AwareofAware

Evolving news on the science, writing and thinking about Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

The longer you live, the less likely your soul will survive death: discuss [ideas posted may be included in next version of book]

A 10 min video summarizing what I say in my book. WARNING – those who are sensitive about any reference to Christian teaching, the last two minutes may be worth skipping!

Let me know your thoughts and alternative theories explaining why it is that only 10-20% of elderly adults reports NDEs, whereas 80-90% of kids who die and are resuscitated report NDEs. As a reminder if you read my book, changes in memory function with age do not account for the difference.

I will start with one alternative my wife came up with:

Those who are older, and who come to the boundary, are much more likely to cross the boundary, therefore a much higher proportion of the elderly may in fact have souls that survive death, but we don’t know about it because they don’t come back to tell us.

I know in my previous post others had other ideas…please repeat them here.

Also, any good ideas that either resonate with NDE observations or have supporting evidence, I will probably include in any updates of my book in the future.

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100 thoughts on “The longer you live, the less likely your soul will survive death: discuss [ideas posted may be included in next version of book]

  1. Max_B on said:

    Possibly for the same reasons that it’s children who spontaneously report ‘past life’ type experience, not so much adults.

    Children have more neurons than adults, and adults have more neurons than the elderly.

    Massive bursts of network creation occur spontaneously through childhood and adolescence. Unused pathways are eroded away, used pathways are reinforced. Our neuronal structures are eroded, as we learn, like a sculptor cuts away at a block of stone.

    If we think of the brains network patterns as a way of accessing memory. Not storing the actual experiences, but mainly only a way to storing and weighting associations, which provide access to experience.

    Then children have so many neurons, that their networks are like a skeleton key which can address many more locks, i.e. many network patterns. Children are more porous, that is a major reason why they they can learn so quickly.

    Their networks can synchronise, and be syncronised directly with many more compatible external networks, than an adult, or the elderly person can. Children can address a much wider range of patterns.

    Our everyday experience arises as a result of processing information, but the information itself remains hidden from our everyday view.

    We only experience the result of some humongous calculation from an individual perspective. It’s a shared calculation, which is why we experience a shared existence.

    Most people mistake this result as the beginning…

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    • That is an interesting philosophical answer. From my understanding you are saying that older brains have a lower ability to connect to the “universal central server” that I mention in my book on NDEs in which all memory of everything is stored. Of course if this were true, it may not necessarily be correlated to the ability to remember events that occurred in this life. There is no way of knowing whether this answer is true or not, but certainly thought provoking.

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  2. I wasn’t aware of this. I think it’s extraordinarily implausible; either we all survive death, or we are all annihilated.

    Why?

    If we survive death in the sense of our souls dwelling in some afterlife realm, then our essence, what we are, is a non-material self, or soul. Our consciousness and self is not therefore a product of the brain. It does not depend on the brain for its existence. Hence, we will all survive if that is the case.

    As to why older people report fewer NDE’s than children, there could be many reasons.

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    • Thanks for your comment Ian. I understand the “gut” reaction that many have to my hypothesis, however I am just going with the data and providing one possible explanation that may be supported by religious teaching. As you say there could be a multitude of other reasons to explain it.

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  3. Peter Stanbury on said:

    It may be that ‘survival’ involves entanglement with the quadrillions of copies of you in a ‘many worlds’ scenario. In which case, as time goes by the number of those copies decreases and eventually there are none left. The net result is that everyone would ‘exist’ for much the same length of time….whether directly in this world or in entangled form as a ‘soul’. I personally don’t believe this….but the interesting thing is that it makes a prediction. And that is that NDEs would increase up to the median earthly survival age of humans…which would also be the age at which the maximum number of ‘copies’ of you exist…and then tail off as those copies die off.

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  4. Peter Stanbury on said:

    Actually there is an even more plausible and sensible explanation than mine above or the one given in the video. Simple statistics. Something similar to the way in which the first exoplanets discovered were all ‘hot Jupiters’ because those were the easiest for the equipment to detect. Likewise….any bias in the way NDEs are often not reported until years later WILL make it appear that NDEs occur mainly in younger people. I have just, for example, read a 2020 report of a case study in which many NDEs were not reported until an average of 28 YEARS after the event. Well, clearly someone who had an NDE at 80 is probably not going to be around to report it 28 years later ! So the interval between NDE and it being reported is of crucial statistical significance. The longer that interval is…..the less likely you are to get NDE reports from older people !

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    • Hi Peter, that is an interesting observation, however some the data around reporting of NDEs for the those who are generally older comes from clinical studies, like the AWARE studies, in which patients were actively asked about their NDEs. The kind of reports you are referring to may be those that were retrospectively documented, and going back over the decades to a time when NDEs were regarded as a sign of brain damage.

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      • Peter Stanbury on said:

        Well, yes, but that raises the question…..are the 80% for kids and 20% for adults stats actually based SOLELY on reports very soon after near death, or are they all-inclusive stats that include the ‘ I had an NDE 30 years ago’ cases. A delay of even a few years in a portion of the data could make a big difference.

