Author Topic: What Happens When We Die?  (Read 51773 times)

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Offline Swish

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What Happens When We Die?
« on: September 21, 2008, 09:56:31 AM »
I just figured I was going to heaven, but not as fast as I thought.

Some science in here, some bull to keep things interesting.  :cool:



By M.J. STEPHEY
Sun Sep 21, 12:25 AM ET
 


A fellow at New York City's Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Sam Parnia is one of the world's leading experts on the scientific study of death. Last week Parnia and his colleagues at the Human Consciousness Project announced their first major undertaking: a 3-year exploration of the biology behind "out-of-body" experiences. The study, known as AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation), involves the collaboration of 25 major medical centers through Europe, Canada and the U.S. and will examine some 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrest. TIME spoke with Parnia about the project's origins, its skeptics and the difference between the mind and the brain.

What sort of methods will this project use to try and verify people's claims of "near-death" experience?


When your heart stops beating, there is no blood getting to your brain. And so what happens is that within about 10 sec., brain activity ceases - as you would imagine. Yet paradoxically, 10% or 20% of people who are then brought back to life from that period, which may be a few minutes or over an hour, will report having consciousness. So the key thing here is, Are these real, or is it some sort of illusion? So the only way to tell is to have pictures only visible from the ceiling and nowhere else, because they claim they can see everything from the ceiling. So if we then get a series of 200 or 300 people who all were clinically dead, and yet they're able to come back and tell us what we were doing and were able see those pictures, that confirms consciousness really was continuing even though the brain wasn't functioning.


How does this project relate to society's perception of death?


People commonly perceive death as being a moment - you're either dead or you're alive. And that's a social definition we have. But the clinical definition we use is when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working, and as a consequence the brain itself stops working. When doctors shine a light into someone's pupil, it's to demonstrate that there is no reflex present. The eye reflex is mediated by the brain stem, and that's the area that keeps us alive; if that doesn't work, then that means that the brain itself isn't working. At that point, I'll call a nurse into the room so I can certify that this patient is dead. Fifty years ago, people couldn't survive after that.


How is technology challenging the perception that death is a moment?


Nowadays, we have technology that's improved so that we can bring people back to life. In fact, there are drugs being developed right now - who knows if they'll ever make it to the market - that may actually slow down the process of brain-cell injury and death. Imagine you fast-forward to 10 years down the line; and you've given a patient, whose heart has just stopped, this amazing drug; and actually what it does is, it slows everything down so that the things that would've happened over an hour, now happen over two days. As medicine progresses, we will end up with lots and lots of ethical questions.


But what is happening to the individual at that time? What's really going on? Because there is a lack of blood flow, the cells go into a kind of a frenzy to keep themselves alive. And within about 5 min. or so they start to damage or change. After an hour or so the damage is so great that even if we restart the heart again and pump blood, the person can no longer be viable, because the cells have just been changed too much. And then the cells continue to change so that within a couple of days the body actually decomposes. So it's not a moment; it's a process that actually begins when the heart stops and culminates in the complete loss of the body, the decompositions of all the cells. However, ultimately what matters is, What's going on to a person's mind? What happens to the human mind and consciousness during death? Does that cease immediately as soon as the heart stops? Does it cease activity within the first 2 sec., the first 2 min.? Because we know that cells are continuously changing at that time. Does it stop after 10 min., after half an hour, after an hour? And at this point we don't know.


What was your first interview like with someone who had reported an out-of-body experience?


Eye-opening and very humbling. Because what you see is that, first of all, they are completely genuine people who are not looking for any kind of fame or attention. In many cases they haven't even told anybody else about it because they're afraid of what people will think of them. I have about 500 or so cases of people that I've interviewed since I first started out more than 10 years ago. It's the consistency of the experiences, the reality of what they were describing. I managed to speak to doctors and nurses who had been present who said these patients had told them exactly what had happened, and they couldn't explain it. I actually documented a few of those in my book What Happens When We Die because I wanted people to get both angles - not just the patients' side but also the doctors' side - and see how it feels for the doctors to have a patient come back and tell them what was going on. There was a cardiologist that I spoke with who said he hasn't told anyone else about it because he has no explanation for how this patient could have been able to describe in detail what he had said and done. He was so freaked out by it that he just decided not to think about it anymore.


Why do you think there is such resistance to studies like yours?


Because we're pushing through the boundaries of science, working against assumptions and perceptions that have been fixed. A lot of people hold this idea that, well, when you die, you die; that's it. Death is a moment - you know you're either dead or alive. All these things are not scientifically valid, but they're social perceptions. If you look back at the end of the 19th century, physicists at that time had been working with Newtonian laws of motion, and they really felt they had all the answers to everything that was out there in the universe. When we look at the world around us, Newtonian physics is perfectly sufficient. It explains most things that we deal with. But then it was discovered that actually when you look at motion at really small levels - beyond the level of the atoms - Newton's laws no longer apply. A new physics was needed, hence, we eventually ended up with quantum physics. It caused a lot of controversy - even Einstein himself didn't believe in it.


