Joe Delsen

This conversation is closed.

What do you think about NDE's (near death experiences)? Is it a phenomenon that can possibly help transform our world?

It seems that the research on NDE's can give us a peek into life after death, or consciousness after physical death and it's happening in all cultures. (iands.org)

This may have the potential to let all people see the underlying unity of our faiths and convictions, agree more clearly on our mutual interests of basic rights and earth sustainability, and take more actions or involve more people to transform our world.

http://bit.ly/NdeWiki, http://bit.ly/NdeChar , http://bit.ly/NDEresearch

Related conversation - http://www.ted.com/conversations/2306/what_3_things_did_you_learn_wh.html

Closing Statement from Joe Delsen

Thank you fellow TEDsters for your great contribution specially to Colleen Steen who herself had an NDE and now sharing her life-changing experience. NDE as of today is a fringe of science but you can see very interesting research being done as shown by the web links above and our conversations. We can go from Peter Russell's unifying conclusion of science and consciousness to Michio Kaku's 11-dimensional multiverse theory of everything.

The essence of the belief system that I have grown into and the NDE which I would call the"anomaly" of all belief systems (belief systems being only based on "faith") and non-theist convictions (the anomaly of scientific evidence of higher dimensions) has so far shown me our fundamental unity.

This what I call "universal perspective" has given me consistencies and meaning to any TED talk, news or any information that I have encountered so far.

This is the basis of my intuition that we can transform our world, if we all keep an open mind to understand and an open heart to care, and translate all these into concrete actions.

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    Jul 18 2011: everyone could use a little ego death from time to time..
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      Jul 20 2011: Agreed Tim. Excerpt of wikipedia's description of ego death is "perceived loss of boundaries between self and environment", can be experienced through a sensation that one IS the whole universe. This is also part of most NDE's, implying that there's a bigger picture out there.
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        Jul 20 2011: basicaly! though idk if i would say percieved, those boudraies seem very real. its an exciting experience i must say, though a bit frightning
    • Jul 30 2011: This experience is open to anyone wishing to have it. As you say, a bit frightening, but life changing.
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    Jul 20 2011: I studied and TA'd a course on Experiential Psychology with a prof that I think epitomized the 'deep thinker' and I came away with a deep and lasting comfort from the literature on Near Death Experiences. Whatever its source, I am convinced that in most cases the very end of our bodies and death is an experience of great comfort and acceptance regardless of your spiritual persuasion. I still marvel at being human and at the capacity of our bodies and minds to adapt in all circumstances - even our own terminal journey.
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    Jul 20 2011: I believe you've wandered into a lost and forgotten section of the "restricted-zone" of science.
    Two very basic, very important facts need to be present at all times.
    1.NDE's are experiences, therefore, all experiences originate from the interactions of the bio-chemical orchestra occurring in your brain, conducted by your brain.
    2.Our brains are incredibly susceptible to psychoactive substances.
    The spirit molecule. also known as DMT or (dimethyltryptamine) is the most psychoactive substance known to man.
    It is found in nearly all plant species and most curious, in humans and mammals. Why? Why does our body produce psychoactive substances? and why does our body flood our brain with it right before we go to bed every night? or right before death?
    Structurally DMT is analogous to seratonin neurotransmitter-(messenger of the brain) Why is this important?
    Our brains receive over 100 million bits of information a second, but consciously,we are only aware of 2000 bits.
    The reason for that is,in our brains exist these receptor buffers, neurotransmitters that filter the electric signals being registered.Basically,an information bodyguard ,systematically eliminating or allowing certain signals to pass. Psychoactive substances,whether it be LSD or Silocybin mushrooms,have always been shown to push these "bodyguards"out of the way, freeing the restrictions on the information our senses are receiving.This is the state our ancient ancestors would attain in order to create the correct medicine for his people, and predict climatic changes or the location of their game.We have lived like this more than any other time period ever.Due to "Civilization" all of these natural ,organic methods are lost forever.Why?
    Many reports from people who experience NDE's are incredibly similar to the reports given by people who have used DMT. WHY? We can explain (chemically) how your feeling angry, what we cant explain is who is feeling angry.
    The key is to connect consciousness to neurophysiology.
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      Jul 20 2011: Great explanation Jonathan!

