Webwanderer wrote:I would like to offer a word about belief. I don't want you to, nor am I encouraging you to, believe in life after death, or eternal life, or NDE's, or TDE's, or any such concept. Such a choice would be just another thought construct. I am encouraging you to investigate the reports and accounts of those who claim to have direct experience of one type or another that suggest there is more to life than this short physical life span. Whatever movement in conscious perspective that may occur should need no encouragement. It is just the natural outcome of growing understanding.
Build a body of knowledge just to know the state of the philosophy. There's plenty of science that can help as well. Quantum physics and quantum field theory is very suggestive that consciousness transcends the physical. So much so that the physical is just an expression of consciousness. (Look up the work of John Hagelin, a physicist and a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.) There are others as well.
The idea is to increase our knowledge and understanding, not develop beliefs. Beliefs may or may not come as a byproduct, but the point is reduce ignorance. And please don't be offended by the word ignorance. We are all ignorant to one degree or another. It is simply a reference to not knowing, and it is certain that there is a lot we don't yet know. So let's do all we can to bring in the light of knowledge so as to dispel our ignorance however we can.
Thanks for the kind word of encouragement. I had read one from a link on this site and heard another on youtube. I might read or hear others, as well. But at the moment I am just at the beginning.
From what I have read, If I've understood it correctly, it seems that both Ashley72 and you, WW, are saying that one should think about immortality. But there's one difference: Ashley72 says exposure to the idea of immortality, while you say exposure to immortality. I think this is the difference, though I may be wrong, especially since I also read you say that you do not want me to form any belief based on any thought constructs, so idk.
In investigation, you say that none of the evidence is necessarily proof. I think comparing and approaching what we're talking about through law enforcement investigation and methods the way you have described is not appropriate. In law enforcement we're not interested in the scene itself, but in what happened, where it happened, and most importantly who's responsible. So It's not appropriate because in law enforcement, there is the evidence that you mentioned, like the person seen, and the scene, crime-scene, where the evidence was found, which is a place that we can all go to and actually see, but when we talk about the evidence of near death experiences, we can't go to the scene to look at the evidence, we can't see any person there, nor can we see the place, but we talk about the evidence. The evidence is in the scene, it is the scene, and we are interested in it, but we can't go there.
Because we are here, we can't go there. Say I remember that I saw the scene, the rest of the world is ignorant, and I tell the world what I remember. Wouldn't you say there is an element of faith that is essential if the world is to believe what I remember? So ok, you say the idea is to build knowledge contained in the reports, but if I qusetion the report itself, what is the point?
I'm not sure if your central argument, however, is that whatever is isn't “me”, and that what is won't die, or whether what you're saying is that the “me” won't die, or both. But according to Quantum physics and quantum field theory, the "me" will die, right?
When I asked "what makes death an experience? What is the evidence that death as an experience is not an imagining?" I was wondering what experience is. Say I remember that I saw the scene, I would be persuaded by my memory of it to think the things I think about it. Because of my memory, I start to name what I saw using the language that I judge as insufficient to describe it and call it my experience of ongoing life. I bring to the naming process everything that I know, all the language that I know, from the past. The rest of the world who hasn't any memories of the scene can't know that the memory I have of what I saw is what constitutes an experience of it before I tell them those specific memories. After I tell it to the world, the world will have the idea of what constitutes an experience. And what they've read about it, for the rest of the world who have no memories of having seen it, becomes the imagining of that experience. Now if I as the rest of the world believe what I'm reading about it, then I will have a belief based on me imagining those memories that the one remembering them has named as the evidence of ongoing life or something else, and told me about them.
My question is is there are way to be exposed to immortality without having to rely on imagination, or is there a way to know that I won't die without having to rely on NDEs or the like? Can I know directly that I won't die?
Because, I'm going to think, that if my knowledge that I won't die doesn't come directly through my own observation, let's say direct observation of the scene, or direct observation of immortality, then it will have to be based on my belief, and where there is belief there's doubt, therefore fear. And we're back to fear, which is what I began to talk about, and which is what I am trying to have none of, or if not possible, less of.