        There’s all sorts of factors that could statistically bias the results. Even in this day and age when NDEs are widely known about….adults may still be reluctant to report NDEs, whilst kids may be less reluctant. I would also question whether the manner in which the question is asked is the same for kids as it is for adults….bearing in mind studies that have shown how easy it is to implant false memories via suggestion. Also included in the stats should be the fact that younger and older people ‘die’ for different reasons…and that the treatment itself may affect memory of any NDE.

        Also….as I see someone else has mentioned here, the whole business of meeting deceased relatives, which is a common feature of NDEs, would make little sense if those relatives had not survived.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the best alternative explanations that I have heard so far was posted in a comment on the YouTube video and relates to ability to remember dreams. I am annoyed that I didn’t include this research in my book, but it will certainly appear in future versions. The comment points to research that shows that the ability to recall dreams declines with age. I looked at a 2012 paper by Nielsen that has many references to previous work, and the largest difference I could find from any study was a 50% decline in a ability to recall dream, and this was at the extreme end of the scale with most other studies reporting a smaller decline in ability recall dreams with age. However, even a roughly 50% decline (it was from about 87% to 46%) would not account for the difference in ability to recall NDEs which goes from 80-90% to 10-20%.

    Love this kind of discussion!

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3389337/

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    • Jennie on said:

      Maybe children are more likely to report NDE than elderly because the drugs given during resuscitation differ a lot?
      I dont know if this is the case or not, just a thought.
      Elderly die more of disease like heart attack, and maybe the drugs used by treating them affect the brain in other ways.
      I remember some researched say that the less drugs used, the more likely we are to report an NDE? Not sure if this was Parnia or someone else

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clayton Thomas on said:

    Just for purely discussion reasons there are other ideas I have heard about such as joining a universal mind at death or that it’s your unconscious mind using psi to get information( known as super pis), or could be partly transcendental and partly physiological. Some of these ideas may not the most valid or serious but are still interesting none the less.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lynne on said:

    A common experience that younger people have when recalling their NDE is being met by their departed parents and grandparents. Perhaps this shows these older people made the journey and survived death.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stanley on said:

    What may be important to keep in mind, and Ben I believe you’ve made this comment before, that it is likely to be a combination of factors rather than a hard rule. A mix between non-reporting, drugs, memory loss, and any “spiritual” reasons you could come up with. A lot of the possibilities this comment section raises could easily co-exist and contribute to the percentage disparity.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well I mean it is well known that kids are more resilient then adults when it comes to diseases in general. Lets say (to break it to the max. down) that when the brain dies and lets consciousness break through this material spehere and can experience a higher realm of some sort and then comes back, why shouldnt kids remember more than adults or elderly? Memory and the ability to remember things gets worse with time so this actually makes more sense to me (that kids remember more and more often than adults)

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  10. And about the last 2mins from your video I recommend you read some catholic literature or catholic theology about this topic and those bible verses you used to support your hypothesis 🙂

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  11. anna on said:

    Thanks so much for the video and for sharing your thoughts on this. I appreciate both your scientific and spiritual insights. For some reason I hadn’t heard about this Jesus teaching about destruction of the soul. It is quite an alarming thought but since there is so little we understand about consciousness and the spirit I am keeping an open mind. I have tried to come up with alternate explanations and come back to the idea that as we are older we may not be as connected to our spirit/soul or even that we go into a place of darkness (realm of outer darkness perhaps) or become lost souls, but these would still suggest having some kind of awareness. The idea of annihilation is just really startling and hard to fathom. I have read some philosophies that suggest the personality self is destroyed as it merges back with the soul self. I prefer this to the theory you are suggesting but am open to learning as the truth is most important. I will read more of Mathew 7:13 and 14. I believe in Jesus and his message so am open to that as well and thank you again for sharing this insight and opening up this important conversation.

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    • People often think that Jesus’ teachings were all roses and bunny rabbits, but far from it. His teachings are good news, but only if you listen to them and follow them…according to him anyway. One of the reasons I believe in him is the way in which he doesn’t sugarcoat his messages. He warns people that if they follow him life will be much harder and they may get persecuted…what kind of salesman does that, unless they are telling the truth. He also say a lot of things that mirror what here from those who have NDEs.Things like marriage doesn’t exist in heaven,and that heaven is far more amazing than we can imagine etc etc.

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      • anna on said:

        Good points. I hadn’t thought of it that way but it does add to the integrity of the message. I’ve always thought of Jesus as the one who helps us journey to the afterlife but I’m now also seeing him as someone who teaches us what to expect in the afterlife as well…and so much more. Lots to learn!

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  12. anna on said:

    I also wonder about ideas I hear about children’s consciousness being more in their right brains and adults’ consciousness being more in their left brain. If true, I wonder if this could influence outcomes as well. Pulling at straws here…and is indeed a mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. anna on said:

    Lastly, I have to agree with you how odd it is the lack of seeming interest in the question of what happens after death. People are very concerned with this life but not the much more important question of what, if anything, comes after.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is indeed very strange how people don’t even contemplate the possibility of life after death. This may be part of the reason why they don’t experience it.

