IMG_2361
Blog powered by Typepad

« An old-time radio classic | Main | Book review: There Is Life after Death »

Comments

"Other fans have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality."

Interesting piece, Michael, and true to a certain extent.

On the other hand, what's always struck me as particularly impressive about NDE's, is how frequently experiencers say just the opposite. Though they sorely miss the grandeur they briefly tasted and long to return to it, they often say that their experience has given them a sense of how truly precious earthly life is.

For many NDE'rs, in fact, their experience puts an end to suicidal thinking. Though they may have been angry at being resuscitated, they understand that killing themselves is not the answer, and find that their NDE has given them new resources for living a more satisfying life.

Mere fantasies and hallucinations shouldn't have that sort of effect.

I also seem to recall that the book Alice in Wonderland is a NDE like story and is based on Lewis Carroll's taking of drugs? The new movie with Johnny Depp looks very colorful and reminded me of some NDE descriptions.

And speaking of life after death movies, we are thinking about going to the movies this weekend to see The Lovely Bones, a movie about a little girl who is murdered who comes back to help her dad solve her murder. My wife listened to the book on tape and she liked it. She read online that there are a couple of scenes in the movie where they portray what Heaven might look like. I'm curious about how they portray it.

The last "life after death" movie we saw was Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Tea Leoni. It was okay. I like to support life after death movies when they come out though because I figure sends a message to Hollywood that this is something I'm interested in. Sort of like voting I guess.

A few other life after death movies I liked were The Others with Nicole Kidman about being ghosts and not even realizing it and Meet Joe Black about Brad Pitt as the angel of death, and of course Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. I wonder if Patrick Swayze is amazed by how much the other side is like how it was portrayed at the end of the movie Ghost?

Do you really think the film is simple fantasy? I haven't seen it myself, but I've read that it was intended as a satire on Western foreign policy and our attitude to native peoples and their beliefs.

If the film is making people depressed, then maybe there's an element of guilt evoked by the satire?

Flatliners has to be my favourite.

“I've read that it was intended as a satire on Western foreign policy and our attitude to native peoples and their beliefs.”

It is interesting that this post is about depression and western policy as I just heard an author speak on NPR radio in his book “crazy like us” and how the drug companies in America are taking their products to other countries using some interesting methods to make these drugs more acceptable to different cultures.

Now the interesting part was how other cultures look at depression and how to deal with it from spirit possession to social networks such as family being part of the healing process. Whereas this author claimed and many callers claimed in America we are a very individualistic and very egocentric society so we take more of a private individualistic approach to dealing with depression and more of a biological chemical mechanical approach to dealing with depression.

Other callers suggested that we sit high expectations for our children and ourselves and this can lead to some forms of depression. I found the dialog interesting as to these different approaches to handling mental illness such as depression around the world.

The author stated he did not believe in spirit possession, which some cultures use to deal with a depressed person, and I wonder how much research he had done into spiritualism. I have noticed in my life that we humans often speak from personal opinion, which has not been based on research but existing societal beliefs.

“I wonder if Patrick Swayze is amazed by how much the other side is like how it was portrayed at the end of the movie Ghost?”

Ask him and you may be surprised he many answer you. I suspect many people have mediumship abilities and don’t have a clue they have such abilities.

“Mere fantasies and hallucinations shouldn't have that sort of effect.”

I don’t ever remember reading where hallucinations and fantasies have had the same effect as NDE’s on many that come back and desire to be a service to others and often are very much more loving and less judgmental towards others.

I suspect that Susan Blackmore had a hallucination rather than a valid NDE. She is an interesting person as I communicated with her through the email process years ago. She admitted to me she loves going to those yearly skeptics conferences as she is treated like some type of hero with her belief that NDE’s are the dying brain phenomenon.

Now I disagree with those that come back and claim to have been given all knowledge. I suspect it feels like all knowledge but I don’t see any evidence of anyone having all knowledge even after so-called enlightenment.

Of course we may need an operational definition of what is all knowledge.

I saw the film last week and I have to say it was amazing. I have never seen anything like it. The story was very interesting and the effects nothing short of amazing. It held my attention for the whole 2.5 hours.

