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Great post, Michael, especially the first paragraph. Over the years, I've noticed a pattern when it comes to spiritual seeking: You constantly move to whatever source of knowledge/information suits you best; when you're gotten all you can from that source, you drift away to something else that presents 'higher' ideas to ponder. I've been members of various forums over the years, and that included asking a lot of the questions you mentioned, as well as debating skeptics and getting into philosophical discussions, and in hindsight each one was an important step in receiving new ideas and furthering my growth.

You could say that this blog, along with any other source of spiritual material, attracts the people who need it at their current point of spiritual development. I've been following it for quite some time because it's the best I've found that combines genuine interest with healthy skepticism and an open mind, and I think that does help a lot of people searching for guidance.

One more article showing the problems with NDE's research:

http://dspace.nwu.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10394/14271/01%20Craffert%20NDE.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

"Row row, row your boat" was the official song of Art Kleps's psychedelic Neo-American church. See his Boo Hoo Bible.

The Boo Hoo Bible is available on Amazon for $35 here:
https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Neo-American-Church-Catechism-Handbook/dp/0960038817/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468522722&sr=1-1&keywords=boo+hoo+bible

I just took a quick look at the paper by PF Craffert.

Why does every sceptic always seem to get the facts of each NDE case partially wrong. In analysing the case of Mr A (Parnia's veridical OBE during cardiac arrest) Craffert has chosen to quote previous sceptical objectors who insist on stating incorrectly that Mr A heard a mere "beep" from the defibrillator. The reason they like to do this is because they can then suggest that hearing a beep from a machine is commonplace and therefore nothing out of the ordinary occurred.

In fact Mr A heard the automated instruction to "shock the patient" or "shock advised" TWICE. What the sceptics don't seem to understand is that the machine cannot make a mistake, it is advising a shock because the heart has stopped and the patient is clinically dead. Before it advises a shock there is a period of analyses and it is irrelevant that a round of CPR had just been administered (to try to restore normal rhythm)..the machine detects no pump action of the heart and advises a shock. The two "shocks" were administered over a period of about 3-5 minutes and when the heart has stopped, the brain and brain stem doesn't function and therefore, as hearing is a function of the brain stem, hearing in this state is impossible.

This man heard BOTH automated commands to shock the patient. He described actually hearing the machine's automated voice, not just a beep, which would still be remarkable.

Craffert then goes on to suggest that Mr A's observation of the doctor with the bald head etc was not quite right. In fact it was perfectly correct and not only that, Craffert ignores the fact that Mr A shouldn't have known about the balding doctor at all as he had not seen him come into to the room. He couldn't see because he was visually blinded behind a drape which is standard practice when inserting a wire into the groin.

There seems to be a conspiracy/ determination to deliberately misreport the evidence just because they don't like the implications. Others will no doubt read Craffert's work and pass on the same mistakes to other academics and then another case is effectively sullied for no good reason. Damned annoying.

That was a very beautiful and insightful post, and, although I doubt often, most of the time I believe we're here for spiritual growth. If it was easy, how could our character ever grow?

"Those who don't quite grow up, the mystics and dreamers, are derided by those practical types who, having more efficacy in the workaday world, tend to dominate the action here. But while these hardheaded realists are on top now, they often prove least insightful and least spiritually mature, and they are not learning the lessons that matter most."

Is that ever true!

We simply learn here the things that can't be learned in heaven and it has to do with the difference between the physics of heaven versus the physics we experience here.

Pain imprints on the soul the body. It teaches "soul stuff" what it's like to be inside a body and control the body and the parameters of the body.

The good thing about "elaborate hoax or illusion" is we can't really hurt ourselves. If it's not "really real" that means that all the god awful suffering and torture and what not that we experience in this life, the holocaust, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, etc. isn't really real either - and that when we wake up in heaven we'll look back on this life like it was a "dream in itself" to quote Michelle M's NDE description.

