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Near death experience is presently one of the major complex issues being studied from difference conceptions including philosophy, science (metaphysics) and spiritual or religious exposition on what it means to die. However, medical scientific research has identified a newer perspective by focusing on documenting and explaining the near death experiences of the clinically dead patients (Goza et al., 2014). In this regard, near death experience is understood as the experiences of the clinically dead when the brain has stopped functioning due to shortage of flow. On the other hand, metaphysics, more so quantum concepts of waves and particles have been used to explain what it means to have consciousness beyond the normal awake. The combination of evidence from the near death experiences, the out of body experiences(OBE) and the concepts of quantum physics have all shown the possibility of individuals experiencing consciousness beyond the physical body, even connecting others who had deceased, more so the deceased relatives and loved pets (Beichler (2017). The subsequent discussion confirms how science has substantiated the activities in the mid-brain regions as well as the neurological changes in confirming the consciousness experiences even at the point of death. Quantum physics is also providing evidence confirming the existence of phase-space as the immortal world concept where there does not exist time, of which present and future seems enclosed. Scientific and medical research justifies that the brain functions as a receiver of the consciousness fields which continues to be relayed even when the person is dead, as exemplified from the communication web or model.
How The World Of Medical Research Explain Clinical Death And Near-Death Experiences
Although near-death experiences (NDE) are subject to theological explanations, there is a growing body of research presently emphasising the explanation of the near-death experiences. Particularly, Beichler (2017) referred to a case study of a diabetes patient who had reported the experience with near-death, during hypoglycaemia period (having low blood sugar levels). The patient had been in the rapid eye-movement state of sleeping state or the common marker of dreaming, a state believed to be underlie memory consolidation; hence, a route explaining the near life reviews during NDE. Notwithstanding facing the threat of dying, after artificial respiration, the client recollected definitive features of NDE.
Near death experience, from a scientific outlook, has been studied on the basis of supporting the Afterlife Hypothesis (Goza et al., 2014). Studies from NDErs (Near Death Experiencers) have specified that these individuals experience or observe events much far away, and third parties verified that indeed, they occurred. The phenomenon is regarded as veridical perception but still there has not been any medical clarification of the theory. Accordingly, out-of-the body experiences are now providing the substantiation of the high likelihood of the consciousness state surviving when detached from the physical body and extensively, even survive after death (Beichler, 2017).
Consequently, countless theories have been proposed to account or elucidate the near-death experiences. For instance, some of the scientific studies associate the NDE with the physiological changes taking place in the brain, especially the death of the brain cells due to cerebral anoxia, much accredited to the release of endorphins or blockade of the NMDA receptor (Foster and Holden, 2014). On the other hand, some theories explain the phenomenon by using psychology especially the manner by which individuals respond emotionally to the experiences when approaching death (Goza et al., 2014).
From the scientific exploration of the near-death experiences, Khanna and Greyson (2014) focused their study on patients who had reported NDEs. However, several reasons were ruled out. For instance, there was no relation with the spell of oblivion, necessity CPR intubation, induced or initiated cardiac arrest in the course of the electrophysiological spur had any impact or defined the frequency of NDE. Additionally, the researchers found no association between the NDE incidence and drugs administered, the patient’s fright of passing away before experiencing arrest, their knowledge of NDE, education, religion, and gender. The overall findings showed that NDE was more common in those within ages below 60 years as well as patients who had undergone over a single CPR in hospital stay along with those who had previously experienced NDE. Moreover, a major finding point out that with good short-term memory, one is more likely to remember a near-death experience (Khanna and Greyson, 2014).
Nonetheless, Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay (2016) based their study on the proposition that psychological, physiological, and pharmacological factors are attributed to near death experiences, which was not confirmed in the study. In essence, if pharmacological, psychological, and physiological factors are responsible for NDEs, then all the participants, who had undergone cardiac arrest could have reported or indicated experiencing near death experiences, since they had suffered anoxia of the brain (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). Alternatively, the assertion seems consistent with the neurophysiologic explanation of NDEs since NDE are like experiences that are prompted through electrical stimulus within specific regions in the cortex for epileptic patients, higher carbon dioxide intensities, having diminished cerebral perfusion leading to localized cerebral hypoxia, more so speedy acceleration when training combatant aeronauts, or even hyperventilation (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). Therefore, the induced experiences can lead to periods of feeling unconsciousness and in some cases make the individuals to have feelings or perceptions of sound, light or even sparks of remembrances of the reminiscence from the past. The recollections, on the other hand, comprise random and fragmented memories as opposed to the panoramic life-review occurring in NDE (Foster and Holden, 2014). Besides, the exceptional out-of-body experiences (OBE) happen with made experiences but the transformational processes hardly happen after the prompted experiences. Hence, major conclusion is that the induced experiences should not be mistaken for NDE (they are not identical) (Goza et al., 2014).
