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Nice post, Michael! I couldn't agree more.

My own interest in the "mechanics" of these things stems from the idea that if I knew more about how it all works maybe I could help others and help myself in practical ways. Then, on the other hand, I often feel like it doesn't matter. The knowledge that it's real and the faith in love is sufficient. With that all the rest falls into place.

I do, however, confess to an unsatisfied intellectual curiosity concerning PK and apports.

Nice post, Michael!

"maybe we’ve lost as much as we’ve gained."

Exactly -- going as far back in "time" as you care to go. (A point I have often enjoyed making here.)

Or to say it differently, neither loss nor gain is ultimately real, just momentary (though affecting!) illusions that make for an interesting game.

Speaking of love and little children makes me think about how little kids want to please their parents and make them happy just because they love them. It's not the threat of punishment that motivates them to behave so much as it's just that they love their parents so much they want to make their parents happy. Which reminds me of the old adage "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Trying to scare people into believing using the threat of hellfire and damnation just doesn't work anymore. The only motivation that might work is love. Love seems to be the universal glue that binds all the different forms of evidence we have for life after death together. And like I've said in the past, it's like a puzzle with lots of pieces but when you step back and view the puzzle after it's all put together, it paints a very beautiful picture of life and why we are here.

I concur with your overview....and have always loved the implications of your last quote. :D


Perhaps Lynn Claire Dennis's work, resulting from multiple NDE"s, has the most convincing elements for materialists.

Her new book is out this weekend, and was released digitally a couple of days ago.

https://themereonlegacy.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/a-footprint-in-eternity-available-on-amazon/

I have mixed feelings about this post. On one hand I like to theorize and we must realize that the survivalist hypothesis needs to be strengthened within a solid theoretical framework if we want to become accepted by the scientific community, because there are many questions that need answering. For example: all living beings endure after death? If so, how can make sense the afterlife of a tree, for example? If not all living beings endure after death, which states that some and not others? How can be that the human personality endure after death if there are many factors that may undermine the personality (alcohol, diseases, etc.) Which is exactly what survives death if we are continually changing during biological life? How the afterlife is related to biological evolution? I think none of these issues is fatal to the survivalist hypothesis, but they are issues that have to be answered in a solid theoretical framework.

On the other hand, I've seen skeptics in Internet, specifically one named Kai, who suffer from theoricism, because in these attempt to find out what's behind all this, they assume many things that need not be true, prioritizing theory on the evidence. Example: argue that if mediumship occurs, then must have been deceased that present useful and new knowledge, when we have no reason to suppose that something has to happen so if there are authentic mediums. Argue that if a realm of the spirits of the deceased exist, then that would have to emit large amounts of energy, because almost everything we know belongs to an ecology of energy, but we did not detect that so that there is no realm of spirits of deceased, when we have no reason to suppose that the realm of the spirits of the deceased have to be like the rest we know; we must examine the evidence for themselves, without theoretical preconceptions that could be false. But to discover that theoreticist mistake implies to do theory and show the theoretical assumptions.

Michael,

Great post! I do disagree with this, however:

||I'm not saying there's no value in these ideas. But ultimately they’re just ways of repackaging the simple, basic truths obtained by psychical researchers.||

The problem is that most of the people in involved that I've seen are interested in figuring out how it all works. This includes the deceased themselves in ADCs. The includes higher beings, both in channeled communications I've read of value (Seth, etc.) and the ones I've encountered myself. They tend to be pretty intellectual! I really haven't seen "don't overthink it" as a major theme.

I think you are making a category mistake, actually. Overthinking the *evidence* for the Afterlife to the point where one loses sight of the big picture and perhaps even loses hope that the Afterlife exists at all can be a problem. It's very easy to do in our culture, in which these things are regularly treated as impossible.

But philosophizing *based on* that evidence is *not* the same thing--hence the category mistake. It's a project in which many different high-level intelligences appear to be involved.

Count me as one of those who was skeptical about an afterlife before I read several books on NDEs. After I read so much evidence, I really began to see that an afterlife is a very distinct possibility. It really is hard to discount so much evidence, much of which is often presented by doctors and nurses. I'm still not 100 percent convinced, but I did have a marked turnaround after my reading. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent and educated person, and would think reasonably intelligent people would come to this same conclusion - that the preponderance of evidence most likely means the Afterlife is real and/or our consciousness is not destroyed with physical death.

