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“Its about making sense of the world and I don't think that fear -- including fear of "our own mortality" -- is all that important for most people.”

This is a very naïve statement and fails to understand the profound impact fear has on an individual and a society. Wars are fought over fear; much mental illness is due to fear, business schools teach performance appraisals based in fear and ignorance, grade schools teach the fear of failing a test, teachers teach to a test some even cheat due to their fears, etc.

“…I would want some explanation for why it has not done so if more than a small amount of the body of evidence is due to survival.”

This statement reflects a lack of sufficient research into evidence for survival. There is an abundance of evidence for survival but it takes years to understand the complexly and variables involved in mediumship, NDE’s, and OBE’S.

Also research into the paranormal has as much to do with the beliefs of the researcher as it does the creditable evidence. Example, when I blog with atheists I always discover they have done little if any research into the paranormal.

One atheist group I discovered had a small library of paranormal/NDE/mediumship books but I could not find one person in that group that had read just one of those books. They kept those books to convince others they had done their research on survival.

ts not trying to deceive us but to create a model (a more specific term than "story") that makes sense of the world in a useful way.

But if all cases of apparent postmortem communication / apparitions of deceased / reincarnated are due to mere psi between living, then the model created by the unconscious is conspiring to make a reality as if there is an afterlife when not.

There is a huge range of phenomena here, that is very contradictory. Consistency is generally achieved only by cherry-picking, and by leaps of sometimes convoluted interpretation that finds identity in what is more simply interpreted as contradiction.

I disagree. There is a convergence between the near death experiences, deathbed visions and mediumship that there is a personal afterlife, we are greeted by our loved ones on the other side, our current personality is subsumed in a greater personality, etc.

Again, note that I am not claiming that some of this phenomena is not a result of some form or forms of post-mortem survival. I'm just saying that that needs to be demonstrated.

And it has been demonstrated in the sense that it is more probable that an afterlife exists that not. You have not addressed the idea that the strongest psi cases precisely happen in survivalists contexts, suggesting they are not mere psi between living, but something different in kind, psi between living and deceased.

Also, I forgot to say this earlier, but, Topher, have you experienced psi and mediumship yourself?

I have. The feeling of talking to spirits is much different than basic psi. Of course, it all can be categorized as psi, but in my view the Afterlife is at a higher vibrational level (fifth dimension) than Astral- (fourth dimension-) based psi, and the experience is qualitatively different. When talking to the deceased who have passed on (*not* ghosts or those who are stuck here, with whom I have never communicated), there is a great feeling of light and beatitude that pours in through the connection.

I suppose this is also supplied by the subconscious? The parsimonious explanation would be, rather, that the narrative of the Afterlife and survival is correct.

Topher Cooper wrote, "NDE's, past-lives memories and mediumship mixes apparent conventionally inexplicable knowledge (in a small set of instances) with the unambiguously fallacious."

I wouldn't put it that way. I would say there's a continuum that runs from the unambiguously fallacious ... to the possible but unverified ... to the verified but possibly explainable by conventional means ... to the verified and inexplicable by conventional means.

In past-life cases involving young children, the last category (verified and inexplicable) is more than just a small set of instances. More than 2500 such cases have been investigated, and many have strong features of paranormality.

Interestingly, there also seems to be a degree of consistency in these cases. Children are disproportionately prone to recall a past life that ended abruptly at a young age through violence or the rapid onset of disease. This makes sense if we assume that a spirit whose incarnation ended prematurely and unexpectedly might be likely to reincarnate as fast as possible in order to restart the process. I don't see how it makes sense in terms of psi alone.

On the other hand, there is also an inconsistency in these cases, inasmuch as they often reflect cultural expectations (whether or not a male can reincarnate as a female, how long an interval must pass between incarnations, etc.). These cultural biases could be evidence that the subconscious is telling a story. But they could also mean that the reincarnation process is directed by the discarnate individual's subconscious in conformity with his cultural belief system.

