour of both 'arguments' and evidence & criticisms are ignited in / by things in this book and in wider fields of study, but I'm not a scientist, or an 'authority' so I'd love lots of other perspectives to join in and discuss - reasonably - things he raises, who knows where it could go.. for all we know it could become a discussion about the effects of adoption