And the more emotional the experiences the more we'll remember these lessons and the more they will be able to overcome those feelings of oneness and connectedness and lack of time and space in heaven.
http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20050131/emotions-make-memory-last

The more we'll be able to remember what it means and how it feels to be separate, unique, and individual and what time and space look and feel like, and what it was like to be embodied, and live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe, a place where time only moves one way.

It seems the soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and we learn what we are supposed to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe.

And you don't have to go looking for duality and separation in this life.... it will find you all on it's own. Being born is a lesson in separation and so is the death of someone we love and pretty much everything in between, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, education, status, language, dialects, etc. The list is endless.

"Whether ten or a thousand accounts of NDErs perceiving things during the experience does not matter if what they claim to have perceived cannot be verified and independently corroborated."

That's true, but some NDEs have been corroborated according to criteria of social science, not according to criteria of skeptics who see only what they want.

"Even if it is granted that EEG measurement indicates no activity in the cerebral cortex (what EEG measures), the question remains: when does an NDE take place?"

There are NDEs cases with temporary markers.

"Secondly during cardiac arrest patients are not
actually (brain) dead and it is not the case that no brain function and activity is possible."

That's not part of my argument. Although there is neural activity during an NDE, which the NDE is orderly and consistent while neural activity is disordered points to an independence of experience over brain.

"One would expect that with so many instances of reported NDEs or OBEs, there would be some
remarkable and uncontroversial pieces of evidence of veridical perception where the sense
organs and brain are not involved."

I do not think so, because belonging to the field of social sciences, NDEs occur in situations too complex for there to be clear and repeatable extrasensory experiences. The evidence of extrasensory veridical experiences during NDE is good according to criteria of social sciences, then it is acceptable.


I identify with a lot of what you say on this blog, Michael. However, I find it more difficult to do so today. Perhaps the timing is a little unfortunate - I'm reading this post on the morning after the most appalling terrorist attack in Nice, which has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people, a number of them children.

Can you imagine the utter torture that bereaved parents are experiencing today having seen their children die (infinitely worse, surely, than any physical pain that could ever be inflicted)? It is extremely difficult to envisage life as a 'game' (I appreciate that it was a metaphorical use of the word) in these circumstances. I really don't see how the experience of seeing your child die in a terrorist attack could be remotely 'instructive'.

I'm aware that I'm cherry-picking quotes, which is a little harsh, and I think you make a lot of important points in the post. The sense of hope that I feel in the face of indescribable tragedy and brutality is to consider the response of decent human beings. How does 'consciousness', taken as a whole, react? It feels deep pain, it feels real empathy, it cares enormously for those affected, it wants to do anything it can to help. This seems to be the only 'lesson' that can be learned.

"How does 'consciousness', taken as a whole, react? It feels deep pain, it feels real empathy, it cares enormously for those affected, it wants to do anything it can to help. This seems to be the only 'lesson' that can be learned." - James

But surely that's the lesson that is already known only too well on 'the other side'? Don't NDEers report returning to unconditional love and feelings of 'the peace that passeth all understanding'? I can see no logical reason to come here to learn what is already real and understood elsewhere.

To call life a game may not be the best analogy. Most of us think of games as fun, exercise or competition and while life may also have those things it also has a darker side of pain, tragedy and loss.

I have thought that life is more like a grand play of some kind with its comedies and tragedies; a kind of entertainment of sorts in which one experiences opportunities and challenges to learn either directly or indirectly. It’s a play that is to some extent written as it is lived although I suspect that there is a plot somewhere in it which all of us follow. One learns about relationships, and how love, hate, anger and other emotions affect those relationships. One learns about pain and how it can wound the soul with an indelible scar or how pain can strengthen the immune system so to speak enabling the soul to become stronger, more knowledgeable.

I have on occasion had a strange visual effect in which I see things as if they were a stage set. The buildings and streets especially seen super real and I seem to be somewhat above them but at the same time they seem to me to be fabrications of some kind, temporary, providing a background to the real action that is going on in front of them. The effect only lasts a few seconds but the three dimensionality of it all perhaps is similar to what NDEers experience when they say that things appeared ‘realer than real’.

