Conceptions of the Near-Death Experience and the Origins of Afterlife Beliefs

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I just watched this a few days ago. Quite an interesting hypothesis.
I think so too. One part of the talk that I found really fascinating was Shushan's explanation for the dearth of old NDE reports in Africa, as well as a general lack of concern for the afterlife. This part begins at about 54:50.

Doug
 
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At an Oxford seminar in late 2012, research fellow Gregory Shushan (more about him here) argued the near-death experience is an important source for ancient beliefs about the afterlife:

Gregory Shushan - "Near-Death Experience and the Origins of Afterlife Beliefs"

His book: Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism and Near-Death Experience

(Thanks again to David Sunfellow.)

Doug
Thanks for that, nice bit of research. The argument that there is some deep experiential explanation behind these beliefs looks reasonable too.

However, personally speaking, I would need to look at the literature concerning the diffusion of other ideas more generally - to understand why he feels he's been able to rule diffusion out.

Although conversely I can also see that his African research might cause some explanatory problems for both diffusion theories, and his own ideas too. But in that case, rather than dismissing diffusion, I might need to reconsider the actual mechanism of diffusion, as to how and why diffusion might occur in one place, but not another.
 
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#5
Thanks for that, nice bit of research. The argument that there is some deep experiential explanation behind these beliefs looks reasonable too.

However, personally speaking, I would need to look at the literature concerning the diffusion of other ideas more generally - to understand why he feels he's been able to rule diffusion out.

Although conversely I can also see that his African research might cause some explanatory problems for both diffusion theories, and his own ideas too. But in that case, rather than dismissing diffusion, I might need to reconsider the actual mechanism of diffusion, as to how and why diffusion might occur in one place, but not another.
A really nice video from Doug. As regards the paucity of NDEs in Africa, a couple of thoughts come to mind. First, if they are frowned upon and people face horrible reactions from their societies if they reveal them, is it that surprising if there aren't many such reports even if people have NDEs? Second, Spiral Dynamics (SD) come to mind. Many in Africa, even at the present time, could be categorised as adhering to the "purple" or "clannish" meme:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_dynamics
Purple
"Kin Spirits. The Clannish vMEME​
    • Obey desires of the mystical spirit beings
    • Show allegiance to elders, custom, clan
    • Preserve sacred places, objects, rituals
    • Bond together to endure and find safety
    • Live in an enchanted, magical village
    • Seek harmony with nature's power"
I'm not entirely convinced by SD, but FWIW, this did occur to me. I thought the reply to the question about children was interesting, viz. that children who've had a spiritual experience (not exclusively NDEs) have two conceptions of God: one from the church, and the other from their experience. If so, I thought that interesting. The age of children wasn't mentioned, but if they haven't yet been over-conditioned by religion, they might be able to separate the conditioning from the experience more than adults might.
 
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