With regard to NDEs, I don't know of too many cases that include the "unambiguously fallacious." There may be cases of NDErs who report events that demonstrably never happened, but offhand I can't think of any. The closest I can come is a description that's mistaken in some details - e.g., Pam Reynolds' description of the bone saw, which was only partly accurate.

There have been NDErs who claimed to have seen the future, and whose predictions have not panned out (e.g., Dannion Brinkley). But this is only a minuscule percentage of cases.

Mediumship consists of much fraud, much bosh, and also much wheat among the chaff. I don't know what the percentages are, but I'm confident that if I tried to compile all the really compelling evidence produced by mediums (verified and inexplicable), the resulting document would run to at least 1,000 pages of text. Of course, an exhaustive compilation of clearcut bosh and fraud would also run at least that long.

Overall, I think the survival evidence is quite strong, though the inconsistencies and failures do raise questions. To me, it seems more plausible that the best evidence is produced by authentic memories of or contact with discarnate spirits, while the bad evidence is produced by the subconscious mind of the medium or other subject. Since psychic impressions are mediated by the subconscious, there is an inevitable confusion that arises from the blending of authentic and inauthentic information.

Topher also wrote: "I'm talking about psi, which is clearly limited although the precise shape of those limits is what psi research is concerned with." In other words, he's not arguing for super-psi, only regular psi.

My problem with this position is that the best survival evidence would seem to require psi of an order of magnitude greater than "ordinary" psi. The cross correspondences are one such area of evidence. To believe that psi alone is responsible, one must posit that psi is capable of planting obscure terms and literary imagery into the channeled writings of several different mediums over a period of many years.

Another kind of example is the Chaffin will case, where psi would have had to clairvoyantly perceive the will hidden in "daddy's old Bible" and also the note sewn into the dead man's coat. It is true that remote viewers can sometimes do this sort of thing, but only when they are concentrating on a target. Here, there was no known target and no motivation to think about an old, castoff coat. The only person with the motivation was the deceased Chaffin, since he was the only one who knew about the note and the will.

It seems to me that the non-survivalist interpretation of the strongest cases does require super-psi, even if one doesn't like to use that term. Saying that it's ordinary psi but with no known limits is, to my way of thinking, just another way of saying "super-psi."

Sorry for such a long comment. I may not believe in super-psi, but apparently I do believe my comments should be super-sized!

When it really comes down to it, I'm not sure I fully understand the difference between the superpsi hypothesis and the survival one, especially if both are regarded as a kind of alternative to materialism. Perhaps it is because I'm an idealist rather than a dualist. If you are an idealist, then you already concede that some unknown power of the (collective) unconscious is making it seem like our ordinary experiences are of a physical reality, when really they are not. So why not concede that our unconscious minds are also capable of making it seem like our experiences are of a heavenly reality (as in NDEs)? Why is the former any more deceptive or conspiratorial than the latter?

Descartes worries about the problem of error (a kind of analogue to the problem of evil). Roughly: Why would a perfectly powerful and good God give us minds that are so liable to being deceived. Part of his solution to this problem was to point out that our experiences are neutral--they are experiences of what they are and nothing else--so that it is our own faulty inferences from those experiences that are to blame for the errors, not God. For instance, we wrongly infer from the apparent movement of the Sun that it is revolving around the Earth. But a more neutral description of that experience is consistent with either inference: that the Earth is rotating or that the Sun is revolving. It is we who mistakenly infer the latter. Is that deceptive? Is there a "conspiracy" to make us think that the Sun is moving?

“Guys like Dean Radin. Sorry to see the cite by him; he should know better. Give him credit for challenging the materialist paradigm as much as he does. But yeah, it's as though he wants to go "atheism lite" so as to get at least a little respect from the scientific establishment” Matt

Atheism lite. Never heard that term before. Sounds like a spin off of a beer commercial. But I think it fits him to a tea.

This has been my experience with Dean Radin during my shared emails with him a few years back. His approach to the study of paranormal phenomena is still stuck in a materialism paradigm. I found his mind not open to the study of how advanced spiritual teachings are accomplished thru certain mediums.

