Overlap of NDE features with drug induced states

Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#1
I have been trying to search for the truth as to whether the materialists are right in saying that death is final or if it is instead the people who believe in the afterlife who are right. I am still undecided and I still don't see the answer here. But I am really hoping there is an eternal blissful afterlife because I see nothing good at all about the materialistic worldview. Some people claim it is an inspiring worldview that gives more meaning to one's life. But that's all fine and dandy for those who are able to live full healthy lives.

But what about those people out there who are very unfortunate who are suicidal since they have treatment resistant depression that cripples their lives or what about those who go through horrible suffering only to live very short lives and die in the first few months or even days of their birth? How is that anything good? How is that anything to celebrate?

It is for this very reason why I really hope that death being final is not true. But at the same time, I hope religions such as Christianity aren't true either since we are talking here a God who would send you to hell for not believing in him and for not obeying him. That's an even worse worldview than materialism because if I had the choice to either die and that be the end of me or to go to hell, I would obviously choose to die and that be it for me. So I am going to present to you 3 questions here for you to answer:

1.) There is a remarkable overlap of nde (near death experience) features and those features presented during seizures and drug induced states. People who have seizures and take drugs report that they have experienced an entire reiteration of their life in which they experience all their memories. This is a feature that overlaps with the life review in ndes.

There is also ego loss during seizures and drug induced states as well as ndes. There are many more features of drug induced states and seizures that have a remarkable overlap with ndes. If ndes were truly a mind separate from body phenomenon, then one should not expect such a remarkable overlap of features.

Therefore, you can search deep into the nde literature all you want and point out all the presumed implications of a soul persisting after death, but doesn't the fact that there is such a remarkable overlap already negate any opposing stance to the materialistic interpretation of ndes?

I would personally imagine this to be the case because there should be little, if any, overlapping features if ndes were truly the soul separate from the brain. Sure, the features are not exactly the same because, as Steven Novella pointed out in a debate with Alex Tsakaris, the features are not going to be the same; but the fact that they overlap sort of tells me here that materialism might be the correct worldview here when it comes to ndes.

2.) I have watched the "Death is not Final" debate between Steven Novella/Sean Carroll and Eben Alexander/Raymond Moody. It was pointed out in the debate by Steve and Sean that we know that death is final even though we don't know how the brain produces consciousness since we have empirical evidence to support the finality of death.

But I wonder if those skeptics are actually right and that if Eben and Moody continued to debate with them with no time limit, that Eben and Moody would eventually "get it." The very fact that there was a time limit of approximately one hour for the debate still leaves a lot of questions and unresolved issues that I think could of otherwise been answered and resolved if the debate carried all the way to the very end with no time limit.

It would be no different than a situation where we have a set of people who think the Earth is flat while the other side has the known facts that the Earth is a sphere. If these two sides of the debate were to continue on debating the whole way through with no time limit, then the Flat Earthers should finally "get it." They should finally see how they were wrong the entire time.

But when it comes to this whole debate on the afterlife, I am not sure which side is wrong or if we actually don't know which side is right or wrong. What if those skeptics have some knowledge of death being final that we are simply unaware of and that if we were to inquire more and more into such knowledge, that we would finally be aware of death being final? Or what if the skeptics are wrong and that if they were to inquire more and more into our knowledge, that they would realize how they are wrong?

3.) If this is truly a spiritual universe and we are all here for a spiritual purpose, then why is it that some people are born in situations of extreme suffering only to die within the first few months or days upon their very birth? Some spiritual purpose that was! Also, why is it then that many good people suffer while many evil people have nice happy lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them in order to make them grow, develop, and change?

This tells me that this is not a spiritual universe. Instead, it would have to be a universe that came about through pure luck. A universe that came about through pure luck would yield such results I've mentioned that are dependent upon luck. Some people are lucky while others are not and it doesn't matter who you are. Such a thing would be expected only from a purely naturalistic universe.
 
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#2
I have been trying to search for the truth as to whether the materialists are right in saying that death is final or if it is instead the people who believe in the afterlife who are right.
Evidence for the afterlife:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_afterlife

There is a remarkable overlap of nde (near death experience) features and those features presented during seizures and drug induced states.
Materialist explanations of NDE's don't really explain NDE's
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/07/materialist-explanations-of-ndes-fail.html

Brain chemicals such as ketamine, DMT, etc.:
Prescott (ketamine)
Unlike the vast majority of NDEs, ketamine experiences are often frightening and involve bizarre imagery, and patients usually express the wish not to repeat the experience. Most ketamine users also recognize the illusory character of their experience, in contrast to the many NDE experiencers who are firmly convinced of the reality of what they experienced and its lack of resemblance to illusions or dreams. Even if ketamine experiences do resemble NDEs in some respects, many important features of NDEs, such as seeing deceased people or a revival of memories, have not been reported with ketamine. Furthermore, ketamine typically exerts its effects in an otherwise more or less normal brain, while many NDEs occur under conditions in which brain function is severely compromised. [Pages 380-381]​
Facco and Christian (endogenous opioids, neurotransmitter imbalance and hallucinogens including DMT)
Endogenous opioids, which are likely released in critical conditions, are only weak hallucinogens, though they might help to evoke vivid experiences, particularly when in combination with cognitive confusion. Nevertheless, NDEs are not reported by patients using opioids for severe pain, while their cerebral adverse effects display an entirely different phenomenology in comparison to NDEs (Mercadante et al., 2004; Vella-Brincat and Macleod, 2007). Morse also found that NDE occurrence in children is independent from drug administration, including opioids (Morse et al., 1986). Therefore, opioids are far from successful at entirely explaining the positive mood and vivid “hallucinations” of NDEs.
The topic of neurotransmitter imbalance and hallucinogens is very complex and far beyond the limits of this analysis; however, even though some psychedelic drugs such as DMT and ayahuasca can give rise to quite similar experiences (Strassman, 2001), aside from providing usable analogies for NDEs, there are marked differences between the hallucinations that accompany use of psychedelic drugs and NDEs, preventing the latter's interpretation as a simple byproduct of the release of specific neurotransmitters (see Facco, 2010, as a review of the topic).​
Beauregard (ketamine)
But ketamine experiences are often frightening, producing weird images; and most ketamine users realize that the experiences produced by this drug are illusory. In contrast, NDErs are strongly convinced of the reality of what they experienced. Furthermore, many of the central features of NDEs are not reported with ketamine.​
Long
The percentage of time that people encounter deceased relatives is extremely high. It was actually 96% in the NDERF study and only 4% of near-death experiencers met beings who were alive at the time of the near-death experience. That’s actually corroborated by another major scholarly study which found it was 95% of the time that they encountered beings they knew from their earthly life that were deceased.

The important thing is that any other experience of altered consciousness that we experience on earth, dreams, hallucinations, drug experiences, you name it; all of these other types of experiences of altered consciousness, a vastly higher percentage of people are going to be alive at the time of their experience.

You're going to remember the banker that you did business with that day or your family member you said hi to as you were walking into the house. This is what's in the forefront of consciousness. So for people to so consistently encounter deceased relatives is very, very strong evidence that they are, indeed, in an unearthly realm and it certainly points to evidence of an afterlife.​
None of the materialist attempts to explain NDEs can really explain them. NDEs cannot be explained by: a lack of oxygen, a dying brain, hallucinations, religious expectations, cultural expectations, hearing about medical procedures after the fact, hearing during resuscitation, brain dysfunction, retinal dysfunction causing an image of a tunnel, brain chemicals such as ketamine, endogenous opioids, neurotransmitter imbalances, or hallucinogens including DMT, REM intrusions, epilepsy or seizures, psychopathology, unique personality traits, residual brain activity during unconsciousness, the experience occurring before or after brain activity stopped, brain activity during CPR, evolutionary adaptation, depersonalization, memory of birth, medication, naloxone, defense against dying, partial anesthesia, misuse of anecdotes, or selective reporting. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_nde

People who have seizures and take drugs report that they have experienced an entire reiteration of their life in which they experience all their memories. This is a feature that overlaps with the life review in ndes.
People who have a life review during an NDE experience how they influenced other people from the other person's perspective, they feel the other person's feelings. This is not the same a "my life flashed before my eyes" which is from the experiencer's perspective not other people's perspective. Also, sometimes NDE life reviews are shared by other people near death or by care givers. Sometimes people having and NDE life review recognize people they know who were also known to them in a previous incarnation.

Shared NDE's:
http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2011/06/shared-death-experiences.html
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence#summary_evidence_nde
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experieces-from.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from_21.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from_22.html

NDE's are not like drug trips.