Now, if you look at the mind, consciousness, and the brain, the assumption that the mind and brain are the same thing is fine for most circumstances, because in 99% of circumstances we can't separate the mind and brain; they work at the exactly the same time. But then there are certain extreme examples, like when the brain shuts down, that we see that this assumption may no longer seem to hold true. So a new science is needed in the same way that we had to have a new quantum physics. The CERN particle accelerator may take us back to our roots. It may take us back to the first moments after the Big Bang, the very beginning. With our study, for the first time, we have the technology and the means to be able to investigate this. To see what happens at the end for us. Does something continue?


Offline Lugburz

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 10:32:46 AM »
Actually this article wasn't telling us about Life after Death...As far as I read it was about science and about experiments how far they can go...
But again..as you've said interesting stuff..Definitely,there isn't a place for heaven on this planet  :))
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Online Babblelot

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 10:50:10 AM »
I'm bored with post-USO tennis, too. I'll bite, but first I'd like you to clarify one thing for me. I think the question you ask will be fun to answer, but I don't see why you included the article. Do you want us to respond to the article; the topic stands alone?

Anyway, my answer: It depends on your belief system. Mine is different than yours. What you call heaven, I call "you're dead". Some are more inclined to gravitate to a spiritual explanation, others to a secular. In the end, no one knows which is implied by your question.

I find it unfortunate that religion plays fear mongering games and scares young people--who grow up to hold these tenents throughout adulthood--into believing in a "heaven" and "hell", and, in some cases, that there is only one way to get there.
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Offline Lugburz

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 11:05:36 AM »
I second that Babble,interesting post... ;-()
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Offline Swish

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 12:40:58 PM »
I'm bored with post-USO tennis, too. I'll bite, but first I'd like you to clarify one thing for me. I think the question you ask will be fun to answer, but I don't see why you included the article. Do you want us to respond to the article; the topic stands alone?

Anyway, my answer: It depends on your belief system. Mine is different than yours. What you call heaven, I call "you're dead". Some are more inclined to gravitate to a spiritual explanation, others to a secular. In the end, no one knows which is implied by your question.

I find it unfortunate that religion plays fear mongering games and scares young people--who grow up to hold these tenents throughout adulthood--into believing in a "heaven" and "hell", and, in some cases, that there is only one way to get there.

I guess that I just missed that one, I saw the article and thought some posters might find it interesting.

I'm glad it isn't evident which viewpoint is implied.

I've just run out of things to say about the top players till the next match, rehashing the old arguments just causes problems that I don't want.

some things that are interesting is the lack of functional life and still keeping the brain intact to be awoken at a later time. The implication is that if there is an incurable disease a person can be kept in this state till the disease is resolved. There is a lot of debate from where I see it if governments want to keep a billion people in this state of suspended animation or let them die when they could be saved.

Offline pawan89

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 10:53:59 PM »
This is very interesting. There actually is plenty of evidence of things that cannot be justified by science. I'll still hold on to science and say something like 'you're born, and then you die'.


Offline jeffrx

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2008, 09:48:55 AM »
I'm bored with post-USO tennis, too. I'll bite, but first I'd like you to clarify one thing for me. I think the question you ask will be fun to answer, but I don't see why you included the article. Do you want us to respond to the article; the topic stands alone?

Anyway, my answer: It depends on your belief system. Mine is different than yours. What you call heaven, I call "you're dead". Some are more inclined to gravitate to a spiritual explanation, others to a secular. In the end, no one knows which is implied by your question.

I find it unfortunate that religion plays fear mongering games and scares young people--who grow up to hold these tenents throughout adulthood--into believing in a "heaven" and "hell", and, in some cases, that there is only one way to get there.

I'll co-sign that.
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Offline retro

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2008, 12:14:45 PM »
Having experience a brief "moment of death" when I was 10, I can concur with this statement

Quote
who all were clinically dead, and yet they're able to come back and tell us what we were doing and were able see those pictures, that confirms consciousness really was continuing even though the brain wasn't functioning.
If there weren't other people there to tell me that I had flatlined, I would have never known. :whistle: I remember looking at the clock on the wall because it was getting late, and the nurse telling me to lay back so she could get a better reading. For the next minute or so apparently flatlined, but I remember looking at the clock and people walking around the table I was laying on. :confused1:

As far as what happens when we die, I don't believe in heaven and hell.
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Online Babblelot

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 02:15:41 PM »
Having experience a brief "moment of death" when I was 10, I can concur with this statement

Quote
who all were clinically dead, and yet they're able to come back and tell us what we were doing and were able see those pictures, that confirms consciousness really was continuing even though the brain wasn't functioning.
If there weren't other people there to tell me that I had flatlined, I would have never known. :whistle: I remember looking at the clock on the wall because it was getting late, and the nurse telling me to lay back so she could get a better reading. For the next minute or so apparently flatlined, but I remember looking at the clock and people walking around the table I was laying on. :confused1:

As far as what happens when we die, I don't believe in heaven and hell.