Each soul’s part in this grand play adds another thread to the weaving of creation and that fabric would be imperfect without that thread, however frayed, added by each life whether long or short.

I would add a few more lines of Shakespeare here;

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts, . . . “

"As You Like It"
Act II, Scene VII

- AOD

"The value of a model is not that it is a complete or even an accurate representation, but that it can be useful. It is a way of organizing disparate observations into a more coherent whole. Its value is epistemological, not ontological; it can be an aid to thinking, even though it is by no means a perfect reflection of reality." - Michael

And that's exactly what we do in everyday life as we seek to understand the world in which we live. We make a mental map. The more 'sane' we are the more regularly that map is revised and expanded.

I think the VR idea definitely has merit given my interest in Arvan's Peer-to-Peer Hypothesis (though note I don't think you need it for free will, which comes about relatively easily through a genuine examination of causation).

Arvan talks about a higher frame - where consciousness resides - creating the lower frame of the world. I can see this fitting into the idea of "hoax".

Even Bohm, father of the modern conception of a Holographic Universe, talked about mind-reality relationship being akin to the player in a video game.

||Basically, it's the view that earthly life is a fully immersive role-playing game. This game is designed by our higher self, with which we are in only tenuous contact while embodied. The game is meant to be challenging and instructive. The stakes are, in one sense, real — we gain real wisdom and personal growth.||

A really good post, Michael. There is at least a little comfort in this philosophy when confronting the brutal fact of massive amounts of innocent suffering.

Unfortunately, there are always the exceptions. This appears to be a rationalization that only works when considering adult aware human beings. The problem is, what about the countless cases where the sufferer is too young or too mentally disabled to learn anything? What about a 1 year old child who dies of AIDS in some African country? What about suffering in the severely mentally retarded?

\\"However, I find it more difficult to do so today. Perhaps the timing is a little unfortunate - I'm reading this post on the morning after the most appalling terrorist attack in Nice, which has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people, a number of them children." - James//
------------------

Life has to be the way it is in order to overcome those feelings of oneness and connectedness and lack of time and space in heaven. The lessons we experience here have to be the way they are and they have make us have lots and lots of emotion because that emotion will help us remember the things we learn here.

We here in the "physical" universe can't begin to comprehend or understand the feelings of oneness and connectedness (as described by near death experiencers) in heaven. It may be completely impossible to become or understand separateness in heaven... so it has to be learned here.

If you want to understand separation it has to be experienced and learned here because in holographic film ... it simply doesn't exist. All the information is spread throughout the entire piece of film and each piece contains the whole and everything interpenetrates everything.

So if the soul is in the process of becoming a separate unique individual the first thing it has to do is experience separation - enough of it to overcome those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness.

And it has to be done here in this life, which is the holographic projection from that holographic film we call heaven. Which also means that everything that exists here in our Universe also must exist in heaven only the physics of heaven would be very different from the physics that we currently experience here.

So my point is that we get it all back and in actuality no one really dies and there is no death and everything we have loved and lost here in this life will be waiting for us on the other side. Whatever we have "bound" in this life will be bound in heaven and will be there waiting for us. We really haven't lost anything.

But the lessons we learn here have to evoke enough emotion so that they are able to overcome that holographic oneness and connectedness in heaven. Because emotion and memory are connected and the more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

This life is temporary and the one that comes after is eternal. This life will seem like the blink of an eye compared to eternity.

"I find it more difficult to do so today. Perhaps the timing is a little unfortunate - I'm reading this post on the morning after the most appalling terrorist attack in Nice, which has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people, a number of them children."

I understand, but ask yourself this: would the pain and anguish of those parents be any greater if their child had died in some different way? The fact that some children died in this horrendous terrorist attack is, of course, awful, but a child dying of cancer or in some random accident is equally difficult to process.

Still, if we're going to be honest with ourselves, we have to accept the fact that life is full of such tragedies. And I think that possibly the best way to understand these terrible events is to say that this life is ultimately no more than a virtual reality role-playing experience, and therefore, whatever happens, however painful it may be, is only going to torment us for a little while.