I must also admit that at the end of it, I too felt somewhat down about returning back to reality. My reaction surprised me.

As an aside, Michael, Avatar is a beautiful film and I think you'd like it if you actually watched it.

btw, have you seen Paranormal Activity yet? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Avatar is another James Cameron classic.

Set aside the politics; within the context of the movie, the story works well. In fact, it's better the second time around, since your eyeballs have had time to adjust to the amazing visuals.

And they are amazing! See it in 3D IMAX in the back half of the theater, and make sure it's a theater with the sound pumped up.

What I like about Cameron's writing and visual style is the way he connects and loops things. For example, in The Terminator, near the beginning Arnold is driving a car that runs over a toy truck. Later he is in a semi-truck cab running over a car. In The Abyss, which is really about marriage, (and keep in mind that only the director's cut makes sense of the aliens) Virgil early on decides to throw out his wedding ring into a chemical toilet but can't give it up and so he retrieves it reluctantly. Later on that ring saves his life so that he and his wife can descend and emerge from their separate abysses letting go conflicts and united again in love (the theme of the aliens).

In Avatar, the recurring theme is between dreaming and waking. What's the dream? What world do you want to wake to?

Don't buy into the nonsense that this is merely a hackneyed story. It's a mythic hero's journey, simple and known, but done in a new way in a realm of visual beauty that we haven't seen since Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz before that.

The flying banshees alone are worth the journey.

It's well worth a couple of viewings. Just shut off your critical mind as you put on the 3D glasses and become that child of wonder again. Plenty of critics in the world. Let that go. Be the child again.

BTW, Avatar will be the first movie to hit $2 billion in unadjusted dollars.

"I suspect that Susan Blackmore had a hallucination rather than a valid NDE." - william
---------------------------------------------

Or she actually did leave her body but when we are out of our body the roofs had a different color because we don't see colors exactly the same way as when we are in our bodies? A honeybee sees something very different when it looks at a flower than we do; because it can see in the infrared. People who have NDE's routinely say they saw "more colors than usual" which to me means we are able to see the entire light spectrum rather than just a very narrow range.

Or Susan Blackmore when she left her body was in a different time and space than when she was in her body? The soul isn't limited by time and space and can instantly be anyplace it focuses it's attention on. If she was in a different time than it's possible that the roof colors were different because at that time they used different materials or colors for roofs?

She needs to read the essay on the near-death.com website about NDE's and time.

“People who have NDE's routinely say they saw "more colors than usual" which to me means we are able to see the entire light spectrum rather than just a very narrow range.”

I think they are able to see a greater level of light spectrum but not the entire light spectrum. I think they are correct that they saw more colors then usual. Our level of consciousness may determine the levels of light spectrum we can see.

It appears these different levels or dimensions have something to do with the levels of light spectrums available to witness. The greater the level soul development; the greater the ability to see these different light spectrums. One of the books where a spirit writes about these different dimensions and light levels is called testimony of light where a former nun comes through to her medium friend after she crossed over.

I don’t think we can possible imagine what it would be like to see the entire light spectrum. Beauty beyond our capability to imagine at this stage of human development.

All I can do is quote what I've read in NDE's, and then speculate as to why that was. So I "theorize" that our physical bodies limit us, and at this point we can only see a tiny portion of the light spectrum, and after the soul leaves the body those limitations are gone. I also don't believe that there is any "duality" in heaven. Duality is a "here" thing, and not a "there" thing. All the stuff that separates us in this life doesn't exist on the other side. I believe we are all equal in Heaven.

Art said: I also don't believe that there is any "duality" in heaven. Duality is a "here" thing, and not a "there" thing. All the stuff that separates us in this life doesn't exist on the other side. I believe we are all equal in Heaven.

Spirit communicators say the exact opposite!

We are all at different levels in the Spirit World. Our spiritual status is a consequence of the life we have lived on earth.

If you choose to believe otherwise that's fine by me but that will not make it so.

Don't be an old grumpy stick in the mud. Go see it in 3D IMAX while it is still in the theaters. You'll love the visual experience.

I wonder what the highest grossing movie of all time would be if adjusted for inflation and also for population.

I remember that a number of people who read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran committed suicide because his depiction of heaven left them dissatisfied with reality.