Here is a typical NDE
http://www.near-death.com/science/experts/barbara-whitfield.html
As I left my body, I again went out into the darkness, only this time I was awake and could see it happening. Looking down and off to the right, I saw myself in a bubble -- in the circle bed -- crying. Then I looked up and to the left, and I saw my one-year-old self in another bubble -- face down in my crib -- crying just as hard. I looked to the right and saw myself again in the circle bed, then to the left and saw myself as a baby -- back and forth about three more times, then I let go. I decided I didn't want to be the thirty-two-year-old Barbara anymore; I'd go to the baby. As I moved away from my thirty-two-year-old body in the circle bed, I felt as though I released myself from this lifetime. As I did, I became aware of an energy that was wrapping itself around me and going through me, permeating me, holding up every molecule of my being.

It was not an old man with a long white beard. It took me a long time to use the word God. In fact, I never used any word until I saw the movie Star Wars and heard about The Force. By then, I was already reading quantum physics, trying to figure out how I could explain what had permeated me and was me . . . and you . . . and all of us. Now it was here, and it was holding me. It felt incredible. There are no words in English, or maybe in this reality, to explain the kind of love God emanates. God was totally accepting of everything we reviewed in my life. In every scene of my life review I could feel again what I had felt at various times in my life. And I could feel everything everyone else felt as a consequence of my actions. Some of it felt good and some of it felt awful. All of this translated into knowledge, and I learned -- oh, how I learned! The information was flowing at an incredible breakneck speed that probably would have burned me up if it weren't for the extraordinary energy holding me. The information came in, and then love neutralized my judgments against myself. In other words, as we relived my life, God never judged me. God held me and kept me together. I received all information about every scene -- my perceptions and feelings -- and anyone else's perceptions and feelings who were in the scene. No matter how I judged myself in each interaction, being held by God was the bigger interaction. God interjected love into everything, every feeling, every bit of information about absolutely everything that went on, so that everything was all right. There was no good and no bad. There was only me and my loved ones from this life trying to be, or just trying to survive.

I realize now that without this God force holding me, I wouldn't have had the strength to experience what I am explaining to you.

I -- we at this point, for we are one, a very sacred one -- God and I were merging into one sacred person. We went to the baby I was seeing to my upper left in the darkness. Picture the baby being in a bubble and that bubble in the center of a cloud of thousands and thousands of bubbles. In each bubble was another scene in my life. As we moved toward the baby, it was as though we were bobbing through the bubbles. At the same time there was a linear sequence in which we relived thirty-two years of my life. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. I now believe my no wonders meant No wonder you are the way you are now. Look what was done to you when you were a little girl.

My mother had been dependent on drugs, angry, and abusive, and my father wasn't there much of the time and did little to intervene. I saw all this childhood trauma again, in my life review, but I didn't see it in little bits and pieces, the way I had remembered it as an adult. I saw and experienced it just as I had lived it at the time it first happened. Not only was I me, I was also my mother. And my dad. And my brother. We were all one. Just as I had felt everything my grandmother had felt, I now felt my mother's pain and neglect from her childhood. She wasn't trying to be mean. She didn't know how to be loving or kind. She didn't know how to love. She didn't understand what life is really all about. And she was still angry from her own childhood, angry because they were poor and because her father had grand mal seizures almost every day until he died when she was eleven. And then she was angry because he left her.

Everything came flooding back, including my father's helplessness at stopping the insanity. If my father was home when my mother exploded into one of her rages, he would close all the windows so the neighbors wouldn't hear, and then he would go outside and visit with them. Again I witnessed my brother's rage at my mother's abuse, and then his turning around and giving it to me. I saw how we were all connected in this dance that started with my mother. I saw how her physical body expressed her emotional pain. I watched as I grew up and left my parents' house when I was eighteen. By that point I had watched my mother undergo twenty-six operations, twenty-five of which were elective. I saw myself as a child praying for a doctor who could help my mother. One part of her body or another was always in pain. She had two spinal fusions on her neck, two or three on her lumbar spine. Both knees, both elbows and one wrist were operated on.

As my life review continued, I again experienced my mother starving herself because she was told she had gotten chubby. Then she had to have several surgeries for intestinal problems and constipation, and during those stays in the hospital they would tube feed her because she was so thin. She even had her toes shortened. They called it hammertoe surgery. The real reason was because she had a huge collection of high-heeled shoes that were size four and one-half. (She always insisted on wearing spike heels even with her bad back.) Her feet were growing (as all of ours do as we get older) but she wanted them to remain a size four and one-half. I watched myself with her in a bubble as her orthopedic surgeon said, Florence, you have two choices. Get shoes a half size bigger or shorten your toes! He was laughing, but she chose the surgery. She was in plaster casts for six weeks, taking even more painkillers and sleeping pills.

I also saw her go through psychiatric hospitalizations. During one of these, around 1955, I couldn't visit her for three weeks. I was about eleven and was sure I had done something wrong. In one bubble I could see myself finally being allowed to visit her. I looked big for my age and my five-foot-two-inch frame towered over her four-foot-eleven one. She weighed about eighty-eight pounds. I was chunky. She lived on black coffee, sedatives, painkillers and tranquilizers. I loved to eat.

In the bubble I was pleading with her to cooperate with the doctors so she could come home. She said, Oh, honey. This is like a job. I don't need to be in here, but Daddy has three (health insurance) policies so I make us money when I'm here. Blue Cross pays all the medical expenses, and we get to keep the rest from the other two policies. I could now feel her saying that and she meant it. She believed it. I continued watching and realized that nothing could have helped my mother because she had no real understanding about why she was there. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. And then the benevolent energy that was holding me would hold me tighter and with even more love.

We continued watching my mother in pain, always seeing doctors and always receiving prescription pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers. My only feelings during this time were ones of loneliness. I felt so alone when she was in the hospital. Then I watched her abuse me when she was home. I could now feel that she abused me because she hated herself. I saw myself down on my knees by the side of my bed, praying for a doctor to help my mother. What I didn't realize as a child, but was understanding in the life review, was that she didn't want anyone to help her. She thought her job in life was to have doctors and be a patient. And she enjoyed being taken care of in the hospital.

I saw how I had given up myself in order to survive. I forgot that I was a child. I became my mother's mother. I suddenly knew that my mother had had the same thing happen to her in her childhood. She took care of her father during his seizures, and as a child she gave herself up to take care of him. As children, she and I both became anything and everything others needed. As my life review continued, I also saw my mother's soul, how painful her life was, how lost she was. And I saw my father, and how he put blinders on himself to avoid his grief over my mother's pain and to survive. In my life review I saw they were good people caught in helplessness. I saw their beauty, their humanity and their needs that had gone unattended to in their own childhoods. I loved them and understood them. We may have been trapped, but we were still souls connected in our dance of life by an energy source that had created us.

This is when I first realized that we don't end at our skin. We are all in this big churning mass of consciousness. We are each a part of this consciousness we call God. And we're not just human. We are Spirit. We were Spirit before we came into this lifetime. We are all struggling Spirits now, trying to get being human right. And when we leave here, we will be pure Spirit again.

As my life review continued, I got married and had my own children and saw that I was on the edge of repeating the cycle of abuse and trauma that I had experienced as a child. I was on prescription drugs. I was in the hospital. I was becoming like my mother. And at the same time, this energy holding me let me into its experience of all this. I felt God's memories of these scenes through God's eyes just as I had through my grandmother's eyes. I could sense God's divine intelligence and it was astonishing. God loves us and wants us to learn and wake up to our real selves -- to what is important. I realized that God wants us to know that we only experience real pain if we die without living first. And the way to live is to give love to ourselves and to others. We are here to learn never to withhold our love. But only when we heal enough to be real can we understand and give love the way love was meant to be.

As my life unfolded before my eyes, I witnessed how severely I had treated myself because that was the behavior shown and taught to me as a child. I realized that the only big mistake I had made in my life of thirty-two years was that I had never learned to love myself.

And then I was back, but not in my body. I was behind the nurse's station. I saw a metal circle with pillows tossing behind glass. They were the pillows I had urinated on when I separated from my body. I was watching them in a dryer.

I heard two nurses talking about my case and about how my day nurse was so upset after she found me that they had sent her home early. Then they were saying that I was going to be in a body cast for six months, even though they had told me six weeks, because my doctors thought that I couldn't handle knowing. So they were not going to tell me the truth.

Then I was back in my body, back in the circle bed. The same two nurses came in to check on me and I said to them, I left the bed again.

No, honey. You're hallucinating, they said.

I was not on painkillers at this point, so I insisted, No, I'm not hallucinating [ii]. I left the bed.

No, you're hallucinating. You can't leave the bed, they said.

