The Science of Understanding Near Death Experiences -- A very good article to read

  • This article tells a little about what NDEs are and the study of this phenomenon. Very good help toward our Epicurean understanding that death is nothing to be feared.

    "The Afterlife Is in Our Heads"

    by Kristen French September 28, 2022



    “You don’t want to undermine the person’s lived experience,” Seth said. “If they experience flying through a tunnel of light, into a beautiful white open space, then that’s what they experience. But memories, things that minds do, like remember things and talk about them, depend on brain activity. No brain activity, no mental process. If somebody with no brain activity were able to experience something and remember it later, then pretty much everything we know about the brain, about science, about physics is wrong.”

    While no single overarching explanation for the NDE has yet been established, neuroscientists have discovered a series of neurophysiological mechanisms that could, together, account for many aspects of the phenomenon. One hypothesis is that NDEs are produced by the release in the brain of a natural hallucinogen with neuroprotective properties.


    Scientists haven’t assembled all the pieces to explain why brains in desperate throes generate feelings of peace and joy, ineffability, and the sense of being in the presence of something transcendent. “It’s always difficult for science to answer the big why questions,” Laureys said. Comas, of the Icloby Foundation, told me that by educating the public about near-death experiences, she and Melo hoped to “to eradicate the fear of death.” After all, she said, “The fear of death is the mother and father of all fears.” Who could argue with that? Scientific evidence says near-death experiences are directly linked to the workings of our brains. But evolution is a sly master. Perhaps our biology in its final hour is easing us gently into that good night. nautilus-favicon-14.png?fm=png

    The Afterlife Is in Our Heads
    The real meaning of near-death experiences.

    #death #near-death-experience

  • Quote

    But memories, things that minds do, like remember things and talk about them, depend on brain activity. No brain activity, no mental process.

    This is impossible to prove, of course, but one good line of evidence for it is the observation that progressive brain damage progressively deteriorates cognitive and motor function.

  • Connie Willis wrote a sci-fi/fantasy novel called “Passage” in which the main character (a research psychologist) and her partner (a neurologist) explore the biological/evolutionary nature of NDEs. (I loved the book; my wife hated it, although we both agree on the non-supernaturalist premise.)

    In the novel, the main character “realizes that the scientific evidence is contaminated by the influence of Dr. Maurice Mandrake, a persistent and almost omnipresent charlatan "researcher" who publishes best-selling books about near-death experiences and convinces patients that their experiences happened exactly the way his books describe NDEs, such as learning cosmic secrets from angels:

    “They remembered it all for him, leaving their body and entering the tunnel and meeting Jesus, remembered the Light and the Life Review and the Meetings with Deceased Loved Ones. Conveniently forgetting the sights and sounds that didn't fit and conjuring up ones that did. And completely obliterating whatever had actually occurred.”

    The book is available on Kindle.