Another scientific theory for explaining near-death experience is how the state of cognizance changes, using the theory transcendence (theory of continuity), whereby memories, cognition, and identity, as well as emotion are functioning independently from the unconscious body, which in this case, maintains the possibility of non-sensory perception (Foster and Holden, 2014). However, during the NDE, heightened consciousness is always autonomously experienced from the typical body-associated waking perception. On the other hand, clear sensorium and the multifaceted perceptual routes throughout the periods of superficial medical death contests the notion that mindfulness could be limited within the brain. Data gathered from numerous NDE studies have indicated that the experiences arise during the unconsciousness state (Goza et al., 2014). Such is regarded as a surprising inference since when the brain of the patient becomes dysfunctional in that a state of deep comatose is achieved, there should be impairment on the cerebral structures, which to a greater extent, underpins the subjective memory and experiences (Khanna and Greyson, 2014). Therefore, the complex experiences as reported by NDErs, are not supposed to arise or retained within the memory region. In this regard, the patients should not be having subjective experiences, also as reported from those who have survived cardiac arrest or confusion state when the brain function is still retained. Instead, the assertion or observation is further supported by the fact that during cardiac arrest, there is the damage of the cortical function which follows the swift deterioration of the brainstem action (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). Moreover, there is always a hurried transition from the consciousness to the unconsciousness state, and as such, appears immediately to the subject. Conversely, experiences occurring after regaining consciousness are often confusing (Beichler, 2017). In addition, memory is the surest or sensitive indicator of any injury to the brain and that the length of amnesia before or after unconsciousness indicates the exact severity of the injury. In light of these considerations, therefore, it is vital note that there is no possibility of recalled events prior or just after one loses consciousness.
Owing to the lack of evidence to clearly explain NDE, the maintained concept, in most of the scientific studies, is that memoirs and perception or consciousness are manufactured by assemblages of neurons and localised brain regions (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). One of the major questions that remain intriguing is how clear consciousness is possible to maintain during out of the body experiences in situations when the brain is no longer functional during the clinical death periods (Beichler, 2017). Moreover, even the blind people have reported to experiencing veridical perceptions when under out-of-body experiences when under NDE (Khanna and Greyson, 2014). In this case, in understanding near-death experiences, the scientific study has been confined to the limits of neurophysiologic and medial conceptions about the human consciousness range as well as the mid-brain relations.
Many studies in animal and human models have shown how cerebral function becomes severely damaged or compromised in the cardiac arrest instances resulting to immediate loss of consciousness, body reflexes even extending to the brain-stem activity abolition as the gag reflex is lost, even the corneal reflex compromised (Johnson, 2015). Furthermore, cardiac arrest leads to the loss of the respiratory centre function, near the brainstem and as such, apnoea occurs. Also, an entire stoppage of the cerebral circulation occurs due to ventricular fibrillation (van Lommel et al., 2001). Hence, the complete cerebral ischemic model offers the chance of studying the result attributed to the brain anoxia. For one, the blood flow within the central cerebral artery decreases to null or zero values. From this, after a short while, the electrical activity within the deeper brain structures and cerebral cortex ceases. Moreover, the cortex electrical activity evaluation indicates that preliminary ischemic alteration in the EGG is always sensed at around average 6.5 seconds from the circulatory arrest onset (van Lommel et al., 2001). However, after defibrillation, the normalcy returns rapidly, almost between 1 and 5 seconds when cardiac arrest happens within short duration (Gongping and Montell, 2017). On the other hand, when the cardiac arrest has been prolonged, especially for over 37 seconds, the EEG normal activity is impossible to return, even many hours or minutes of cardiac functional restoration (subject to the cardiac arrest duration), whether adequate blood pressure has been maintained in the reclamation phase (van Lommel et al., 2001).
Accordingly, anoxia is responsible for cell systems losing their function; it implies the cessation in the electrical action of the synaptic conduction in the neurons which is due to the built-in shielding or even energy-sparing reaction (Johnson, 2015). Therefore, when the functions have been rendered as inactive, there are possibilities of using resources in sustaining the overall survival of the cells. For instance, short duration anoxia leads to only transient functional loss of the cell system but prolonged anoxia leads to permanent loss to the cell functions (van Lommel et al., 2001). Particularly, any embolic event leads to a minor coagulate obstructing the cortex’s small vessel blood flow and the results are partial brain anoxia thereby functional loss is caused in cortex parts like aphasia, partial blindness and hemiplegia (Gongping and Montell, 2017). However, if the clot has been dissolved and as such, broken down within minutes of the functional loss restoration, transient ischemic attack occurs. On the other hand, if the clot has obstructed cerebral vessel for many minutes or hours, the result is the overall neural cell death, and as such, permanent functional loss (van Lommel et al., 2001). Therefore, the transient anoxia leads to the transient functional loss. In heart attack, global anoxia within the brain happens in flashes but well-timed CPR can reverse the transient functional loss since definite damage has to the neurons is prevented (van Lommel et al., 2001). Consequently, through adequate chest massage, the resultant effect is the minimum blood flowing to the brain and as such, there are higher chances of reversing the functions of the brain. Conversely, with long-lasting anoxia, when the blood flowing to the brain has been ceased for over between 5 and 10 minutes, irreversible damage occurs of which extensive death to the brain cells is imminent (van Lommel et al., 2001). Therefore, from this exploration it is quite or much evident that cortex along with the neurons within the hippocampus and thalamus are the most vulnerable during anoxia, which are connected to the brainstem and the cortex for supporting the consciousness experience.