I realize this is no comfort at all for the parent who has lost a child. However, I doubt that there is anything that we can say to comfort such a person. Religious platitudes of any kind are going to fall on deaf ears in such a case. So the fact that this particular worldview provides no comfort is not necessarily disqualifying, since there is no worldview that provides any comfort.

Great post, and you and I tend to be on the same wavelength on this macro matter...

"The game is about winning and losing, but the real victories are those of the mind and spirit"

Agreed.

"I understand, but ask yourself this: would the pain and anguish of those parents be any greater if their child had died in some different way? The fact that some children died in this horrendous terrorist attack is, of course, awful, but a child dying of cancer or in some random accident is equally difficult to process. "

Agreed again. Not socially/politically correct, but true.

This was a masterful post, Michael and it is in line with what I have been thinking and feeling lately. Discussing the evidence no longer interests me much.

Michael said: "I understand, but ask yourself this: would the pain and anguish of those parents be any greater if their child had died in some different way? The fact that some children died in this horrendous terrorist attack is, of course, awful, but a child dying of cancer or in some random accident is equally difficult to process. "

I agree entirely and my comment was not intended to suggest a sort of hierarchy of suffering. Rather, the circumstance of the terrorist attack provided an almost unbearable reminder of the level of suffering that some human beings experience. Hence my reference to it.

My point is that if we are going to discuss the problem of suffering, then we have to face up to the true scale of suffering experienced, for instance, by someone who has lost a child. In this light, it seems rather glib to view such experiences as instructive and, indeed, ultimately unreal when viewed from an afterlife perspective. There seems to be some invalidation of human experience in this philosophy.

I feel that the response of a higher self/soul or higher consciousness (perhaps 'God') would represent a magnified version of the compassionate response of decent human beings to the extreme suffering of another individual. Consciousness, taken as a whole, seems to partake of something of the individual's pain. Suffering matters. And although it is to be hoped that suffering is not a feature of a 'higher' existence, I suspect that the suffering of human beings (and indeed animals) will continue to matter.

"there is no worldview that provides any comfort."

Robinson Jeffers' Selected Poems does it for me, some of the time.

Buddhism starts with the fact of suffering, so it's not discomfited by tragedies and horrors.

Could part of it be learning to choose love even when facing the sometimes overwhelming pain this world can bring? Some of those NDE etc kind of give the impression that maybe that "heaven" part of reality might be existing on the easy settings. Maybe kind of like the life of a sheltered and well loved rich child - not the spoiled brat variety, but somebody who loves everybody because he has never met anybody who would not love him, and who has no problems giving because he always has enough from which to give without having to do without himself.

But if he then loses all that and it's no longer easy, can he still keep loving people?

Maybe one of earthly life's purposes is to toughen us. Turn us into something that will not shatter and become ugly if things suddenly aren't easy anymore. Maybe there is no "practical" reason for that, no expected "war in heaven" which would need that, but perhaps that toughness all by itself has value enough.

Heh. I suppose this might have been mentioned here before, but can't hurt. Seems like Andy Weir has been pondering the same question:

http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg.html

Really enjoyed your article which I thought was very poetic as well.
Yet there's still something that must be also very *physical" (if even that's the right word) for us to be where we are ... e.g. the evolution of stars, origin of planetary systems and the long evolutionary march to life and intelligence.
If then we have also souls which learn over lifetimes, it's this mixing of these two pictures that's very difficult.

An idea/model that might unite is animism, in the sense of the definition ... "the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls."
I could only see this as a beginning model but at least we seem to have souls or something soul-like from some of the evidence around, e.g. reincarnation.

@Marja: Viktor Frankl observed in the concentration camps of WW2 that hardship tended to bring out the best and the worst in people - according to character. But what is character and where does it come from? Like father like son?

Tapping this out in a hurry...

