Life after death: Scientist 'discounts' arguments for an afterlife
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NDEs are when a person comes close to death and believes they experience ‘life after death’. This can include visions of a religious figure or a deceased person, and even out of body perceptions. As many as one in 10 people who have had a brush with death have reported an NDE, and often come away feeling euphoric – some with a newfound sense of religion and the afterlife.
Dr Sam Parnia, Director of the Critical Care & Resuscitation Research Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, has described the experience, and the after-effects of one.
Dr Parnia said people who have had an NDE often experience new sensations and thoughts which had not been known to them.
Many people describe a feeling of being enlightened and even extreme levels of empathy.
They often re-live moments of regret or pleasure they have endured in their lifetimes and come away feeling as if they know themselves better.
Dr Parnia told the New York Academy of Sciences: “People report a unique cognitive experience in relation to death.
“They may have a perception of seeing their body and the doctors and nurses trying to revive them, yet feel very peaceful while observing. Some report a realisation that they may have actually died.
“Later they develop a perception or a sensation of being pulled towards a type of destination.
“During the experience, they review their life from birth, until death, and interestingly this review is based upon their humanity.
“Their perspective is focused on their humanity. They notice incidents where they lacked dignity, acted inappropriately towards others, or conversely, acted with humanity and kindness.
“They re-experience and relive these moments, but also, what’s fascinating, which sort of blows me away because I can’t really explain it, is they also describe these experiences from the other person’s perspective.
“If they caused pain, they experience the same pain that other person felt, even if they didn’t realise it at the time. They actually judge themselves.
“They suddenly realise why their actions were good or bad, and many claim to see the downstream consequences of their actions.”
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Previous research from Western University and the University of Liège, Belgium, found quantitative proof that most people respond positively to NDEs.
The research found that after an NDE, people tend to have a decline in a fear of death and less interest in material functions.
They also tend to be less competitive and less interested in their personal status.
A statement from Western University said: “This is important as it suggests that individuals are not relating to their NDEs negatively.”
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