Strongly agree. I've made a conscious effort in my life to go back to the simpler animism that served our ancestors so well. That's why I'm drawn to Mahayana Buddhism and Shinto folklore so strongly - the vast menagerie of gods; nature spirits; snow women and fox spirits seem more plausible to me than a dead universe mechanically enforcing the natural Laws handed down from on high by a nonexistent God. I think imagination itself might well be a spiritual faculty, and it's our way of reaching into a universe of possibilities vaster and more dazzling than we could ever dare to dream.

Michael,

Thank you for the kind words. However, I don't think I take everything at face value. I am always trying to look underneath it all for alternative explanations, distortions of fact, fraud, etc., etc.

I am now reading a very interesting book recently reproduced by White Crow. The title is "The Certainty of Eternity," by L. C. Danby. Check it out.

I deeply agree with your points here Michael :)

I keep coming back to the body of evidence as well. Although individual strands of evidence may be fragile, overall the strength cannot be easily dismissed as far as I can see. It is easy to deny the strength of a rope if we simply show how each fibre is weak in some way.

The body of evidence and testimony is truly vast and diverse and I find even proponents are often unaware of some of the more astonishing examples.

@Art - I liked your observations.

What a great post!

All of this hair-splitting reminds me of many different explorers going to the New World, and all of them coming back reporting variations on the same story, with an overwhelming big-picture commonality to what they are saying -- then, those in Europe saying, "Well, this doesn't fit in with our model of how things are. Much of what you say could be interpreted differently from what you say happened. Also, how can you reconcile that some of you saw snow, and others of you saw tropical conditions?" Yadda, yadda.

If you were an explorer hearing stuff like this day after day, at some point you'd just have to shrug your shoulders and and walk away.

Thanks Paul. When I first started my journey learning about life after death I was all about near death experiences. Then I read the online essay called "The Universe as a Hologram" and the connection between it and NDEs jumped right out at me.

Then later I discovered death bed visions. I think the first thing I read was Sir William Barrett's little book "Death Bed Visions" - which is available for free online by the way. http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/books/barrett/dbv/contents.htm

Then I just read everything I could get my hands on about death bed visions. I just love them. I find death bed visions to be endlessly comforting and uplifting. Maybe even more so than near death experiences. Let's face it, NDEs can be so nutty. There are a few that are really well written and make sense and then some just go off the deep end; being obviously embellished with the persons own culture and former beliefs.

But Death Bed Visions, they tend to be simple and to the point. Grandma is here and she's here to take me on a trip. Or Ellie my wife is at the foot of my bed and she says she wants me to come with her. There is rarely any embellishment, maybe because there hasn't been time for embellishment, but there is obviously something going on here, and for the life of me I can't think of any biological reason, or evolutionary reason for them to exist.

I mean if a dying person was just hallucinating, or making up stories, they'd see all kinds of things, but they tend to stick to a simple script. Or like David Kessler says in his book "Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms" that is what they experience and see and that is what other people who are in the room with dying folks report hearing about, and sometimes actually experiencing themselves.

There is something amazing and wonderful about our Universe and when you add quantum physics and the holographic universe theory into the mix it paints a picture that life has meaning and purpose and something really extraordinary awaits us at the end. It's not as bleak and meaningless as materialists and atheist lead us to believe.

We have to realize that if the overthinking is a problem, the underthinking is also a problem because being alone with the evidence we can not prevent be realize of other interpretations and develop theories to progress. For example: you have chosen the book Stop Worrying! Probably there is an Afterlife, by Greg Taylor. I have not read this book, but from what I've read about this book, it does not seem a good choice, because the book is shallow, which can only convince those who are already convinced, that does not examine in depth the reasons -that there are- to rule out the alternative hypotheses of survival hypothesis. That is, it is a book that underthinks the question of afterlife.

In my opinion a better choice would be the book The Enigma of Survival, by Hornett Hart:

http://www.spiritwritings.com/enigmasurvivalhart.pdf

It is true that this is a book older than the Taylor's book, but it seems superior because Hart examines all relevant evidence, both for and against the existence of an afterlife, and he examines the reasons for accepting or discarding the interpretations of the evidence.

I'm afraid that I don't find reports of NDE's particularly convincing at all. Literally many thousands have been exposed to NDE reports on TV, books or magazines over the decades and it's not surprising that so called experiencers recollections have a similar ring to them. Has anyone yet established that these recollections could not have been formed during the patients recovery phase ?