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From the studies confirming induced cardiac arrest, it has been espoused that one of the major possibilities is that the deprivation of electrical activity within the cortex region is a possibility of NDE, which is also attributed to the brain-stem activity abolition (Gongping and Montell, 2017). On the other hand, patients experiencing NDE can possibly report clear consciousness. Furthermore, from the verified out-of-body experiences, NDE is known to happen during the unconsciousness period and as such, not during the first seconds or the last seconds during the cardiac arrest period (Gongping and Montell, 2017). Therefore, from the scientific evidence, one of the major or surprising conclusions is that for the period of cardiac arrest, NDE is only experienced in the course of the momentary functional loss in all the cortex functions, which also means a functional loss of the brainstem. Another question to consider is how the clear consciousness happening outside the body experience at the instant when the brain’s function has been compromised in the course of the clinical death diration, of which an individual is under EEG (van Lommel et al., 2001). In such a scenario, the brain is simply regarded as the analogous computer whose power system has been unplugged as well as the circuit detached. In this case, it would not be possible for the brain to experience instances or cases of hallucination and as such, not capable of doing anything completely (van Lommel et al., 2001). In this case, in trying to understand the near death experience and consciousness, this could be viewed from the paradoxical occurrences whereby lucid awareness as well as heightened and lucid thought processes when the brain is experiencing impaired cerebral perfusion in clinical death or cardiac arrest shows the direct link between consciousness and brain function.
The Clinical Death Concept
Clinical death is both defined and explained from a simple concept and perspective to complex exploration of the field of study. For one, clinical death would mean the stoppage of heath beat, breathing or the pulse, which from the medical science, defines clinical death (Behringer et al., 2003). Conversely, during clinical death, most of the organs, especially kidney and the eye remain functional and permit the transplantation process. Subsequently, within the scientific field, death, to a greater extent, is defined from clinical perspective, which does not refer to cellular or biological death; it entails the moment when a victim collapses in cardiopulmonary arrest (Zielinski, 2011). Therefore, when a victim appears dead, he or she has experience clinical death; being unconscious, not breathing and showing no signs of palpable pulse. Consequently, for clinical death, there are chances of reversing the status but only when promptly recognised and effectively managed to prevent biological dead (usually irreversible death) (Behringer et al., 2003).
During clinical death state, one of the observations made is that there are limits within which the state of the body can be reversed to normal levels. Inherently, major body organs or parts have the capacity of surviving the clinical death for a specific period of time. For instance, it is possible for the blood flow to be at a standstill within the body further down the heart for about 30 minutes subject to the damage of the spinal code (Rossille et al., 2014). For the detached limbs, there is the possibility of reattaching them within six hours under no blood circulation when maintained or done in warm temperatures. Besides, organs like skin, bones, and tendons have the ability of longer survival, between 8 and 12 hours (Zielinski, 2011). However, the brain is the worst affected because it has a higher affinity of accumulating ischemic injury much faster in comparison to other organs. Therefore, when there is no special treatment after restarting blood circulation, evidence has shown that brain recovery after over 3 minutes on the clinical death under normal body temperatures is fairly very rare (Paul II, 2005). In most cases, the brain damage or even later deaths is subject to lengthier intermissions of clinical death even when the heart has been resumed and there is successful restoration of blood circulation (Zielinski, 2011). In this case, brain injury is the major limiting factor that hinders individuals from recovering from clinical death.
Despite the immediate loss of the brain functioning, no specific or particular duration of clinical death has been identified within which the non-functioning brain experiences clear of full death. For instance, CA1 hippocampus neurons, as the most vulnerable brain cells, experience fatal injury when exposed to as little as ten minutes of oxygen deprivation (Paul II, 2005). Conversely, the brain’s injured cells never die until longer period or hours after resuscitation. Therefore, it is possible to prevent the delayed death by using in vitro method through the use of drug treatment especially 20 minutes of oxygen deprivation (Zielinski, 2011). On the other hand, in specific regions of the brain, there are viable human neurons that are possible to recover and even grown in culture medium many hours after the clinical death stage.
Nonetheless, during the study of clinical death, one of the specific areas of profound consideration is hypothermia or the reduction in body temperature, used to determine the rate at which injury accumulates as well as extending the time period of surviving clinical death. However, the Q10 rule has been used in decreasing injury rate, as it states that biochemical reaction rates decrease through a two factor model for each 10 degrees temperature reduction (Zielinski, 2011). Therefore, in some cases, there are the higher possibilities of humans surviving clinical death for even periods above one hour at 20 degrees below temperatures (Paul II, 2005).
Clinical death is similarly studied from the viewpoint of the life support system, more so the cardiopulmonary resuscitation during instances of cardiac arrest majorly meant to reverse clinical death state (Paul II, 2005). The process restores the circulation of blood and breathing. In contrast, there have been studies indicating the variation in the usefulness of CPR for restoring breathing and circulation of blood (Behringer et al., 2003). For instance, with low blood pressure, there is only a ten-minute extended chance of surviving, but some may regain CPR while still under full cardiac arrest. Conversely, clinical death is subject to the neurological status of which the absence of the cerebral function for monitoring the status to revert back to normal, the chances of survival is sometimes not certain (Rossille et al. 2014). In this case, patients reinforced by procedures that preserve proper blood flow as well as oxygenation for maintaining life, especially cardiopulmonary bypass, are not by any means regarded as clinically dead because other body parts, except lungs and heart continue with normal functioning (Zielinski, 2011). However, clinical death occurs when machines responsible for the only circulation support are off and not function thereby leaving the patient in a specific state of a stopped circulation of blood.
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Nevertheless, the study of clinical death has equally been assessed from the viewpoint of how it determines death. Historically, death had been regarded as an event coinciding with clinical death (Behringer et al., 2003). On the other hand, through series of explorations and understanding, death is currently believed or viewed as a product of various physical events and as such, not a single one. Hence, determining permanent death on subject to other factors above the stoppage of heartbeat and breathing (Paul II, 2005). In this case, a clinical death that has occurred suddenly is regarded as medical crisis of which CPR is administered (Zielinski, 2011). Therefore, procedures for restarting the normal heartbeat are administered, a continuous effort delivered until the heart gets resurrected or a doctor makes the announcement that the successive efforts are futile and there are no hopes of recovery.
