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What is it like to die?

What is it like to die? - going to an eternal sleep or spending a temporarily dreamless night?

"Now, if the death is only a dreamless sleep, it must be a marvellous gain. I suppose that if anyone were told to pick out a night on which he slept so soundly as not even to dream, and then to compare with all the other nights and days of his life, and then were told to say, after due consideration, how many better and happier days ad nights than this he had spent in the course of his life - well, I think that ... (anyone) would find these days and nights easy to counts in comparison with the rest. But death is like this, the, I call it gain, because the whole of time, if you look at it in this way, can be regarded as no more than one single night." - Plato, The last day of Socrates.

This remind me Hamlet's monologue
"..................................To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause..."

being alive means not having first hand experience with death and its process.
but makes us to think if the world ended now would we be happy how you lived our life, would we done justice or would we just let it pass us by.
and finally would we be ready to face the death.

Steve Jobs said: "death is the only destination we all share"

share your ideas (before you die) :-) Thank you


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    Nov 5 2012: Hi edwin,

    In my experience (3 near death events) it goes something like this:

    Violent near-death in car accident:
    Firstly a highly sharpenned clarity of senses.
    Secondly, Accepting the likelyhood of death
    Thirdly, regret for those who will mourn.
    Fear becomes irellevant, afterlife becomes laughable.

    Undergoing general anaesthetic with chance of not ever coming out:
    Acceptance, regret for mourners, fade to white.

    Heart Fribulation (resulting in brain hypoxea).
    Momentary fear,regret for mourners, acceptance, fade to black.

    That is my personal experience.
    I have a friend who nearly died from a lacerated jugular (car accident) who reported out-of-body watching the paramedics fishing round in his neck to find the blood vessal.
    So I assume these OOB things are more common with exsanguination.
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      Nov 5 2012: Good morning - wierdness undergoing surgical anaesthesia. White light moments and huge emotional disturbances on return. Anaesthesia still not truly known how it functions on removing consciousness. Upper spinal surgery this year, very risky as through front of neck and 'respiratory centre' damaged. Still have really croaky voice 8 months on from surgery. Permanent damage to larynx small price to pay for staying out of wheelchair but still mobility impaired. Not leaving this life until sure son is safe. Someone 'upstairs' looking after me I think. Scientific explanations about lack of oxygenation etc too cold for holistic lived experiences of so many people. BTW more than one surgical procedure in my lifetime over several years so not one unique moment of time. Would like to know what has been changed in neuro anaesthetics to normal surgical anaesthesia. Now fluids pumped into body as well as surgical gases. Definately less of a headachey type hangover with neuro procedure anaesthesia but far more emotional disturbance.
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        Nov 5 2012: Hi elizabeth,
        I think it's generally understood that anaesthetics induce neural noise. The noise threshold overpowers normal neural signals and simply drowns consciousness out.
        The affect this has on synaptic structures is not known as far as i have heard. However, I would say that some synaptic disruption takes place. If a person is his/her conectome, you are not the same person when you wake up. However, it is likely that inherent network stabilisation dynamics will re-build something close to the original.
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          Nov 5 2012: Hi Mitch thank you very useful word conectome. Also near drowned when 4 years old and agree with further comment about body remembering what conscious mind refuses to process. Not entirely sure inherent network stabilisation dynamics all that robust in the first place hence nasty dose of 'labelitis' according to some medical professionals. Do agree also with Edwin's comment, under not too extreme pharmautical stress get psoriasis. Skin a major organ often forgetten but one way for a body to communicate distress. Do so like science fiction stories for metaphors for complex ideas - keep thinking Star Trek materialization in transporter room. Does transporter beam transport the whole person from a to be or does a reconstructed person arrive at point b. Had freaky experience in MRI scanner which works by switching cellular polarities, tried to explain to surgeon but used wrong terminology. Plus him 'expert' and me just 'ACDF bed 2'. Reflecting on whether neural signals genetically different, family history of 'essential tremor' but then again dysfunctional family anyway. BTW washing machine analogy mind not on fast spin, mind on gentler cycle. Wind rustling in tree tops not full blown gale. Going to investigate conectome concept further. Thanks again. Good friend.
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        Nov 5 2012: Hi Elizabeth.