      Concerning the "key to connect consciousness to neurophysiology", here is the excerpt from Dr. Pim van Lommel's research - ABOUT THE CONTINUITY OF OUR CONSCIOUSNESS - . http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel_consciousness.htm

      1. Introduction 2. About Death 3. Scientific Research on Near Death Experience

      4. Some typical elements of NDE (4.5.) The Disappearance of Fear of Death. Nearly all people who have experienced an NDE lose their fear of death. This is due to the realization that there is a continuation of consciousness, even when you have been declared dead by bystanders or even by doctors. You are separated from the lifeless body, retaining the ability of perception...

      5. Neurophysiology In Cardiac Arrest 6. Neurophysiology In A Normal Functioning Brain

      7. Quantum Mechanics and the Brain. ... In people with an NDE the functional receiving capacity seems to be permanently enhanced. When you compare this with a TV set, you receive not only Channel 1, the transmission of your personal consciousness, but simultaneously Channels 2, 3 and 4 with aspects of consciousness of others.

      8. Role of DNA 9. Analogy of worldwide communication.

      10. Conclusion. ... There are still more questions than answers, but, based on the aforementioned theoretical aspects of the obviously experienced continuity of our consciousness, we finally should consider the possibility that death, like birth, may well be a mere passing from one state of consciousness to another...

      I like the way you can simplify scientific concepts. How would you connect this also to Dr. Kaku's 11 dimensional multiverse? http://bit.ly/AllScience
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    Aug 15 2011: I have two indirect experiences to relate.

    When my brother passed away, though separated by several thousand miles, my wife woke up from a dream seeing a person she recognized as my brother looking down on us. When my father passed away, coincident to the time of death in the night, my aunt had a dream of my father laying a table for a meal for her.

    Perhaps just coincidence or interpolation of memory after the event - it is not objective or even direct to my personal experience. I can understand how some might dismiss this anecdote. Nevertheless, I have no reason to believe either my wife and aunt made up the stories. That they claim to specifically have dreamed of my brother and dad, at a time near to their deaths, is hard to reconcile to conventional psychological explanation.

    Perhaps it is possible to relate to an NDE phenomenon: if NDE are genuine evidence of non-local consciousness being released at, or near, to the time of death - then I suppose this might be related to my families experience.
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    Jul 21 2011: Hello Joe,
    I think NDE/OBEs are AWESOME!!! :>)

    This "state" has been recorded throughout history with people from many different cultures and beliefs. I'm excited by the fact that science is now recognizing it, and we are developing the technology to research it:>) You ask..."can it help transform our world"? In my perception, it already has. The more information we have, the more our world will be transformed....one step at a time. Right now, in history, I believe the steps we are taking are bigger, and that has a lot to do with our advanced technology and communication systems:>)
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      Jul 21 2011: Colleen, that great perspective is a great sign of hope for all of us!

      I gathered from our convesations that you had an NDE yourself and I'm truly amazed at the perspective that you are contributing into our dialogs.

      If people want to see more what is this great perspective, can I just point it out to your profile and your comments or do you have a blog or website where you have organized your main thoughts?
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        Jul 21 2011: Hi Joe,
        I believe there IS hope for humanity to move forward with respect and love in our hearts.

        I experienced an NDE/OBE after a horseback riding accident and near fatal head/brain injury 21 years ago. Since then, I have explored many aspects of life and death, researched NDE/OBEs, read hundreds of recorded accounts of the experiences, and guest lectured at the Univ. of Vermont on the topic for years. I am still learning with each and every conversation about NDEs because as we have more dialogue, there are new and different questions asked, which continually stimulate my heart and mind to go further with the exploration.

        Thank you for your kind words, and I am happy to connect with people regarding this topic, or any other. People are certainly welcome to read my comments, connect with me through the TED e-mail system, various other types of communications, and of course, on the Ted threads:>)

        I do not have a blog, and I'm not so sure I "have organized" my main thoughts...yet...LOL:>) I am open to what the moment offers:>)
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          Jul 21 2011: You are doing great as you do my dear Colleen! You interact whenever and wherever the moment calls.