Wow retro! Glad you're here.   :)
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Offline Jamesdster

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 03:39:32 PM »
OK.....I'll be brave since no one else will admit to this, but I DO believe in a heaven and a hell and yes hell scares the uhhh hell out of me.
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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 04:33:25 PM »
OK.....I'll be brave since no one else will admit to this, but I DO believe in a heaven and a hell and yes hell scares the uhhh hell out of me.

That is so strange. I thought I'd go first so that everyone would poop on me. But it seems you are right, you are the brave one...  :confused1:
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Offline Pacer

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 11:04:54 PM »
I used to ask myself this question often. Ponder, ponder and ponder some more. Then I'd ask, what were we before we were born? I mean, does life exist before well, life? I don't have any memory of swimming around in daddy's sack or making my way up the stream. If energy never dies, and if consciousness is energy, then in that sense I supposse we do live on. But what good is consciousness/energy with no brain? It would be like a car without a driver. I would be thoroughly pissed to be something like a cow fart. The human mind can't even fathom not existing, it's too complicated to understand. I imagine if there is life after death it would probably involve being reborn. Just my two.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 11:57:57 PM by Pacer »
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Offline roller1

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2008, 09:00:58 PM »
Yawn. When we die nothing happens. We sleep permenantly.
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Offline Pamqnx

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2008, 07:23:34 AM »
Yawn. When we die nothing happens. We sleep permenantly.

Sleeping IS something, so no, we don't sleep permanently :)

Offline huntingyou

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2008, 01:37:08 AM »
When you die...................you become a superhero in another world; SuperMan is taken, if I were you I'll be looking at Japanese anime!

Offline pawan89

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2008, 01:44:52 AM »
When you die...................you become a superhero in another world; SuperMan is taken, if I were you I'll be looking at Japanese anime!

Are tennis players considered super heroes?


Offline huntingyou

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2008, 02:28:52 AM »
When you die...................you become a superhero in another world; SuperMan is taken, if I were you I'll be looking at Japanese anime!

Are tennis players considered super heroes?

You need to pick the right world.........you don't want to go to a Ninja place with a tennis racquet and Roger's game........it won't work. To stay safe........I will stick with powerful heroes like Drago Ball Z or Hulks!

Offline DirtyKash

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2008, 10:23:03 PM »
What happens when a person dies? Either of three things:

- they get buried six feet under;
- they get cremated;
- they get thrown off a bridge into a river especially if you live in Chicago or NYC.

Heaven? Doesn't exist. Hell? Doesn't exist either.

Organized religion is so bogus.

Offline pawan89

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2008, 11:51:48 PM »
When you die...................you become a superhero in another world; SuperMan is taken, if I were you I'll be looking at Japanese anime!

Are tennis players considered super heroes?

You need to pick the right world.........you don't want to go to a Ninja place with a tennis racquet and Roger's game........it won't work. To stay safe........I will stick with powerful heroes like Drago Ball Z or Hulks!

What about like more 'realistic' heroes? Like.. Jackie Chan or Jason Bourne? I think I can fit into one of those categories much better. And you gotta admit, Jackie Chan can probably take out Hulk EASILY! A Big fat green thing can't do anything against someone as quick and smart as Jackie Chan - he would just make Hulk run in circles and beat him like that. Doesn't stand a chance.
and I like Bourne. Him and chan can do crazy stuff while at the same time not be overly conspicuous and green like Hulk.


Offline huntingyou

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Re: What Happens When We Die?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2008, 12:01:10 AM »
When you die...................you become a superhero in another world; SuperMan is taken, if I were you I'll be looking at Japanese anime!

Are tennis players considered super heroes?

You need to pick the right world.........you don't want to go to a Ninja place with a tennis racquet and Roger's game........it won't work. To stay safe........I will stick with powerful heroes like Drago Ball Z or Hulks!

What about like more 'realistic' heroes? Like.. Jackie Chan or Jason Bourne? I think I can fit into one of those categories much better. And you gotta admit, Jackie Chan can probably take out Hulk EASILY! A Big fat green thing can't do anything against someone as quick and smart as Jackie Chan - he would just make Hulk run in circles and beat him like that. Doesn't stand a chance.
and I like Bourne. Him and chan can do crazy stuff while at the same time not be overly conspicuous and green like Hulk.


 :rofl_2: :rofl_2: :rofl_2: :rofl_2:

Ok.....look at my avatar.....any of those to cats would be fine; Naruto and his 9 tales demon or Uchiha and his Sharingan....can't get better than that!

Good though...Jason is a cool agent and Jackie is lighting quick!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 12:01:42 AM by huntingyou »