Near death experience
Throughout time, scientific study is increasing focusing on attempting to explain the concept of near death experience (NDE), which to a greater extent, is attributed to the physical changes occurring in a dying or stressed brain (Beichler, 2017). However, near-death experiences have been historically viewed or regarded as one of the mystical phenomena but with increased research emphasis on the area, there are scientific evident providing justified explanations on the NDE. Near-death experience, by explanation, involves the sense of being dead, whereby one has the inherent feeling that the soul has left the body, travels towards a brighter light and as such, departs to another reality with all-encompassing bliss and love (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). Conversely, science indicates that all the phenomena happening during near-death experiences have biological explanations. An excellent example is the feelings of being dead, which to a greater extent is not limited to NDEs but cases of individuals having walking corpse syndrome are providing evidence denoting that these individuals have the embedded or delusional beliefs that they are dead or deceased (Bourdin et al., 2017). The disorder major occur after trauma, for instance extensive typhoid stages, or even multiple sclerosis all linked to parietal cortex in the brain region and the pre-frontal cortex. Typically, parietal cortex accounts for attentional procedures while the pre-frontal cortex plays the role of delusions, mostly observed with psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia (Goza et al., 2014). Hence, for the walking corpse syndrome, the likely clarification is that these individuals are trying best to understand their strange experiences.
Conversely, NDEs are part of the out of the body experiences which have been observed to be common during interrupted sleeping patterns immediately preceding waking or sleeping. One of such explanations is sleep paralysis, which is scientifically attributed to vivid dreamlike hallucinations resulting in sensationa body floating (van Lommel et al., 2001). Accordingly, scientific studies have confirmed that these out of the body experiences are artificially trigged through the stimulation of the right tempo-roparietal junction within the brain thereby indicating that confusion concerning sensory information radically alters the manner in which one experiences the body (Goza et al., 2014).
Numerous scientific explanations also account for the narrations of the near-death people meeting dead people. One of such explanations has been the Parkinson’s disease patients, who report ghost visions and even monsters. The explanation for such experiences is that for Parkinston’s disease, it entails the abnormal dopamine functioning as the neurotransmitter responsible for evoking hallucinations (van Lommel et al., 2001). Therefore, when it boils down to reliving life’s moments, locus coeruleus is responsible for such role as the midbrain region releasing noradrenaline or stress hormone released during trauma in high levels. On the other hand, locus coeruleus majorly connects to the brain regions mediating memory and emotion, like hypothalamus and amygdala (Khanna and Greyson, 2014).
The near-death experiences, from a scientific standpoint, is derived from the research showing how a number of medicinal or recreational drugs mirror the euphoric effect during near-death, for example, anesthetic ketamine, responsible for hallucinations and out-of-body experiences (Khanna and Greyson, 2014). Ketamine has an effect on the body by affecting the opioid system of the brain, hence, can naturally be activated even without drugs, as evident when animals are under attack, thereby indicating or confirming that trauma can have an effect in setting off near-death experiences (van Lommel et al., 2001). Therefore, from the current scientific evidence, all tends to point towards the justification or suggestion that the entire features experienced during near-death experiences attribute basis to the normal functioning of the brain gone wrong. In addition, with the very knowledge that near-death experiences occur, it leads to the focus on fulfilling them or as such, self-fulfilling prophecy. The current evidence provides or presents scientific evidence for something which has been always regarded or discussed from the perspective of paranormality (van Lommel et al., 2001). In this case, a better understanding of the dying process, both clinical and biological, helps in understanding the problem or concept of near-death experience.
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What death is
Scientific evidence and research have outlined some of the common or conventional explanations on the concept of death. From science, death is regarded as the cellular compromise (Van Brussel and Carpentier, 2014); death is defined or regarded from the perspective of self-destruction. On other hand, the simple definition of death regards or defines the term as process through which the soul is separated from the body. However, such a definition aligns with the religious explanation of death and shows the extent to which religion has been tied to people’s perspective or viewpoint on the concept of death. Alternatively, the biological perspective does not provide easier and simple means of defining death (Van Brussel and Carpentier, 2014). Consequently, there are other medical as well as technological advances which have equally made the conceptualization of death as difficult task. Biology currently has different views on death. For instance, death is defined from the abolition of the cell functions of which the entire cell systems within the body experience permanent death, or are not functional (Bourdin et al., 2017). Nonetheless, the brain has been the major element used in defining death. In essence, death occurs when there has been a compromise in the entire brain system or functioning brought about by the cessation in the blood circulation (Van Brussel and Carpentier, 2014). Therefore, from biology, death happens or occurs when the entire body system does not have blood or experience blood circulation. In this case, death has been defined or studied from the functional elements of the brain which science believes is responsible for controlling and determining consciousness.
All the same, with current technology, death has become very much complex and difficult to define. For instance, when a person stops breathing, there is the possibility of hooking them with a ventilator which the respiratory systems are kept or maintained at functional levels. On the other hand, there are feeding tubes as well as CPR in addition to myriad of devices for keeping people alive, which in this case, entails measuring life by pulse (Goza et al., 2014). Equally, family members and doctors have rethought the definition of life from the pulse perspective and argued that pulse alone does not qualify in identifying or determining someone as alive or dead (Khanna and Greyson, 2014). The implication is that some patients have not or never recovered from being hooked to life support systems. Retrospectively, it led doctors into using specific terms like irreversible coma or the persistent vegetative state in defining unconscious state of the body. Thus, neurologists have a different definition of death of which they argued that death could be the state of coma depasse or hen the brain has been damaged (Khanna and Greyson, 2014). Therefore, from the scientific perspective, death means or implies the irreversible state of the brain when there is no possibility of reverting back to the normal functional state but the religious perspective or standpoint views death as the state where the soul leaves the body (Goza et al., 2014).