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      • anna on said:

        I agree completely and is why I value this blog so much for giving us a place to discuss such an important subject!

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  14. Anthony on said:

    I am of the idea that near death experiences are surely like vivid dreams. Many people begin to remember their dreams worse and worse as they get older, that would explain this question

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    • Anthony, it is worth looking at my reply further up this thread which addresses this exact objection. Just like with changes in general memory, changes in memory of dreams does not account for the differences between NDE experience in the every young and the very old.

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  15. Alan on said:

    Orson, how about that an older person has had much of life’s experiences and that an NDE, being a truly supernatural experience and presumably “guided” by some other greater agency, then this agency decides the person doesn’t need one for educational purposes? That’s one main point of NDEs. You know, when people are told they must go back to look after this person or for whatever reason, or they themselves decide to go back. And not that they are not worth it, I mean.
    Or the soul, or whatever we call it, of the older person decides instead to not go through with an NDE for “safety” concerns, i.e. the shock could be too great? Younger people can hack it.
    And I have the view anyway that something deeper is in charge and how would that then kind of dissipate away the soul?
    So how does a soul disintegrate as a spiritual thing? Would something else, an entity, then be doing this disintegration – like OK, we’ll pick this poor guy today? As he’s had dodgy life. But surely some redeeming features! And how about another chance a la reincarnation, re Prof. Ian Stevenson’s and others work (Also I think the Bible hardly mentions reincarnation).

    On the whole – a troubling thread this one!

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    • Hi Alan, good to hear your thoughts, always appreciate them. The truth is we do not know, and yes, I am throwing something out there that is controversial and indeed “troubling” as you say. I will hold my hands up and say that perhaps my determination to insure this possibility is considered, namely the idea that the soul is “destructible”, is due to my faith. On the other hand the data that I have delved into has also caused me to look at this aspect of Jesus’ teachings afresh. Before I looked into the data on memory loss etc, like most other people, and despite my faith, I was inclined to believe that everyone get’s a pass in the end, but this data has made me think again, and to realise that may not be the case. If there is any truth in the hypothesis that I propose, then it really should be the most important thing to discuss…way way more important than temporal issues like COVID etc.

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      • Alan on said:

        Hi Orson, thanks for reply. I think I’m kind of biased is that I do have a sense of trust and hope in this “something else”. Perhaps only the best aspects of someone survive or get selected out? Society is tough and we all get changed so I wonder how much is also due to our own fault though I do believe we have the gift of free will. We can choose a good life and good actions. 🙂

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    • Yitz on said:

      True, the Hebrew Bible doesn’t mention Gilgul (reincarnation) — but the the Zohar HaKadosh does!

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  16. Alan on said:

    emoji at the end again there!

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    • I used to think like you, and to be honest most other people here, but two pieces of data I became familiar with changed my view on humanity. Before I understood these pieces of data, I thought that most people were fundamentally good, but the Ingram and Stanford prison experiments show that is probably not to be the case.

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      • Alan on said:

        Depressing experiments, I remember about them. Milgram it was. I also read one of Zimbardo’s (SP Experiment) books but did you know he testified *for* the US soldiers who tortured at Abu Ghraib in Iraq? It was the officer’s he said who ordered them to do it. Their fault and influence.
        Dropping names, but I knew David Bohm (physicist) when I was a student of his and later read his work on consciousness. He says many are largely controlled by their thoughts and not the other way around. Thought controls us, he said, and fools us into thinking we are in charge! It’s very subtle. Imagine that and really a major cause of conflict. So his idea is to hold the thought carefully and study it before acting. Tricky though!

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      • Hi Alan, obviously the discipline of understanding that your thoughts are not actually necessarily from you, and that you are able to let them pass on by if you are conscious of it, is aligned with many “mindfulness” meditation techniques. They can be very powerful, and help us understand the relationship between our mind and our true selves. This is certainly something that is missing from traditional Christian teaching, but it is nonetheless very powerful. Choosing what you think is vital to being at peace with yourself and life.

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      • anna on said:

        I don’t believe people are fundamentally good either. History and the world we live in today proves that unfortunately. Perhaps the potential to be good though.

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  17. Frank on said:

    The data can easily be explained if you consider that the soul is somehow coupled to the brain and this coupling becomes stronger with time. Just like the roots of an old tree are harder to dislodge, it takes more to dislodge an older soul from the brain.

    I think you are on a dangerous and slippery slope here, and going down a path that would be rejected by most NDE’ers:

    Almost every organized religion has a control mechanism based on the claim to possess the keys to heaven and hell. This of course gives a person tremendous power over those who believe it. We see the devastating effects almost daily.

    The Bible has been rewritten many times throughout history to firmly establish such fear-based control mechanisms. You should be weary of this when trying to interpret biblical texts. And you should be aware that you may be playing into the hands of the mechanisms of power that have strangled humanity for centuries now.

    Most NDE’ers reject organized religions and their fear-based mechanisms of control. I think this is a more important data point than the statistical difference between children and adults, for which there are many possible explanations.