          That blog thing simply reflects my impatient desire to organize everything and somehow see and control how can we transform our world fast. If you don't mind I might, or someone may summarize your comments one day and see how we can present it in the perspective that appeals to more people.

          The journey itself is the great adventure that we are and can undertake and I do admire your magnanimous heart.
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        Jul 22 2011: Dear Joe,
        This moment is calling me to interact...LOL:>) I appreciate your desire to organize everything, and it would be fine if you or someone wants to organize/summarize my comments. The only thing I ask, is that if they are put "out there" as my comments, I would like to read the summary first to make sure it reflects my perceptions/experiences....thanks:>) I looked at your blog, and I'm curious. Have you had an NDE?

        I'd like to share a cute story that ties in to the topic. I thought of it, because Alexander Trofimuk mentions "other dimensions all around us". I volunteered at a terminal care facility, where we saw people dying all the time of course. I was sitting with a little lady who was actively dying ( a term used when the organs start shutting down in a predictable pattern). This lady had her pet parakeet with her, in a cage at the end of the bed, and the bird was always very calm and quiet. The woman appeared to be comfortable, while in and out of consciousness. All of a sudden, the bird started getting all riled up...jumping around the cage...squaking frantically, etc. The woman opened her eyes, smiled and said "my mother is here with me...she is at the end of the bed, near the bird". We may speculate that the dying woman was having hallucinations. What do you suppose was happening with the bird? I believe the bird felt the energy in the room.

        There are so many stories like this, experienced by so many people who work with dying people, it is difficult to dismiss them any more. Even science is recognizing that fact. Many people who work in ICUs and terminal care facilities can sense the change in energy, as I did on many occasions. As the energy leaves the body, those around can feel it, if we are in tune with the energy vibrations.
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          Jul 22 2011: Amazing story Colleen!

          I did not have an NDE though I remember passing out when I was about 8 years old and I remembered nothing about it, much like taking an anesthesia when I had a surgery.

          When my father died, my sister's friend gave her a book about this mother that had NDE (a new york times bestseller). When I read the book myself, what I understood about NDE was its amazing connection to the belief system that I was born into.

          As I looked around my family and my friends, some of them had NDE's too. When I searched it over the internet I came across iands.org - it's like the umbrella organazation of the NDE phenomenon. My "scientific" inquiry has led me also to the quantum mind theory.

          As I stated elsewhere here at TED, the essence of the belief system that I have grown into and the NDE which I would call the "anomaly" of all belief systems (belief systems being only based on "faith") and non-theist convictions (the anomaly of scientific evidence of higher dimensions) has so far shown me our fundamental unity.

          This what I call "universal perspective" has given me consistencies and meaning to any TED talk, news or any information that I have encountered so far.

          This is the basis of my intuition that we can transform our world, if we all keep an open mind to understand and an open heart to care, and translate all these into concrete actions.
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        Jul 22 2011: Joe,
        I was not born into the belief system that one could leave and come back to this earth school in the same body, so it was difficult for me to accept at first. I knew in my heart what I had experienced, but my logical mind was having an argument with the intuitive heart. That is why I obtained my medical records, talked with those who took care of me in ICU, and researched NDE/OBEs quite extensively.

        Although invited several times to speak about the NDE, I declined at first because I thought it was such a bizarre experience, people would think I was nuts! In almost every class, there was at least one person who had experienced a NDE/OBE, or knew someone who had experienced it. With the research I did, and the testimonies from so many students, I began to realize that it was a pretty common occurance.