I think he needs to move beyond attempting to find quantitative evidence and try doing research into finding qualitative evidence for the survival of consciousness.

Communication between dimensions/spheres is not a direct phone line and has many yet to be discovered variables that effect communication.

"I'm not sure I fully understand the difference between the superpsi hypothesis and the survival one"

The difference is that, according to the survival hypothesis, an individual's consciousness and personality continue to exist after death; while, according to the super-psi hypothesis, consciousness and personality are extinguished at death. What seems like evidence of postmortem existence is actually information gleaned from the minds of the living (or via clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, etc.).

Another thing Topher said has got me thinking. I don't mean to pile on; it's just that his comment was chock full of interesting and provocative points that merit a reply.

Topher wrote, "It's about making sense of the world and I don't think that fear -- including fear of 'our own mortality' -- is all that important for most people."

I disagree. While I'm sure a variety of motives can apply to subconscious processes, fear of death seems likely to be pretty high on the list. The prospect of personal annihilation is deeply upsetting to many people. This is evident in the great lengths to which we as a society go in order to deny the reality of death - relegating the dying process to antiseptic hospital rooms, and the immediate postmortem process to undertakers whose job is to the corpse look as lifelike as possible. ("She looks like she's sleeping!")

History is crowded with examples of man's efforts to come to terms with mortality. The pyramids, the greatest engineering projects of their age, were built as tombs to ensure eternal life for the pharaohs. The first known epic poem, "Gilgamesh," is all about the hero's search for a cure for death. (He finds it and then loses it - darn the luck!) Plato's most famous dialogue, the "Phaedo," concerns Socrates' death by legally mandated suicide. Vast sums were spent on gladiatorial games in ancient Rome; a large part of their appeal came from seeing men face their own death. "Memento mori" was a catchphrase of the Middle Ages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori

Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton wrote frequently on themes of death. "To be or not to be" is the most famous speech in English literature, and Shakespeare's sonnets often focus on the mortality of the Fair Youth and of the poet himself ("my name be buried where my body is" - Sonnet 72). Tolstoy was "death-obsessed." Dostoevsky's proto-existentialist characters are horrified and fascinated by their own mortality. Film directors as diverse as Hitchcock ("Vertigo") and Bergman ("The Seventh Seal") are revered for their willingness to explore the subject of death.

The widespread interest in NDEs and even in "ghost hunting" shows and paranormal thrillers indicates that many people are still intensely interested in "the other side." There are also transhumanist movements arguing that personal immortality can be achieved through technology, and of course there has never been any shortage of people willing to experiment with psychotropic drugs in the hope of experiencing the spirit world.

This is only a brief list. I would venture to guess that a large proportion of the world's art, music, and literature, as well as its philosophy and science, is inspired by a fear of death or, more broadly, a troubled awareness of one's own mortality. I can't see it as a side issue at all.

“The widespread interest in NDEs and even in "ghost hunting" shows and paranormal thrillers indicates that many people are still intensely interested in "the other side."”

I think it is a matter of moderation. If we were going to move to another nation we would want to know something about it and do some research. Also the other side has much to offer in the way of advanced spiritual teachings that are often much more beneficial than religious teachings.

Choices are dependent on knowledge and realizations. Since we have no control over our realizations, we can seek knowledge wherever it is offered.

Our very essence as souls is to express and part of that expression is seeking greater and greater awareness of our reality. Life is dynamic not static. What makes it dynamic is our soul’s longing for joy, peace, wisdom, and love.

Of course we often look in all the wrong places or want a quick fix to attain that joy, peace, wisdom, and love. A quote by a famous yogi philosopher: “ If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be”.

I also disagree that anything like super-psi is known to exist or has been demonstrated in the laboratory.