Upshot: The pain on this plane is intended to blast us out of our blinders-on, narrow-minded perceptions. Trauma is so fantastically painful in part because we buy into it hook, line and sinker. The way out is develop a direct, unimpeachable awareness of the broader eternal verities. Tbe pain will still happen, but it will be greatly cushioned by simultaneously knowing and perceiving that the pain is not all that is. Crazy-bad pain on the physical plane is the cattle prod that drives us to seek the broader, more encompaasing and enduring reality and truth. If not for that pain, we would fall asleep at the wheel in the material plane, and meander somnabulistically through life after life after life in the physical realms.

"In this light, it seems rather glib to view such experiences as instructive and, indeed, ultimately unreal when viewed from an afterlife perspective. " - James

James there are many experiences in human life that you just can't imagine how it feels until you have been through it. You think you can *reason* out what it would be like, but you can't.

Also, relying on what someone who has been through it *says* is not always a good means of gaining understanding either. Not only is each individual impacted differently given similar events, but in trying to communicate the impact a lot is lost. Emphases shift. The very purpose for trying communicate alters what is communicated.

Ironically, the more impactful the event, the more difficult to communicate the impact because the more impactful the event, the more global the effects are; which means that some very private areas are involved and a lot of people won't reveal those.

Finally, it is just plain difficult, perhaps impossible, to communicate profound impacts because a lot of it is beyond words.

Losing a child or other loved one in an untimely manner is horrible, but it is not unsurvivable. Yes, some parents crack up. Marriages end in divorce. The parents are never ok again. Others, though, work through the grief and loss. With time they build a new life with new hopes and dreams. They learn to put the sadness in its place (it never goes away). Becoming whole and happy and productive again is a real challenge and, when it is achieved, one realizes that much wisdom has been gained that one would have never obtained otherwise. But that wisdom cannot be communicated. The whole experience shifts one's awareness to a new perspective that is different than most other people who haven't been through it. Their world has changed.

As Michael said, the goal of this earthly game is to achieve triumphs of the mind and spirit. That is not possible without suffering (no pain/no gain). The worst suffering is being faced with the challenge and failing.

No one has suggested an explanation within the metaphysics being discussed for the sometimes extreme and protracted suffering and death of human beings that are either too young or too mentally challenged to be able to learn anything whatever from their experience.

I guess possible answers could be that the soul still benefits (somehow) even though the human self doesn't, or that there is some sort of agreement to undergo this for the benefit of the higher selves of others in the person's life, or just that this is the price that must be paid for overall soul learning in the Earth "school". I don't find these rationalizations very satisfactory, but I suppose no system can be perfect, and there are always losers along with the winners.

I don't know if the VR hypothesis requires answers to questions about God, suffering, etc?

I would just take it as a matter of seeing reality has at least two frames, with consciousness coming from the higher to participate in the lower (the material world).

The other stuff about coming here to learn about whatever is separate, and IMO not necessarily convincing.

My issue with the VR idea is that it makes life seem unimportant. Yet life does feel important - so I resent the attempted deception. Personally, I'd rather be shown the truth from the outset and treated like an adult.

Perhaps life on the physical plane is less a game and more of a spiritual boot camp.

Where's that danged re-set button?

Very thought provoking. But I don’t see why we have to make things so complicated. As I understand it, we have a life on earth and a spirit life that exists in another dimension, all connected by an etheric grid. To talk of “After” Life is incomplete. Better “Other Life” to encompass before, present and after life. I have yet to find a theory of creation that has room for an omniscient God, apart from Pearson’s Big Breed Theory that leaves room for God as an “optional extra”. For me, Go(o)d exists as a coming together of the positive spirit energies. However the Light is countered by the Dark. By this, Evil is the coming together of negative spirit energies. Take big daddy God out of the equation and it is easier to understand how some can be so good and others so evil.

\\"My issue with the VR idea is that it makes life seem unimportant." - Barbara//
---------------

Was going to school unimportant? Was going to college unimportant?