Please call my day nurse and tell her I'm okay, I responded. Tell her I'm not angry with her. I know she was sent home early. And don't lie to me by telling me I'm going to be in a body cast for six weeks. Tell me the truth. I know I'm going to be in a body cast for six months. And you should have washed those pillows before you put them in the dryer. I don't care for myself, but I care for the next patient.
Here is a drug trip.
https://ewwty.com/2012/02/24/dimethyltryptamine-dmt-experience/3/
My world began to morph as I experienced an intense rushing sensation. The closest thing I can relate the initial sensation to is one of those launch roller-coasters that begins with an extreme boost of speed (rather than getting pulled up a long incline). It was hard to maintain awareness of my presence; it was as though my body became just another object in the room, disconnected from my soul or ego. It was weird, but I couldn’t spend much time dwelling on this feeling as this rapidly progressed. There was too much other stuff going on.

In a single moment, every single visually-seperable item in the room had not only its own energy, but its own personality to go with it. Every object in my field of vision darted around, each distorting themselves in their own unique manner. Peering about, I realized that my friend’s apartment, the walls of which were laden with those trippy posters only stoners and base-heads buy, was a horrible place to do this drug. I looked at the monkey poster on the wall in front of me, dumbfounded by the vividness with which every detail became animated.



The top monkey holding the tap as brew gushed into the beer-bong, bopping his head in sync with the vibrations of his headphones, foam dripping everywhere. The middle monkey holding the beer bong with his left hand, spinning his right in a rhythmic manner, smiling in such a way that suggested his awareness of my disbelief. The bottom monkey taking the endless beer bong like a champ, the pupils of his bloodshot eyes spinning in opposite directions, the stars rotating around his head just like a cartoon.

But it wasn’t just a repetitive looping animation. Their actions were totally autonomous from my consciousness. At one point, the bottom monkey took the hose out of his mouth as if to hand it to me, causing beer to spill out – to the top monkey’s dismay, who angrily scolded the bottom monkey as he released the tap. Feeling as though the bottom half of my body was soaking wet with beer, I panicked. “NO MONKEY, I CAN’T TAKE THAT BEER BONG,” I either thought to myself or screamed out loud, “CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRIPPIN’ ****ING BALLS RIGHT NOW?!” My point being, this wasn’t just a vivid hallucination; think about what it means that I saw the monkey remove the hose from his mouth. Parts of the actual image that didn’t even exist were being shown to me, i.e. the part of the monkey’s mouth and face behind the hose, which was revealed to me when he tried offering it.

Like I mentioned above, I had a simple method of overcoming hallucinations while on acid; I would just focus harder on it and remind myself I’m on acid, and the hallucination would return to its true form. That didn’t work here. No matter how hard I tried focusing on these hallucinations, on the fact they couldn’t be real, they didn’t stop. I just noticed more about them. What’s more, they seemed to scoff at my attempts to deny them as anything other than real. The whole thing was akin to the moving paintings that are all around Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Not only did the posters become completely animated, but the ones with human, or human-like, subjects objectively acknowledged my presence. It was ****ing surreal, but nothing compared to what came next.

The imagery became dizzying. The rest of the room was moving in my peripheral vision with the same level of vividness as the monkeys. In anything woven, such as my jeans, the individual strains of fabric appeared to flow in and out of each other, as though my eyes were suddenly able to witness the elastic energy with which such fabrics keep their form. As this progressed, I became disturbed by separate hallucinations – that is, brighter, vibrant moving imagery formed separate from that which actually surrounded me. In other words, there were both hallucinations being formed from what I could really see, and hallucinations being formed from… Well, no where.

Deciphering what was real and not became impossible and made me uneasy. Regret toward having surrendered such control set in. Next thing I knew, the poster’s background engulfed the monkeys like a black hole, which immediately expanded into the entirety of my vision in a radial manner, forcing my eyes shut.



The inside of my eyelids have always been a safe-haven during other psychedelic trips. Not this one. Hexagonal patterns – seemingly formed from phosphenes (the illusion of light/color you see when you close your eyes and rub them) – somehow formed within the confines of this familiar blackness. They flowed and pulsated with the flux of a river of molten lava. It was, at first, quite similar to looking at an assortment of neon lights through a kaleidoscope, but with less rigid movements. There was a certain coherence to the whole experience. It seemed logical.

Rapid flashes of imagery overtook my consciousness, as though my life was flashing before my eyes. Faces and places… but it was more than just images. Intense emotions came and went with their respective images with the same intense frequency. While this was going on, I continued to feel as though I was being forced upward. I couldn’t help but feel the presence of someone – or something – else. Almost as though there was an intelligence to the patterns. Or something behind them.



It was all so foreign. What’s odd is my ego was still present – unimpaired. What I mean is, I didn’t feel intoxicated as I do whilst drunk. My reasoning ability was left untouched. I was still me, despite being thrust into what I could only rationally presume is the spirit world.

Before I knew it, the random flashes of imagery subsided to reveal a world taking shape. Depth was created in the blackness of my unopened eyes through the coordinated flow of vibrant, flashing, colorful hexagonal patterns. The floor discernible from the walls by differences in their patterns and direction of flow. Aware that my eyes were closed, I was stupefied by the structural complexity of what I was witnessing in the darkness of my head.

Then, they revealed themselves.

I must once again pause to note that the following is not exaggerated. It is what I actually saw. I’m not filling the voids of my recollection with imaginative details. I went into this experience with the intent of paying close attention to whatever happened. I don’t need made-up details, there was far more than I could have even absorbed.


Without warning, three glossy-black humanoid-like figures – lacking any skeletal structure – appeared. Their movements had a certain graceful yet mischievous flow. I don’t remember seeing where they came from, it was as though they folded themselves out of the patterns. I had never seen nor conceived of such beings before. But there they were. They were entirely made up of a what can only be described as a black, viscous, malleable liquid. So vivid in every detail. So incredibly real. Impossibly real. Looking at me. Smiling.

Having seen a lot of random imagery thus far, I initially discarded them as just another fleeting hallucination. I opened my eyes, expecting to see some other random hallucinations upon closing them again. Instead, they – and the world I had just witnessed come to fore – remained. In an instant, I forgot I put myself in this state. I was simply there, dealing with it. I didn’t have the capacity to consider maybe these were the “gods” Alec “partied with.” All that went out the window of thought. My astonishment was inescapable. As was my fear. Their movements were mischievous. It seemed choreographed. They laughed in a very specific manner. Not in an evil manner. They made no noise, however. At no point did they speak. At the time this frustrated and frightened me further. It hadn’t struck me yet that verbal language wasn’t their mode of communication.

This is the part that was, without question, the most scary experience of my life. I’m certain it’s the only time I experienced the emotion of terror. Pure terror.

I didn’t trust them. My first thought was that they were demons, which is why I was so scared. Had I found myself in their presence under different circumstances, I may have assumed they were aliens. They seemed to transcend the other hallucinogenic aspects of the drug. Acknowledging them as objective entities was foreign to my belief system, and something I struggled against – without success. Denying them as real, intelligent, discarnate entities would have been as possible as denying the existence of the laptop with which I’m writing this. They were there. And they sure as hell knew a lot more about what was going on than I did.

Despite their odd makeup, I couldn’t shake a feeling of familiarity. Only in their faces and hands, and in some ways, their movements. The rest of them was alien. This only worked to scare me more, as my ego darted through the implications of this familiarity. I remember feeling as though they were absorbing my thoughts and experiences. Like they knew me better than anyone from the real world ever could. I felt they were laughing at my imaginative attempts to figure out what or who they are. They don’t make sense in the context of our reality. Even before they appeared, I feared I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. Out loud, I sought answers. “Umm, ahh. What the ****ing…? Who…? are… is…? What are you guys? No… ****ing… way… is this happening.”

They approached, dancing along the way. Tribal. Ritualistic. Those were the first two adjectives that popped in my head upon witnessing their movements. Everything about them was so fundamentally different from the other effects of the drug. The hexagonal patterns were just that; patterns. They were predictable.

They came up to my face and started to pull at me; much in the same way a child does when they want you to come play. Masters of non-verbal communication, I knew this was what they wanted before they started being so explicit about it. I tensed up, trying to deny them my acknowledgement of their existence. I could open my eyes, but when I did I still saw them. It was like when you look at an image on a computer screen before shutting your eyes and seeing the imprint it leaves, only the other way around. When I opened my eyes, their figures remained imprinted in my opened-eye vision. Disturbed by my inability to escape them, I freaked out.

“Oh God. Oh God. Oh God!” I exclaimed. Curious, considering my agnostic nature. Every muscle in my body tensed up, resisting them.

I could hear a voice. A real one. It was Alec.

“James, it’s okay. Let them take you. They’re cool.”

He knew what I was experiencing.