What is out of body experience
Out of body experience (OBE) is attributed to the veridical perceptions that people have from the positions outside and above their lifeless bodies. In this case, the individuals experience the feelings of being apparently leaving or taken off the body and appear to retain specific distinctiveness with the possibilities of emotion, acuity and even having perfect consciousness (Bourdin et al., 2017). Even so, the concept is of great importance because as of currently, nurses, doctors and even relatives can use the same in verifying the reported perceptions, more so the NDE with OBE happening during the CPR period (Josephs, 1994). Hence, the evidence indicates that OBE is never hallucination since it is the experience of perception with no basis in reality, cannot be delusional, but still inaccurate assessment of correct perception (Bourdin et al., 2017). Out of the body experience has drawn the clinicians into assessing whether an OBE ought to be reflected as a type of non-sensory insight.
In a bid to determine the accuracy of using OBE as part of the non-sensory experiences, Bourdin et al. (2017) referred to the case of a patient who had been brought to a hospital in a comatose state into the coronary care unit. To the surprise of the care team, the patient remember seeing them when being brought to the hospital, how his dentures were taken out of the mouth, put onto the cart, remembering every detail including the bottles beneath, sliding drawer where the teeth were placed. The medical team had been amazed considering that the man was in a comma and CPR was being performed. In this example, the patient had seen himself on the bed, observed from the above how the team was busy on the CPR (Bourdin et al., 2017). In addition, the patient accurately described and gave the details of the small room where the resuscitation was taking place including the appearance of those who were around.
The other aspect or element of OBE is the holographic life review; when the person always feels a renew experience and presence of not only acting but also all thoughts from the past life (Bourdin et al., 2017). Therefore, the person is of the realization that there is an energy field influence oneself along with others. In this regard, all which is done and thought is significant and becomes stored. In essence, since a person has connections with the emotions, memories, as well as the consciousness of another person, there is the experiencing of the significances of ones’ own thoughts, actions, and words to the other when they had occurred (Bourdin et al., 2017). Hence, the life review concerns the connection with other’s consciousness as well as those of the patient’s field of consciousness of which the interconnectedness occurs or happens. Individuals under out of the body experience have or experience a onetime review of their lives or having one glance. Therefore, space or time never exists when a person is undergoing such experiences (Josephs, 1994). In this case; person is hooked to where he or she is instantaneously where they have concentrated or upon a specific non-locality.
Nonetheless, patients have narrated their experiences during the life review stages or out of the body experiences, life placed before them, having sense of good and evil consciousness (Yong, 2011). Furthermore, not only do the individuals have or see things from their point of view, there are only seeing and experiencing thoughts of everyone who has been involved within the specific event of which they behave as if they had the thoughts of others within them (Paul, 2000). During out of the body experience, the individuals perceive not only what they have done in life or even thought in their entire life, but also in the specific ways it influences other people and as such, experiencing a life event whereby things are viewed form the all-seeing eyes (Bourdin et al., 2017). Therefore, even the thoughts are not wiped out. Furthermore, during the review phase or stage, the importance of love is highly emphasized. The period or the duration of the life review cannot be told but for the individuals, every subject is coming up but surprisingly at the same time of which things are recalled or seen within a fraction of a second (Bourdin et al., 2017). In addition, there is arguably no perception of time and distance as existing. Therefore, the out of the body experience entails one being in all places instantaneously, when the attention is drawn towards something, the mind or the person becomes present in the place.
Conversely, out of the body experience also happens of which future images of one’s personal life or events along with the general images form the future occur. In the same manner, time and space are not considerate (Yong, 2011). When the deceased relatives are seen during out of the body dimension, the person recognizes them through appearance, and that communication is possible through the transfer of thoughts. The situation explains why it is always possible to encounter getting into with the deceased’s consciousness, hence supporting the interconnectedness hypothesis (Paul, 2000). In some cases, it is possible to come into contact with the individuals whose deaths were impossible to know while in some instances, unknown persons appear or are faced for the period of the NDE. Particular patients have equally described how they experienced returning into the physical body, which in most cases, through the top of the head, after the realisation that it is not yet time and that they still have a task to fill (Yong, 2011).
Accordingly, all the specific elements or experiences have been experienced in cardiac arrest periods, apparent unconsciousness state, and even clinical death situation. However, one of the major challenges or complexities in addressing the topic is the possibility of explaining the explaining the experiences during temporal loss to the brain functions because of the pan-celebral ischemia (acute) (Bourdin et al., 2017).
Examples of clinical death experiences
One of the documented examples of clinical death and spiritual awaking was the patient from Cleveland Ohio, Brian Miller who had been identified as dead after a massive heart attack in the hospital (Brumfield, 2013). However, the interest bit with his experience was that the heart began beating after 45 minutes, which took doctors by a surprise. However, during the “death”, Miller reported to have seen light and relatives who had long gone or died. The client also reported to walking in heavenly path which was expressively lined with flowers. Through the journey, he also remembers to have been stopped by a mother in law who passed away just recently. In addition, the client remembers the mother-in-law grabbing his arm and telling that it was not his time and even reporting to meeting another relative before regaining consciousness. The challenging bit with the story is that despite the individual dying for 45 minutes, the brain had not received oxygen, while on the other hand, the doctors also reported that Miller had not suffered any type or kind of brain damage. From his experience, Miller concluded the existence of afterlife as being real and as such, called for people to believe in its existence.
