A full blown Near Death Experience (NDE) is without any doubt the most extraordinary experience any human being can possibly have, and the best evidence for the possible continuation of consciousness after bodily death. As someone who truly sits on the fence regarding the question of survival, I believe I am a good candidate to explore this greatest of mysteries with an open mind. Whether the NDE is a real continuation of consciousness after death or purely an illusion of the brain’s machinery is of utmost importance to our goals and purposes. If we do survive, then it is absolutely clear via the consistent message in the NDE that the primary purpose of our lives is to become self-generators of what many people term “unconditional love”. If death brings annihilation, our technological goal should be to find a way to harness this inborn biological treasure so that everyone can safely experience the complete satisfaction and sense of connectedness to all things the way an NDEr does while in “The Light”. I have no doubt that making this experience accessible would create a radical shift in the moral development of civilization.
I am not an NDEr. Though some people may conclude that this disqualifies me, I believe the contrary. The majority of NDErs are certain that we survive death, and cannot entertain skepticism. Additionally, most NDErs have trouble understanding the profundity of their own very personal experience, and are not as interested in coming to grips with the phenomenon as a whole. I am interested in examining the NDE, not just one NDE.
Since annihilation at death is the going belief in mainstream philosophy of mind and neuroscience, it may sound as if I am openly defending the survival hypothesis. In a sense I am. I am defending the survival hypothesis as something worth seriously considering. Part of my premise is that committed materialists are intentionally ignorant of what NDErs actually say. As this blog will make clear, neuroscience is relatively clueless when it comes to understanding the origin and nature of consciousness. Certain elements of the NDE underscore this gap in our understanding. As of now, all imaginable theories of the origin of consciousness are “god of the gaps” theories.