Instantly every muscle in my body relaxed as I let go of the physical strain with which I resisted them. When I closed my eyes again, they were directly upon me. At my feet. In my face. They looked as though their bodies were entirely made up of a simple thick, amorphous blob, which they could manipulate in any manner they pleased. This is an ancient pop-culture reference, but if you remember that Nickelodeon show from the 90***8242;s called “The Secret World of Alex Mac,” it was like a thicker, black version of the liquid Alex Mac would turn into.

The extraordinary nature of this closed-eye hallucination was such that if my eyes peered left, I saw whatever was to my left (within the context of the close-eyed hallucination). If I wanted to see what was to the right of me, I would peer to the right. Everything about it came across as an objective world that exists regardless of my presence, as opposed to a hallucination that exists solely within my subjective perception.

Upon releasing all physical strain, I somehow managed to dispose of my fear. Not out of bravery, but curiosity. “Whatever these beings are, they’re not going away,” I thought, “But… What the hell are they?” I focused harder on them.

No longer intoxicated by fear, I could more clearly process what was going on. I was astonished to find that they were taking me, or my soul, into the light. Yes, the light. The one dying people talk of. Only it wasn’t actually a light, more like a portal, but somehow I knew what it was. I remember feeling that I should be scared, that maybe they’re gonna leave me up there. However, evaluating my surroundings in the most rational manner possible seemed like a better option than freaking out again. I figured if I was indeed dying, this would be my only chance to witness death. I focused on breathing, reminding myself that the familiar sensation created by doing so indicates my well-being.

Once we arrived, their hands were feeling my face and my body. I only remember one with detail, a female figure. Eerily similar to the greek god Medusa. Only upon closer inspection, her hair was comprised of tentacles (that she could control) rather than snakes. The other beings were of the same make-up, but for some reason, were less interesting to me. In addition to her hair, she had what appeared to be retractable tentacles protruding from the sides of her torso, which joined the hands in their physical inspection of me. The scariest part was I could feel them. I could feel them caressing my face and body. Each and every touch.

This turned into a very intimate dance; somewhat tribal. I know my ego was still fully present by how awkward I felt during this – as though I had been taken in by a Native American tribe, and they were blessing me with some ritualistic ceremony. By this point I was just focusing on remembering what was going on.

I should say, for the record, I do not have any kind of weird tentacle fetish, or fear of tentacles. Never have I had a traumatic run-in with an octopus or squid. There’s no event in my life that I can think of that would have caused me to see beings with retractable tentacles. They just had them. I remember at one point during the trip thinking to myself, “Tentacles? For real? Why ****ing tentacles?”

After going through the light they tried communicating something to me. In retrospect, I realized they were trying to calm me down; basically trying to say “don’t give into astonishment.” I couldn’t help it though; I was simply astonished. Upon realizing I had indeed given into my astonishment, it was almost as though they went, “Oh well, might as well dance then.” I remember feeling awkward, I’m not the dancing type. But it was a familiar awkwardness. It felt just like when someone tries to make you get up and start dancing at a wedding when you don’t want to. I got the overwhelming sense that they cared for me dearly. Although I had no way of knowing why. It was weird.

During this time, I recall seeing another being. It was a masculine figure, more human-like than the other three, who stood in the right-hand corner. His arms folded, he seemed to be overseeing everything. I never interacted with him. I wasn’t as worried about him, as he wasn’t all up in my face.

The most surreal, and easiest to recollect, part of the whole experience was coming down. By this time, I had basically accepted to myself – without much thought – that these beings were indeed real. Coming down from a drug has never felt so literal. Rather than merely feeling the drug wear off, the beings literally brought me back down, waving their arms mystically as they placed my soul back into my body. That’s exactly what it felt like, having my soul returned to my body; there’s simply no other way to describe it. After which, they just walked off nonchalantly. All of a sudden I was back in my body.

The visual distortions remained for about another five minutes as I grappled with what had just happened. I demanded answers from Alec, “What the **** were those things?”

“The gods, man,” he replied.


As we talked about our experiences, we found striking similarities to what we saw. Three black humanoid figures, seemingly made up of a viscous liquid. This was amazing to me, as it would support the hypothesis that DMT allows the user to access another plane of existence.

Being a devout rationalist, I discarded this as a possibility. Until the conversation continued. And Jay spoke the following words which shattered my grip on rationality.

“Did ya’ll notice a more human-looking figure, like, in the corner of the place they took you?”

My jaw dropped. No. ****ing. Possible. Way.

I no longer knew what to think. I still don’t.

Alec remembered seeing such a figure, and if you read my above account, you know I did too. How did we just happen to have such similar experiences?

I needed answers. What the **** were those beings I saw? Spirits? Demons? Angels? It made me realize none of us even know what any of these things look like. If us three had the same trip – with the same beings – independent of each other, surely someone else has. And if that’s the case, they surely must have written about it. It’s quite lonely a feeling, actually; seeing something every fiber of your being knows was real, yet knowing it would sound insane to the rest of the world.

I was really only concerned with finding that which dealt with the actual beings that I saw. I read through a lot of other people’s experiences, and the majority of them came across as somewhat similar to what my friends and I experienced; as though the subjects merely described the experience differently. After searching for a while, I only found two or three recounted experiences that described the beings I saw. The implications of this have left me dumbfounded.
First of all, of the countless of billions of animals that would have mutated over the billions of years there must be some trace of one of them somewhere.

In order to survive a mutation must have a base of common mutual mutations. To return to the giraffe case. If it evolved from a mutated giraffe
otherwise it would take an awful long time for it to evolve to get food to survive.
(http://forum.mind-energy.net/forum/...unk-eben-alexander-s-case?p=172162#post172162)

They are not similar.
It is for this very reason why I really hope that death being final is not true. But at the same time, I hope religions such as Christianity aren't true either since we are talking here a God who would send you to hell for not believing in him and for not obeying him. That's an even worse worldview than materialism because if I had the choice to either die and that be the end of me or to go to hell, I would obviously choose to die and that be it for me. So I am going to present to you 2 questions here for you to answer:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/principles
The Principles Of Spiritualism
...
The fifth and six principles together tell us a lot about the afterlife. They tell us that neither the right faith, nor the sacrifice of someone else, nor forgiveness will get us into heaven. We have to choose to work our way up through the different levels in the spirit world, and we must accomplish that work by our own efforts. This work is usually some form of service to others.

These principles also tell us that no one is condemned to an eternity in hell if they lack the right faith during their life. Faith is not mentioned. At any time here or hereafter, anyone may choose to take the path of righteousness.
The skeptical literature is not reliable:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_misdirection
 
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Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#3
Evidence for the afterlife:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_afterlife



Materialist explanations of NDE's don't really explain NDE's
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/07/materialist-explanations-of-ndes-fail.html



None of the materialist attempts to explain NDEs can really explain them. NDEs cannot be explained by: a lack of oxygen, a dying brain, hallucinations, religious expectations, cultural expectations, hearing about medical procedures after the fact, hearing during resuscitation, brain dysfunction, retinal dysfunction causing an image of a tunnel, brain chemicals such as ketamine, endogenous opioids, neurotransmitter imbalances, or hallucinogens including DMT, REM intrusions, epilepsy or seizures, psychopathology, unique personality traits, residual brain activity during unconsciousness, the experience occurring before or after brain activity stopped, brain activity during CPR, evolutionary adaptation, depersonalization, memory of birth, medication, naloxone, defense against dying, partial anesthesia, misuse of anecdotes, or selective reporting. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_nde



People who have a life review during an NDE experience how they influenced other people from the other person's perspective, they feel the other person's feelings. This is not the same a "my life flashed before my eyes" which is from the experiencer's perspective not other people's perspective. Also, sometimes NDE life reviews are shared by other people near death or by care givers. Sometimes people having and NDE life review recognize people they know who were also known to them in a previous incarnation.

Shared NDE's:
http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2011/06/shared-death-experiences.html
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence#summary_evidence_nde
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experieces-from.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from_21.html
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/shared-near-death-experiences-from_22.html

NDE's are not like drug trips.

Here is a typical NDE
http://www.near-death.com/science/experts/barbara-whitfield.html

Here is a drug trip.
https://ewwty.com/2012/02/24/dimethyltryptamine-dmt-experience/3/

(http://forum.mind-energy.net/forum/...unk-eben-alexander-s-case?p=172162#post172162)

They are not similar.


https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/principles


The skeptical literature is not reliable:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_misdirection
Thank you for replying back to me. But I would like to point out a couple more things here. Sure, the features of ndes and drug induced states and seizures are not exactly the same because, as Steven Novella pointed out in a debate with Alex Tsakaris, the features are not going to be the same; but the fact that they overlap sort of tells me here that materialism might be the correct worldview here when it comes to ndes. So, yes, you have mentioned that the features are not the same, but they still do overlap. All the other literature you have presented to me does leave me open to the possibility of the afterlife, but the fact that we have a remarkable overlap of features renders me undecided when it comes to the existence of the soul and the afterlife.