It hasn't -- we agree. But most people picture what might be referred to as "sub-psi". Something much like our conventional senses -- where stuff that is far away or separated by a gulf of time or behind a barrier or inside someones head is "seen" or "heard" or "smelled" or "felt" or "tasted". For sub-psi to produce the effects presented as evidence of survival then an immense amount of information would need to be "seen", and "sorted" and accepted or rejected and the results used to determine where to look next.

But psi is more subtle than that. It operates by subtly tweaking the normal processes of mind so as to produce a desirable outcome -- without having to sort through all the data needed to reach the conclusion that that is the desirable outcome. The same rate of success occurs whether one is picking one of four possible targets is correct, or the one whose, for example, pixels sum mod 987 closest to the actual target's (which is not in the judgement pool). (No, that is not an actual experiment, just an example of the kind of results that have consistently been found).

Viewed at that way, and that experimental effect size is pretty consistently proportional to the amount of time (As demonstrated by Dr. Roger Nelson) taken, then the amount of information actually shown in this body of evidence for survival is actually not that much.

The best evidence for psi is probably the ganzfeld tests, which show that psi, in most people, is measurable but weak.

I assume you mean the auto-ganzfeld. It certainly is one excellent experimental design that is "best" in some ways and not in others. Chuck (Honorton) was trying to design an experiment that met the requirements of the pseudo-skeptics (however unreasonable the requirements were), that was well enough defined that it could be repeated precisely, and that took into account the characteristics that seemed to produce the strongest results. There are many other experiments, though, going back to Rhine, that are highly rigorous and provide strong evidence.

That weak psi effects could be produced by ordinary people had been demonstrated with high rigor back in the 30s by Rhine. Don't misunderstand that result though. What he showed is that "ordinary people" under the specific conditions of laboratory tests (in those days especially, stultifying, boring, uninteresting conditions)produced small effects though this did not preclude that sporadically, under some conditions, they might not produce larger effects.

Of course, the evidence you are talking about is not from a survey of unselected subjects -- it is all based on looking at people who have evidence to present -- a very select group even when it involves people who seem ordinary.

Chuck was quite explicitly trying to show something different and succeeded: hes screened his subjects so he was not dealing with "average people" though he avoided depending on professional psychics.

Furthermore, rather uniquely, he produced results that were not small -- they were what is statistically classified as a "moderate" effect -- roughly defined as an effect that can be seen vaguely under careful study but without the need of detailed statistical analysis.

Of course, Roger Nelson showed that his results were precisely in line with other high quality experiments, when considering the strength per hour rather than the strength per (half-day) trial.

I think people have Radin wrong on this issue--especially insofar as he is being charged with atheism. For one thing, he never denies survival, only that the evidence isn't conclusive enough (for him) to think psi has been experimentally ruled out in favor of survival. That seems like a reasonable position, even though I disagree. As far as I can tell, he's coming more from an Indian/Hindu perspective. He grants that pure awareness (though not mind) is fundamental. He seems to think it is possible that the great yogi's were actually capable of levitating and materializing things...that Jesus could have actually walked on water and raised the death...and is basically comfortable with all that Matrix-y stuff that follows from an Eastern, idealist metaphysics which treats physical reality as wholly under the control of a well-trained mind. To me, this is a kind of superpsi I can buy into.

I tend to think survival is the best explanation for the NDE, mediumship, and reincarnation data. But this data is only the tip of the afterlife iceberg. Who knows how long our individual consciousnesses survive or "hold together". Even with the NDE we get hints that the barriers between individual minds start to break down as soon as we lose our bodies. Plus there is that hard to resolve paradox of trying to understand how our minds could be "separate" with no time or space in which to be separated. Perhaps our spiritual development continues on the other side, and part of that development involves the continued struggle to let go of our egos--or that which struggles for survive as an individuation of consciousness. In that case, our aim will be to re-unify with Being/Brahman/the One or what have you. This would mean that we as individual consciousness won't ultimately survive in any meaningful sense. If the One is all there truly is, then both the experience of living in a physical reality and of surviving in a non-physical reality are each kinds of illusions or dreams. The latter may be "more real" than the former, but even it is not the most fundamental reality if the One is all there is.