        That's truly fascinating.
        Loose association is something that my wife and I call "planets".
        I can invoke the state consciously, my wife was precipitated into it as part of BPD - meds give her the capacity to take conscious control of it.
        Loose association has the remarkable property of wild creativity and the skill that DeBono calls "latteral thinking".
        In network terms, these associations are supressed by the "field of attention", but there is a qualification of "context". Context is a nested "framing" dynamic whereby the exit point of a network signal is dictated by the entry point. These entry/exit maps can have very deep nesting with each frame being constant and retaining the hierarchy of priority. The context hierarchy further supresses any exit point that does not conform to the framing hierarchy.
        If the framing hierarchy gets disrupted, you will have loose association.
        For instance, the symbol "tank" may have entry and exit point framed by "container" as in "water tank" but it also has a military frame. Loose association might see a military tank filled with water or a rainwater tank shooting projectiles.
        There is one very important role for loose association - it tends to follow the strongest association chain - that devoid of context heirarchies, can map an underlying reality that is not percieved in practical perception - at the very least as a subjective reality, but at the most - inspiration.
        Do you keep journals?
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          Nov 6 2012: See told you good friend. BTW what meds is your wife using. The ones I have tried so far just send me to sleep. Most successful in terms of focusing is Quetiapine. Don't really know how to journal as issues about 'being perfect' and 'having true thoughts discovered'. Thank you so much for hearing me, so many people around me don't. Do appreciate some guidance otherwise focus a bit too broad-beam. Making sense to you ? Do have very loose associations at times and tend to lose track of the time whilst in these states. Sometimes typos like transposed letters maybe my true mind trying to talk to me. Did look on wikipedia about connecthome and definately feel recent surgery rebooted me. Nature metaphors always appeal to me as the most a-political words I can find. Yes framing hierachy very unusually structured in me, part nature part nurture. Desperate to find some practical application as have bills to pay and physical health really not good now. Always loads of ideas particularly about the body and filters and condensers but not seven years plus at med school so not going to get listened to. Do like Jung's book so much but there is definately something about wiring and communication and trunking going on in my head at the moment. Please, please carry on talking to me and want to know about the meds issue too please.
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          Nov 6 2012: BTW 2nd post. Always read a great deal and found some authors more entertaining than others possibly because of fast mind and loose association skills. Just keep thinking old saying more knowledge in the bible than any other religion. Ideas never lost in translation but not always in the most obvious forms, which these days is the written word. Still can't get over the rate of illiteracy in USA. Anyway on tv news this morning Descartes quoted. 'Animals can talk but choose not to so as not to work'. Descartes did not literally say any such thing, words and meanings change over time. Am always fascinated by cultural artefacts in oral traditions and pictures as well as more formalised educational texts. Recently found word for it etiology. Have a broad span of knowledge but not much specialised vocabulary until someone else shares it with me. One sided conversations so boring. Like Chinese ideas about the animals that responded when called to work for man. A child's take on what animals humans have chosen to exploit. Focusing on the order animals 'called' actually correlates quite well about what evidence we are able to find about which animals were domesticated and when. Humans tend to eat birds rather than put them to work. Rate of reproduction ensures sufficient supply too. Really worried about what is happening to global supply of trees, particularly given they can take decades to reach maturity. Also Mother Nature is quite economical and certain patterns repeat in very different organisms so why not us too. As you said science and technology only focus on what is already known and evidenceable but past a certain point creativity is ultimately in wild conjecture and people like us with wobbly frames of reference and lived experience. Ever wonder about the lack of felidae in Oz. Oz actually the oldest continent. Humans still have sensitvity but lack awareness of how to access them eg dowsing plus neuropotential poisoned by linear metaphor.
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        Nov 6 2012: Hi Elizabeth,
        Australia has plenty of felidae now - they are eating the native wildlife at an alarming rate.
        The marsupial population had cat-like animals, but they are all extinct or nearing extinction.