Lastly, I also have one more question to post here as well:

If this is truly a spiritual universe and we are all here for a spiritual purpose, then why is it that some people are born in situations of extreme suffering only to die within the first few months or days upon their very birth? Some spiritual purpose that was! Also, why is it then that many good people suffer while many evil people have nice happy lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them in order to make them grow, develop, and change?

This tells me that this is not a spiritual universe. Instead, it would have to be a universe that came about through pure luck. A universe that came about through pure luck would yield such results I've mentioned that are dependent upon luck. Some people are lucky while others are not and it doesn't matter who you are. Such a thing would be expected only from a purely naturalistic universe.
 
#4
Sure, the features of ndes and drug induced states and seizures are not exactly the same because, as Steven Novella pointed out in a debate with Alex Tsakaris, the features are not going to be the same; but the fact that they overlap sort of tells me here that materialism might be the correct worldview here when it comes to ndes. So, yes, you have mentioned that the features are not the same, but they still do overlap. All the other literature you have presented to me does leave me open to the possibility of the afterlife, but the fact that we have a remarkable overlap of features renders me undecided when it comes to the existence of the soul and the afterlife.

Here are some word from NDE-researcher & cardiologist Pim Van Lommel regarding the case of NDE vs drugs:
NDE-like experiences have been reported after the use of drugs like ketamine (Jansen, 1996), LSD (Grof and Halifax, 1977),or mushrooms (Schroter-Kunhardt, 1999). These induced experiences can result in a period of unconsciousness, but can also sometimes consist of perception of sound, light, or flashes of recollections from the past. These recollections, however, consist of fragmented and random memories unlike the panoramic life-review that can occur in NDE. Also, exceptionally out-of-body experiences can occur during induced experiences. However, transformational processes are rarely reported after induced experiences. Thus, induced experiences are not identical to NDE

Greyson (2003) writes in his comment that no one physiological or psychological model by itself could explain all the common features of NDE. The paradoxical occurrence of heightened, lucid awareness and logical thought processes during a period of impaired cerebral perfusion raises particular perplexing questions for our current understanding of consciousness and its relation to brain function. A clear sensorium and complex perceptual processes during a period of apparent clinical death challenge the concept that consciousness is localized exclusively in the brain. Parnia et al. (2001) and Parnia and Fenwick (2002) write that the data from several NDE studies suggest that the NDE arises during unconsciousness,and this is a surprising conclusion, because when the brain is so dysfunctional that the patient is deeply comatose, the cerebral structures, which underpin subjective experience and memory, must be severely impaired. Complex experiences such as are reported in the NDE should not arise or be retained in memory.
>> http://www.pimvanlommel.nl/files/publicaties/Near-Death Experience_Consciousness and the Brain.pdf

Further more details on NDE vs drugs:
Skeptics claim NDEs are only the product of the brain occurring during life threatening situations. They claim the brain produces an avoidance response to such situations in the form of endorphins flooding the brain thereby causing hallucinations. Skeptics also claim NDEs are a hallucinatory experience similar to hallucinations brought on when LSD is introduced into the body. They point to scientific studies showing how psychedelic drugs, meditation, and other triggers can be used to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness, such as an NDE, and claim this falsifies the Afterlife Hypothesis. But hallucinogenic drugs cause distortions of reality, alterations of body image, and disorientation as to time and place.
Ketamine often causes bizarre, paranoid visions not seen in NDEs.

The major difference between hallucinations and NDEs is that NDEs do not involve such distortions of reality. NDEs have been described as perceptions of a hyper-reality superimposed over current reality.

Psychologist John Gibbs states:

"NDE accounts from varied times and cultures were found to be more orderly, logical, defined and predictable than comparable accounts from drug or illness-induced hallucination. Impressive data from Tart, Moody and Carl Becker also argue for the objective elements of an NDE, including returning with knowledge later verified and third-party observations of odd death-bed phenomena (such as luminosity or apparitions)."

Neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick, describes the difference between the NDE and hallucinations:

"The difficulty with those theories is that when you create these wonderful states by taking drugs, you're conscious. In the NDE, you are unconscious. One of the things we know about brain function in unconsciousness, is that you cannot create images and if you do, you cannot remember them."
http://www.near-death.com/science/hallucinations/why-ndes-are-not-hallucinations.html

On top of that can we put the NDE-cases of Vicki Noratuk & Bradley Burroughs (both blind from birth)

*jump forward to 31 min into the clip for Vicki Noratuk's case*






Here's the full story on Vicky Noratuk:

Vicki was born blind, her optic nerve having been completely destroyed at birth because of an excess of oxygen she received in the incubator. Yet, she appears to have been able to see during her NDE. Her story is a particularly clear instance of how NDEs of the congenitally blind can unfold in precisely the same way as do those of sighted persons. As you will see, apart from the fact that Vicki was not able to discern color during her experience, the account of her NDE is absolutely indistinguishable from those with intact visual systems. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Ring's latest book reprinted by permission. Vicki told Dr. Ring she found herself floating above her body in the emergency room of a hospital following an automobile accident. She was aware of being up near the ceiling watching a male doctor and a female nurse working on her body, which she viewed from her elevated position. Vicki has a clear recollection of how she came to the realization that this was her own body below her. The following is her experience.

"I knew it was me ... I was pretty thin then. I was quite tall and thin at that point.
And I recognized at first that it was a body, but I didn't even know that it was mine initially."
"Then I perceived that I was up on the ceiling, and I thought, 'Well, that's kind of weird. What am I doing up here?' "I thought, 'Well, this must be me. Am I dead? ...'

"I just briefly saw this body, and ... I knew that it was mine because I wasn't in mine."
In addition, she was able to note certain further identifying features indicating that the body she was observing was certainly her own.

"I think I was wearing the plain gold band on my right ring finger and my father's wedding ring next to it. But my wedding ring I definitely saw ... That was the one I noticed the most because it's most unusual. It has orange blossoms on the corners of it."
There is something extremely remarkable and provocative about Vicki's recollection of these visual impressions, as a subsequent comment of hers implied.

"This was," she said, "the only time I could ever relate to seeing and to what light was, because I experienced it."
She then told them that following her out-of-body episode, which was very fast and fleeting, she found herself going up through the ceilings of the hospital until she was above the roof of the building itself, during which time she had a brief panoramic view of her surroundings. She felt very exhilarated during this ascension and enjoyed tremendously the freedom of movement she was experiencing. She also began to hear sublimely beautiful and exquisitely harmonious music akin to the sound of wind chimes.

With scarcely a noticeable transition, she then discovered she had been sucked head first into a tube and felt that she was being pulled up into it. The enclosure itself was dark, Vicki said, yet she was aware that she was moving toward light. As she reached the opening of the tube, the music that she had heard earlier seemed to be transformed into hymns and she then "rolled out" to find herself lying on grass.

She was surrounded by trees and flowers and a vast number of people. She was in a place of tremendous light, and the light, Vicki said, was something you could feel as well as see. Even the people she saw were bright.

"Everybody there was made of light. And I was made of light. What the light conveyed was love. There was love everywhere. It was like love came from the grass, love came from the birds, love came from the trees."
Vicki then becomes aware of specific persons she knew in life who are welcoming her to this place. There are five of them. Debby and Diane were Vicki's blind schoolmates, who had died years before, at ages 11 and 6, respectively.

In life, they had both been profoundly retarded as well as blind, but here they appeared bright and beautiful, healthy and vitally alive. And no longer children, but, as Vicki phrased it, "in their prime."

In addition, Vicki reports seeing two of her childhood caretakers, a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Zilk, both of whom had also previously died. Finally, there was Vicki's grandmother - who had essentially raised Vicki and who had died just two years before this incident. In these encounters, no actual words were exchanged, Vicki says, but only feelings - feelings of love and welcome.

In the midst of this rapture, Vicki is suddenly overcome with a sense of total knowledge.

"I had a feeling like I knew everything ... and like everything made sense. I just knew that this was where ... this place was where I would find the answers to all the questions about life, and about the planets, and about God, and about everything ... It's like the place was the knowing."
As these revelations are unfolding, Vicki notices that now next to her is a figure whose radiance is far greater than the illumination of any of the persons she has so far encountered. Immediately, she recognizes this being to be Jesus. He greets her tenderly, while she conveys her excitement to him about her newfound omniscience and her joy at being there with him.