You can't know or understand what its' like to be separate, unique, individual unless you experience separation in this life. There are things that can't be learned in that holographic oneness we call heaven. NDE'ers describe it as a place where there is an overwhelming feeling of oneness and connectedness, time and space don't exist, and where you literally feel like you are everywhere in the Universe at once. A place where you feel like you are the Universe.

How can you learn to drive a car if you don't get behind the wheel and drive it? Or fly a plane? If you want to know what it's like to have a body and control that body you have to "get in it and drive it." There are simply things that can be learned here that can't be learned in heaven. We learn here what time and space look and feel like and what it's like to be inside a body and control that body. The itches, scratches, cuts, burns, etc. all imprint on the soul the parameters of that body and it seems people crave those feelings. Ever ask a cutter why they take a knife from the kitchen drawer and cut themselves? They answer "I just wanted to feel something." Living in a middle class homes locked in their rooms there are no bugs biting them, no briars scratching them, no lice, no ticks, no fleas - so they make their own pain.

In South America Indians take bags of bullet ants and stick their hands down in them and let the ants bite them - and it is said that the bite is so painful it feels like being shot by a bullet.
http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/the-pain-of-growing-up-being-stung-by-hundreds-of-bullet-ants-in-the-amazon-rain-forest.html

In Malaysia religious people intentionally stick metal rods through their skin in a religious initiation. They intentionally feel pain in order to feel "religious."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3414449/Worshippers-display-devotion-piercing-skin-hooks-spikes-Hindu-festival.html

American Indians hang themselves by leather thongs through piercings in their chest muscles.

Not to mention the millions of young people getting body piercings and tattoos in the United States and other countries.

There is a festival in Africa where they beat each other with branches.

During the middle ages religious devotees flagellated themselves trying to get God's intention. There is something innate in the human soul that craves "bits of information" and "0's and 1's" to imprint on the soul the shape and parameters, what "out there", looks and feels like.

I think the "VR universe" could be a prison, a school, and all the other things Hermeticists and Gnostics might argue about.

It would be a mistake to assume evidence of reality as functionally being akin to a simulation for evidence of Purpose, God, Meaning, etc.

Barbara, but what if nobody send you here but you chose this yourself? Including the part that you remember nothing of the purpose while you are here? Maybe even knowing you'd resent the situation once you had forgotten.

Way off topic, but I can't resist passing along this comment I just saw in response to Melania Trump's speech:

"So Michele Obama gave the best speech at the Republican convention today?"

It's *really* hard to comprehend how such a thing could happen. Is it complete idiocy on her or a speechwriter's part? Here’s a thought: maybe she accepted the "help" of some Democratic contributor who found a way to sabotage the event.

\\"The pain on this plane is intended to blast us out of our blinders-on, narrow-minded perceptions." James//


Pain evokes emotion and emotion helps us remember. The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates. Life has to be the way it is in order to overcome those feelings of oneness and connectedness and lack of time and space in heaven.

Emotions Make the Memory Last
More Detail, Easier Recollection With Emotional Memories

http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20050131/emotions-make-memory-last

Art said: So if the soul is in the process of becoming a separate unique individual the first thing it has to do is experience separation - enough of it to overcome those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness.

I couldn't (and didn't) say it better. :-) I have felt for some time now that evolution is a total spiritual and physical process. Instead of the glib new age "everybody is an angel and will be enlightened in the afterlife." Instead of the bleak stark Buddhist view that "we are nothing from nothing heading to nothing." We are actually "becoming." Maybe we reincarnate in order to evolve. Anyway, just a thought.

The problem of evil is a tough one. Obviously, we need darkness to know light. I don't think we need quite this much though thank you very kindly! I guess the worst things get the more chance of real spiritual growth. Battlefields, as horrible as they are, often teach deep lessons, of bravery to help civilians and bond deeply with their friends. Is it worth it? A lot of vets end up killing themselves. Anyway, I hope all will be reveled, or at least some of it.

\\"Maybe we reincarnate in order to evolve. Anyway, just a thought." - Steve//
--------------

Just for the record... Art hates reincarnation. Art hates the whole idea of it. Good God Almighty I don't want to come back here after I'm gone. I agree with the first Noble Truth of Buddhism "All life is suffering."