A little OT again perhaps.
I want to state that I really do want to believe in survival, but since becoming interested in the subject, and failing miserably in my attempts to receive any personal evidence, I have developed a theory that it may be because I am not susceptible to the power of suggestion in the same way that I have observed some far more intelligent folk than myself are in a scenario such as some audience members of a Hypnotist show for example.I'm wondering if my natural resistance to hypnotic suggestion may be the reason that the few readings I have had from mediums have been miserable failures, where others seem to receive 'hits' every time. The main objection I have to this theory is the suggestion that all mediums must be frauds. That's a call I would not like to make at this stage.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for some good thoughts, with which I very much agree. Sometimes I think our ego and hubris gets in the way of accepting the simplest explanations. We want it to be more arcane and complicated because that justifies all our flailing about to try to come up with something better than what our grandmother told us when we were three years old. And then it turns out that grandma was right.

I love the saying of Jesus that you quote about the kingdom of heaven belonging to those who are like children. Perhaps our whole time here on earth is to get us to let go of the ego that wants to make things all complicated, and just accept the simple, eternal truths that have been passed down since ancient times.

Having said that, once we accept those simple truths--such as that God and spirit are real--it can get as complex as we want it to be.

In nature the basic forces that hold things together are quite simple. Gravity attracts everything to everything else. That's what holds the whole universe and all its parts together. A child can understand it. But nuclear physicists can then get as complex and theoretical about it as they want.

For those looking for overarching theory and rational explanations of the divine-spiritual-physical universe, here is my recommendation:

Divine Love and Wisdom, by Emanuel Swedenborg.

For links to the most modern translation and edition, see my book listing at:
http://leewoof.org/2013/06/03/divine-love-and-wisdom-by-emanuel-swedenborg/

This book offers a unified "theory of everything" from a spiritual perspective.

Some of the science in it is outdated, and has to be updated based on what we've learned about the physical universe since then. However, the general structure and principles of the universe that it offers paint a picture of a complete, harmonious system from the divine through the spiritual to the material world.

It's brain-bending and very satisfying reading for those who want to dig deeper into the nature of multi-layered reality.

Michael Tymn wrote, "Thank you for the kind words. However, I don't think I take everything at face value."

I probably should have worded that better. What I meant was that once you've determined that a case is probably genuine, you usually accept it as legitimate communication from spirits, rather than getting too involved in arguments about super-psi, the Akashic records, etc.

"Literally many thousands have been exposed to NDE reports on TV, books or magazines over the decades and it's not surprising that so called experiencers recollections have a similar ring to them."

True, but some NDEs were reported long before the subject was popularized, and the reports are pretty consistent. Prior to 1975 and the publication of Raymond Moody's book Life After Life, few people were aware of the phenomenon, yet when reports were collected (by Robert Crookall, for example), they matched the reports later obtained by Moody and others.

There are also NDEs from other cultures that match the standard scenario pretty well, even though the individuals apparently had no exposure to NDE literature, movies, etc.

Wonderful text. You are absolutely right.

By the way, the Portugese version of your text 'The two options' was already published (in blue):

http://eradoespirito.blogspot.com.br/2014/06/as-duas-opcoes-por-michael-prescott.html

Regards,
Ademir

Let's face it some people wouldn't be convinced if their dead grandma stopped by to see them and said hello.

Some folks are just born skeptics and their minds are closed and no amount of stories about life after death are going to convince them. They'll just have to wait till it's their turn to cross over and they wake up one day and realize that their consciousness/soul has left their physical body and it suddenly dawns on them that they are dead - and yet they still exist. That might be enough to wake them up?

So why be dragged into the myopia of others closed-mindedness? Is that not simply an egotistical exchange?

I don't know, Art, if they would even believe then. There's a whole slew of movies and stories about people who refuse to believe they're dead, it seems to be a popular theme.

I don't know why some people are so dead-certain opposed to after-death survival. I certainly can understand not being 100 percent sure (like myself), but I don't understand how some are 100 percent sure.

When some real personal evidence comes up and smacks me in the mouth Art and Kathleen, you all will be among of the first to know about it !
Cheers.

Kathleen, I'm not 100% absolutely certain either, but I'd say I have a high degree of confidence that something of who I am survives the death of my physical body? As to what that something is? I don't have a clue. I'll just have to wait till I get there to find out.