I'm uncomfortable with the Eastern concept of "merging with Being" (nearly as much as I am with the idea of physical death). But I don't want to hang onto the survival hypothesis just because it is more comforting.

I want to hear from those of you who lost your spouse (yes, specifically your spouse, a.k.a. soulmate, significant other, partner, etc.) I read everything I can that affirms life after death, but it doesn't help the pain of separation, and the desperate yearning to be with them "the way we were" ---not as "information," not as "ascended/evolved beings", not as reincarnated "somebody-elses" . . .just two people in love, carrying on what was begun here. I am over halfway through Tymn's book and it is making me so sad. There was some hope at the beginning when it mentioned being met by those we know. And then what happens to those relationships? Those of you who have lost your spouse--"your other (better) half"--must know of this pain of which I speak. The waiting, the interminable waiting, to know what comes next . . .For many of us deeply grieving souls, this talk of the afterlife is so very often just "head stuff" --Where's the comfort in that? I want to hear from people who, like myself, are finding ways to continue the relationship-- a "transdimensional marriage!" That's the mediumship I am interested in.

Judith, you wrote, "I want to hear from people who, like myself, are finding ways to continue the relationship-- a 'transdimensional marriage!' That's the mediumship I am interested in."

I know this isn't quite what you're looking for, but one possible way to get past the pain of loss is "induced after-death communication," pioneered by Dr. Allan Botkin. This therapy works wonders for some people, though not for everyone. The process involves entering a meditative state and being guided to an encounter with the deceased. It requires the help of a therapist specially trained in the procedure.

http://www.induced-adc.com/

The purpose of IADC is not to allow the patient to continue having a relationship with the person who has passed on, but rather to provide closure. Botkin has had particular success with people who were traumatized by death and loss. His book "Induced After-Death Communication" is worth reading.

With regard to actually continuing the relationship ... well, you won't like what I'm going to say, but in all honesty, I don't think that it's possible or even desirable. Even the best mediumship (which is very rare) is no substitute for actual human contact, and going to a medium can never replace the day-in and day-out intimacy of a loving relationship.

In fact, most reputable mediums advise potential clients not to visit them in the early stages of their grief, and also advise against becoming dependent on mediumship, which can become an emotional crutch. Self-styled mediums and psychics who encourage regular repeat visits are often preying emotionally and financially on their clients.

I hope you can take comfort from the expectation of being reunited with your loved one somewhere down the line, in the next life. As you know, I think there are solid reasons to believe that this is more than just wishful thinking. Nevertheless, for the moment I'm afraid it's necessary to come to terms with the pain of separation and loss. The IADC technique may prove helpful in this regard. The old cliche is also true: time heals.

We had a commenter on here who lost his wife. It took him many months, and he went through a difficult time, but he now says he's feeling much better about things - not because of any confidence in any afterlife (he remains skeptical), but because he joined a support group, underwent counseling, and gave himself time to grieve.

I'm sorry I can't tell you exactly what you're hoping to hear, but I do think IADC may be worth looking into - as well as the more conventional avenues of counseling and support groups, which can be absolutely essential in dealing with grief.

Of course, if other people have different suggestions to offer, please feel free to pass them on.

Off-topic a bit, but one observation and a question:

@ Michael:

Re: 'memento mori':

I agree that the great taboo of our age is death, and that people try not to talk about it. But what is repressed surfaces in other ways. Two striking ones are -

1) 'Forensic' crime dramas such as the TV series 'Bones'. These have become very popular of late and have become increasingly graphic with images of special-effects 'corpses' in varying stages of decomposition. This would have been unthinkable for primetime TV a decade ago.

2) Heavy metal music. As an ageing metalhead I've followed this scene with interest. From the early days of Black Sabbath to the current fashion of 'death metal',this musical genre has always dealt with the dark, repressed side of human nature - and has covered the subject of death from all angles. A cursory glance at any heavy metal CD review website will show that the cover art of nearly every album is a small 'memento mori'!

