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Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:47 pm
by KathleenBrugger
Webwanderer wrote:
Enlightened2B wrote:For me, I've noticed that it's the convincing nature of their stories and most of all and most importantly, how convinced they, themselves are,

Not trying to be argumentative here, but people can convince themselves of most anything with the right conditioning and motivation. The point is that a nine year old in the 1960's would have no way to have absorbed the type information into his/her brain to have hallucinated the experience that he had. It is clearly indicative that such experience could not be the result of an oxygen starved brain. The argument simply won't work.

If it cannot be some bizarre inexplicable brain function, then what is left? The best answer is that it most likely reflects a non-physical origin of being. I can think of no evidence to contradict it. That it is not a single event, and happens repeatedly, is yet more evidence of a genuine non-physical origin.

WW

What has been most persuasive for me is the affect of the people who I've seen talking in videos about their experiences. They are matter-of-fact, not trying to convince others, not afraid of seeming silly or soft-headed (woo-woo), etc. But your point is also well taken, ww, so I think you're right about the credibility of the 9 year old. In the same way, my mother's father was a chemical engineer who would have been one of the last people in my personal experience to have ever admitted to anything woo-woo. So when he told my mother he had had an NDE, I found it incredibly convincing. This man would never have admitted something like this, even to his daughter, unless there had been something really real about it. Yes, rt, some dreams have that quality of realness, but that brings in the other aspect of NDE reports that make them credible: the deep wisdom and powerful love that accompany the stories. Where did this come from? Many of the people who were reporting their NDE had never had a spiritual experience before, how did they access this understanding? Something happened.

Now for an NDE link from a completely different kind of source--the New York Review of Books. In their latest edition they have a survey of books about NDEs.The author describes himself as a skeptic but comes to the (to him) surprising conclusion that some of the first person accounts are sincere tellings of actual experiences:
Most of these narratives, however, despite details that may strike one as bizarre or just plain silly, are clearly sincere, and a number of them are cogent and convincing. That is, the reader—or at least this reader—is convinced that they represent a reality the author experienced and remembered. The range of backgrounds is very wide, the life stories and lifestyles dramatically divergent, and the tone of most of them generally unruffled and confident. And though accounts of heaven tend to pall after one has read thirty or so of them, the real-life stories of the narrators are frequently absorbing and often moving…

The recent spate of NDE books offers something more concrete: contemporary first-person reportage. If their authors are not liars, something happened to these people. But what? Can what they report, however unlikely it sounds, be reconciled with science, so that we can respect the phenomenon while rejecting its literal manifestations? These are questions for a second article.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:50 pm
by Enlightened2B
RT, Sam Harris is a well known materialist proponent of consciousness being brain based, just so you know. He's pretty adamant about this. He practices meditation and is well versed in eastern traditions, but argues vehemently against a primordial consciousness view of reality. I think you might be misinterpreting his views.

That aside, you're right, you don't need metaphysical experiences to come to the conclusion that you are the awareness beyond thought which is exactly what Sam Harris says and I would completely agree with you and him on that. But, that's completely different than saying 'consciousness comes from outside of the brain'. Awakening to awareness or presence/Being/Isness is the realization that you are not your thoughts and that you are that which witnesses the thoughts. Many mainstream scientists including Sam Harris completely agree with this notion of awakening as do I, yet they still argue that this is still not evidence that consciousness is primordial. How can you argue with that? When you completely throw out non-physical evidence for realities, you are solely trusting your direct limited experience of your human body to tell you that consciousness is non-dual, but your direct limited experience is just that....limited. Self inquiry is a wonderful tool for awakening, but there is no way that self inquiry alone can prove to me that consciousness is primordial. If you can prove that to me, I'd love to hear it and I mean that.

So, completely ignoring non physical evidence for realities such as NDE/OBE and chalking them up to the brain, how can you know with accuracy that the materialist paradigm (which claims that consciousness itself comes from the brain), is not equally as conclusive as the one you propose? Because there is no way to know.

There is no non-duality unless we agree that Consciousness comes from outside of the brain and unless you can prove that, saying that consciousness is non-dual is just an interpretation of your experience. That's where the study of the non-physical in my opinion open up the entire understanding.

Just to add here....the point I'm trying to make is that without the study of the non physical (NDE, OBE, etc) or a direct experience out of body, there is absolutely no way to know that consciousness is primordial. I agree with Kathleen below. As I indicated above, I think you've got Sam Harris all wrong. He's a hardcore materialist. Sam's arguments are exactly the arguments I'm making here. The only difference is that I feel it is more than likely that consciousness is primordial from tthe study of NDE's, while Sam refuses to acknowledge them and as a result, he believes that consciousness is a brain origin.