I'm glad though that I discovered NDEs and death bed visions though because before I discovered them, around the year ~ 2000, I'm not sure I believed in anything. I don't know if I was an atheist but I certainly rarely thought about it. It just wasn't important to me. Now that I'm growing older and closer to death it's comforting to know that at least there is strong evidence that death is not the end.

"I don't know why some people are so dead-certain opposed to after-death survival . . . I don't understand how some are 100 percent sure."

I do, Kathleen, because I was one of those people for many years. Based on my own experience, I'd say it's easy to be 100% certain that survival is nonsense if:

• You've never examined the evidence for it.
• You're easily swayed by the pronouncements of mainstream science and journalism (and who isn't?).
• You're strongly invested in a philosophy, person, or group, that sees death as final.
• Your life story, perhaps from infancy onwards, has been so fraught with difficulty and trauma that you find it impossible to imagine that something as wonderful as immortality can be real.

I'm sure there are other factors, but those four come immediately to mind.

Based on conversations I've had with some skeptics, I would add a 5th point to my list:

• Some skeptics seem to me to be so cerebral, so far removed from (or afraid of) their deeper feelings, that reports of highly emotional experiences like NDEs and other spiritual encounters, have little or no meaning for them.

It’s really quite simple, Kathleen. Many, actually, I would guess, most, people are only comfortable with certainty and find uncertainty a little scary. They like everything (especially world view stuff) enclosed in a neat little box and get upset and perplexed with anyone who won’t join their particular gang.

I’ve found that to be the case with most ideological skeptics and many ‘believers’ alike. For practical purposes, in considering issues around psi and the psi debate, I came to regard both groups as belonging to the same logical social group, defined according to the aforementioned terms, quite a while ago. IMO it’s a huge mistake to regard ‘skeptics’ as being the only obstacle to progress re psi research and developing a clearer understanding in general.

I was looking up my bookmarks and noticed this one. Its people's experiences like these that can inspire I think.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-annie-kagan/afterlife_b_2712811.html

I know I am blessed Kathleen with surety, as I hear family members who have passed speak to me. And I feel so lucky.

This came to me late in life, and interestingly after I had a very accurate reading with a spiritualist, and decided I was no longer on the fence. That surety seemed to allow the connection to take place. I think, therefore I can, so to speak.

So I feel that we all have the ability by stilling our minds, perhaps in a quiet setting. Spirits often approach me at night, and Its because I think both my thoughts and body have slowed down.
Lyn x.

Wow Michael! Nothing more needs to be said.

Juan,
You said, " For example: all living beings endure after death? If so, how can make sense the afterlife of a tree, for example? If not all living beings endure after death, which states that some and not others? How can be that the human personality endure after death if there are many factors that may undermine the personality (alcohol, diseases, etc.) Which is exactly what survives death if we are continually changing during biological life? How the afterlife is related to biological evolution? I think none of these issues is fatal to the survivalist hypothesis, but they are issues that have to be answered in a solid theoretical framework."

Juan, in response I would say that it is 'Consciousness' that survives death of the physical form. That is, Consciousness may be an elemental energy of the universe just like any other energy and is neither created nor destroyed. To the extent that a living organism has consciousness, to that extent it survives. Trees may or may not have consciousness but it is obvious that some living things, other than humans, do have consciousness. Personality is not consciousness. Personality is like a suit of clothing and is put aside after death. If one believes in reincarnation one may have many personalities but only one consciousness vitiates all of those personalities. Personality is a result of the many circumstances of physical existence. - AOD

Great post Michael! As a college-educated person, I see over-intellectualizing spiritual matters as something of a temptation, but I've come to appreciate a simpler and more direct understanding of spiritual reality (that's what it is!). Philosophy has value, but definitely can lead to over-thinking. It probably can be defined as over-thinking. Knowledge does not need to be hard to understand to be true. Even the Gnostics' "knowledge" is more like a realization or experience, than figuring something out to be "true" in an intellectual sense.
I love that Jesus quote BTW.

