Blog powered by Typepad

« Angel band | Main | Se7en »


Excellent post Michael. Right on the money.

When I first began studying NDE's, one of things that attracted me to them was the depth of feeling described. A main theme of my own life has been something called primal therapy, which centers on the healthful effects of getting back in touch with our feelings.

Over the years I've learned how we defend AGAINST feeling. And we do this because being emotionally open often hurts. We even defend against feeling love—especially love— not because it's painful in itself, but because it opens us up to feeling everything else.

So my own orientation is that deep feeling is where truth lies, and when I first started reading about NDE's, I was attracted to them—and still am—partly because of their stunning emotional depth.

And since I know how people tend to make light of deep emotions, when I read books like Blackmore's, my reaction is, "Thanks, but I'll trust the person who has the experience himself, rather than the one who's trying to analyze someone else's experience."

"but there's more: the individual also experiences a mega-powerful attack of conscience [in the life review]…."

This has always struck as very hard to explain within the "wishful thinking" school of NDE analysis!

You are posting relatively frequently these days, Michael. Thank you.
It's kinda like little Christmas present's from someone far away. :-)

There is a lot of bunk out there, from the New Age hysterics to the foaming-at-the-mouth skeptics. Balanced, logical, yet insightful approaches are so hard to find. Thank you for pointing us to them!

"I'd love to hear a scientific theory that could explain how one shares other people's feelings, not in the conventional way of being able to sense them, or name or describe them, but to experience them exactly as if they were their own,"

Easy, it's called The Holographic Universe theory! The Life Review is a holographic experience par excellence! In a Universe where everything interpenetrates everything and everything is connected to everything else is it that all surprising that one should be able to feel the emotions, thoughts, and feelings of the people we interacted with? Besides which in a hologram everything - past, present, and future all ready exists - just like a DVD recording only "holographic." Dr. Oswald Harding discusses it in his book Near Death Experiences: A Holographic Explanation.

"Dr. Oswald Harding discusses it in his book Near Death Experiences: A Holographic Explanation."

Sounds interesting, Art. But I just went to Amazon, and the one guy who reviewed the book didn't like it much. ;o)

(For those of you who are wondering why I'm winking, Art wrote the review himself.)

Lol! It was the only review!

"Sounds interesting, Art. But I just went to Amazon, and the one guy who reviewed the book didn't like it much. ;o)"- Bruce

It's a difficult read. I am deeply suspicious that he took his PhD dissertation and slapped a cover on it and called it a book. There were a lot of words in it that I had a difficult time figuring out the meaning of - and had to ask my wife (who has a PhD) what they meant. It's not like Glimpses of Eternity which is an easy read aimed at a general average audience.

There is a certain language that these hoiety-toiety PhD dissertation folks use(maybe to let you know how smart they are?) that make it difficult to understand what the heck they are talking about.

Another problem was that the book didn't turn out to be what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be a literature search on near death experiences and the book was going to be a rich source of NDE's that had a very "holographic" flavor. Like he was going to say "in this NDE the 360 vision is an obvious reference to the holographic nature of the universe because...." or "in this NDE Horton's reference to literally being everywhere in the Universe at once parallels how in a holographic piece of film all the information is spread throughout the entire hologram." Needless to say that isn't what it was.

The best part of the book though was the connection between the life review and the holographic universe. Harding explained that very well. I think he should have removed the academic jargon before publishing the book. Used simpler terms or words. He didn't need to impress us with how smart he was.

Art: No, he didn't need to impress us with how smart he is, but he needed to impress his dissertation committee, not to mention the editors of whichever academic press published it. The unfortunate fact is that a thicker dissertation, with a higher word count, will impress with its physical "weightiness" if not its intellectual density, which entices doctoral candidates to use TEN words where one would suffice, and to select those words from "The Big Little Book of Obfuscatory Verbiage". It also helps to hide poor ideas and unpersuasive arguments behind a blizzard of words you'd NEVER use in conversation (unless you're talking with the head of your committee). One of the jokes is that, if a freshly minted Ph.D were paid by the word for the dissertation, he/she would earn MORE than they will at their post doc faculty position. Then they get to start paying off all that money they borrowed. They should have stuck with writing. Ask Michael ;-) (Actually, they could earn money on the side ghostwriting papers for undergrads...wait a minute! Did I just write that?)