Just my take.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:57 pm
by KathleenBrugger
runstrails wrote:
Filander wrote: Most of the emerging, alternative models (often called "the new physics") strongly imply that our current understanding of life-before-death is largely based on unjustified assumptions. We may have to ditch many of them before we are able to frame further questions effectively.

I like Filander's take here. Exploring life-before-death can allow you to conclude that consciousness is primary. And you don't need metaphysical experiences for that. Sam Harris came to that conclusion, as did I. I've yet to read SAm's book though.

I liked Filander's take also--we still don't understand "life-before-death"! Perfect.

I have read Sam Harris' book. You say, rt, that Harris came to his conclusion without metaphysical experiences. That's what he would say, probably, but his first chapter reveals that to be a matter of interpretation. When he was a teen-ager he took Ecstasy and had what i would call a metaphysical experience. He had a transcendent experience of the universality of love, that love was a state of being, and he said this understanding shook his concept of what life could be. What should an experience like this be called? I think we're in the realm of semantics here.

Here's the relevant passage from his first chapter:
And then came the insight that irrevocably transformed my sense of how good human life could be. I was feeling boundless love for one of my best friends, and I suddenly realized that if a stranger had walked through the door at that moment, he or she would have been fully included in this love. Love was at bottom impersonal—and deeper than any personal history could justify. Indeed, a transactional form of love—I love you because…—now made no sense at all.

The interesting thing about this final shift in perspective was that it was not driven by any change in the way I felt. I was not overwhelmed by a new feeling of love. The insight had more the character of a geometric proof: It was as if, having glimpsed the properties of one set of parallel lines, I suddenly understood what must be common to them all.

The moment I could find a voice with which to speak, I discovered that this epiphany about the universality of love could be readily communicated. My friend got the point at once: All I had to do was ask him how he would feel in the presence of a total stranger at that moment, and the same door opened in his mind. It was simply obvious that love, compassion, and joy in the joy of others extended without limit. The experience was not of love growing but of its being no longer obscured. Love was—as advertised by mystics and crackpots through the ages—a state of being. How had we not seen this before? And how could we overlook it ever again?

I have to admit I was quite disappointed in Harris' book. I never knew for sure what he meant by "waking up" for example. And your claim that he thinks consciousness is primary, not so sure about that either.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:19 pm
by runstrails
Sorry, I thought I read that Sam Harris said that he thought consciousness was primary. Something on his blog that was linked from this forum. But I might have misread or misinterpreted. But I do agree with him that I would not interpret experiences such as he has described (and I've had several experiences like that --but not induced by drugs :D) as metaphysical. Just don't feel that it serves much purpose. And like Sam, because I've had these experiences and not made much of them, I'm a little skeptical when I hear of people making much of their experiences (doesn't mean that I disbelieve them though).

E2B wrote: That aside, you're right, you don't need metaphysical experiences to come to the conclusion that you are the awareness beyond thought which is exactly what Sam Harris says and I would completely agree with you and him on that. But, that's completely different than saying 'consciousness comes from outside of the brain'.


There is no 'outside' [the brain or anything else]. So I agree that 'you' are the awareness beyond thought--the awareness that contains all. (BTW, I tend to use awareness and consciousness interchangeably).

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:42 pm
by Enlightened2B
runstrails wrote:There is no 'outside' [the brain or anything else]. So I agree that 'you' are the awareness beyond thought--the awareness that contains all. (BTW, I tend to use awareness and consciousness interchangeably).


Here's how I see it. We know the universe existed before humans inhabited it. So, the implications of a world only projected by our brains would be that if we wiped off all human existence from the planet, the universe would vanish, which makes little sense to me.

Instead, consider that everything is already alive including the smallest particle all the way up to planets themselves (fractals upon fractals). There is life/awareness at every level of existence. Humans and their brains are just one highly evolved avenue of experience. The brain's purpose is for analytical thinking in a way that Awareness never could know itself previously and we will physically continue to evolve as time goes by. Therefore, as I see it, the world does not merely exist in our brains, but the brains are merely one avenue of experience, again, the highest evolved one on this physical plane. I'd say there is no objective reality really because every tiny, little thing in existence is an experiencing form that together co-creates this entire universe we falsely believe to be self existing separate from us, not realizing that there is consciousness at every single minute level. That's my take.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:03 pm
by runstrails
E2B wrote:
Instead, consider that everything is already alive including the smallest particle all the way up to planets themselves (fractals upon fractals). There is life/awareness at every level of existence. Humans and their brains are just one highly evolved avenue of experience. The brain's purpose is for analytical thinking in a way that Awareness never could know itself previously and we will physically continue to evolve as time goes by. Therefore, as I see it, the world does not merely exist in our brains, but the brains are merely one avenue of experience, again, the highest evolved one on this physical plane. I'd say there is no objective reality really because every tiny, little thing in existence is an experiencing form that together co-creates this entire universe we falsely believe to be self existing separate from us, not realizing that there is consciousness at every single minute level. That's my take.