Perhaps these two recent mass-media phenomena are a sign that we are re-awakening to our mortality. Maybe society as a whole might soon start to consider the Big Questions instead of chasing material goods. One can but hope!

@ ncu9nc:

Just checked out your website: interesting stuff. You mention that you are a former atheist/materialist. I'm always interested as to how former materialists changed their minds. In particular, what prompted you to actually look at the evidence in the first place, given that most atheists/materialists/sceptics tend to either ignore it or dismiss it without investigation.

Do you mind sharing your reasons?

"I know this isn't quite what you're looking for, but one possible way to get past the pain of loss is "induced after-death communication," pioneered by Dr. Allan Botkin. This therapy works wonders for some people, though not for everyone. The process involves entering a meditative state and being guided to an encounter with the deceased. It requires the help of a therapist specially trained in the procedure. "

I am one of those who actually had this procedure and posted about it a few years ago. It was a real disappointment for me. My Dad had died suddenly and I was in a deep state of grief. The IADC procedure (a mild meditation with structured eye movements) was followed by the therapist asking me what did I see in my minds eye. Of course I immediately thought of my Dad.
So, I produced a totally imaginary "vision" of him standing in the room, kind of like the one you will get when someone says "don't think of a pink elephant."
It was not compelling at all, and did not lessen the grief at all. I was actually more depressed when I left the office than when I arrived.

If I remember correctly, Dr. Botkin responded to my earlier post with some valid comments of his own. It may work for some people, just not for me.

My advice to those who seek a personal contact with your loved one, is to learn lucid dreaming. It is in the lucid mind state that you can have the most powerful, rewarding and convincing contacts with the deceased.

GregL

Thanks, Michael, for the prompt reply, and thanks also to GregL. Re IADC, I read Allan's book a couple of years ago, and I spoke to him a few times via telephone. For me, IADC is too costly, and what if it fails? (Sorry, Greg, that it did.)Furthermore, why "induce' something that can occur quite naturally and quite wonderfully? I regularly communicate with my partner, which was my original point actually, i.e. that "transdimensional relationships" (the term can vary) are possible, though quite challenging. They are being described in many popular books and websites. BUT, as comforting, as fun, as exciting as they can be, they are not (as you said, Michael) a substitute for being together in the same "reality," hence the "pain" I speak of, which no amount of time --or counselling--can erase. Grieving is a lifelong process, and it is something you learn to live through as even Sylvia Browne and others have admitted for themselves. Of course, I partake of, and recommend bereavement counselling. And, yes, I agree with your comment on being very cautious about mediums. They are often all over the place in their beliefs, their methods, and, unfortunately, their ethics. (BTW, I have been used by the other side on many occasions to deliver impromptu messages to their loved ones, which was an awesome and comforting experience for both the parties involved and myself. Still, I have some mixed feelings about people being professional mediums.) This brings me back to my point about Tymn's book, and some others that I have read about the afterlife: there needs to be a balance of "head" and "heart" in them. Thankfully, in much of what you write, Michael, I do perceive that balance--the rational and the intuitive expressed in tandem. I appreciate this comment especially:
"I hope you can take comfort from the expectation of being reunited with your loved one somewhere down the line, in the next life. As you know, I think there are solid reasons to believe that this is more than just wishful thinking."

I don't think I am alone in working for, and experiencing, the thinning of the "veils" between dimensions. Just check the how-to books and websites out there! I think of it this way: my partner has been unexpectedly sent to the farthest outpost there is, and one of my challenges is to keep to my duties here, while at the same time, solving the communications challenge with that outpost. So, again I ask for some of your readers here---especially those who have lost spouses, since that's my particular focus --- to share their experiments with "transdimensional relationships." (p.s. Thanks so much, Michael, for making these discussions possible.)

"So, again I ask for some of your readers here---especially those who have lost spouses, since that's my particular focus --- to share their experiments with "transdimensional relationships."