    What would you prefer? A person who is nice to people out of fear of losing his soul, or a person who is himself absolutely convinced that being nice will be beneficial to all, a lesson learned by his own experience through many lives? Only this intrinsic motivation will build a better world, not motivation instilled by fear.

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    • Hi Frank, and thanks for your thoughtful comments.

      I do like your explanation of the idea that people become more attached to their brains, and the roots of the tree simile is really nice. The rest though, is your subjective interpretation of things and is no more based on evidence than my interpretation, and I would argue less so. I am someone who is seeking the truth, and while you may well be right that many NDErs will reject my potential explanation, that is irrelevant to me if the rejections are not accompanied by objective arguments and supporting evidence.

      Your views of religion colour your attitude towards this, and mine colour mine. I try to keep mine out normally, but on this issue I have found strong alignment between one potential explanation for an observation and things told to us through religious prophets, and in particular the one I follow, which makes it worth referencing them…which I have done. Moreover, your description of religion is completely alien to my experience of it, but I will leave it there as I do not wish such debates to dominate this otherwise excellent discussion. Suffice to say, it is best if we avoid disparaging references to the deeply and sincerely held beliefs of others when their is no objective reason to be making those references.

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      • Frank on said:

        I fully agree to limit the discussion to objectively verifiable arguments. My verifiable argument here is that ‘things told to us through religious prophets’ can be misleading, since these things have been interpreted in a certain way over time and were never recorded verbatim anyway.

        As an example, the original Greek word translated to “destruction” or sometimes “death” in Matthew 7:13 is απώλεια. This word simply means “loss” or “ruin”. There are other Greek words for “death” and “destruction”. The decision to translate it this way, instead of simply using the word “loss”, was based on certain religious convictions at the time of translation. Death or destruction sound much more menacing, and that is probably what the translators had in mind.

        Most NDE’ers have learned that striving for material things or for status will not lead to happiness and will leave you miserable in the end. That resonates a lot with “loss” and “ruin”, don’t you think?

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    • Yitz on said:

      There’s not one thing you and I agree upon — sadly. I don’t think religion, especially organized religion, is attempting to manipulate humanity for power, etc. I don’t think my Torah can be misinterpreted. I don’t think Torah teaches fear. I don’t think it’s used for fear. There’s not a word about the afterlife in it.

      Look, we’re all a little bit selfish, okay? Even if there were no soul to lose, a person would still be kind to you just to get a spark of that, “I’ve done something nice today!”

      It’s all about feeling good.

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  18. Just a thought experiment (not a good one though) on the book and the concept of spiritual death (book finally arrived during the week). I suppose in the western world at least all things are looked up from a materialism or dualism perspective (with only a few pockets of idealism of which I would like to be so, but i am in no ways certain of this). The concept of Aristotle’s hylomorphism whereby the mind and body are of one substance (neither been mental or phyiscal) or that of Dual Aspect Momism (like that of John Polkinghornes version) whereby the physical and mental are two poles of one substance. Well perhaps if this is so in a NDE whereby one cannot recall the spiritual aspect of one self has decoupled and gone to the spiritual realm but the physical aspect remains unaware of this. Just a thought and most likely not so but just to consider it. And as a disclaimer my theological stance be free thinking Christian theist somewhere between Roman Catholic and Anglican Communion.

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  19. anna on said:

    Alan, that is so interesting that you were a student of Bohm. I’ve read about him in a few books that blend spirituality and science, including “God at the Speed of Light” (very interesting from a non-science person’s pov at least). I liked his ideas about there being a missing element that we are not aware of that explains some of the quantum mechanics “mysteries”. Fascinating stuff. Very cool you were a student of his!

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    • Alan on said:

      Hi, he was impressive and did his lectures on the board with no notes. Breezed in. Always friendly! I didn’t know his background until later years and at the end of his life was working on ideas with the great Basil Hiley to find common ground between mind and matter. As I read him, he saw the ground of existence (perhaps space – elementary particle properties are at least tied to properties of space) as possessing a kind of intelligence and this could be in part the source of insight. This kind of the mirrors the view of Roger Penrose (who also worked at Birkbeck), who thinks true insight has a non-conventional origin. “Thought as a System” with Bohm covers this. He was also well aware of parapsychology. Bold as brass and a true seeker.

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      • anna on said:

        This is so interesting! He sounds like an amazing man. I like these thoughts about space. I had a meditation experience once of physical things dissolving and everything, including my body, being light as a feather as if made of air/space. Never had the experience again but it definitely made me wonder about the nature of the material world. Other spiritual experiences gave me a belief in the spiritual world but its interesting to realize the material world is also made of “space” or spirit. Quite mysterious. Thanks for your post and for sharing these concepts. I will definitely look up both”Thought as a System” and Penrose as well.

        p.s. I seem to share a lot of my spiritual experiences on this blog. Great to be able to have these conversations : )

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      • Alan on said:

        These experiences are extremely important and I’m sure give us vital clues to our immediate reality and our relation to it. I mean, one is connecting. Just one more point about space is that is *in* us, even physics says that about particles being utterly dependent on the quantum vacuum (so our bodies must be too and that’s a thought!), not that we are in space *independent* of it. Extending this point to whatever spiritual is … implies us having a deep relation to this plenum, or even ground of existence, I guess one could call it. Maybe God? Well, why not?! Hey, great chat, thanks for sharing! Stroll on.