I can remember after reading the dragon rider stories by Anne McCaffry that I really wanted a fire lizard. To me this is a mark of a truly gifted writer or movie producer.

Neil asked: "I wonder what the highest grossing movie of all time would be if adjusted for inflation and also for population."

Gone With The Wind. Hands down and forever. $1.485 billion in adjusted dollars.

Titanic is a mere $.943 billion

An excerpt from the Sue Blackmore's OBE.

...After New York I had no idea where I wanted to go and I found myself heading, even faster, for South America. There I amused myself in the childish pastime of using the coastline as a giant slide. The curly bit at the southern tip of the continent was the end of it and from there I shot round the bend and off up into the Alantic.


Has anybody ever heard of an out of body experience during an NDE like this one ?

I've read thousands of NDE'S and Joe Soap and his wife, Lavender, most certainly do not even go sliding around the coast of Morecambe, let alone the continent of South America.

And this is the evidence that swayed opinions for thirty years. Marvellous.

“We are all at different levels in the Spirit World. Our spiritual status is a consequence of the life we have lived on earth.”

This statement agrees with my research that our level of consciousness, which is a reflection of our awareness as to the underlying reality of all phenomena, determines our level of existence in these other dimensions that many call astral worlds.

But art be of good cheer as this quote below has given me much to ponder for many years.

“So do not regard anything as false for all things are true in their degrees.”

The manifestational universe is a tangible expression of an unfolding and evolving reality therefore it must exist in varying degrees and planes of existence. Physical manifestation is one of those “concrete” expressions of existence.


“And this is the evidence that swayed opinions for thirty years. Marvellous.”

If you mean swayed the opinions of what is often referred to as ultra skeptics they have chosen to believe that NDE’s are either hallucinations or the dying brain theory to keep their materialistic paradigm intact.

Maybe a materialistic system of beliefs that often leads to scientism may be one of those degrees of truth. There may only be one absolute truth but it appears there are many paths to that one Absolute. With our ego centered minds we often succumb to the following thoughts. Now our ego-centered mind is just a phase or stage of the evolution of the soul.

My truth becomes thee truth:

My path becomes thee path and other paths are nonsense:

My religion becomes thee only true religion:

My savior is the only savior:

My way to heaven is the only way to heaven or nirvana:

As I often hear a preacher state: only Jesus is the way to heaven.

Who are we to judge one’s path to this awaking process that every soul must take due to what some call the law of progress.

Now what the world does not see and therefore cannot teach what it cannot see is that we are not responsible for our ignorance. For self-confirmatory motives we cherish taking responsibility for our ignorance that leads to most if not all of our suffering.

Now the Buddha realized correctly that the origin of suffering was ignorance but he failed to see or if he did see and teach this aspect of ignorance then his teachings were not continued to be taught that the origin of that ignorance is the evolution of the soul or the manifestation of unique “entities” process. We are “expressions” of this process and not responsible for our ignorance contrary to what the world tells us over and over and over, etc.

The personal mind that some call an “illusion” (which I prefer the term “an expression” of infinite Oneness); this personal mind desperately due to its lack of knowing wants to take responsibility for its ignorance as a self-confirmatory mode to its very existence.

How can we take responsibility for a process we did not create? Therefore our ignorance has its origin in our original innocence. I know from past experience that this aspect of ignorance will be rejected by most but it is what I see at this time in my own evolution of consciousness process.

Now karma assures us that our ignorance will be revealed to us in many ways like a cosmic refection to guide us to ever increasing levels of infinite love and intelligence. Not sure any of this made any sense but it is the best I can describe my thoughts at this time.

Apologize for long comments but these thoughts came to me this morning in this format and felt a need to share them.

What I'm getting at (William) was that Miss Blackmore discredited the OBE (in NDE, particularly) simply by pointing to her 'own' experience and saying, "Heh, look, I only smoked a bit of weed and had 'one.' So don't bother attaching any special significance to your NDE cause I've been there and got the T-shirt and it's a fake. Okay."

And I didn't do a survey, but I believe that 'the majority ' accepted her opinion.

Susan Blackmore is a strange creature! She claims never to have found evidence for Psi, and yet Rick Berger examined her Ph.D work and found over 30% of her expt's produced significant results! I wouldn't get too carried away with what she has to say about NDE / OBE phenomena!