Telepathically, he communicates to her.
"Isn't it wonderful? Everything is beautiful here, and it fits together. And you'll find that. But you can't stay here now. It's not your time to be here yet and you have to go back."
Vicki reacts, understandably enough, with extreme disappointment and protests vehemently.

"No, I want to stay with you."
But the being reassures her that she will come back, but for now, she "has to go back and learn and teach more about loving and forgiving." Still resistant, however, Vicki then learns that she also needs to go back to have her children. With that, Vicki, who was then childless but who "desperately wanted" to have children (and who has since given birth to three) becomes almost eager to return and finally consents.

However, before Vicki can leave, the being says to her, in these exact words, "But first, watch this."

And what Vicki then sees is "everything from my birth" in a complete panoramic review of her life, and as she watches, the being gently comments to help her understand the significance of her actions and their repercussions.

The last thing Vicki remembers, once the life review has been completed, are the words, "You have to leave now."

Then she experiences "a sickening thud" like a roller-coaster going backwards, and finds herself back in her body.

Such reports, replete with visual imagery, were the rule, not the exception, among Ring and Cooper's blind respondents. Altogether, 80% of their entire sample claimed some visual perception during their near-death or out-of-body encounters. Although Vicki's was unusual with respect to the degree of detail, it was hardly unique in their sample. Sometimes the initial onset of visual perception of the physical world is disorienting and even disturbing to the blind. This was true for Vicki, for example, who said:

"I had a hard time relating to it (i.e., seeing). I had a real difficult time relating to it because I've never experienced it. And it was something very foreign to me ... Let's see, how can I put it into words? It was like hearing words and not being able to understand them, but knowing that they were words. And before you'd never heard anything. But it was something new, something you'd not been able to previously attach any meaning to".
 
#5
If this is truly a spiritual universe and we are all here for a spiritual purpose, then why is it that some people are born in situations of extreme suffering only to die within the first few months or days upon their very birth? Some spiritual purpose that was! Also, why is it then that many good people suffer while many evil people have nice happy lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them in order to make them grow, develop, and change?

This tells me that this is not a spiritual universe. Instead, it would have to be a universe that came about through pure luck. A universe that came about through pure luck would yield such results I've mentioned that are dependent upon luck. Some people are lucky while others are not and it doesn't matter who you are. Such a thing would be expected only from a purely naturalistic universe.

It's always hard to try to rationalise someone's immense suffering and saying that they were destined to experience this. Like children getting terminal cancer, or someone who become quadriplegic.

But, if we assume there is an everlasting afterlife, with immense love & bliss, were no suffering whatsoever exist, and in the perspective of that a lifespan is not even measurable in comparison - like its a blink of an eye. But for you to grow, and become even more enlightened you most have the full experience of every aspect of life on earth. Being able to feel in, and have the experience, of every sort, and kind, of suffering - but also every kind of joy and happiness - to become "complete" and advance. Like knowing and "play the role" of a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a victim, an abuser, someone sick, or someone nursing those sick and feeling the grief & loss, and every other aspect of life you can imagine. Doing that would take a lot of different lifetimes, and it will include a lot of "temporary" suffering that would seem utterly pointless when you are the one suffering, without knowing why, But it will make sense in the grand scheme of things.

But, it can also be that there is an afterlife, but life on earth consist of totally free will and no destiny involved, and the suffering you might experience are just either self-inflicted by your free will, or just random bad luck that no one can change - and it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Of course this last paragraph is almost a hardcore-skeptics wet dream. :D If only I remove the first sentence; "But, it can also be that there is an afterlife" - then the rest fits right up their ally.
 
#6
Despite growing increasingly cynical of day-old accounts coming in here and asking the same questions while claiming agnosticism despite showing clear signs of actually playing for an obviously specific side (specially those with "funny" names), I will play along for a bit, but will not make this long in case that this is another of the accounts that hand wave paragraphs away with a single sentence. Mostly because I'm skeptical that anyone could be impressed enough by that particular interview, where Novella failed to "shine" as in other media and recurred to scale goat arguments regarding anesthesia awareness (which he misrepresented IMO), to cite it after all this time.

First, an actual decrease of synaptic activity has been recorded with the use of several drugs, especially hallucinogenic ones (there are several such studies, especially with LSD; but this is a trend that is also reflected in other kinds of drugs, such as meth: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/) If reductive materialism was accurate and consciousness could be dismissed as simply brain activity, parsimony suggests that the subjective experience should decrease accordingly. That it doesn't, and instead takes "trascendental" aspects that are regarded as "more real than real" is a conodrum for that ideology even if was the "truth". But, then again, reductive materialism can't explain exactly how these drugs work, it can explain consistency, the shape of its molecules, volume, the receptors that they interact with, etc. but not why they have that sort of impact in the individual's subjective experience.

Other metaphysical ideologies have dealt with that directly and found it coherent with their postures, including idealism, the "filter" ideas and an ever increasing host of non-dualism stances. Assuming the latter, any "NDE-like" (a misnomer, but let's run with it) in the use of drugs and/or hypoxia is attributed to a decrease in activity that actually looses the restrictions of the brain and are actually expected to increase in immersion and intensity as it drops. Ergo, why NDEs show such heightened levels of awareness.

This, of course, is without discussing the veridicality of several cases. Which Novella tried to explain away by giving anesthesia awareness as an excuse, and which Gerry has tried to kill with all sort of extrambotic explanations. It's a shame for reductionism that bone conductivity and AA can't really explain why you patient is telling you about the bald spot in the head of the chunky fellow that was at the OR...

PS- Conversely, Steve shared a relevant article authored by Bernardo: http://jcn.cognethic.org/jcnv4i3_Kastrup.pdf

PS2- You got to dig the ironic avatar (a psychic Pokémon, don't asks me how I know that) and sig.
 
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#7
Thank you for replying back to me. But I would like to point out a couple more things here. Sure, the features of ndes and drug induced states and seizures are not exactly the same because, as Steven Novella pointed out in a debate with Alex Tsakaris, the features are not going to be the same; but the fact that they overlap sort of tells me here that materialism might be the correct worldview here when it comes to ndes. So, yes, you have mentioned that the features are not the same, but they still do overlap. All the other literature you have presented to me does leave me open to the possibility of the afterlife, but the fact that we have a remarkable overlap of features renders me undecided when it comes to the existence of the soul and the afterlife.

Lastly, I also have one more question to post here as well:

If this is truly a spiritual universe and we are all here for a spiritual purpose, then why is it that some people are born in situations of extreme suffering only to die within the first few months or days upon their very birth? Some spiritual purpose that was! Also, why is it then that many good people suffer while many evil people have nice happy lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them in order to make them grow, develop, and change?

This tells me that this is not a spiritual universe. Instead, it would have to be a universe that came about through pure luck. A universe that came about through pure luck would yield such results I've mentioned that are dependent upon luck. Some people are lucky while others are not and it doesn't matter who you are. Such a thing would be expected only from a purely naturalistic universe.
Before one thinks about the significance of an overlap between NDE's and drugs... One really needs to think first about perception. In particular, the general question of whether your perception is direct or indirect.

As children, we've probably all spun round and round for a while, then stopped suddenly, and experienced that the world around us, keeps on spinning around us for a while, even though we've stopped. We all know that the world doesn't really keep spinning around us, it's just that we perceive it like that due to sensory input. But this is a simplistic example of how to start to think generally about whether perception is direct or indirect.

Can't help you on the question of 'suffering' at this early stage. None of my ideas could make any sense, until you've challenged your ideas about perception for a couple of years....
 
#8
The "question of suffering" is irrelevant to the nature of consciousness or survival, and is an old fallacy (repopularized by New Atheim for use against the arbitrarily "benign" characterization that they give to the Judeo-Christian God) that has been beaten so close to death here that it had its own NDE. Even without entering into epistemological issues, "why must this happen to me?" or "why do bad things happen to 'good' people?" are questions that inherently appeal to subjective moral perception and the ego.

You might as well ask why you expect the universe, mother nature, God -or however you prefer to refer to it- to think from a distinctly "human" perspective, why it should interfere to belittle what free will we may have by removing consequence (which is pretty much the driving force behind the "learning" postulated by different sources as medium for personal growth).
 
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Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#9
Despite growing increasingly cynical of day-old accounts coming in here and asking the same questions while claiming agnosticism despite showing clear signs of actually playing for an obviously specific side (specially those with "funny" names), I will play along for a bit, but will not make this long in case that this is another of the accounts that hand wave paragraphs away with a single sentence. Mostly because I'm skeptical that anyone could be impressed enough by that particular interview, where Novella failed to "shine" as in other media and recurred to scale goat arguments regarding anesthesia awareness (which he misrepresented IMO), to cite it after all this time.