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      • anna on said:

        Yes, such a great chat! I really like this idea about the connection between the space within our body/being and the space outside (ground of being/God). I’m going to learn more about the quantum vacuum state too. These are also great concepts to contemplate in meditation.

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      • anna on said:

        Thanks again and take care : )

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  20. anna on said:

    One other thought – if as Parnia suggests consciousness is channelled through the brain rather than the brain creating consciousness then how would our consciousness continue if our soul was destroyed during our lifetime.

    I assume the soul and consciousness are the same thing.

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    • Yes, that is a very interesting question. I do address it in my book by suggesting that the soul becomes “materialised”. Its essence becomes so intractable entwined with the material world that when the material body dies, the soul (and consciousness which are the same thing) also dies. All highly speculative stuff of course.

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      • anna on said:

        A scary thought but also ties into a broader teaching of not becoming too focuses on the material world…remembering it is fleeting and you don’t take anything with you to the next world except maybe love and knowledge and lessons learned.

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  21. Yitz on said:

    Don’t recall where exactly, but Dr. Sam Parnia has said that everyone experiences NDEs, if they exist, of course. I’d imagine that “everyone” would include the elderly. Hence, I like the view of your wife: unfortunately, many elderly die, so there’s obviously no way to report what they saw/heard.

    That said, the video says there’s proof from the Aware II study of NDEs — I don’t recall reading that. I just recall, in a podcast, that Parnia hasn’t given up on ’em. What am I missing?

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    • Hi Yitz. Parnia is speculating when he says that everyone experiences NDEs, he does not know that, and has no evidence to support it. The evidence we have is very clear, and the difference in reports of NDEs in very young and very old cannot be explained by changes in memory alone. Parnia does not address that. Maybe he will now, who knows.

      I believe that the validated auditory OBEs from AWARE II combined with veridical OBE in AWARE I and countless veridical OBEs in the wider scenario of healthcare settings where OBEs have been verified by highly respected healthcare professionals, constitutes proof beyond reasonable doubt that OBEs and NDEs are real. That is the central premise of my book. To not accept such a mountain of credible human testimony combined with a piece of scientifically verified evidence as proof, is to be unscientific and irrational.

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      • Peter Stanbury on said:

        In your reply above, you counter my explanation that older people ‘have less NDEs’ because they die of old age before getting to report their NDE by saying that that may be true of older prospective studies but not newer studies. And yet….you wrote a blog article in 2014 almost identical to this one ( same ‘soul death’ theme ) in which you base your conclusions on studies that ‘all reported in the early 2000s’….including Van Lomel in 2001.

        Not only are most studies prior to 2001 of cases remembered from years or decades earlier….supporting my explanation…but in Van Lommel’s case he also made a crucial observation that older people who had NDEs were ‘significantly’ more likely to actually die within 30 days. Yet more support for my idea that many older people simply die before ever getting to report their NDE ! The combination of interval between NDE and reporting it…which in some cases is decades….and the fact that older people are far more likely to die within a month of any NDE….is BOUND to make it appear that older people have less NDEs. No other explanation is required !

        Quite simply, the older a person is the less likely they are to still be around to report any NDE. A significant number probably finally dying before ever being asked. Not only that…..but how on Earth do you make conclusions about much younger people from Van Lommel’s study in which the average age was 62 !

        You also completely overlook, when mentioning Van Lommel’s study in your 2014 blog, the fact that the higher percentage of women who reported an NDE were on average 5 years OLDER than the men. You mention it, yet completely fail to recognise that it goes against your ‘older people have less NDEs’ theme.

        Perhaps you should also state specifically which other studies you are referring to…as selectivity bias my be another issue here. I would very much like to see the data for myself !

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      • Read my book.

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      • Yitz on said:

        You mean the one audio thingy where the guy heard the secret word and remembered it? You don’t think that could have been faked? Or perhaps he wasn’t in cardiac arrest at the time? I don’t recall any vertical OBEs from Aware I, but perhaps I missed something.

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      • Yitz on said:

        In the video, you said that the elderly could enter the afterlife as long as they believed in Jesus, right? There’s a good way to test this, albeit it’d be hard because it’s hard to bring ’em back, unfortunately.

        Take someone who’s Christian and someone who’s an atheist and see what they report when (sadly more “if”) they come back.

        What do you think? I think such an idea could be implemented.

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    • Yitz, I absolutely do not say in my video that only those who believe in Jesus get to experience the after life. I do point to the fact that Jesus says that he is the answer to the problem though. The evidence from NDEs suggest something different. Research has indeed been done on this and it shows that Christians are no more likely to have an NDE than atheists or people of other faiths. It is not particularly good research, just retrospective observational stuff, but from the accounts of NDEs that I have read, many people who have no faith at all experience them. Howard Storm’s is one of my favourites.