I can think of no reason for reincarnation other than perhaps to cause multiple personality disorder or schizophrenia. Which I can just as easily attribute to our brains tuning into more than one station at a time.

Personally I think there are better explanations for those reincarnation memories such as kids not yet having developed their own sense of self and their brains tuning into someone else's past life memories and the so called physical manifestations are just "thoughts are things and consciousness creating reality."

I guess it's generally assumed that all New Agey types believe in reincarnation but this is one new age guy who "the less I hear about it the better."

I don't even like to buy or read books about life after death that talk about reincarnation. As far as I'm concerned reincarnation isn't "life after death." If the "I" who I am right now ceases to exist something else survives then "I" am not alive and thus didn't survive the death of my physical body.

Art hates reincarnation.

Yep, but it is assumed that Michael in the blog investigates what is true, not what pleases us.

Personally I think there are better explanations for those reincarnation memories such as kids not yet having developed their own sense of self and their brains tuning into someone else's past life memories and the so called physical manifestations are just "thoughts are things and consciousness creating reality."

But then why we can not say the same about the mediums? There are reasons to rule out the living agent hypothesis, but they are also applicable to type reincarnation cases.

If the "I" who I am right now ceases to exist something else survives then "I" am not alive and thus didn't survive the death of my physical body.

Children who seem to remember their previous lives often claim they are the same then and now.

"Art hates reincarnation. Art hates the whole idea of it."

Michael hates Trump as the GOP nominee. Michael hates the whole idea of it.

Nevertheless, it's a fact: Trump is officially the GOP nominee.

Reality doesn't give a hang about our likes and dislikes.

If you look at the spread of claims made about the afterlife and the nature of reality it seems to me there are - if we accept these claims - a variety of potential realms one can go through including returning to this one via reincarnation.

As such I see a wilderness more than a system designed to bring about spiritual evolution. There are seemingly Good agents trying to make the best of it though, and pocket realities* where NDErs are lucky enough to go.

*On the size of these pockets, consider the numbers between 0 & 1 is "equal" to the entirety of the Real Number Line. Infinity is weird. :-)

\\"But then why we can not say the same about the mediums?" Juan//
-----------------

You won't see me waxing poetic about Mediums. I think they get bits and pieces and then add a whole lot of filler. They get a few simple "hits" and then ramble on to try and fill up 45 minutes to an hour when the truth is they get brief glimpses and have to put it all together.

I have more faith in NDEs and death bed visions because they are congruent with or corroborate the holographic universe theory which I think can't be a coincidence. They say things which I believe sort of parallels things I've read about quantum physics also. Some NDEs are twaddle but there are some out there that are brilliant.

\\"Michael hates Trump as the GOP nominee. Michael hates the whole idea of it. Nevertheless, it's a fact: Trump is officially the GOP nominee.Reality doesn't give a hang about our likes and dislikes."//
----------------

We really don't need to worry about it. Right before Carl Turner says that everything is happening according to some divine plan he says "I literally felt like I was everywhere in the Universe at once" which is an allusion to the holographic universe - and if we are indeed living in a holographic universe that means that everything, past, present, and future is all ready written on that holographic film.

It's got consilience (allusion to the holographic universe) and it tells us that everything is happening according to some divine plan and we don't need to worry about which I might add is also what Dr. Taudo said in his story about his mystical experience Riding the Dragon. We worry needlessly about stuff we don't need to worry about. They are all pieces of the puzzle and when we put them together they paint a beautiful picture that God is in Control.