        I agree that the NDE/OBE shows us our fundamental unity, because although many people want to tag it as a religious or spiritually related experience, I percieve it to be scientific as well.
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    Jul 20 2011: Dr. Michio Kaku's work only broadens the spectrum of what we are and where we stand in this cosmological drama series. But how would the actors react when confronted with the notion that there are many other "series" playing continuously and simultaneously? If it is true, then where are they? I cant see them!
    In my Personal perspective, I believe we must first understand what it means to See.
    Sight is one of the most peculiar of senses. For one , we don't fully understand how it works and second, what we do know,about sight,should force us to seek answers where we cannot See.This in conjunction with the "The Observation problem"(clearly proven by schrodinger and his cat), our naturally evolved senses are not up to par with what our brains are looking for.To find the answers I believe we must revisit a dying frontier, our Dreams.
    This is where all conventional theories of consciousness go out the window, for one thing ...your not even conscious. Besdides that, our dreams cannot be explained...In our dreams and (according to reports)in an altered mental states we can see and experience places and things that are clearly out of physical reach of our bodies.Why?How can this happen?According to "law" we can only physically "see" something when light is reflected off of it? right?
    This brings back the same question in an even more worrisome light...What is sight? Do we see what is there or do we manipulate with the very act of observing? and if so , what is it we see in the mirror? Are our experiences restricted to our physical bodies or are experience incarnate? Now Imagine that your not the only one.I am currently developing a theory and maybe you can help.Very recently science has been able to bring quantum physical objects to the visible world. This is a major step forward in find a unifying formula.Along with our obvious manipulation of the atom, we know they are massive sources of energy Look at these two facts as a child would. Everyone is full of great potential.
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      Jul 21 2011: Jonathan, these are great points indeed:

      "what we do know about sight, should force us to seek answers where we cannot See"

      "our naturally evolved senses are not up to par with what our brains are looking for"

      Maybe you have looked also into quantum mind theory and maybe you can also share more of your insights. http://bit.ly/QuantumMindTheory

      Intuitively it seems that our consciousness is connected to a higher dimension or into a higher being we are calling "God". We are also connected with our fellow human beings beyond our physical senses and we do need a constant breakthrough to the invisible prisons we maybe unknowingly imposing upon ourselves and to each other. http://Bit.Ly/KeyPower
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      Jul 21 2011: Jonathan,
      Interesting perspectives:>) What does it mean to see? You say..."according to law (or is it theory, rather than law?) we can only physically "see" something when light is reflected off it"? That is an accepted theory, which apparently has been proven by science......correct? It is not "worrisome" to explore what is beyond scientifically proven information...it's ok Jonathan...trust me:>) I LOVE your questions:>) I also LOVE looking at things with the curiosity of a child:>)

      With the NDE/OBE, I did not "see" with the known physical characteristics of "seeing" as we do in human form. I percieved myself to be a mass of energy, and the "seeing" flowed through me with the "knowing". The only way I can describe it is as ESP/intuition. The "seeing" was expanded to a point that I cannot even begin to explain. There was no time or space limitations, nor was there a limitation regarding what I could "see".

      My experience tells me that our consciousness is indeed connected to a higher dimension, just as we are all energentically connected with each other and everything that is and has ever been.
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    Jul 19 2011: I'm sorry but I can't help to see it simply as a trauma that will cause mental instability... or psychological challenges.
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      Jul 20 2011: Judge, there are indeed what iands call "distressing NDE's" and they are providing support for those that need help. http://iands.org/about-ndes/distressing-ndes.html#a5

      Also, an interesting blog talks also about distressing NDE's and it's noted elsewhere that this might be the source of the concept of "hell" as experienced in ancient times. The general impression however, is that there is a bigger picture than "hell". http://dancingpastthedark.wordpress.com/

      The most commonly reported type of NDE involves intense feelings of peace, joy and love, often an encounter with an unconditionally loving light. If this is what we can glance in this experiences then it may mean that we do have a universal unity that ecompasses all people.
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        Jul 20 2011: Joe, the distressing NDE has a parallel in the concept of 'bad trips' experienced by LSD users. Much of this has to do with mentation and with setting in the case of drug experiences. I am wondering if a person who is highly concerned about the way they lived their lives and worried about the afterlife helps to shape such an experience too.

        The one good outcome in the case of drug experiences (and psychedelics are now being used to enhance therapies for lifelong disfunction) is that they can be truly cathartic in a way amost nothing else appears to be. A bad trip or bad NDE can truly change a life's direction.
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      Jul 22 2011: Judge Pau, Joe and Debra
      I've read hundreds of recorded NDE cases, and only one was described by the person as a frightening, uncomfortable experience.