      I am bias though, because I can only report and comment on things from my own experiences and observations…and they lead me to personally believe that Jesus was exactly who he said he was.

      A prospective study looking into this would indeed be a very good idea, and something I have thought of.

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  22. Yitz on said:

    With all respect, I hope you’re wrong about your theory! If I’m wrong, does that make Laura Marx right? Or was even she too late?!

    I can’t think of Rav Akiva losing his soul because he died — apparently — at 85. Nor Rashbi, Moshe Rabbenu (Moses), etc., etc.

    I know sacred texts preach differently and can’t be judged as seriously as science…

    I also disagree with the last statement in the video. It sounds nice, but it means only a select few get to have the prize — why so? If G-d truly loves us all, why would He bet our eternity on winning the faith lottery?

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    • So Yitz, here we go into the realms of philosophical debate for which we only have the evidence of our faiths and the teachings that lie in them. I won’t delve into that here as it could completely derail the discussion, and turn a lot of people off. My only answer would be that yes, I do believe that God truly loves us and wants all of us to share eternity with him.

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  23. Samwise on said:

    I am not sure, but I think this is a new interview with Dr.Parnia. He seems a bit more certain that consciousness continues to exist after death, but he also says that it will take a couple of decades before we know.

    Question

    You believe that there are serious medical advances to be made in terms of understanding where consciousness goes with brain death, and what its relationship might be to the brain since it’s impossible to trace, at this point, the origin of thoughts. Do you see a breakthrough coming?

    Answer from Sam Parnia

    We were never designed to be able to reverse death—so that’s why we have this perception that death is irreversible. You could do nothing, for millennia. And so in that time, we explored important essential questions about the nature of the human self and what happens when we die—the self was called the psyche, which was translated into the word soul in common English. We have different opinions about what it is, and what happens to it when it dies. We now call the psyche consciousness—it is our thoughts, our feelings, shared experiences that bring us together.

    Unfortunately, every single one of us will have a cardiac arrest—it’s the one thing that will happen to everyone. We need to understand the biology, but also the nature of consciousness, not only to understand what will happen to our own minds and consciousness when we go through death, but also to avoid resuscitating people who are husks, with no consciousness at all.
    “The source of consciousness is undiscovered in the same way that electromagnetic waves have been around for millions of years, but it’s only been recently that we created a device to record them and show them to other people.”

    What the evidence suggests is that the soul, the self, the psyche, whatever you want to call it, does not become annihilated, even though the brain has shut down. This suggests that part of what makes us who we are—a part that is very real—is not produced by the brain. Instead, the brain is acting like a mediator. Like anything that has been undiscovered, because we can’t touch and feel it, we choose to ignore it. The reality, though, is that human thought exists, we communicate through thoughts—so it is a real phenomena. The source of consciousness is undiscovered in the same way that electromagnetic waves have been around for millions of years, but it’s only been recently that we created a device to record them and show them to other people.

    So in short, we haven’t got the tools yet, or a machine that’s accurate enough to pick up your thoughts and show them to me. In the next couple of decades, I believe it will be discovered that we continue to exist after death, and that consciousness is in fact an independent entity.

    https://goop.com/wellness/spirituality/when-is-death-irreversible-a-resuscitation-m-d-explains-why-its-evolving/

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  24. Anthony on said:

    Some time ago I saw a video of Sam Parnia asking him if he believed in life after death. He said something like “in the first moments of death, I believe that consciousness persists, what happens later I do not know”. Perhaps consciousness only exists briefly outside of our brain for a short time after we die, and then finally dissolves?

    Like

    • Hi Anthony. Now you raise an excellent point, which I acknowledge in my book. (Feel free to buy it!! 🙂 ). The totality of data from NDE studies and verified NDEs from countless ER rooms around the world, prove only one thing, that the consciousness is able to persist between the time the heart and brain stop working and are restarted. I say prove because I really am of the view as a scientist that what we have constitutes proof. Only those who would completely discount the testimony of thousands of highly respectable, intelligent medical professionals, would deny there is proof that OBEs are real. When combined with what I believe to be the scientific evidence from AWARE II, the proof becomes absolute.

      Anyway, yes, we can only definitely say that the soul survives for a short period. It may indeed eventually die…everything beyond those minutes is pure speculation, and that is where my faith comes in, and other people’s faiths or worldviews. It is very strong supporting evidence for the claims made by some prophets that the soul can persist forever. But proof, it is not. It is a starting point for the philosophical debates that we should be having, rather as to whether or not the soul can survive death.

      Great comment. Read the book…think you’ll find there are more answers to questions you hadn’t even thought of!

      Like

  25. Frank on said:

    The answer to age-related NDE percentages is in Pim van Lommel’s Lancet article.