First, an actual decrease of synaptic activity has been recorded with the use of several drugs, especially hallucinogenic ones (there are several such studies, especially with LSD; but this is a trend that is also reflected in other kinds of drugs, such as meth: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/) If reductive materialism was accurate and consciousness could be dismissed as simply brain activity, parsimony suggests that the subjective experience should decrease accordingly. That it doesn't, and instead takes "trascendental" aspects that are regarded as "more real than real" is a conodrum for that ideology even if was the "truth". But, then again, reductive materialism can't explain exactly how these drugs work, it can explain consistency, the shape of its molecules, volume, the receptors that they interact with, etc. but not why they have that sort of impact in the individual's subjective experience.

Other metaphysical ideologies have dealt with that directly and found it coherent with their postures, including idealism, the "filter" ideas and an ever increasing host of non-dualism stances. Assuming the latter, any "NDE-like" (a misnomer, but let's run with it) in the use of drugs and/or hypoxia is attributed to a decrease in activity that actually looses the restrictions of the brain and are actually expected to increase in immersion and intensity as it drops. Ergo, why NDEs show such heightened levels of awareness.

This, of course, is without discussing the veridicality of several cases. Which Novella tried to explain away by giving anesthesia awareness as an excuse, and which Gerry has tried to kill with all sort of extrambotic explanations. It's a shame for reductionism that bone conductivity and AA can't really explain why you patient is telling you about the bald spot in the head of the chunky fellow that was at the OR...

PS- Conversely, Steve shared a relevant article authored by Bernardo: http://jcn.cognethic.org/jcnv4i3_Kastrup.pdf

PS2- You got to dig the ironic avatar (a psychic Pokémon, don't asks me how I know that) and sig.
I think your username is just as "funny" as mine. Also, I was hoping that any questions I would have from the scientific materialistic point of view would be shot down which is why I solely asked my questions from the materialistic point of view. Your post was successful at shooting my question down, but I am just going to have to still remain undecided on the existence of the afterlife and the soul. I just don't think there is any definite answer here.
 
#10
Like many people on this forum and somewhere else said, this physical world is like a school. We must experience joy, sadness, love, anger, warmth, ect to become educated/enlightened.
 

Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#11
Like many people on this forum and somewhere else said, this physical world is like a school. We must experience joy, sadness, love, anger, warmth, ect to become educated/enlightened.
I think spiritual growth, development, and enlightenment is all defined by the individual and each person finds their own growth, development, and enlightenment. For some people, they want suffering and misery in their lives. They wish to build their character through having much hardship in their lives. So that is their own personal growth, development, and enlightenment. But others only wish to be wild, happy, enjoy their lives, party, not have any misery or problems in their lives, etc. and that is their own personal growth. It is a wild, outgoing, vibrant, and free personality and that is another form of character growth and development. So it is all based on the individual and his/her own personal spiritual needs (what gives value and meaning to his/her life).
 
#12
Despite growing increasingly cynical of day-old accounts coming in here and asking the same questions while claiming agnosticism despite showing clear signs of actually playing for an obviously specific side (specially those with "funny" names), I will play along for a bit, but will not make this long in case that this is another of the accounts that hand wave paragraphs away with a single sentence. Mostly because I'm skeptical that anyone could be impressed enough by that particular interview, where Novella failed to "shine" as in other media and recurred to scale goat arguments regarding anesthesia awareness (which he misrepresented IMO), to cite it after all this time.

First, an actual decrease of synaptic activity has been recorded with the use of several drugs, especially hallucinogenic ones (there are several such studies, especially with LSD; but this is a trend that is also reflected in other kinds of drugs, such as meth: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/) If reductive materialism was accurate and consciousness could be dismissed as simply brain activity, parsimony suggests that the subjective experience should decrease accordingly. That it doesn't, and instead takes "trascendental" aspects that are regarded as "more real than real" is a conodrum for that ideology even if was the "truth". But, then again, reductive materialism can't explain exactly how these drugs work, it can explain consistency, the shape of its molecules, volume, the receptors that they interact with, etc. but not why they have that sort of impact in the individual's subjective experience.

Other metaphysical ideologies have dealt with that directly and found it coherent with their postures, including idealism, the "filter" ideas and an ever increasing host of non-dualism stances. Assuming the latter, any "NDE-like" (a misnomer, but let's run with it) in the use of drugs and/or hypoxia is attributed to a decrease in activity that actually looses the restrictions of the brain and are actually expected to increase in immersion and intensity as it drops. Ergo, why NDEs show such heightened levels of awareness.

This, of course, is without discussing the veridicality of several cases. Which Novella tried to explain away by giving anesthesia awareness as an excuse, and which Gerry has tried to kill with all sort of extrambotic explanations. It's a shame for reductionism that bone conductivity and AA can't really explain why you patient is telling you about the bald spot in the head of the chunky fellow that was at the OR...

PS- Conversely, Steve shared a relevant article authored by Bernardo: http://jcn.cognethic.org/jcnv4i3_Kastrup.pdf

PS2- You got to dig the ironic avatar (a psychic Pokémon, don't asks me how I know that) and sig.[/
Where role does the fact that in those studies connectivity increased in key areas associated with visual systems or decreased in other specific areas associated with sense of self for example play in your analysis?

When Bernardo was pressed on this in this forum he unfortunately decided to stop posting. Bernardo looked only at the overall decrease in power iirc, retusing to look closer at the results, brushing them off as inconsequential.

From an IIT approach these studies fit perfectly.
 
#13
I think spiritual growth, development, and enlightenment is all defined by the individual and each person finds their own growth, development, and enlightenment. For some people, they want suffering and misery in their lives. They wish to build their character through having much hardship in their lives. So that is their own personal growth, development, and enlightenment. But others only wish to be wild, happy, enjoy their lives, party, not have any misery or problems in their lives, etc. and that is their own personal growth. It is a wild, outgoing, vibrant, and wild personality and that is another form of character growth and development. So it is all based on the individual and his/her own personal spiritual needs (what gives value and meaning to his/her life).
I guess you're right.
And btw, I love your avatar picture. Is that Mewtwo?
 
#14
Where role does the fact that in those studies connectivity increased in key areas associated with visual systems or decreased in other specific areas associated with sense of self for example play in your analysis?

When Bernardo was pressed on this in this forum he unfortunately decided to stop posting. Bernardo looked only at the overall decrease in power iirc, retusing to look closer at the results, brushing them off as inconsequential.

From an IIT approach these studies fit perfectly.
Yes. Where is that thread?
 
#15
Where role does the fact that in those studies connectivity increased in key areas associated with visual systems or decreased in other specific areas associated with sense of self for example play in your analysis?

When Bernardo was pressed on this in this forum he unfortunately decided to stop posting. Bernardo looked only at the overall decrease in power iirc, retusing to look closer at the results, brushing them off as inconsequential.

From an IIT approach these studies fit perfectly.
I can't really speak for Bernardo, and knowing how he blinks in and out of his own forum, I doubt that he left due to something so minimal. Unless he specifically said that he was leaving because of that, chances are that he simply lapsed into another hiatus. If you feel confident that he took off because of that, feel free to ask for a clarification where he roams more frequently: https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?fromgroups#!forum/metaphysical-speculations

As far as the studies go, the effect on the primary visual cortex is entirely different in hallucinogens than normal perception and sleep (it is the actual opposite of REM, which we can agree produces purely subjective images), cells become more receptive to visual stimuli (we have known this since the 1970s). I can understand how that would try to explain the distortion of images and colors, but... There is a reported "visual" effect in people that are blind, and both lack proper "equipment" (functioning eyes) to respond to external stimuli (like the light bar that was used to tease the drugged cat back then) and no pre-existing concept of visual perception (here is an anecdote: https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/20994748/fpart/all/vc/1). On that matter, IIT requires the brain to integrate sensorial information (obviously) and integrating optical information is not possible without an optic nerve. That leaves the question open, is the over-excitation of these cells the cause of the experience or a response to an overwhelming amount of visual information? Other things that it would fail to explain are the reported increase in ESP (there's literally hundreds of accounts of this, with an apparent prevalence of precognition in DMT and telepathy in acid) or why "elves" are a recurrent motif in LSD, when regular hallucinations vary drastically in content between individuals.

Decrease in areas "associated with self" is no surprise given the role that controlled disassociation plays in things like meditation.