There is quite a bit of information around about Susan Blackmore and her supposed 'years of research' I am not sure how much credibility she actually has. I certainly wouldn't get too exercised about anything she says either way.

It had a similar (although to much less of an extent) impact on me. The world James Cameron depicts looks much more beautiful then our world and the life the Na'vi lead so much more meaningful then ours. I would still recommend everyone to go watch it, and I would agree that the story does have western themes to it, reminded me of pocahantus.
I think its already the second highest grossing film of all all time btw, according to box office mojo.
http://boxofficemojo.com/alltime/world/

Thanks, Michael and Paul...I still think she's done a substantial amount of damage to the 'case for survival.'
We might have been on the road to a slightly more peaceful world by now.

I've been unable to take Susan Blackmore seriously ever since, two years ago, she published a hysterical opinion piece about global warming. Basically she predicted that most of the landmass of the earth would be underwater within a generation. I don't think any serious researcher in climatology would endorse such a wild opinion. She wrote:

"In all probability billions of people are going to die in the next few decades.... When sea levels rise further millions will drown, when the deserts grow bigger millions will starve, when the glaciers end their present flood of excess melt water vast cities will become uninhabitable almost overnight."

I wrote about it here:

http://tiny.cc/awyse

It was clear to me, from this exercise in alarmism, that Blackmore is not a serious person, though I have been told that she is very friendly and approachable.

'I've been unable to take Susan Blackmore seriously ever since she published a hysterical piece about global warming'

'She' 'knows with quite some satisfaction(I can't prove it, of course) that her propoganda destroyed the credibility(at least in the opinion of the average person) of the early research into the NDE.

Sabom was portrayed as an insignificant, biased, christian doctor from somewhere in the american bible belt...and you can't trust that type can you ? Whereas, she was a sophisticated, attractive, sensible member of English academia. Now, who are you going to believe ?


People listen to her over here She's not infrequently invited on to the Radio. That's why she thinks that the world will listen to her opinions on global warming and anything else she cares to mention.

in her defence she did give a brilliant talk on memes and techno-memes, or temes, a year ago for the TED talks. She is very persuasive, even if what she argues is not that necessarily on the money.

What she wrote about a teaching of Buddhism was way off base with the concept of dependent origination and she included it in one of her books or articles. I challenged her views that this Buddhism belief did not prove her materialistic beliefs. She admitted she did not know much about Buddhism.

I thought that strange as she put it in her writings not as opinion but as factual. So if she is that not that factual with Buddhism one wonders with her other material. She admitted to me hopefully not to be private that she loves the way she is treated at those yearly ultra skeptic conferences.

As far as climate change I am still hiding from the killer bees that came to az many years ago. Fear sells and sells big. In my view governments and religions are masters at selling fear and guilt to accomplish hidden agendas.

As a side note the “selling” of guilt by religion is not based in spiritual reality but based in one of the most deceptive self confirmatory ideas humankind has ever believed to be beneficial and taught as some kind of spiritual necessity for personal redemption.

You can read all about Susan Blackmore on her website including her campaign for the legalisation of drugs:

http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/

Yes, and I think she intends to use LSD to enable her to have a peaceful death. Naturally she's not placing any faith in the comforting and very common, death bed visions etc. She knows that's all cobblers, of course....

"She is very persuasive, even if what she argues is not that necessarily on the money"

She's persuasive in part and because in contrast with other "skeptics", she doesn't look dogmatic and in part because she's familiar with psi research.

However, she's a dark (pseudoskeptical) side, which was exposed in detail by parapsychologist Rick Berger in his review of Blackmore's research:

http://www.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/blackmore_critique.htm

Another fine piece of criticism of Blackmore's ideas is this critique of Blackmore's NDE book by Greg Stone:

http://www.nderf.org/Dying%20To%20Live%20Critique.htm#A%20Critique

She writes "It is no wonder that we like to deny death. Whole religions are based on that denial. Turn to religion and you may be assured of eternal life... Of course, this comforting thought conflicts with science. Science tells us that death is the end and, as so often, finds itself opposing religion"

In typical atheist fashion, she posits a simplistic false dilemma: science vs. religion, where the former is materialistic and the latter spiritualistic.