I'm just guessing that it was his PhD dissertation. I could be wrong. But I just think that if true - before he slapped a cover on it and tried to sell it as a book he should have gone through and made it more understandable for the general public. I can't remember right off the bat right now since I don't normally use the words he uses but there are some words he used in the book that I found confusing and made it difficult to read the book. I need to go back through and re-read the book and see if I get more out of it the second time?

ref Randi's Prize. I was going to save it until boxing day but I couldn't resist a look through it. It's very well written and good value.

When I read the technical scientific writing regarding what researchers have to say about NDEs, it just doesn't seem to have anything to do with the experience that I had. It's only when I read the accounts of other NDErs that I know I'm not alone.

Did I mention that I really enjoyed this particular essay/blog? I jumped right in giving my opinion without saying anything about the actual original essay and I apologize for that.

I really enjoyed it. I liked the "theme" or message of it. Very positive and uplifting. Thank you.

And we take Woerlee seriously why? The man is a cartoon character come to life through mechanism yet unknown who for some reason decided to write about NDEs.

I think when a medical doctor takes the time to analyze specific NDEs in depth, his opinions are worth listening to. That's not to say I agree with his conclusions ...

Yes but he acts like a clown. I will grant his degree is respectable but when he creates scenarios that are blatantly flawed and hides data which would refute his silly ideas he loses credibility. When he continues in that behavior after constant correcting what are we to make of him? At least Keith Augustine can make an argument without using such blatantly visible fallacies that any freshmen would be ashamed to make on a college term paper. I seriously lost count of all the fallacies that man made in our " discussion" on amazon.

Listen to him on NDEs is like listening David Irving on the holocaust. I don't care one bit if his credentials are legitimate his buffoonish behavior and lies are reason enough to ignore him. Never mind his inability to make a single rational argument.

Perhaps this would've been the better blog post to post this in: There is a new episode of Skeptiko featuring Chris Carter.

"Did I mention that I really enjoyed this particular essay/blog?"

Thanks, Art!

Looks like the discussion has sort of moved on, but I really enjoyed this particular post, too. It seems so important to listen closely to what these NDErs are saying. Rene Jorgensen did some research and I think something like 56% of his subjects said the experience was 1000 times or more greater in intensity than normal sensation. I've heard NDErs say that they re-experienced countless events in their life review, each one from multiple perspectives, simultaneously. I've also heard them say again and again that the love they experienced is unlike anything on earth, beyond the human capacity to love; that normal love is like this love diluted to one part per million.

That obviously doesn't settle the issue, but when a class of people consistently say things like that, things that suggest a consciousness vastly expanded in scope, I think we should listen to them very carefully.

"I've heard NDErs say that they re-experienced countless events in their life review, each one from multiple perspectives, simultaneously." - Robert

I'm sorry, I can't resist. Do ya'll see how this parallels exactly what one might expect in a holographic universe? In a holographic piece of film ALL the information all ready exists there. It's sort of like a holographic DVD and all you have to do is stick it in the holographic DVD player and you can instantly review the entire hologram.

Swedenborg discusses angels talking in "boluses" of information. Another words entire ideas being downloaded all at once instead of streaming in a linear fashion. I see this connection over and over again in NDE's. They say things that have a very "holographic" flavor.

Sometimes they'll say things that also parallels or corroborates quantum physics ideas too - like the universe being made out of knowledge or they thought of something and it appeared. The idea that thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality.

Also when they talk about seeing more colors than normal I think they are talking about seeing the entire light spectrum instead of just a small part of it. And more consciousness than normal they are referring to the blurriness in a holographic projection.

Near death experiencers also comment quite frequently how time and space didn't seem to exist on the other side. In a holographic piece of film all the information is spread throughout the entire hologram. Each piece contains the whole. So after you cross over the information that is "you" also exists spread throughout the entire hologram.