----
Edit - Seems relevant: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/cppdf/iama_blind_person_from_birth_who_has_used/

This quote is also relevant to the Vicky case and how I keep emphasizing that pre-existing concepts are necessary to explain "color" in concise terms, but that congenitally blind people may be 'seeing' much more than simple monochrome when referring to "shades of brightness":

"In my trips, (various antheogins), I have seen what I believe to be red, which, like someone here so beautifully put it, was like standing too close to a big fire. I believe orange to be kind of like this as well, but with more warmth. I've seen what I call electric lights, probably yello's or maybe even purple. Also, bright blue's. However, I feel blue, is much more mello in nature. I do understand about tones and shades, which much like in the world of sound, where tones can vary even within the range of the same instrument. Green's I think of as lush and thick. I know it's trite to say, but, they're nature tones. I imagine the shades to be like diferent plants. I'm curious about diferences, for example between purple, scarlet and violet. What about between indigo and blue?"

It's not the same phenomena, but how he struggles to match all of these "tones and shades"/"vibrations" despite clearly differentiating between them is quite telling.
 
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#16
But what about those people out there who are very unfortunate who are suicidal since they have treatment resistant depression
Sometimes people who are depressed feel that life is pointless, and they look to spirituality to find purpose and meaning in life. But if their depression is caused by problems with their brain chemistry, then spirituality will not help. In these cases they may feel like they don't believe in spirituality because knowledge of it doesn't help with feelings of pointlessness. But the problem is not with belief or spirituality, the problem is with brain chemistry and unfortunately studying spirituality will not help.
 
#17
Sometimes people who are depressed feel that life is pointless, and they look to spirituality to find purpose and meaning in life. But if their depression is caused by problems with their brain chemistry, then spirituality will not help. In these cases they may feel like they don't believe in spirituality because knowledge of it doesn't help with feelings of pointlessness. But the problem is not with belief or spirituality, the problem is with brain chemistry and unfortunately studying spirituality will not help.
I'm not sure I agree with this. It presents belief and spirituality as essentially useless, while supporting the materialist view that we should use drugs to fix all our ills. Ok, I admit I exaggerate, however, I do think it's worth viewing the other side of the coin, that the viewing of mental well-being as simply a matter of chemistry is to miss a larger and more important picture. That is, (with due consideration for anyone who may be suffering from just such issues), that prayer and a shift in ways of thinking can achieve lasting results. This is a difficult subject, I've been through some dark periods myself, and would not want to appear to belittle or trivialise the experiences of others..
 
#18
When I wrote "studying spirituality will not help" I meant learning about the evidence for the afterlife.

Spiritual practices can be helpful. They can be more helpful if the cause of depression is cognitive and not chemical. There are a lot of papers on how meditation helps with depression, but the ones I've seen at do not claim to cure depression they say meditation reduces the amount of medication needed.

But knowledge of the afterlife does reduce the risk of suicide.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html

Lessons from the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser: ...


As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called "NDE bibliotherapy." His "technique" was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody's book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implicatins for the latter's own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.
...
Since McDonagh's pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for tis therapeutic implications. (14)

Quite apart form the clinicians who have developed this form of what we migh call "NDE-assisted therapy," I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case ...​
 
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Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#19
They can be more helpful if the cause of depression is cognitive and not chemical.
Depression, and anxiety and most other forms of mental suffering, are (almost) always both "cognitive" (I'd prefer labelling this "psychological", which cannot be reduced merely to the "cognitive") and chemical. Whatever we experience, normal or "abnormal", there is a chemical correlate. That does not mean the "chemical" is the cause. In most cases of people being depressed, there are psychological causes - but of course the depression can get so bad (deeply ingrained negative beliefs and traumas and painful histories/present contexts leading to painful dysphoric states that are hard to emerge from) that the psychological-and-chemically-induced pattern gets into a self-worsening loop. Whatever the cause, this does not mean that anti-depressants, etc., cannot help. (They do, for a lot of people.)

Like Jim, I think people can be in such a bad state (I include myself at certain times, but more in the anxiety realm) that "rational evidence of the afterlife" will be useless or besides the point. Like Typoz (and Jim in the end), I'm inclined to think that spiritual practices, while not a cure-all, can be of help to some of those people some of the time.
 
#20
I have been trying to search for the truth as to whether the materialists are right in saying that death is final or if it is instead the people who believe in the afterlife who are right. I am still undecided and I still don't see the answer here. But I am really hoping there is an eternal blissful afterlife because I see nothing good at all about the materialistic worldview. Some people claim it is an inspiring worldview that gives more meaning to one's life. But that's all fine and dandy for those who are able to live full healthy lives.

But what about those people out there who are very unfortunate who are suicidal since they have treatment resistant depression that cripples their lives or what about those who go through horrible suffering only to live very short lives and die in the first few months or even days of their birth? How is that anything good? How is that anything to celebrate?

It is for this very reason why I really hope that death being final is not true. But at the same time, I hope religions such as Christianity aren't true either since we are talking here a God who would send you to hell for not believing in him and for not obeying him. That's an even worse worldview than materialism because if I had the choice to either die and that be the end of me or to go to hell, I would obviously choose to die and that be it for me. So I am going to present to you 3 questions here for you to answer:

1.) There is a remarkable overlap of nde (near death experience) features and those features presented during seizures and drug induced states. People who have seizures and take drugs report that they have experienced an entire reiteration of their life in which they experience all their memories. This is a feature that overlaps with the life review in ndes.

There is also ego loss during seizures and drug induced states as well as ndes. There are many more features of drug induced states and seizures that have a remarkable overlap with ndes. If ndes were truly a mind separate from body phenomenon, then one should not expect such a remarkable overlap of features.

Therefore, you can search deep into the nde literature all you want and point out all the presumed implications of a soul persisting after death, but doesn't the fact that there is such a remarkable overlap already negate any opposing stance to the materialistic interpretation of ndes?

I would personally imagine this to be the case because there should be little, if any, overlapping features if ndes were truly the soul separate from the brain. Sure, the features are not exactly the same because, as Steven Novella pointed out in a debate with Alex Tsakaris, the features are not going to be the same; but the fact that they overlap sort of tells me here that materialism might be the correct worldview here when it comes to ndes.

2.) I have watched the "Death is not Final" debate between Steven Novella/Sean Carroll and Eben Alexander/Raymond Moody. It was pointed out in the debate by Steve and Sean that we know that death is final even though we don't know how the brain produces consciousness since we have empirical evidence to support the finality of death.

But I wonder if those skeptics are actually right and that if Eben and Moody continued to debate with them with no time limit, that Eben and Moody would eventually "get it." The very fact that there was a time limit of approximately one hour for the debate still leaves a lot of questions and unresolved issues that I think could of otherwise been answered and resolved if the debate carried all the way to the very end with no time limit.

It would be no different than a situation where we have a set of people who think the Earth is flat while the other side has the known facts that the Earth is a sphere. If these two sides of the debate were to continue on debating the whole way through with no time limit, then the Flat Earthers should finally "get it." They should finally see how they were wrong the entire time.

But when it comes to this whole debate on the afterlife, I am not sure which side is wrong or if we actually don't know which side is right or wrong. What if those skeptics have some knowledge of death being final that we are simply unaware of and that if we were to inquire more and more into such knowledge, that we would finally be aware of death being final? Or what if the skeptics are wrong and that if they were to inquire more and more into our knowledge, that they would realize how they are wrong?

3.) If this is truly a spiritual universe and we are all here for a spiritual purpose, then why is it that some people are born in situations of extreme suffering only to die within the first few months or days upon their very birth? Some spiritual purpose that was! Also, why is it then that many good people suffer while many evil people have nice happy lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them in order to make them grow, develop, and change?

This tells me that this is not a spiritual universe. Instead, it would have to be a universe that came about through pure luck. A universe that came about through pure luck would yield such results I've mentioned that are dependent upon luck. Some people are lucky while others are not and it doesn't matter who you are. Such a thing would be expected only from a purely naturalistic universe.
I think your second point is sort of odd. Novella and Carroll accomplished nothing in saying that we have empirical evidence for the finality of death, because we absolutely do not have that, unless you assume a priori, which both of them do, that consciousness and all that we are reduces to the physical parts of our body. Thus, when our body dies, we die. This is a bald faced assertion and nothing more; it completely ignores the mind body problem and again, assumes a priori that consciousness is reductive. We certainly do not have empirical evidence for the finality of death. They're referencing the fact that cells, and your body, the physical "you", die. So with regards to that point, it's an exceptionally weak one that doesn't really make any difference to the debate.

Others have already touched on this, but just because people suffer doesn't at all mean that materialism, in its many forms, is true. That's pretty much a whole separate discussion, but suffering could be part of the learning process, if that's the way this "spiritual universe" were to work. The idea that suffering would be troubling is stemming from the view that there is an all good and all knowing God, who is for some reason allowing people to suffer, or something like that. It presents literally no issue whatsoever for the discussion between materialism/naturalism/physicalism and immaterialism/dualism/all the rest.
 
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