Hi Judith. I find your comments and questions both interesting and touching. Since you've said that you regularly communicate with your partner, would you care to share some of your own experiences?

Judith,

It's really great to hear that you are able to maintain communications with your partner. It also doesn't surprise me that you are asked to serve as a medium from time to time. That happens to me as well.

I was thinking about your situation a bit... What I come up with to say is this: Death is not an outlier in a world mostly without loss. Rather, death is part of a continuum of loss in a world that is all about loss.

Sometimes it's as simple as having a great meal in a restaurant, and eventually you have to get up from the table and go home. There is nothing we can hang onto. In Buddhism, this is called viparinama-dukkha, pain arising from change. It is "baked into" our experience here.

I think the good news is that, Over There, all things are as one, and it will be as though you never lost anything at all.

You seem to have a great attitude--thanks for telling your story!

Bruce,
Sorry for the late reply--and it may be too late to reply! The topics move on so fast! And I see that this may not be the right forum for this kind of discussion. In any case, I want to reply to you. Let me begin by first of all expressing my condolences to you, Bruce, if you have written to me because of losing your partner/spouse. As I said before, having our partners/ spouses "cross over" before us is downright painful! Of course, there are losses in this life, but then there are "LOSSES" which can thoroughly break our hearts, and which underline how truly unique we are in how we are impacted and how we find our own way through. Re your request, I can report that in the nearly three years since my partner's "death", I have experienced most of the categories of ADCs described in the Guggenheims' book, with the exception of visual visitations (which I trust will come when the time is right). As I explained in my previous post, I had already experienced many impromptu telepathic communications from the other side for various people. Ironically, however, when my partner began communicating with me telepathically, I doubted (big time!)the messages, putting them down to my memories, the grieving process, etc. Note, too, that at the time I was reading debates on the internet (this website included) about psi/super-psi, and feeling more confused---and more devastated! Thankfully, that's no obstacle for really determined loved ones on the other side: they have so many other ways of getting through. I began to experience phenomena that I could not deny, such as objects being moved and amazing "coincidences." I could go on, but suffice it to say, I have my "proof of heaven." Lately, I am needing less of the gobsmacking external phenomena, and appreciating more the subtle, yet more powerful, inwardly felt connections. Oddly, though, even with all that I have experienced, I still have that side of me that doubts, which is good--at least for my ego, which needs to assert its rational/scientific "superiority", especially to those more "gullible" types ;) It is all such a mix of "head and heart" doing their best to keep me functioning "here" while I communicate with and experience "there"! How's that for a reply, Bruce? Are you ready now to share?
Keeping the faith,

I have a couple of things to add:

* ....The first and most obvious explanation is that consciousness really does survive death, at least for a while, and in some cases it reincarnates....

That's by far the more convincing option to my mind. But I wonder about the possibility that consciousness survives death in a number of individual instances and not in all. For example, it may happen in 99% cases of all deaths.
Let me disperse the notion that this doubt is cynical by bringing up the following fact: There is a respectable questioning in the physical research community whether what we think of as the laws of physics really applies to the whole observable universe (discounting the multiverse theory).

* ....The second possible explanation is that there is some kind of cosmic conspiracy afoot – a concerted effort by the collective subconscious of mankind, or by deceitful demons, or by some other preternatural force – a conspiracy to convince us that we survive death when we really don't....

It looks like an odd turn of phrase to attribute a conspiracy to a subconsciousness. At this point, it may be relevant to ask whether the geocentric model of the solar system was a result of a conspiracy. (And, if so, what kind of conspiracy it was.)

* .....these conspiracies involved a limited number of insiders and were eventually brought to light.

You dedicated a recent blog entry to the possibility that the authorship of Shakespeare's plays has been concealed, although "it was something of an open secret among the cognoscenti." That, of course, can hardly be brought to light by the 'posterity.'

Unless... :))
http://mandrake-comics.blogspot.com/2008/04/105-d107-thief-time-traveller-13-jun.html

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