    Let’s say, to illustrate his point, that 60 of 100 people who get a cardiac arrest are in a sufficiently bad condition to get an NDE. After all, you have to be near death for an NDE to happen. Now, if 10 of these 60 survive to tell their tale, you’ll have 10 out of 50 = 20% NDE (we assume for this example that the other 40 (or a big part of this group) survive because their condition was not bad enough for an NDE to happen in the first place).
    If, however, 20 of these 60 survive to tell their tale, the NDE percentage rises to 20 out of 60 or 33%. And if 40 of these 60 survive to tell their tale, the NDE percentage rises to a whopping 50%.

    Pim van Lommel states in his Lancet article:
    “Older people have a smaller chance of cerebral recovery after difficult and
    complicated resuscitation after cardiac arrest. Younger patients have a better
    chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, and thus, to describe their experience.”

    So the answer (or a big part of it) could simply be that older people are less likely to survive a ‘bad’ cardiac arrest that brings them close enough to death for an NDE.

    Like

    • Hi Frank, I understand where you are coming from, but this is not how the data is calculated. The percentages that studies give are percentage of those who were able to be interviewed after having a CA, not percentage of all old people who have a CA. This is where the AWARE studies really come into their own because they have good statistical analysis. In AWARE I over 2000 patients were “enrolled” into the study, but only a fraction of these, about 150 give or take, survived to the point that they were interviewed. Of THESE, i,e, those that survived and were interviewed, about 10% (or less I think in AWARE I) reported Greyson scale NDEs (i.e. >7). All of these patients had CAs and died, and were interviewed, but only a fraction reported NDEs. The early data from AWARE II shows there may be a higher percentage, but the numbers are too small at this stage.

      Like

      • Frank on said:

        Yes, I understand. But that does not invalidate my calculation. Whether or not only a subset of these groups is interviewed does not change the percentages as long as the subset is representative for the whole group (and if it’s not the percentages are invalid anyway).

        Let’s illustrate this with the first group in my hypothetical example:
        100 CAs, of which 50 survive.
        40 had a mild CA and are not close enough to death for an NDE. They all survive (or at least the majority of them).
        60 have a more severe CA, and their soul is separated from their body. Alas, 50 of them die and never return, so they can never be interviewed. Only 10 of them survive and can be interviewed.
        So, out of 100 people who had a CA, we have 50 people who can be interviewed, 10 of which had an NDE. If you interview any representative subset of these people you’ll have a 20% NDE score.

        If, in the group of 60 people who have an CA severe enough for their soul to be separated from their body, a larger group survives, you’ll get a higher NDE score.

        The younger you are, the greater the probability your body survives a severe CA. So it is only logical that among younger people there is a higher percentages of reported NDEs

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      • Frank on said:

        And, on top of that, you have the effect of memory loss which is more probable in older people. Not all people who actually had an NDE will remember it.

        Like

  26. Peter Stanbury on said:

    You keep referring to data, yet nowhere do you say what specific data. I see no reference to any specific reports or studies…..or what the criterion is for inclusion of data. There are studies by people such as Greyson, for example, that show the average interval between NDE and reporting of it as 30 years or so. Clearly this would automatically lead to more younger people reporting NDEs….simply by virtue of the older people having finally died before getting to report. Is the Greyson study just being ignored ?

    Jeffrey Long reports a study of 613 NDE-ers in which only 26 were under 5. About what one would expect on average. Is this study just being ignored ?

    In the first AWARE study in 2021, the mean age of NDE-ers was 64…and the report specifically states ‘ there were no significant differences between age and gender’ in response to the question of had the person had an NDE. Yet you seem to refer to the AWARE study as if it had supported your case.

    So I am struggling to ascertain what actual ‘data’ you are referring to and just how it has been selected. You say read the book, but I should not have to read an entire book to simply be given the study or studies you have used.

    Like

    • The references and argument are all laid out in detail in my book. I am not going to rewrite my book on this blog.

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    • Just to add the data on children comes from Melvyn Morse’s book on NDEs in kids

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      • Peter Stanbury on said:

        But that is comparing apples and oranges if you are taking a book solely devoted to child NDEs and comparing to adult NDEs in a completely different context and setting. Also, given Morse’s conviction due to his being so obsessed with NDEs that he was ‘waterboarding’ his own daughter….I do have to wonder just how reliable his findings actually are.

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      • So the 85% number comes from IANDs too, but I do think they probably used Morse’s data. When it comes to comparing apples and oranges, you are in some ways right…we are doing something akin to the reviled “cross study comparison” a big no no in my industry…UNLESS this is the only way you can cross reference data from different populations, as is the case here. Let’s face it the data in general on NDEs pre-AWARE was not always created in the most scientific manner. So from my chapter on this I cite the 85%, I also cite Ring who from his data had a rate of 48% from a population with a mean age of 37, Sabom who had a rate of 43% in a population with a mean age of 49. There is a trend, albeit across different studies which used different methods and had different populations.

        But lets take the AWARE study that you use as evidence that they happen across all ages, and that there is no difference by age reported in the study.