Hi E2B,

Not sure I follow. I would not say my sock is conscious and neither is my shoe! Forgive my being facetious. I would say that only sentient beings are conscious and, of course, they are not limited to humans. But there is only one primary consciousness. Not hundreds of consciousnesses. I don't get the whole co-creator business, especially if one agrees there is no small-'self or I. But perhaps that is my Vedanta point of view. I'm a pretty hard-core non-dualist--(with an open mind naturally) :lol:.

But this thread is about NDE's, so apologies for straying.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:50 pm
by Enlightened2B
runstrails wrote:
Hi E2B,

Not sure I follow. I would not say my sock is conscious and neither is my shoe! Forgive my being facetious. I would say that only sentient beings are conscious and, of course, they are not limited to humans. But there is only one primary consciousness. Not hundreds of consciousnesses. I don't get the whole co-creator business, especially if one agrees there is no small-'self or I. But perhaps that is my Vedanta point of view. I'm a pretty hard-core non-dualist--(with an open mind naturally) :lol:.

But this thread is about NDE's, so apologies for straying.


I understand where you're coming from. I embrace your outlook as well. That's why I really don't like to use the word conscious because I think consciousness (human perception) arises in the brain, but Awareness (the knowing) is outside of the brain, kind of like the differentiation that Nisargadatta makes. What I am suggesting instead (as something merely to consider)....A sock is not conscious in the way that you and I are right here with human perceptions. But, instead, a sock is composed of matter. Particles themselves are not conscious either like you and I, but instead are aware of their environment just like a tree is aware of its environment in a completely different kind of way. There is a life force of aware energy that runs at the most micro of levels and extends to the universe as a whole. That level of aware energy varies from form to form from least evolved to highest evolved (human brain). Even a rock itself is alive in a different kind of way than we can comprehend as is the hair on your head as it too is composed of matter which is more aware energy (Source). It's all merely different ways for Source Awareness to know itself in the form of a tree, the form of a blade of grass, a caterpillar, with a human being the most evolved way to know itself intimately etc. It's not easy to comprehend for our analytical human minds, but this is what is reported in NDE's. I know it's far fetched and you can feel free to disagree with me :D After all, I don't cling to this perspective as an utter truth, but merely as a consideration. It's just a different way to look at it. Neither right nor wrong. But, this is where NDE's has changed my outlook greatly.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:36 am
by smiileyjen101
RT said:
Hi Jen, my colleague was not studying 'consciousness' per se--but using TMS for other purposes. So unfortunately, he probably did not ask these questions. But I've read that when the temporal lobe is stimulated, people can have religious/transcendental experiences (that they completely swear by--like NDE's)


sigh/thanks 'Trails. Do you not think it strange that the practitioner invoking these responses by applying electric currents to someone's brain did not ask the patient about their experience of it and take any reportage seriously?

I do.

It reeks to me of the same sort of closed mindedness that Eben Alexander used to apply to his patients when they spoke of the effects of things he would do to them, before he experienced the thing he always used to tell them was not 'real'.

It's the whole issue of asking the right questions - of having the courage to, of having the willingness to suspend your own beliefs, to really be scientific with open minded scepticism, rather than limit potentials and directions that a thing can go in.

For me there's a difference between unexplainable, unanswered, unsupportable, faith only based, dream-like experiences and, as has been said and quoted above, when the sincere reportage provides evidence that concrete information is available beyond the known capacity and personal knowledge of an individual - through these connections to and through a wider consciousness.

I may have a different interpretation of what is meant by 'religious/transcendental'. The antonym of transcendental in one dictionary says 'natural' and yet, I would argue that these states and access to them is entirely natural and the cloaks we've put around us in fear and denial are the unnatural. That the answers are already there if we bother to ask the right questions, melt those cloaks and the fears that somehow support a false notion of separation from all that is, and the distortions of power that come from those fears.

Basically the truth collapses faith in and respect for misuses of power evoked and harnessed in fear. Be that scientific, religious, political or cultural abuses of power.

These events for me are not 'religious' or 'unnatural', or drug induced or hallucinatory or religious. They are evidence based and supported, rather than faith based or supported. They could be scientifically investigated - if we ask the right questions. The information that comes through blow the false notions built in faith and fear and provide concrete facts in answer to questions one normally does not want to ask, in fear of the answers.

That has been a by-product point of my 'allowing' them.

It's easy to stay within dictated parameters of belief, just don't ask the questions that would provide the answers you don't want to hear. Easy to, easy not to.

When I 'played' with an EEG and responses came up as 'unusual', how different the outcome would have been IF the neurologist would have opened the door to honest, authentic discussion.

Science is only as wide as the awareness, capacity and willingness of the practitioners asking the questions.