      I noticed in reading the accounts, that the person's beliefs prior to the NDE often influenced their description of the experience. The words I use sometimes seem inadequate to explain all that I experienced. It is like visiting a foreign land, where we are not familier with the culture, rituals, or language, and coming back here and try to explain the experience with the language we know, which is limited.
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        Jul 22 2011: Hi Colleen! In all the course work I did, there were only a few documented cases of bad NDE experiences. I am not sure if that is because people just do not talk about it or because it is relatively rare. All of those who experience NDE's appear to be profoundly affected. I have noted that you have often shared that it was life altering. Would you like to share anything about your experience?
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          Jul 22 2011: Hi Debra,
          I've never seen any statistics regarding good/bad NDE/OBEs. From what I've researched, it doesn't appear that there are very many that are not pleasurable:>)

          I'm glad to share anything you'd like to know. I've written about it on various TED sites, and I don't want to flood the sites with MY experience, but I'm glad to address anything you want to know:>)
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        Jul 22 2011: My main questions would be as follows:
        Was your experience consistent with your previous religious beliefs?
        Did you encounter people?
        Did you experience the tunnel and the light that many people report?
        Did it cement in you a belief in God or in an extended existence?
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          Jul 22 2011: Debra,
          Consistant with previous religious beliefs?
          No. I was born into a catholic family, and practiced that religion as a child, because I had to. Even as a child, however, I started questioning the teachings of the church, but I continued with the practice until I moved out of my home at age 19. I did not practice any religion in the 23 years prior to the NDE/OBE, and still do not practice a religion.

          Did I encounter people?
          I did not encounter "people". I encountered energy beings, which is how I percieved myself as well....masses of energy. We had no human physical characteristics. They seemed familier to me, but did not have a specific identity. The only energy I recognized was the energy of my mother, in this life. She had passed away the year before my head/brain injury.

          Did I experience the tunnel...light?
          No. In my experience, it was neither light or dark...it was more...nothing and everything:>)

          Did it cement a belief in god or an extended existence?
          I did not meet a god with my experience. I experienced energy beings. My belief, at this point, is that the words god, spirit, soul, energy can all be interchanged.
          It definitely showed me an extended existence....very extended! Although reincarnation was NOT part of my belief system at the time, I witnessed not only a replay of this life, but of past lives as well.
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        Jul 23 2011: Ladies... mental instability and psychological challenges does not always translate as unhappiness or distress of the subject. Actually THERE lies the problem of most mental problem. Most don't know they have it.

        In fact I often envy people who radiate genuine happiness by living in "their own world".
        *smile*
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          Jul 23 2011: Dear Judge Pau,
          Perhaps you are right..."mental instability and psychological challenges do not always translate as unhappiness or distress...most don't know they have it". So maybe it's a feature...not a "problem":>)

          You say in your previous comment..."I can't help to see it simply as a trauma that will cause mental instability...or psychological challenges". My experience certainly was a trauma, which caused challenges. Those I have talked with who had NDE/OBEs seem to be more mentally/emotionally centered and grounded than the majority of people I meet in our world. They/we seem to have something that a lot of people are searching for.

          One of the reasons I obtained my medical records and did some research, was to gain information regarding what the damage to my brain might mean to me for the rest of my life. I wanted to "know" about myself, not only from my own observations, but also from the perspective of medical professionals. All the cognitive tests indicate that I function at a high average/superior level. I live a life that is full and content. I live in my "own world", and I also am very aware of the big picture, that includes everything and everyone in this earth school and beyond. These are common "symtoms" of those who have experienced NDE/OBEs, and maybe live in "their own world".

          I find that the "problem" with "most mental problems" is that those who think they are "normal" don't know how to deal with those who have the "problem", other than saying they have a "problem". :>) If we are radiating genuine happiness by living in our own world, how is that a problem for you?
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        Jul 23 2011: Hi Colleen! I think it is really useful and instructive to have someone share their first hand experience and I am very grateful for your generous sharing of yours. After all why just take about something when someone with experience of it can enlighten us. Thank you.
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          Jul 23 2011: Debra,
          My pleasure...glad to share any time.
          Thanks for your interest:>)
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          Jul 23 2011: Thank you too ladies and the smiling Judge of this thread. :>) (that emoticon could really help our discussions!)