        1. Parnia is specifically referring to the “any recollection” group when he says there was no difference by age or sex.
        2. Only 9% had NDE like recollections, and that this was only about 9 patients, which is too small a group to draw demographic conclusions from, which is probably why he didn’t as he does not state their characteristics.
        3. The mean age of the study population was 64 years old with a standard deviation of +/- 13 years, and while the age range was 21-94, the vast majority fell within the SD range, in other words they were in general much older than either Morse’s population, or indeed Ring’s and Sabbom. Moreover the methodology was much more scientific in its approach.

        While it would be much better if there was a massive well designed study across all age groups that had sufficient events within each age range to be able to generate statistical significance, we do not currently have this (we may eventually since Parnia is doing work along these lines I believe). What we have is a number of different studies, or collections of data, presented in different formats, that point towards what I regard as a clear trend, and given the potential consequences of what this trend may imply, I believe it should be treated very seriously. While it is true to state that we cannot say with absolute certainty that the occurrence of reports of NDEs declines with age because we do not have that perfect study, it is right to say it is likely and explore the possible causes.

        I show very clearly with good scientific references from well designed studies that examine memory loss by age, that natural loss of memory function could not account for this observed difference.

        Buy the book 😉 go on, you know you want to 🙂

        Like

  27. Werner Bartl on said:

    https://savingamericanhearts.com › c…
    Webergebnisse
    Consciousness After Death: Strange Tales From the Frontiers of …
    Is this new from Dr. Parnia?
    Best wishes Werner

    Like

    • Anthony on said:

      “There may be something in the brain we haven’t discovered that accounts for consciousness… “.
      This is what I once commented that a family of mine who is a neurosurgeon thinks about near death experiences and consciousness. There is still a lot of mystery around the brain

      Like

    • I think this is quite old, either that he is on repeat.

      Like

  28. A proposed classification for CPR-related cognitive activity, consciousness, awareness and recall

    https://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572(21)00226-4/fulltext

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  29. Bartl Werner on said:

    What does this new article mean? Do you think he speaks more for a brain based awareness? More blood flow in the cpr? What do you think?

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  30. I think it more so do try and have a spectrum of standards during both CPR CA

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    • Mery on said:

      It is interesting. It is based on the sistematic review they proposed back in February on CPR induced conciousness. I believe the problem for them is that there seem to be more types of awareness and experiences during CA than NDE and OBE. I think Parnia saw this in his Aware 1 study. And they are trying to create a classification. In this classification they have separated NDEs as a different experience from for example recalling things happening during CPR (maybe hearing about conversations or other sounds but not in the context of a OBE/NDE?)

      They never mentioned brain activity.

      However, in the February review they stated “CPR induced conciousness probably signifies better brain oxigen levels achieved by CPR” or something like that. And in that statement I don’t know if they refer to all kind of experiences, or just talking generally.

      Back in December Parnia said in a podcast interview that conciousness persists (at least for a while) despite having gone beyond the threshold of death, while talking especifically about NDE (not conciousness induced CPR), and that we are all likely to have that experience.

      So I am confused.

      I know from a NDE researcher that Parnia led a study/revision recently along with Greyson and others to clarify and differentiate NDEs during CA from other mystical experience not happening during CA (meditation, drugs, etc) to help classifications and measurements because they might not be the same experience studies are measuring. That study should also be interesting, but has not been published yet.

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  31. It´s all related with memory retention. Everybody experiences Near Death Phenomena under the same conditions, as everybody dreams every night, but only those who are younger and had a good quality ressurection procedure were able to fix those memories in a way they could be recalled later.

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    • Hi Admiral and welcome. The article does not show how NDEs may have evolutionary origins because the “researchers” fail to understand that people are actually dead when they have these experiences. That pretty much renders everything they say as irrelevant to the discussion on NDEs. Thanks for posting though.

      Like

  32. It is likely a memory thing sort of how dreams cannot be recalled despite those having them.

    Like

    • It hasn’t died, it’s just there is not much new to say at the moment. Your comment has been said before, and answered before and I am crazy busy at the moment having just bought a property that needs renovating and being involved in the launch of one of the most controversial drugs in recent times.

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  33. Well done, will have a look later. He has been ver very quiet for a long time. I am hoping he will publish or present some moe data before long.

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    • SeanD on said:

      It’s mostly just a broad strokes NDE overview, but he does reiterate that they are real experiences during cardiac arrest and not hallucinations. Nothing new from him on the AWARE front, unfortunately.

      Like

      • Thanks Sean, saved me 20 mins of my life! This blog is somewhat over reliant on Dr Parnia for new material 🙂

        Like

      • SeanD on said:

        Sure thing. The lack of new information has been frustrating but understandable. With him being in critical care, he’s had much bigger fish to fry over the past year.

        Like

      • Hi SeanD, he did say though about AWARE and the 2000 cases studied a while back … “in this study we were able to demonstrate for the first time that actually this experience is real” – not hallucination. But as you say nothing presently new.
        So no change from Sam in the message from his book on AWARE from a few years back, which is something I’m kind of on the look out for. I can’t help thinking therefore he confidently has some new hits. Great link!

        Like

      • Thanks Alan. I hope he’s got something good up his sleeve as well. There’s a lot of other good survival evidence out there though. I’d like to see him publish another book soon.

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