        Wife uses quetapine. However, we have discovered that it is only the start - the key is regular sleep. Qietapine helps with that. Need absolute regular dose time - thou shalt always take the dose at 7:30pm - inscribed in obsidian. Then commandment #2 is thou shalt not get disturbed during sleep, and #3 is - thou shalt not be awakened by the expectations of self or others - sleep until finished, not a second before. Then - there is about one hour spent waking-up, do not expect to do anything for 1 hour after waking, take it easy, do no work - don't let others over-ride this, they haven't a clue.
        This reduces the productive day to about 8 hours, but what the hell, it's just how it is, and a human needs only 4 hours effort per day to survive.
        If you need to get something done, start with a piece of paper - write down what the task is - in big letters, then each subtask in smaller letters - the big letters keep your framing. To keep "on-track" read the words from bottom to top and back down again. This wil train-in nested framing.
        Do a lot of writing and read it back to yourself.
        Do regular breathing in meditation. Listen to silence - it's not empty.
        Count to 10 with eyes closed while imagining a pen writing the number on a paper.
        Get foot massage.
        Make friends with your physical heart (it has a little brain and will appreciate the attention).

        btw - many animals do talk. If you take the time to learn their language.
        I have a tribe of currawongs nearby who I am feeding to get their company - they recently tried to teach me their language - I got a few words so far, mostly to do with placation, Even though they want me to, I don't want to do their territorial call - it might get interpreted as another tribe - I cant sing as well as they can.
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          Nov 6 2012: OK, thank you. Referencing 'The Heart, Mind and Spirit' a paper by Professor Mohamed Omar Salem, 2007 on Royal College of Psychiatrists website rcpsych.ac.uk. Meds have bad effects on my heart and guts, legs literally start to swell up. Too much silence in my real-time environment broken only by neighbours rowing or ticking of the clock. Maybe heart is missing dull roar of waves or constant stimulation of wind. Always feel better outdoors. When weather is bad on the coast sometimes get seagulls inland but otherwise real lack of birdy chatter here. Local park full of escaped parakeets but even they are quiet. Love to you and your wife and thank you again.
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        Nov 7 2012: Hi Elizabeth,

        The goal is "the window of clarity". Getting that window open gives us a chance to widen it.
        If meds do the trick, then that's what is required.
        But once you are in that window, you are presented with the task of widenning the window in such a way that meds will become less essential to get teh damn thing open.
        So the most effective use of the lucid window is to work on techniques of lucidity.
        Do you follow?
        But you have to get that window before anything can happen.
        Here it is from another angle:
        The Buddha can sit anywhere, it is necessary for us to walk.
        To be without walking is to be the Buddha.
        We become the Buddha through walking.
        I am merely asking you to become the Buddha.
        This is the challenge of all living things.


        Take tiger mountain - by storm or strategy.
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          Nov 7 2012: Like the last one, you noted my icon, two cats. Time management step by step and staying as high on the food chain as possible. Techniques of lucidity - explain further please. I am not ready to sit like Buddha, the beautiful young man who went over the palace wall and left his wife and son behind. The man who went wandering until he needed to sit and reflect on his entire lived experience and then gained enlightenment. I am a single parent, I have a teenage son, my needs (and that includes enough sleep) have always come second. Females who just want to sit and reflect for a while just get locked away as mad, bad and lazy. I have seen the figures of Buddha as an old man, is he laughing with joy or laughing because he is insane. Don't forget also he was a prince so no-one is going to let him starve. Misogyny is timeless as well you know. You will note in any fairy story behind the Queen, there is always her 'right hand man' or a female advisor. So window of lucidity - what will it let in, a draught of cold air or a balmy breeze.
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        Nov 7 2012: Hi elizabeth,