Forgive me, it irks me that those who propose that they have the 'answers' don't have the balls to ask the right questions.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:19 am
by runstrails
Hi Jen,
Perhaps I should have made clear, my colleague does not work in consciousness research (neither do I). He is busy finding a cure for epilepsy. Science is not all bad :D. Now I wish we could hurry up and find a vaccine for Ebola!

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:18 am
by Clouded
You know how physicists say that nothing caused the big bang and that particles appear out of nowhere, disappear and then come back? Well you know where else things seem to pop up out of nowhere? Thoughts in your mind! So I also think it's possible that the whole entire universe is just a giant mind, that is aware of itself.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:24 am
by runstrails
Coming back to the topic of NDEs:

There is a study out this month which has examined a fairly large number of NDE's in a systematic way.
These are the media articles reporting the study:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 092108.htm
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 80195.html

The actual article is at the Journal of Resuscitation website :http://www.journals.elsevier.com/resuscitation/ under the heading Top Rated Articles.
(this appears to be a good journal by all accounts).
The study is called AWARE: AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation—A prospective study
You should be able to download it for free from the journal's website.
I did a fast read of the article and found it interesting that the authors were able to time the OBE/NDE for one patient (3 mins of earth time!)
They have a nice table of other experiences that the patients had too.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:53 am
by Enlightened2B
Thanks for posting RT. Nanci Danison who had one of the deepest NDE's recorded was apparently only out (earth time) for 15 minutes. It kind of boggles my mind.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:13 pm
by Onceler
Clouded wrote:You know how physicists say that nothing caused the big bang and that particles appear out of nowhere, disappear and then come back? Well you know where else things seem to pop up out of nowhere? Thoughts in your mind! So I also think it's possible that the whole entire universe is just a giant mind, that is aware of itself.


Nicely stated, Clouded.

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:05 pm
by KathleenBrugger
Onceler wrote:
Clouded wrote:You know how physicists say that nothing caused the big bang and that particles appear out of nowhere, disappear and then come back? Well you know where else things seem to pop up out of nowhere? Thoughts in your mind! So I also think it's possible that the whole entire universe is just a giant mind, that is aware of itself.


Nicely stated, Clouded.

Yeah I think it was very well-said also, Clouded!

Re: NDE article

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:14 pm
by KathleenBrugger
Enlightened2B wrote:
runstrails wrote:
Hi E2B,

Not sure I follow. I would not say my sock is conscious and neither is my shoe! Forgive my being facetious. I would say that only sentient beings are conscious and, of course, they are not limited to humans. But there is only one primary consciousness. Not hundreds of consciousnesses. I don't get the whole co-creator business, especially if one agrees there is no small-'self or I. But perhaps that is my Vedanta point of view. I'm a pretty hard-core non-dualist--(with an open mind naturally) :lol:.

But this thread is about NDE's, so apologies for straying.

I understand where you're coming from. I embrace your outlook as well. That's why I really don't like to use the word conscious because I think consciousness (human perception) arises in the brain, but Awareness (the knowing) is outside of the brain, kind of like the differentiation that Nisargadatta makes. What I am suggesting instead (as something merely to consider)....A sock is not conscious in the way that you and I are right here with human perceptions. But, instead, a sock is composed of matter. Particles themselves are not conscious either like you and I, but instead are aware of their environment just like a tree is aware of its environment in a completely different kind of way. There is a life force of aware energy that runs at the most micro of levels and extends to the universe as a whole. That level of aware energy varies from form to form from least evolved to highest evolved (human brain). Even a rock itself is alive in a different kind of way than we can comprehend as is the hair on your head as it too is composed of matter which is more aware energy (Source). It's all merely different ways for Source Awareness to know itself in the form of a tree, the form of a blade of grass, a caterpillar, with a human being the most evolved way to know itself intimately etc. It's not easy to comprehend for our analytical human minds, but this is what is reported in NDE's. I know it's far fetched and you can feel free to disagree with me :D After all, I don't cling to this perspective as an utter truth, but merely as a consideration. It's just a different way to look at it. Neither right nor wrong. But, this is where NDE's has changed my outlook greatly.

I got chills when I read this E2B! I am so with you here. I feel in my core that you are right about Source Awareness knowing itself through all those manifestations--its there in a subatomic particle too I'm sure of it! It's on a different level of experience though than what we feel as human consciousness, and that's why it can sound silly. We're not saying that a caterpillar is sitting on the leaf thinking about how many ounces it has to lose before it's going to look good in that swimsuit. Or the sock isn't sitting there wondering why it its a second-class citizen that only gets put on feet, and why it couldn't sometimes be worn on the hands. :D

And, E2B, I also liked what you had to say about Sam Harris. Spot on--he's a reductionist materialist. There is nothing but the physical. So what could consciousness be except a function of the human brain?