\\"Juan, You said, " For example: all living beings endure after death? If so, how can make sense the afterlife of a tree, for example?"//
--------------

If we live in a holographic universe, a projection, and the other side, the place we call heaven is the original holographic film from which our universe arises - that means whatever is "here" must also be "there." The main difference between "here" and "there" will be in the physics that we experience. The physics of heaven, because it is holographic film will be quite difference than the physics we experience here. Our universe is the place of separation and the other side is the place of oneness and connectedness. This is exactly how near death experiencers describe what they experienced on the other side.

excerpt from The Universe As a Hologram:

"University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.

To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first understand a little about holograms. A hologram is a three- dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser. To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on film. When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.

The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose. Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order."

http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

Matthew 18:18
"Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

It means whatever you have loved here on Earth will be waiting for you in heaven. Whatever you have turned loose of here on Earth won't be waiting for you in Heaven.

I think Donald Rumsfeld said it best when it comes to the Afterlife, although sadly he was talking about Iraq, but I think it applies to both: "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

I think it's a very arrogant to discount all the evidence of an Afterlife or after-death consciousness. I don't blame anyone who's not 100-percent sure (I'm not), but I can't dismiss it entirely either - in fact, I'm heavily leaning to it at this point. But I guess that uncertainty is hard for some people psychologically, they have to have closure and so dismiss it completely because it's more comfortable than being in a state of uncertainty.

I've pondered and wrestled with the phenomena of over-analyzing spiritual issues, and I think I can offer a good explanation why some people do so. When I left Christianity after a few years of having doubts and questions that couldn't be answered to my satisfactions, I fell in love with the world of NDE's; I couldn't get enough of all the accounts, stories, and wisdom contained within them, some of which I still remember vividly to this day. But as the years went on, little doubts began to appear. Small questions popped up that weren't so easily explained (such as contradictions between some accounts, some rather glaring). I tried to deal with them, but it was difficult, and quite frightening. The wonderful world of love and peace I had discovered was starting to crack.

A cycle began that lasted for quite a long while: I would devour pretty much every book I could get my hands on to try and find the answers I sought. And while each one did help and comfort me, it didn't last long. Usually a few weeks, sometimes a month, or even a few months, but inevitably the doubt would seep back in, and new questions would pop up. It went on and on for years until I realized that no matter how many books and accounts I read, nothing would ever fully satisfy me. There would be no point where I could say, "I'm satisfied, and nothing is going to make me change my mind."

Perhaps it's meant to be that way. Just before writing this post, I was reading the White Crow Books website and came across this article from the Seth books:

"Your world does not understand the function of pain and suffering and difficulty and hardship, but all these play an important part in the evolution of the human spirit. Look back in your own lives and see that often the greatest crises, the most difficult problems, the darkest hours, were the stepping-stones that led to greater understanding.

You would not evolve if forever you dwelt in the sunshine, lived free from care, anxiety and worry, where every approaching difficulty was automatically smoothed out so that it never touched you, where there were no rough stones in your pathway, where there was nothing for you to conquer. It is in the facing of, and rising supreme over, trouble that you grow..."

Perhaps that's the answer. There is no one point where we reach an answer that will satisfy everything. There will always be a question or doubt that needs answering. Years after I went through them, I can look back at some of my worst moments when exploring the spiritual path - the nihilistic moments where life had no purpose, when nothing mattered, and death was not an escape, but a one-way trip into oblivion, and the destruction of everyone I loved so much - and realize that those moments did indeed cause the most growth, because I worked even harder to find the answers to questions that kept me up at night in existential terror. And as the old saying goes, seek and you shall find. Perhaps you'll find answers that are different than what others have found, but they'll work for you (contradictions and differences on the same topic in multiple spirit communications? Perhaps the spirit world can send different messages that are meant only for certain individuals to help them along their path at that current point in time).

Thus, I think the reason we analyze things so much is that we want to find that magical carrot-on-a-stick, the answer that will solve everything and erase all doubt. It may not exist, but it drives us onwards, and for formerly religious people such as myself, it's even more important: we live with the specter of fear that we're on the wrong path, and marching towards the inferno without even knowing it. Thankfully, that fear vanishes over time, but I can attest that it is immensely powerful, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and we desperately want assurance that God does indeed love us without condition for who we are, not our religion or lack thereof. It's a fear no one should ever have to experience.

While I'm 90% sure that there is almost certainly a continued existence after physical death, I still have a lot of doubts, problems, and questions that I struggle with. But I think Michael is right about the forest and the trees. Sometimes we should step back to realize that what really seems to count the most, and what is emphasized so often throughout centuries of communication, is that it's love, compassion, and personal growth are what matter the most in life, rather than concrete answers we may never find, perhaps best stated here:

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.