Science tells us that death is the end?

Perhaps it's more accurate to say that the hegemonic materialist conception of science implies that, but nonmaterialist sciences like psi science supports, or at least is not incompatible, with survival.

And nonreligious scientists and writers like William Crookes, Arthur Findlay and atheist Michael Roll have been and are believers in survival on purely scientific and nonreligious grounds.

I don't think a person of Blackmore's qualifications, knowledge and intelligence is incapable of making these evident differentiations, hence I think her assertion quoted above is intentionally misleading -- she intends to predispose her readers to her materialist conclusion, especially her readers trained in science.

If science is against survival, what scientist would want to believe in such anti-scientific belief without losing his/her respectable status of scientist?

Since most scientists don't know the survival evidence, and provided they respect Blackmore, they'll be easily predisposed against survival by her misleading claim. (Blackmore and particularly Michael Shermer are specialists in this "how-to-fool-scientists-about-psi/survival" strategy)

When you read carefully the works of leading pseudo-skeptics, you get used to that kind of strategies, because it follows a certain predictable pattern (mostly subtle straw men, clever ad hominems, appeals to the establisment and clever omission of essential evidence favorable to survival/psi).

One develops a kind of "pseudoskeptics' fallacies detector" that is very useful to avoid being fooled.

Her book is, however, one of the best defenses of the materialist position about NDEs, hence if her case fails (and I think it obviously does), you can be sure that materialism is not a good explanation for the best cases of NDEs.

Just a comment: I don't know if in UK is common that a woman, and specially an academic, of Blackmore's age and prestige uses a hair style like that.

It looks more like a teenager hair's style than the image of a professional female scientist.

This is not a criticism, in fact I think she doesn't look bad-- only a little bit ;).

But this kind of eccentricities often reveal personal traits (for instance, a need for being the center of attention), not necesarily negative ones.

When you enter her website, look at the picture in the top left: her hair is green, yellow, red...

I prefer her lastest one: red at the bottom only...

Lol.

ZC - I don't think hair style is indicative of anything really!

....IMHO, she looks quite good (for a middle aged woman!)

Michael Duggan !!! I suspect you fancy her, you Lothario, you.

You'll have Richard Dawkins to contend with !

“Science tells us that death is the end?”

As long as she has that paradigm all the research in the world will not convince her otherwise. Now a significant event in her life may change her mind but not the experiences of others.

Without realizing it her religion is scientism and scientism is a very powerful religion where theory is often taught as fact.

“When you read carefully the works of leading pseudo-skeptics, you get used to that kind of strategies, because it follows a certain predictable pattern (mostly subtle straw men, clever ad hominems, appeals to the establisment and clever omission of essential evidence favorable to survival/psi).”

They are predictable almost to a person.

It is called cherry picking information and the cable news networks and politicians are the very best at this. It appears to be a human phenomenon.

Maybe they learned from the ultra skeptics how to cherry pick?

I think you're barking up the wrong tree Mr Wood!!

Ouch. Only kidding, Michael.

She's much more in my age range. But I'm not keen on the eco-warrior 'hair-do's' she seems to favour.

Morning Michael!
Here is a interesting interview with Dr. Yvonne Kason
http://thevarsity.ca/articles/24649
(though sadly, she completly botched Maria's shoe....it would be funny if it wasn't so... well.. sad.)
-Marty

Thanks for the link, Marty. Interesting interview.

I believe Dr. Kason was citing a different "shoe-related" NDE, not the "Maria's shoe" case.

Oddly, there have been at least three NDEs involving distant perception of an abandoned shoe. In one case a shoe was found on the roof of the hospital; in another case a shoe was found on a ledge (this was the "Maria" case); and in the incident cited by Kason, a shoe had somehow ended up on top of a lamp.

Maybe the AWARE study should be using hidden shoes, not pictures, to test the patients' perceptions!

