Is there life after death? Do we have a soul?
Afterlife is something experienced by people who came back to life to tell their unbelievable stories. The most amazing account experiences is the one of a 25-year-old Harvard trained brain neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander. This cannot be one of the usual afterlife accounts. Here’s his story.
Dr. Alexander did not believe in the afterlife or a non-physical spirit. He was always surrounded by colleagues invested in the material view of life, without believing in the soul. Like most skeptics, he only believed the afterlife stories were just hallucinations and products of imagination. He was then in coma for seven days caused by a severe case of bacterial meningitis. During the coma he experienced a journey that would changes his vision of the afterlife.
Upon returning to his body, Dr. Alexander wrote the number 1 NY Times bestseller book “Proof of Heaven”. In this book, he confirms that our life on Earth is just a test that helps our souls evolve and grow and that the way we succeed in doing so is to proceed with love and compassion. Here are a few notable points from the book:
– His afterlife experience was so real that the experience as a human on Earth is just an artificial dream in comparison to that.
– The fabric of the afterlife was love. Yes, love dominated everything so the presence of evil was small. If you wish to understand the Universe, you should know love.
– All communication was telepathic. There was no need of words. All the questions asked were answered telepathically.
When he was asked what he wants everyone to know about the spiritual realm, he answered that you are more precious and loved than you can possibly imagine. You are always safe and never alone. The unconditional and perfect love of God affects everyone.
“Love is, without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard-to-fathom kind of love, but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows-the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and our children, or even our animals. This love is not jealous or selfish, but it’s unconditional and in its purest and most powerful form.
This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or will ever exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it, and embody it in all of their actions.”, says Dr. Alexander.
Now, we should discuss credibility. His neocortex was nonfunctional during the coma, so there’s no scientific evidence why he experienced this. In his book, he gives refutations for 9 scientific explanations of what happened to him.
Exploring naturalistic explanations
These are five potential explanations in Appendix B of his book.
Some of them may not make sense to laymen like us, so here are the most common explanations he refutes.
– A primitive brainstem program to ease the terminal pain and suffering. This didn’t explain the rich nature of his recollections.
– The distorted recall of memories from the deeper parts of the system like the amygdala that has enough overlying brain to be protected from the bacterial inflammation which occurs at the brain surface. This did not explain the robust, richly interactive nature of the recollections.
– DMT dump. DMT is a natural serotonin that causes visions. He is personally familiar to the serotonin related drug experiences (LSD) from his teen years. He has not had a DMT experience, but he has seen patients under the influence. The rich ultra-reality still needs a functioning audio and visual neocortex as target regions in which to generate a rich experience like he had. The prolonged coma has destroyed his neocortex, where all the serotonin from the raphe nuclei in his brainstem would have effects on the audiovisual experiences. However, his cortex was off so the DMT would have no place in the brain to act.
– A reboot phenomenon – a random dump of fragmented memories due to old memories in the affected neocortex, which might occur on restarting the cortex into consciousness after a prolonged failure like a meningitis. This seems most unlikely when you take into account the details of his vivid recollections.
– An unusual memory generation through an archaic visual pathway is used in birds, but not in humans. Humans can experience it only in cases when they’re cortically blind. It provided no clues to the ultra-reality he witnessed and failed to explain the auditory-visual incorporation.
Dr. Alexander’s near death experience account is the most credible because he has a scientific background.