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Audio-p-28 - Mod: Jan Holden - Science Panel


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Moderator: Jan Holden - Science Panel

John Maune - Relation of modules of consciousness and elation in an NDE

Many NDEs come with a sense of elation or complete contentment. This seems counterintuitive as most NDEs are brought on by some trauma that often is painful. My own NDE made me curious about how my NDE could bring such unfettered joy or elation while masking extreme pain and negating any fear of dying. Elation was experienced only during my NDE - a complete and total never before experienced sense of contentment. When the NDE finished the excruciating pain from my injuries returned and my sense of elation abruptly ended. During my NDE my consciousness fragmented into many seemingly autonomous modules that were not tied into everyday goals or thoughts. I think that during my NDE my left brain interpreter (LBI) lost its usual seat of power which lead to more conscious participation of other usually subconscious modules. I also think this suggests that a state of elation is actually the normal state of mind (save for the poor few who have hellish NDEs). This might relate to the conscious states that mystics spend their lives trying to obtain by muting the self or LBI..

Lowell MorganLowell Morgan - Brains, branes, strings, & all that: What modern physics may have to say about consciousness & beyond

Although physical reductionism (aka "materialism") is out of fashion among philosophers of science (e.g. T. Nagel, 2012; R. Sheldrake, 2012), I believe it to be a worthwhile exercise to explore what we can learn from modern physics that may be applicable to the problems of consciousness, death, and perhaps beyond. This is an area which, only in the past 15 years or so, physicists have begun to seriously investigate. This recent flurry of activity has come about as a derivative of new developments in modern physics having to do with quantum coherence and entanglement; the Standard Model of particles & fields; experiments on the micro-and nano-scale; string theory and physical models derived there from of fields in extra dimensions beyond (x,y,z,t); vacuum energy & fluctuations; quantum information and neural networks; and so on. Although seemingly separate fields of study these topics are all connected and may have relevance to the study of consciousness and death. I will discuss these topics for non-experts and explore how they may be related to the problems that interest the IANDS community.

Patricia PearsonPatricia Pearson - Palliative Effects of the Sensed Presence

After my sister sensed the presence of my father on the night he died, I turned my journalistic skills to researching this phenomenon, determining that the Sensed Presence is not only common in the bereaved population, but also for those in peril, such as mountain climbers and prisoners of war. The effect is palliative across scenarios.

Laura WittmanLaura Wittman - Near-Death, Grief, and Hope in Historical Perspective

Looking back at over a century of increasing testimony and fiction on NDEs reveals that, along with a dominant narrative of decreased fear of death and infusion of hope, there is an undercurrent of stories about uncertainty, misunderstanding, and even despair. Putting the positive and the negative NDE stories into dialogue has much to reveal about what can tip the balance one way or the other. Key factors include: the currently dominant cultural views of NDE (skeptical vs. welcoming, pathologizing vs. genuinely curious); the social role of the doctor in relation to other spiritual authorities; the extent to which NDE is a shared experience (as can happen in wartime, but also via deliberate community creation); the availability of model narratives of healing and hope for an individual patient (linked to education, family attitudes, and religious background).

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