"'Teacher," he asked, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?'

"'What is written in the law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?'

"He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself."

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied, "Do this and you will live."

"Many, actually, I would guess, most, people are only comfortable with certainty and find uncertainty a little scary. They like everything (especially world view stuff) enclosed in a neat little box and get upset and perplexed with anyone who won’t join their particular gang."

That's fundamentalism in a nutshell, Steve!

Sorry here's one of those dog gone it theories of sorts- how skepticism may hinder psychic-ness/ Pk ability and that being psychic or open to those abilities, enhances it.

Something I give thought to often, as when talking with skeptical people you realise how closed they are to all sorts of alternative ways of looking at things. They also tend to explain the unusual with existing principles and insist that these are the only true principles operating.

As I personally believe in a conscious universe, I tend to believe that what I think influences matter. And I noticed that as soon as my agnostic beliefs changed to a belief in the afterlife wholeheartedly, this opened my psychic abilities. So I went from hearing nothing to being bombarded by chatter. In other words, what I thought, now became a reality.

This article suggests that belief is all important. Psychic people they say, have higher frequencies in their electromagnetic fields. Not sure about the preservation of saints bodies though, perhaps just good old embalming, who knows ? Some of it is old research, but I think the point they are making is a valid one.

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/column.php?id=269495

Lyn .x

Ian,
Well written. My sentiments exactly. AOD

"That is, Consciousness may be an elemental energy of the universe just like any other energy and is neither created nor destroyed."

But physicists are scientists who study the types of energy and the consciousness does not seem to be in their jurisdiction.

Besides my current consciousness is being aware of what I see, what I hear, I touch, etc., so after my biological death, my consciousness can not be sensory, but can only be introspective and extrasensory. To this last we already have evidence -psi abilities-, but it is need to deepen into this.

"Trees may or may not have consciousness but it is obvious that some living things, other than humans, do have consciousness."

True, but is the issue of what living beings are conscious and in what way.

"Personality is not consciousness. Personality is like a suit of clothing and is put aside after death."

It is true that personality is not consciousness, but the psychic evidence points to that the human personality continues after death: some apparitions of deceased retained enough traits of their old personality to deliver messages to their loved ones, spirits of deceased through mediums show their old personality in order to be recognizable to the living, and children who seem to remember previous lives retain older memories and personality. If only the consciousness survives death, how can a deceased be distinguished from another?

"Personality is a result of the many circumstances of physical existence."

Yes, but it can also persist after the biological death.

Isn't personality an expression of consciousness?

Paul,

I thought it was just a neurons firing :)

Juan and Paul:
Consciousness expresses itself through a personality which is molded by life experiences, the environment and biology among other things perhaps. Personality adds to the experience of the consciousness allowing it to expand in knowledge and love.

If a deceased human wants to communicate with his or her family and friends it does so with the personality which they knew when that consciousness was with them in life, to present otherwise would not be recognizable. Deceased children who communicate do so as children even though they continue to mature in a spirit form with a personality which their parents would not recognize. There is no reason that a consciousness must maintain a given personality throughout eternity especially if it chooses to experience another personality in another incarnation. Clearly children who remember past lives do not always retain the old personality as they often report incarnations as a different gender, in a different culture, and different situations of affluence etc. (See Ian Stevenson 'Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation'.) Personally it would be hell for me if I had to retain my current personality throughout eternity. I look forward to something different.

Juan, I think you are making an assumption when you say that after biological death your consciousness can not be sensory. Spirits reportedly see, hear and in some cases eat, smoke and drink. ( See ‘Raymond or Life After Death’ by Sir Oliver Lodge.) Perhaps there are different degrees of consciousness; maybe that is what life is all about---the expansion of consciousness through physical life.

See Michael Prescott’s blog titled 'The Diamond'. I think that he presents a pretty good idea of what a soul or consciousness, if you will, really is. And, perhaps this blog ‘Overthinking It’ might be a good one to reread. - AOD

Ian, I just wanted to say that your comments were especially insightful, IMO.

Somewhere I read about a medium who was asked how much factual information in a reading was enough to prove the afterlife to a sitter. She replied with a sigh, "It's *never* enough!" I think this is true. No matter how much evidence we get, something pulls us back to doubt (even if it's only a small degree of doubt).