There is also the story of Nadine and Raymond from Belgium who had suffered heart attack. However, after the oxygen had been cut from the brain, they experienced spiritual awaking or out of the body experiences (Atwater, 2015). The clients reported feeling like being sucked away from the body, and as such, going through black tunnel, at a fast speed, a speed which one cannot express because it is not being experienced. For instance, Nadine reported seeing herself from outside of the body, experiencing a feeling as if one is within a cloud, but again, like not really happening. Raymond also reported to have experienced a light appearing at the end of a tunnel and as such, there was a female voice or figure that communicated with him.
Jasmyne Cidavia of Hull Georgia is also a reported case of near death experience or spiritual awaking. The patient had died when undergoing operation in 1979 (Atwater, 2015). She reported about the unsettling experiences, floating over her body, seeing and hearing everything being said and done. On the other hand, the client reported to leaving the body for some time, then returning where the body was. In addition, she reported to having feelings of death, since she was not breathing. The other recent experience was in 1991 when Cidavia experienced death and even realized that the spiritual element or soul was residing out of her body.
Another reported case was that of Robin Michelle from Texas, of which her scenario exemplified the possibility of love experiences in light (Atwater, 2015). The case happened in the hospital. The patient reported looking forward and as such, seeing brilliant bright light which she likened to that of staring directly at the glaring sun. She also reported to experiencing strange things, for instance, the feet in front of her, almost like she was floating in the upward direction from a vertical position. However, the client never remembered passing through a tunnel but just floating in a bright beautiful light. On the other hand, the awakening was defined by a tremendous warmth and love coming from the light. In addition, the client reported seeing a standing figure within the light, in a normal human being shape, but there were no distinct or defined facial features.
Nonetheless, some of the spiritual awakening experiences are of those individuals being greeted by animals. One of such examples is Bryce Bond, from New York City. His case was a death experience after suffering violent allergic reaction and collapsing (Atwater, 2015). His case was that of a person who went through a bright tunnel and could hear barking, and to his surprise, noticed it was once his dog, Pepe. After seeing him, Bond reported to have felt emotional floodgate opening with tears filling his eyes. The dog even jumped into Bond’s arms and began licking his face.
Conversely, some of the spiritual awakening experiences have been those of suicide-like and hell pictures of images appearing to people (Atwater, 2015). One of the documented cases are those of the a man, who claimed anonymity, narrated the experiences of suicidal thoughts from spiritual awakening, which in essence, stopped him from having thoughts of suicide or taking away his life.
Ernest Hemingway is one of the documented cases of spiritual awakening. He had an experience during World War I after being wounded in the war (Atwater, 2015). After convalescing in Milan, the individual reported or narrated that through his experience, death is a simple process. He reported the experiences of a big Austrian mortar bomb exploding in darkness, and felt dead. He also narrated the experience of his soul coming right out of the body and flying around and the coming back, going again and then he was not dead anymore.
Nonetheless, John R. Liona from New York is also a documented case of near death experience and spiritual awakening (Atwater, 2015). She remembers her experience during birth as the mother has narrated her case as that of a difficult birth experience, even not crying after being born, or simply put, a ‘blue baby’. However, even after forty years, Liona remembers everything and all her life going back to childhood and having the same dream recurring. She always dreams of kneeling down, bending, and having some difficult untying some knots. She also reports of the struggle with people trying to pull the knot, getting upset, snapping, and pulling, not able to define what they are made of and also having the fond memories of being hit in the face. The same dream recurs one night or another and as such, takes her to the spiritual awakening point of birth.
Jeane L. Eppley from Columbus Ohio has also been a documented case about spiritual awakening from the near death experience (Atwater, 2015). The experience occurred during the child birth, of her first child. She remembers seeing everything as bright yellow, ting black dot placed in the centre, and somehow, believing that the dot was her. However, the dot began dividing, from two, four and finally, eight. After enough divisions had taken place, the dots then formed into pinwheel and began spinning. Through the spinning of the pinwheel, the dots were re-joining from the same fashion that had been divided. From this, she knew that when once gone, she would be dead and as such, began resisting through fighting. She also remembers the doctor waking her up and keeping her in the delivery table since she was getting up.
Gloria Hipple of Blakeslee case has also been documented of near death experience and spiritual awakening, which happened in 1955. She was taken to Middlesex Hospital after suffering a miscarriage. As the doctor had not arrived, and having been placed as a fort-five-degree angle because of the bleeding and placed in the same position for about eight days (Atwater, 2015). However, no one had hear her pleas. However, she recalls how she was being pulled down into a spinning vortex. After which, she recognized how her body was being pulled downwards, with the head first. The patient had also panicked, fought and even grabbing the vortex. In the same unconsciousness state, she thought of her two children, how no one was caring for them and even pleading.