--Oops there I go thinking I know everything again my sincere apologies to Dr. Yvonne Kason

Thanks for the info Michael

I thought I knew most of the "Veridical NDE" cases...
(Though I did not know there were THREE shoe cases)
as these are what interests me, I understand the light or deceased relitives...(I believe them, non the less)
however when someone is flatlined and on the operating table yet they come back describing clowns making baloon animals for kids two floors up and on the other side of the hospital
THAT gets a little hard for the Skeptics to explain
--Marty

“however when someone is flatlined and on the operating table yet they come back describing clowns making baloon animals for kids two floors up and on the other side of the hospital THAT gets a little hard for the Skeptics to explain”

Explain they must for to do otherwise would create a very steep and slippery slope with no end in sight. Actually they just don’t explain that aspect of the NDE and cherry pick what they want to explain.

Cherry picking is rampant with the human mind to support beliefs such as political, economic, materialist, and religious ideologies.

One of my favorite NDE’s and I have many is about the woman in the hospital where her heart had stopped again so the family was called in again and the brother in law in the waiting room was complaining that she was going to mess up his golf day again. Well when she saw him later in the day she had visited that waiting room during her NDE and she reminded him of his words that he said about her messing up his golf game day.

Or the woman that had a NDE and was upset with her husband for not dressing the kids in their matching outfits when he quickly dressed the kids and rushed to the hospital to see her.

Recently I have read about a woman that had an OBE and visited 11 different dimensions so I have ordered her book. Doesn’t sting theory support a theory that 11 dimensions exist? Anyhow her brief chapter in a book was very inspiring and a worthwhile read.

Like an NDE this experience left her not only without any fear of death but in a very peaceful and she claims joyful state of mind in spite of the profound life’s difficulties she has since encountered in life such as bankruptcy and loss of home due to lack of medical insurance due to preexisting conditions, husband disabled for life, fire destroyed one home and belongings, etc.

How many in the world can stay at peace with such phenomena occurring in our lives?

The 11 dimensions that string theory posits are curled up spatial dimensions, not dimensions in the "alternate reality" sense. I think a lot of people seem to miss that distinction.

'Actually they just don't explain that aspect of the NDE and cherry pick what they want to explain.' - William

That's exactly what they do. Brilliant dumbo's a lot of them..."DUH, it can't be that." Duh...because that's impossible..duh..

See, here's exactly why I don't want to go see Avatar. It could be fatal:

http://tiny.cc/epIa9

Okay, I don't really think it would prove fatal.

But I do think I would have an unpleasant reaction. The news article mentions "complaints of headaches, dizziness, nausea and blurry eyesight ..."

I'm pretty sure headache, nausea, and blurry eyesight would be my complaints, too, since I have a very low tolerance for 3D. Even watching 3D on a computer screen makes me queasy.

Argue for you limitations and sure enough, they're yours.

This is not in-your-face 3D. You will forget it throughout most of the movie.

"You will forget it throughout most of the movie."

I can forget it even more easily by not seeing the movie.

Honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would want to sit through Avatar.

Increasingly I find myself tuning out of contemporary pop culture. I'm not the only one:

http://tiny.cc/aeWFb

I saw Avatar in 3D. It was pretty good. Not the best movie I've seen lately (Sherlock Holmes was better). My feeling was that the people who felt homesick for Pandora after the movie was over just haven't looked around this planet enough. Maybe they spend too much time in theaters or in front of a TV. Pandora doesn't even come close to the beauty of this world.

I also wrote about this phenomenon on my blog in a post titled "Singin' the Avatar Blues." (Great minds think similarly.)

Check it out:

http://www.ambrosiawaterfilters.com/blog/?p=239

Nothin' but spam!

Just saw it for the 5th time, IMAX 3D.

It just gets better and better...Caught a couple of more Cameron loops...how Grace says when told Jake saw the Tree of Souls, "I would die to get samples" and of course she does, but in a way she never imagined. Also, at the beginning, the cremation box goes into the fire in the same way the avatar box goes into the machine. "One life ends, another life begins."

Cameron is great at these kinds of visual/verbal loops that are only spotted in subsequent viewings.

And that scene near the end where the 10-foot-tall Neytiri holds Jake in his human body, saying "I see you." Only an artist of Cameron's caliber could have made this scene not only seemless and believable but tear-jerking.

I'll keep going until I can't spot any new Cameron loops.

The comments to this entry are closed.