          I noted somewhere in this conversation the umbrella work of IANDS.ORG - International Association of Near Death Studies

          They have statistics about distressing NDEs but with comforting NDEs more common, accross our diverse society.

          http://iands.org/about-ndes/key-nde-facts.html

          Even in your situation Judge, it seems that you can see a postive light in your 'traumatic' experience when you stated

          "mental instability and psychological challenges does not always translate as unhappiness or distress of the subject."
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          Jul 24 2011: Hi Griffin,
          I percieved the beings to be transparent, and globe-like in shape, although not defined "globes", but rather varied, and more like a mass, which radiated a significant influence of energy. The energy exuded, I can only describe as warm, accepting, encouraging, joyful and generous with all aspects of loving kindness. I percieved this state of being as more natural and "normal" than what I witness sometimes in this earth school, and I did not want to come back here. The decision was made in unity with all the beings present.
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  • Jul 19 2011: One of my colleagues who was bleeding and shared his NDE saying that, “I haven’t built my faith enough”
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    Jul 23 2011: Coleen...

    Yes yess... that's another way of putting it.
    Hence the doubt I hinted on my original comment. I supposed we'll never know.
    And I certainly haven't seen them all.
    But for now... *shaking head smiling*... I'm not convinced it is something that can transform the world.
    Quite excited to be proven wrong though!
    *wider smile*
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      Jul 23 2011: Dear Judge Pau,
      I am radiating genuine happiness, contentment, respect and love from my own little world and reaching into your world. That is how we can transform the world, and you'll "never know" unless you try:>) If you already have a "wider smile" on your face, it seems there is already some success? I rest my case Judge:>)
  • Jul 22 2011: Have to agree with what Judge Pau said - when you are having a NDE your brain is not functioning, it's broken, it's shutting down. This is no different then hallucinations - they are failures of brain function.
    With all the hallucination, magicians, mind tricks, optical illusions and common logical fallacies out there, I don't know how you can accept signals from a distressed brain as evidence for life after death. In my opinion it's just as silly as saying that there is another dimension everywhere around us that is full of water just because lots of people see illusion of water on the road during a hot day.
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      Jul 22 2011: Dear Alexander,
      You are absolutely correct in saying that the brain may not be functioning, broken and/or shutting down at the time of a NDE/OBE. However, the experience we speak of is not about what is happening in the brain, although there may still be brain activity when one is having a NDE/OBE. You are probably aware that Shamans, Medicine women/men and healers in ancient cultures often experienced this state of being by choice, without a trauma? There IS another "dimension everywhere around us", and it's not simply a few people believing in an illusion any more. Try Googling Near Death Experience research:>)
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    Jul 20 2011: This life was too short & I wish I could have done something for humanity
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      Jul 20 2011: Rafi, I believe that there is always something that we can do to understand and help our own world and the world of others, our global home.

      We can do it at any state and any stage of our lives by truly igniting the two faculties or powers that we all have - the power of our minds to understand and the power of our hearts to care.

      Rev more up these powers with the true legacy that we can almost grasp with our great hopes and vision, and the sure steps and certainty of our strong faiths and trust. It's one of the great things that we do here at TED - spreading strong ideas and talks of love, hope and trust.

      We are a big global family and so we rely on leaders and systems to move us forward and we do so by reinforcing our systems with the strong principles of freedom, justice and truth. Our systems are huge and complicated but we can match it also with the power of our digital infrastructures.

      Our world have great cultures and faiths, great convictions and great religions. We can all contribute these great heritage and knowledge by expounding the universal articles of our convictions to love, hope and trust. This is what I believe what we can glance into our multi-cultural NDEs, that we are truly one.
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      Jul 21 2011: Dear Rafi,
      Your comment sounds like you think it is over. You wish you "COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING..." ?
      You are doing at least one thing I know of that is benificial to humanity...participating on TED!

      When we share our thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and beliefs, we become more connected to each other and the earth we share. Every single communication and experience offers an opportunity:>)