And That Tunnel Of Light
Hi Ned and Cliff, The real objection, as I see it, to Newr Death Experiences (NDE) is that the people aren't really dead. If they were, they wouldn't be coming back. Clinical death, meaning the cessation of detectable brain function, is not necessarily the end. And we're hearing more and more of people subjected to hypothermia and the like who appear to be "dead" for considerable periods of time, yet can be revived with proper treatment. My take on NDE is that it is a "near" death experience with emphasis on the near. In anticipation of the ultimate shock, the brain initiates an hallucinatory experience to ease us into that good-night. The ultimate fantasy fulfillment to protect us from the horror and pain. I also hypothesize that these experiences helped give birth to religious beliefs in the distant past. Of course I can't prove any of this. Bottom line is, we can't talk to anyone who has really crossed over, just those who got near to death and managed to come back.
As for fear of death, I like Mark Twain's take on it. He said something to the effect of, "I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit." I find that comforting somehow.
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Bill Garrett"
Subject: Re: the End of the Tunnel of Light
Date: November 01, 2001 7:12 AM
Theodore Drange distinguishes between reducible death and irreducible death, the latter being death following which the body is so utterly destroyed that it cannot be simply revived, as in an ER. Nobody in the Bible, for example, who died, was later torn limb-from-limb, chopped up into little pieces, eaten by hyenas, or cremated and then successfully revived by Jesus or one of the Prophets. In a few cases, it is possible to read the passage to say that those Jesus revived weren't really dead. The only passage, actually, which goes out of its way to say "He's dead" several different ways was Lazarus.
Your hypothesis is similar to mine as far as there probably being a function of the brain which prepares us for the final return. My thinking has had to tailor itself to my situation. As one who has suffered a life-long depressive disorder, I have dealt with suicidal ideations since I was a teenager. I even learned suicide prevention counseling just to deal with my own problem. There, I learned to identify the part of me that wants to live and the part of me that has an urge to give it up as two separate entities within me, and to try to identify and contact the part that wants to live. Just thinking along these lines, thinking in terms of my brain as a functioning mechanism that might have a few quirks in it (just as all my cars ever have).
I eventually stumbled on the notion that the suicidal urge might be that function which normally prepares us for death being triggered prematurely, and it is this one that eventually led me to develop the method I use on myself today.
Later, I combined those notions with my own creative variation of the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) of Rational Recovery, which I taught for almost eight years until I just couldn't handle any more death threats from Twelve Steppers. AVRT teaches that the part of an addicted person that wants to get loaded is like unto a primordial, predatory appetite -- in other words, not "Me"! Being an urge and not "Me," the "addictive voice" is easily recognized as an "It" with no control over the voluntary muscles (but having only the ability to snivel and connive, etc., like every drunk and junky you've ever met).
I decided to experiment with AVRT's model of the primordial, predatory "It" on my almost daily suicidal ideations. There seems to be no making them go away, but the point has always been to not act on them while you're in the middle of it. Now, whenever I get an ideation, I can easily recognize it as "not Me" but as created by an "It" part of my brain. While seeing the addictive voice as an "appetite," of sorts, made Rational Recovery's techniques realistic, seeing the suicidal ideation as a natural function which only kicks in at the moment of death has made this technique I have used for thirty years seem very realistic. Today, I still get it, and it always feels like it's "Me" who wants to give it up, but I have sat down and decided, after thinking long and hard about it, that I don't want to die. This decision is my Game Plan, so to speak, and has thus become my Life Policy. Nothing short of a "rubber stamp" okay from Dr. Kevorkian would convince me to give it up -- no matter how I feel. That's the rule! So, in lieu of even knowing how to contact Dr. Kevorkian, any idea in my mind that feels like I want to give it up is nothing more than a hallucination, my mind playing tricks on me!
And the clincher, what ended up working (and ending my search and my aprehension) was an idea similar to the one you expressed!
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