Near death experiences as evidence for intelligence/consciousness survival
Near death experience is attributed to the changes in the electromagnetic field elements of the brain. To explain the correlation, the stimulation, the inhibition of the external magnetic as well as electric fields on the incessantly changing electromagnetic fields within the brain’s neuronal chain in the normal functional status can explain the relationship between NDE and consciousness (Van Lommel, 2006). As of currently, the close scientific evidence on this issue is the neuorphysilogical research which are implemented through transcanial magnetic stimulation or TMS when the localized magnetic fields have been produced (Behringer et al., 2003). In essence, TMS has the ability of exciting or inhibiting various brain portions subject to the quantity of energy fed which leads to the functional mapping of the cortical regions in addition to creating transient functional lesions. Moreover, the situation or conditions allows for the assessment of the functional brain regions on millisecond scale of which the results helps in studying the influence of the cortex networks to the particular brain’s perceptual functions. Accordingly, TMS has the ability of interfering with the motion and visual perception since it interrupts the cortical processing for between 80 and 100 milliseconds (Van Lommel, 2006). On the other hand, the intra-cortical inhibition as well as the facilitation gained during the paired pulse with TMS has reflected inter-neurons activity within the cortex (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016).
Conversely, with the interruption of the electromagnetic fields within the local neuronal linkages in the cortex fragments also leads to the disturbance of the normal brain functioning. Close evidence has shown that localized stimulation of the electrons within parietal and the temporal lobe in epilepsy surgery, there are induced flashes in recollecting the past, although not complete life reviews, sound, light and music experiences and other individuals have attested to having undergone out of the body experience(OBE) (Van Lommel, 2006). Nonetheless, the external magnetic or the electrical stimulation have their effects subjected to the duration and intensity of the energy input. In some instances, the stimulation may happen under small energy input although using greater energy leads to the localised cortical functional inhibition whereby both magnetic and electrical fields surrounding the networks of the cortex neurons networks become extinct (Van Lommel, 2006). Therefore, a major conclusion during this study is that confined non-natural stimulus when the actual photons inhibits and disturbs the altering neuronal network’s electromagnetic fields can lead to an influence and inhibition of the normal brain functioning.
One of the possibilities currently being considered is whether consciousness and memories are products or resulting from the constantly changing electromagnetic fields (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016) On the other hand, another consideration is whether the photons elementarily carry consciousness. The search for this knowledge is currently evident from the researchers creating artificial intelligence through computer technology with the hope of stimulating programs that can evoke consciousness. However, from quantum physics, from the renowned names like Roger Penrose in 1996, the inherent argument is that algorithmic computations is not possible to stimulate any mathematical reasoning (Van Lommel, 2006). The scientists offered quantum mechanical postulate in explaining the relationship between mindfulness and functioning of the brain. On the other hand, others have provided the calculations that brain has inadequate capacity of producing and keeping the entire informational process of the recollections with the associated thoughts from the entire life. If this is the case, then humans will need around 1024 operations in every second but this is impossible for the neurons (Van Lommel, 2006). In this case, the major conclusion is that the brain does not have the enough capacity for storing all the memories containing the associative thoughts, there is no retrieval abilities and as such, there seems no capability or capacity of electing consciousness.
The near death experiences, inherently, are included as part of the scientific evidence trying to comprehend the possibility of interconnectedness existing between the consciousness of a person and the other, the dead relatives or even explaining the inherent likelihood of experiencing simultaneously and instantaneously (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). So, it is a logical task to deliberate preview and review of a person’s life from a specific aspect minus the conformist body-like space and time concepts. The link between NDE and consciousness is because of the medical or clinical evidence that has shown the possibility of the consciousness getting back to a person’s body and as such, when someone is having or experiencing some bodily limitations (Van Lommel, 2006). Nonetheless, all the reported elements of perception experienced in the course of cardiac arrest align with the quantum-like explanation. From this, the overall conclusion is that quantum mechanical processes are critically associated or linked to how memories and consciousness have a relation with the brain as well as the body in the ordinary everyday body actions in addition to when the brain has experienced clinical demise or death (Behringer et al., 2003).
Accordingly, the relationship between near-death experience and consciousness is currently being assessed as to whether there is a similarity with quantum physics. Several elements show the link with quantum mechanics, which challenges the current view of the materialistic world manifesting through real-space. Quantum mechanics indicates that particles also propagate as witnessed with waves hence defined as the quantum mechanical wave functioning (Van Lommel, 2006). On the other hand, experiments have proven light to embody the behaviour of particles or photons, while others have associated light to the behaviour of waves. Conversely, particles and waves have been regarded as the complementary elements of light.
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Furthermore, some experiments have equally found the link quantum mechanics concept of non-locality, commonly referred to as the non-local interconnectedness. In this regard, non-locality occurs since happenings or events have interrelationships thus influencing each other suggesting that for events, no local causes are possible. Phase-space is non-local, unseen, and as such, a higher-dimensional cosmos comprising likelihood wave-fields, of which bygone and forthcoming events exist or existing as mere probabilities (Van Lommel, 2006). Physicists have different terms for referring to the non-local dimension, some regard it as the implicate order of being, others zero-point-field and to some, these are quantum vacuum. However, in the phase-space, there is no matter in existence, whereby everything is regarded as belonging to vagueness, and quantifications or interpretations are impossible by physicists (Goza et al., 2014). Accordingly, observation does change the possibility into certainty through the breakdown of the wave element or function, which is defined as multiple possibilities into objective reduction, or otherwise, one definite state (Van Lommel, 2006). Therefore, in this regard, there is the inherent possibility that without the fundamental changes in the observed subject, no observation can be made.