It's obvious to me; we are living in the projection and heaven is the original holographic film which means that all the stuff we loved and lost will still exist in heaven. Everything that is here has to be there.

I find this connection between NDEs and quantum physics and the holographic universe theory to be very evidential. It just jumps right out at me.

excerpt from The Universe as a Hologram:
"At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously."

excerpt from Carl Turner's 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."

excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE:
"I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously."

excellent... and dang... I just recorded an interview with Rob for an upocmiong Skepitko episode... would have liked to follow this topic.

"...people who report paranormal incidents are creating problems."

Love this point... really gets to the worldview/comfort-zone issue... Skeptic says, "hey, you're really messing up my idea of how the world works -- stop it!"


"when a class of people consistently say things like that, things that suggest a consciousness vastly expanded in scope, I think we should listen to them very carefully"

Thanks, Robert. It's nice when someone wants to listen. When I first woke up in the hospital no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I kept wondering what I was saying that was so bad that they didn't want me to continue. Maybe it does just come down to people like me being a problem.

Love the holographic idea, but by ‘scientific theory’ I was thinking more of something that would fit into the mechanistic framework, as Susan Blackmore tried to do with Dying to Live. I just don’t see how this can be done. I suspect Blackmore didn’t either, and I believe that’s one reason why she hardly quotes any of the original interviews with NDErs, to keep the problems to a minumum.

The closer you look at the phenomenon the harder it is to explain away. That goes for a bunch of other things as well, poltergeists for instance. And it’s why you’ll never get a sense of what a phenomenon really is just by reading a sceptic’s book.

I was just thinking this morning as I was eating breakfast that most skeptics that I've read are pretty ignorant and have a very shallow understanding of near death experiences, death bed visions, etc. Also the science that they seem wedded to is the old Newtonian physics of a mechanical universe and it's like they don't or can't realize the profound implications of the New Physics. Quantum physics changes everything.

I've spent the last ten years reading and studying this stuff. Reading books, websites, NDE's, death bed visions, watching TV programs, absorbing and synthesizing all this information while trying to make sense of it all.

I'm still learning new stuff. The article in the January 2010 New Scientist magazine about the blurriness in a holographic projection blew me away. All of a sudden I understood why the "other side" seems even more real, with more consciousness, than this side does. It's so simple. We live in the holographic projection, and the "other side" is the original holographic film. It all makes so much sense. I used to wonder how the other side could seem even more real than this side till I read that article.

Although there are some knowledgeable skeptics, I agree that they're rare. Many of them know almost nothing about the literature in this field. I wrote about one such case here:

One can have similar experiences of wholeness and happiness without undergoing near death. Deep, receptive, urgent prayer is the way I'm familiar with. It happened to me once, and I concur, there is no way I can describe the quality of the experience.

Dame Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic, said she experienced a vision of Jesus holding the universe in His hands, as if it were the size of a hazel nut, and He said: All shall be well.

It may be that nothing comes any closer in human speech, IMHO.

I'm posting this anonymously so as not to cause a row (I suspect Michael may know who I am )

With reference to your comment about a certain medical Doctor's opinion, I don't think it is worth listening to. Not now.

off topic but may be of interest to readers here :

Topologist Predicts New Form of Matter

But here's the thing: the bonds that emerge from the topology of quantum mechanics are entirely unworldly. While ordinary matter, the stuff you rap your knuckles on, is clearly confined to three dimensions, the mathematics of quantum mechanics exists in entirely different set of dimensions. And it's in this space that the Borromean rings form.

The result is a kind of parallel physics, in which the laws governing behaviour in this parallel universe exert an inescapable, ghostly grip on our own universe.

How might this stuff behave? That isn't yet clear but Baas raises an interesting possibility. The deep and unworldly link between particles in Efimov states is remarkably similar to quantum entanglement.

Nobody's quite sure if they're identical but if they are, then Efimov physics will provide a new way to think about entanglement and how to generate and exploit it. That will have important implications for cryptography, computing and information science in general.

The comments to this entry are closed.