Moment of Death

I just watched this National Geographic show about what happens to a person physically and psychologically at the moment of death. They had these doctors on there talking about how near-death experiences are very similar across the world. People report seeing a bright, warm, welcoming light at the end of the tunnel, wanting to go towards that light, seeing their lives flash before their eyes, etc.

I want to believe that there is something more, something after death, but science is making me doubt it. The show demonstrated how Air Force pilots are trained to tolerate the extreme G-forces of the jets by getting in this simulator contraption that spins around really fast. A lot of people who aren't used to it will pass out because blood isn't getting to their brains fast enough. What's weird is that these people report a similar experience to those who had a near-death experience. The whole warm light and life flashing thing. The show suggested that when the brain is deprived of oxygen, the very basic parts of the brain (in the brain stem) take over. Since we are mammals and light (the sun) is extremely important to us, we see a light. Since memories of our families, friends, lives, etc are extremely important to us, those neurons fire, conjuring up those images. So, is there actually nothing after death and the warm fuzzies we get when we are about to croak are just a result of the brain not getting oxygen? I mean...it makes sense. If you mess with the brain, crazy stuff happens. Just look at what taking drugs does. If someone sees angels while tripping on LSD, that doesn't mean there are angels, just that the brain has been altered. It makes sense that our brains would make us experience strange things if they weren't getting oxygen.

However, the show could not explain the phenomenon of people who have died and then came back to report that they been out of their bodies, hovering above the scene, watching. A guy on the show had to have open heart surgery, and during it he said he left his body and watched from above. He described what the doctor and nurses did and said, and all kinds of things that there's no way he could have known. Interesting.

I want to believe that there is more than just this life, and that our brains aren't just making us feel better before we die. I want to believe that I am a soul that has a body, not a body that has a soul.

10:30 p.m. - Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010


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