Although the connection between NDE and consciousness survival cannot be comprehensively explained through quantum physics, the concept offers first-hand information in understanding how there is the transition between consciousness and the phase-space, linked to the quantum mechanic’s concept of the probability fields, and the body-associated wakening in consciousness within the real-space; the two are enhances the understanding consciousness (Goza et al., 2014). The human undivided consciousness with its declarative memories originate the phase-space, and for the brain, the functional role is serving as a dispatch location for the specific elements of consciousness as well as the parts of the memories which are received into the waking consciousness (Van Lommel, 2006). The phenomenon is also explained or regarded as the Internet because the signals do not originate from the computer, but the device only functions are a receiver. In this case, consciousness does not comprise the quantifiable sphere of the physics or the manifested world. Moreover, not even any physical means can measure the indestructible consciousness of the eternal wave existing in the phase-space because of the non-local interconnectedness. A comparison is the gravitational forces of which the physical properties are measured by considering forces which are equally not possible to measure directly.
In the same fashion, life generates a change from the phase-space into the manifestation of the real-space. From the hypothetical view of life, under the normal conditions when conscious, there is the probability of receiving individual parts of consciousness fields (waves in quantum physics) when under waking conscious (as the particles in quantum physics or the physical body). In life, the consciousness is the waves and particles and scientific evidence identifies the permanent interaction between the two as aspects of consciousness (Van Lommel, 2006). Therefore, when one dies, the consciousness will no longer have the particle aspects but change into the eternal aspect or waves. When such occurs, the inherent interface between consciousness and body becomes eliminated.
Accordingly, in understanding this aspect or element of NDE and intelligence or consciousness, the neuronal networks are merely functioning as interface for the various aspects of the consciousness, always demonstrated during PET or MRI scans (Van Lommel, 2006). Therefore, for the neuronal networks, they are merely functioning as conveyors and receivers, and as such, not retainers of memories and consciousness. Therefore, the relationship between NDE and consciousness could be explained from the evidence of the mid-brain and consciousness relations (Goza et al., 2014). In addition, the concept aligns with the non-local interconnectedness which are being experienced in others’ consciousness fields existing in the same phase-space.
Conversely, the studies on the relationship NDE and consciousness, including quantum physics, some scientists have approached the topic from the perspective of the worldwide communication. In the communication web, a continuous exchange in the objective information occurs through electromagnetic fields for TV, mobile phone devices, and computers. However, there is no much awareness of the electromagnetic fields or magnitude existing around. Inherently, the awareness of the presence of the electromagnetic field only exists when the radio or the TV is switched on (Van Lommel, 2006). In this case, what the devices receive are not from within but as the receivers, the information transmitted from the electromagnetic fields are noticeable and the insight occurs in a person’s conscious state. However, when the TV or gadget has been switched off, the reception is interrupted and disappears, although the transmission continues. On the other hand, the information being transmitted still remains present in within electromagnetic fields (Van Lommel, 2006). In this case, there has been an interruption in the connection but not vanished, and as such, there is the possibility of receiving the same elsewhere when using another TV set, from the concept of non-locality.
Therefore, there is a universally documented facet of consciousness which is being experienced in the course of heart attack. In this case, consciousness can be explained from the perspective the groups or fields containing information about consciousness, which comprise waves, are placed in the phase-space, unseen aspect where no time or space exists but are existent all over or through people infusing the body (Van Lommel, 2006). In this case, consciousness elements become available in the waking consciousness state but through the functioning brain through changing and measurable electromagnetic fields. Therefore, when the brain function is lost, more so clinical death like the instances of heart or even brain demise, the consciousness and memories can be present but the capability to receive them has been lost, the connection or the bodily interface has been compromised or interrupted (Goza et al., 2014). The evidence shows that there is the possibility of experiencing consciousness under non-functioning brain, which is what has been referred to as the NDE of which the consciousness aspect of human beings is not rooted in the physical body but on phase-space or the non-local dimension where there is no time and space.
What Psychology Says
Psychology present different explanations using models to support the near death experience. Through the depersonalisation model, NDE is regarded as through the depersonalisation process and often common during emotional experiences like life-threatening danger (Goza et al., 2014). Therefore, NDE, is simply a fantasy based hallucination. From the model, those facing impeding death are detaching from their surroundings of which they no longer feel any emotions and even experiencing distortions in time. There is also the expectancy model, although experiences are sometimes perceived as real, what happens is that they are constructed within the mind, through conscious or subconscious state, always a means of responding to the stress encountered with death (Tassell-Matamua and Lindsay, 2016). The model maintains that the events or experiences are not associated to real life experiences.
The dissociation model also indicates that NDEs are forms of withdrawal in a bid to protect a person from the experiences. When people are pushed to extreme experiences or circumstances, they detach from unwanted feelings as a way of avoiding experiencing emotional impact and even suffering serious implications associated with the events.
From the above exploration, there is substantive scientific evidence confirming the possibility of experiencing consciousness independently from of the brain. The evidence also has profound implications for understanding death. Science shows that the activity within the mid-brain regions and the neurological changes could explain how consciousness experiences continue even when a person is dead. Quantum physics also aligns with the phase-space concept of which the immortal world exists where the presence and the future is defined or regarded as enclosed. The NDE research has confirmed that consciousness is exist even without brain function. Therefore, there is the bod but without the body, there is still the high likelihood of having conscious experiences. On the other hand, from the waking consciousness experiences, individuals experience daily consciousness which the sole part of the entire and complete consciousness. In addition, there is the scientific justification of the interconnectedness concept, of which is also experienced during clinical death. Near death experiences occur without the brain activity in the middle region and from individuals. Cardiac arrest patients have presented the substantive evidence from their experiences of living the body and floating in the spiritual world, which equally supports the scientific evidence on the consciousness existing when one is completely dead. Therefore, from the current evidence, there is the outright proof that consciousness exists as universal waves of which the brain acts as a receiver like in the case of a communication network.
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