Despite the enormous strides in science in the last decades, it still cannot give an explanation of what happens to us after we die. At the same time, many studies on near-death experiences show that these fleeting, almost supernatural experiences are reported by hundreds of thousands of people who have been on the shores of death. This combination of progress and lack of results has led to the emergence of a variety of theories in recent years. Below there are the most common of them.
Answer 1: There is afterlife
In 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon at Harvard Medical School, fell into a deep coma caused by bacterial meningitis.
After seven days of brain death, Dr. Alexander he woke up from the coma. His memories of the coma varied from obscure visions to a journey through the ‘core’, in which he met with the God. As a result, he realized that there is another kind of existence except the one he knew and studied.
Most scientists believe that “when the brain dies, the same happens to the mind or soul or self”. But the experience of Dr. Alexander shows that this is not the whole truth: how can a person with a dead brain have a rich spiritual experience if his soul has died too?
Answer 2: The mind can function without the physical body
Dr. Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist of the University of Virginia, is a leading expert in near-death experiences and has studied over 100 cases of near-death episodes. From his work he learned that many patients claim of having experienced a sense of peace and separation from the physical body. Also there are cases when people claim to have met deities or their deceased loved ones.
Although the majority of scientists considers such experiences nothing more than illusions caused by the difficult condition when the brain is under tremendous pressure, Greyson thinks that near-death experiences prove the hypothesis that the mind can function without the physical body.
Answer 3: We never really die
Robert Lanza, the one who developed the biocentrism theory, argues that as far as space and time exist only as tools of better understanding the world around us, they do not exist without consciousness and therefore in reality we never die. In his opinion, “death is a reboot that leads to all the latent possibilities”.
These ideas of Lanza are closely tied to the theory he suggested, according to which, life and biology are the central concepts in existence, reality and the world, and life creates the universe, not vice versa. According to the biocentrism, modern theories of the physical world will not work until they fully explain life and consciousness.
Answer 4: Nothing ‘fantastic’ happens
Dr. Wendy Wright, a neurologist of Emory University, considers near-death experiences nothing more than a result of the release of endorphins in the brain, which “provoke different kinds of phenomena: one person can experience a sense of tranquility or feel being surrounded by his loved ones”. Such visions are just tricks of the brain, according to Dr. Wright.
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