So the difference between exposing oneself to the idea of immortality and exposing oneself to immortality, from what I can tell so far, and without having the answer to the question directly above, doesn't seem to be there at all, and it seems like what you call the truth about dying is based on an idea.
And you say this in your post:
Now, I'm not nearly so clear on the details as one who has actually had direct experience, but that doesn't mean I don't have a sense of it.
And I think “sense of it” here means either faith or idea, or feelings connected to both.
“Consider some other interesting evidence. If you decide doing your own exploration is worth your time, look at how those who have returned have returned change beings. Their new approach to life is evidence of something magnificent. The experiential effect of the overwhelming Love, and the grandeur of the environment, and the expansiveness of consciousness, the sense of being in their celestial home, and the life review where all is laid bare but without any judgment save our own, is more than a little bit convincing that what they experienced was real. The change that nearly all demonstrate in their lives is no small matter.”
I think that making the jump from the belief that what they experienced was real to naming that experience is jumping to conclusions, naming it “ongoing life”, or a “proof of immortality”, or the like. You say that they came back as changed beings. Some things may have changed, but I question that they came back as changed beings. Did they come back, change themselves, and affect positively the lives of what and who surrounded them through behaving in the changed way, without talking about themselves? Or was it that what they saw or felt was so great that they started to talk about it to other people in order to be less lonely? Which is what happens to all people who want to share a problem or something nice.
“No. Quite the opposite. People with unique knowledge and experience have every right to share what they will. For some it is too personal and they need time, sometimes years, to grok it. Others see the value of reporting the 'good news' that life is forever and there is no hell or judgment other than of their own creation. I for one am thankful that they had the courage and inspiration to share. It has made a very positive difference in my life. It has done so for many, many, others as well. Read the literature and see for yourself. Don't be frozen by fear. The truth will make you free.”
I don't even think they can help it. I think that all of them, whether they end up sharing, not sharing, or struggling with it, they would have done so depending on the force of impact with which what they saw or felt hit them. For those who share it it's practically a very hard thing not to. Some might even run straight to their friends to tell them about it, like an ecstatic child who will happily tell them what amazing thing he has done or seen, or somebody who is terrified and will tell what a terrifying thing has just happened.
It is very hard not to share something like that, just like it is very hard to share great wealth. The great wealth of material possessions will stay great if not scattered everywhere, and the near death experiences will only remain great if they are scattered all around.
A few ways it can pan out:
They come back from the experience. They either question the experience, or don't question it. If they accept the experience along with the name they have given it, they'll go down one of these routes.
“I believe that I'm immortal. What should I do? I know, I'll eat a bullet, and I'll go back to that lovely otherworldly realm. To hell with fear, pain, and dying. Pow! Gbye, suckers!”
But if he doesn't eat a bullet immediately, there's *confusion* *indecision*, he continues to struggle, and the same question comes up:
“I believe that I'm immortal. What should I do? I don't know. I'll see if I can find out without rushing or doing anything stupid.”
That seems reasonable, but if he doesn't say “I don't know” he will do the following:
“I believe that I'm immortal. What should I do? I am afraid to eat a bullet, I must still work, steal, or beg to make a living. Nobody knows that I'm special, that I'm immortal, so I'll at least tell everybody that I'm immortal and the story that goes with it, and get the rewards that I think I deserve, if not the sale of millions of books, I'll still get all the special attention in the world by just telling everybody anyway.”
So those who share their experience might want to be at the centre of attention. They might want to say that it is them to whom the experience happened to, they want credit. Though for some the "wanting" part may not even be conscious, they do end up getting it.
If anyone is divided about sharing and is struggling, that will split them up and this will cause conflict and battle, therefore pain, and they'll struggle that way for a while and at the boiling point might end up sharing as a way to get it off their chest, therefore to unload the burden of the "good news", in order to feel better.
Thanks for your concern, but there is no need to worry about my sensibilities. I'm more than fine and I enjoy this type of dialog. I only wish you the best in finding your way to clarity. But it is always your choice as to where and how to proceed. As to when I respond to your questions, I do so as best I can. Be patient, I have other issues to which I must also attend.
Yes. Thanks for this, and I'm sorry for the impatience. You're right.