        Ther have been many Buddhas. They are simply those enlightenned ones who choose to teach - we hear about those ones, we do not hear about the many Buddhas who choose not to teach. In the tradition, they are all the same. In reality, we are all the Buddha - but only in flashes.
        I know very well about mysogeny. But the aberance of others defines only our self-story.
        You must remember that the self-story is only a tool, it is the tool we take up to carve the rock of society. Mostly, we forget to put it down.
        My father would say:"Argue for your limitations .. and .. sure enough - they are yours."
        I have made some suggestions. If you choose to argue about how you cannot do these things . I wonder about how much you need them .. perhaps you don't. If they are not neccessary or important, then something else must be more necessary and important. Is it important for you to be in perpetual low-energy and helplesness? There may be some wisdom in that, I have found it does not work for me. I say to myself:"I will be good to myself first - then I will be strong for those I love. If I am low, all i have to give is low - let's see how strong I can be!". So I ask myself: "What is this thing that I should be low for?" ANd teh silence answers me "nothing".
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          Nov 7 2012: You are quite right, I didn't mean to sound ungrateful for your guidance. I am no longer a bullied child, I am an adult, I have skills and knowledge. Today has been a bonus day in so many ways. The 'oxygen mask' theory, a metaphor from air travel. The mask goes on you first before you try and help others. Like the cats, like the tiger, keep playing the game until I am strong enough and resourced enough to change my environment. Love to you and your wife Mitch and thank you so much.
    • Nov 5 2012: Hi Mitch

      Sorry to hear that you had such an experience, but I believe after that you look at life with completely different eyes and now you are making the most of it.

      Well, I haven't had such an experience, my experience was being unconscious for like a night or day In Military Hospital about 14 years ago, there I had no idea where I was and what I was dong there. years passed after that until I learned how to use my conscious and unconscious mind to memorise and remember certain events. Then I was sure that our unconscious mind knows and remembers everything, this took me a while, but I got myself into deep hypnotic trance to find out what had exactly happened that night in Military Hospital. Well, now I know that I was there, but I wasn't really there, it was only my body laying there.

      was this a near death experience I am still not convinced.
      have I experienced it again? NO...

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        Nov 5 2012: Hi Edwin,

        Yes, trauma changes one's outlook.
        The car crash gave me some PTSD for a while - and would get anxiety in cars for foar a while / hyper vigilance never truly subsided.
        But cumulatively, these events have helped me become intollerant of afterlife fanatics and demonstrated the fallacies of heaven/hell and most notions of "god" - because at the point of death, none of these things matter.

        Sounds like you had some injury to brain stem .. maybe the left pre-frontal cortex?

        Things in the subcosnscous are not without structure. There are core-self functions that don't require a lot of memory. they are not particularly conscious unless we focus on them - feelings/emotions which arise from body-state. And they monitor things that we have little awareness of. The hippocampus(major memory function) seems to be involved in a couple of functions - it looks like a left/right division with the right doing holistic recording, the left being more serial memory attached to awareness - recording causalities. The other main component seems to be the arrangement of behavioural "macros" (skills/habbits) which are probably associated with the cerebellum.
        i must mention that the memory is not totally stable - it gets subjected to update with fresh associations replacing synaptic atrophy.
        • Nov 7 2012: Mitch,

          I haven't had any injury to my brain. all I had was a certain virus (which later on was common in the area) and this made me to drink a lot of water, my stomach was filled with water which doesn't allow me to eat anything as there was not enough space for "extra"food. I walked about three months like a pregnant woman and yet being on duty of Flag Of Honour - (means standing straight and motionless during 2 hours) and this was over three months every God's day and night. - (there was three of us so we each had this 2 hours.)

          One morning I didn't feel well, I was sent to see a Doctor from there directly I was hospitalised for very long time, about 8 or 9 months.
          the moment I told you was during the first week when my conditions weren't getting any better but worse and not a doctor could know what was going on. Because they could see nothing but water in my stomach...
          I couldn't believe that I wasn't allowed to drink water or eat anything watery.

          Glad it is gone and over... since then, health comes first for me!

          I started to believe that MIND - BODY is a system,
          our physical conditions affect our mental condition and vice versa.

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