From Carl Turner's mystical experience,
"I had the realization that I was everywhere at the same time...and I mean everywhere. I knew that everything is perfect and happening according to some divine plan, regardless of all the things we see as wrong with the world."
http://www.beyondreligion.com/su_personal/dreamsvisions-kundalini.htm

From Riding the Dragon by Dr. Taudo,
"Although no words were exchanged in that brief eye-to-eye encounter, it seemed to me the message was clear: "So, for a moment, you see. Relax. Don't take yourself so seriously! All is well. We are forever one."
http://issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1

And by the way Jame's E's NDE description also says the same thing,
" It taught me that everyone, everything, is in its right place. Always will be, no matter how much we try to change, or try to destroy, or try to create, were simply doing exactly what was planned. The meaning of life, as I felt it to be, is simply to live. Were here because we want to be here."
http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/james_e_nde.htm

I could go on and post more but......


Bruce, ever get the feeling they are just playing with us? And what better joke than to have die-hard Republicans applaud a speech with lines from a Michele Obama speech? Which I sometimes think may help the case that the *whole thing* is a big joke on us (not just Trump, but life itself), that life is some kind of virtual-reality system, or at least a system of deep and systematic illusions.

Kathleen said:

“Bruce, ever get the feeling they are just playing with us?”

I hear you, Kathleen, but that’s not my idea of how things work. “They” implies callous exterior agents who are using us for their entertainment. I have a more optimistic view.

“life is some kind of virtual-reality system, or at least a system of deep and systematic illusions.”

Now that I agree with. But it’s a system that we ourselves—-as we exist beyond space-time—-create.

Nobody’s playing with us. We’re exploring possibilities by devising, and then inhabiting, a realm in which we are continually being challenged, nurtured, educated—and yes, astounded.

Art said:

"As far as I'm concerned reincarnation isn't "life after death." If the "I" who I am right now ceases to exist something else survives then "I" am not alive and thus didn't survive the death of my physical body."

What you're not taking into consideration is how *big* you ultimately are. The larger you encompasses not only Art, but other souls as well.

Think of those excerpts you quote in which NDErs talk of experiencing themselves as being "everywhere and everywhen."

I think that says a lot about our true destination. Art will still exist, but as part of a larger being that resides in many places and times simultaneously.

Difficult or impossible to imagine, I know. But you'll like it. I promise. :)

Much of my perspective of the afterlife has been shaped by authors like Jurgen Ziewe (and personal experiences, too). While I like this VR philosophy, it's important to consider that not everyone who dies immediately merges with some kind of higher-self who has the luxury to see existence as a giant chessboard.

Many of us seem to end up in fairly dismal realms--some even quite reminiscent of earth's less hospitable places. The flaw in the VR model is that it's clear when a game ends; and we can return to our normal lives. Earth, however, affects the soul's psychology on a deep level. Trauma on earth can result in traumatized "spirits", negative realms, hauntings, and so forth.

As a result, what we experience is more than just a simulation that will ultimately end, whereupon we'll all be perfectly fine. Rather, the choices we make matter on a soul level.

I suspect all of us can potentially wrestle with internal darkness. The greatest griefs I've felt have not even been from death, but interpersonal relations (break-ups, etc). Who's to say such pains do not persist in other realms? And if so, perhaps we need the lessons from earth to keep us from being depressed in the afterlife. While many of us can experience the sense of merging back with our higher self, it does not seem a permanent affair. Eventually, we settle back into the realm that we are suited for; and unless we work on ourselves and grow as much as we can, we run the risk of falling backward into dark territories of the mind.

Perhaps a way to extend the VR analogy and to address Cyrus's point is to think of dying as a transition to another level of a multilevel game. You finish one level and move on to the next, maintaining the same avatar (perhaps somewhat modified, with an altered appearance and new capabilities) and playing by the same, or similar, rules. And you carry over what you learned from the previous level. Meanwhile, part of you is aware that it's only a game, though this knowledge is suppressed as you concentrate on the virtual environment and treat it as real.

The transition points between levels may also afford jumping-off points for people who are alert enough - i.e., who recognize the game for what it is. The Tibetan Book of the Dead advises the dying person to stay focused and avoid being taken in by illusions, which may (in my interpretation) include the illusory or at least not ultimately real planes of limbo, Summerland, etc. In this way the soul can escape the cycle of rebirth and attain nirvana. Presumably in our terms this means a reunion with the higher self and a casting off of ego personas.

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