If physical existence is meant to be a fully immersive experience, then I suppose this regression to doubt (that is, to believing fully only in physical things) is to be expected. Or perhaps it's a symptom of Western culture's predominantly materialist worldview, since it appears that in some other cultures, people take an afterlife for granted and have no doubts.

"Consciousness expresses itself through a personality which is molded by life experiences, the environment and biology among other things perhaps. Personality adds to the experience of the consciousness allowing it to expand in knowledge and love."

I agree.

"If a deceased human wants to communicate with his or her family and friends it does so with the personality which they knew when that consciousness was with them in life, to present otherwise would not be recognizable."

Then we have to explain how the personality may persist after death. I do not think this is overthinking.

"Juan, I think you are making an assumption when you say that after biological death your consciousness can not be sensory. Spirits reportedly see, hear and in some cases eat, smoke and drink. ( See ‘Raymond or Life After Death’ by Sir Oliver Lodge.) Perhaps there are different degrees of consciousness; maybe that is what life is all about---the expansion of consciousness through physical life."

The spirits of the deceased say they can see, hear, etc., but it has to be an imitation of sensory consciousness; it can not be the sensory consciousness because their eyes do not work, their ears do not work, etc. Then we have to wonder what causes that imitation of sensory consciousness: the subconscious or will of the deceased, other spirits of the deceased or the realm of the living, but it is something that deserves closer examination.

It's all information. Bits of information, like in a computer program. Our brains take the information that is sent to it as electronic and chemical impulses and interprets it and turns it into pictures, smells, tastes, touch, sound, inside our brain. We don't see the actual event.

In fact we see the world a fraction of a second after the event has all ready happened. We don't experience the world in real time.

I suspicion our soul just uses the actual information to "see" what goes on around it, and in fact is not limited by eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, etc. It has to do with that oneness and connectedness thing of holographic film. Everything interpenetrates everything. All the information is "there" and the soul is part of it.

"The spirits of the deceased say they can see, hear, etc., but it has to be an imitation of sensory consciousness"

Since NDErs consistently talk about their experience as feeling more real than ordinary consciousness, it may be more meaningful to say the reverse: physical sensory abilities are a pale reflection--an imitation, as you call it--of our spiritual ability to see and hear.

That's especially true since sight and hearing are always described as more powerful and acute out-of-body.

"Since NDErs consistently talk about their experience as feeling more real than ordinary consciousness, it may be more meaningful to say the reverse: physical sensory abilities are a pale reflection--an imitation, as you call it--of our spiritual ability to see and hear."

Yes, I think you're right. But I wanted to say that the consciousness of the deceased can not be caused by the eyes, ears, etc., because these organs no longer work. And the sensory modalities of the spirit are limited by the biological body, because human beings can see, hear, etc., but there are sensory modalities that are outside from human range as the echolocation of bats, so apparently sensory modalities of the spirits of the deceased are limited for their biological bodies at least in the early stages.

I had something happen to me about a month or more ago. I haven't told anybody (except in my prayer/meditations) I have a friend who was younger than me. We had lost touch over the years but she was a very sweet and pretty young woman back in the day. She died and I found out about it while reading an online version of my hometown newspaper. I talked to some folks from her old hometown and the cause of death seemed to be under debate. But, at any rate I was deeply moved on hearing of her passing.

This happened a few years ago but from time to time I think of her. The following incident happened while I was driving home from work recently:

I thought of her and "felt" her presence. Her "face" no visible but in my own mind/spirit was in front of me. I thought "Reach out and caress her face." Now, I'm 57 years old and college educated and even though I've been through fundi religion and still have some beliefs I'm skeptical and felt kind of silly. Still, it was really strong. I reached out and touched her face. It felt right.

Funny part (not ha,ha funny) is that not long after that a car stopped in the road right in front of me. I did manage to swerve but I still made contact. Nobody was hurt. Still, I found it interesting that I have this experience and then avert possible disaster. Well, for the most part anyway. ;-)

Does anyone think autistic savants support the brain-as-filter of consciousness? I've always been amazed at these people who are geniuses in some particular area - math, art, etc. They seem to have a super-human talent in this area. Perhaps it some sort of "leakage" occurring - and we all perhaps have these super-human abilities but they're blocked. Maybe even the ability to experience the paranormal and communicate with the deceased is a similar leakage.

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