Today we'll continue our interesting adventure by investigating some interesting theories thrown up by neuroscientists and neuro-psychiatrists:
"Thu 11 Sep 2003
Study into near-death experiences supports theory of a 'sixth sense'
BRITISH scientists say there is convincing evidence that a significant proportion of the population possess psychic powers.
The British Association for the Advancement of Science was told an increasing number of experiments support the theory of a human "sixth sense" - an ability which may have its roots in our past, when the ability to sense the presence of a predator was a matter of life or death.
The view that people are capable of paranormal feats, such as premonitions, telepathy, and out-of-body experiences, is supported by new research by the Institute of Psychiatry, which suggests the human mind may exist outside the body like an invisible magnetic field.
The research is being led by Dr Peter Fenwick, a neuro-psychiatrist at London University, who has just completed a survey of heart patients claiming to have had "near-death experiences" after their hearts had stopped beating.
"There is now convincing evidence to challenge the current theory that consciousness can only exist inside the brain - and if you can have consciousness without associated brain function, that is enormously important for our understanding of the mind," he said.
For his latest research, 60 patients at Southampton General Hospital’s coronary care unit were interviewed after heart attacks had left them temporarily brain-dead. Seven reported near-death experiences - defined by characteristic features such as a feeling of leaving your body, going through a tunnel and entering an area of "love, bliss and consciousness".
"The significance of this is that after a cardiac arrest you lose consciousness within eight seconds; within 11 seconds the brain’s rhythms become flat, and within 18 seconds there is no possibility of the brain creating a model of the world - so the brain is down," said Dr Fenwick.
"Yet whenever we asked people when their near-death experiences occurred, they said it was during unconsciousness. If that’s true, their experience was occurring when there was no blood flowing through the brain - and consciousness would appear to exist outside the brain." ...
For the full article, click here.
A quick point about near-death experiences. They're pretty interesting. Apparently they are also getting easier and easier to research. That's because ever since the development of cardiac resuscitation techniques in modern times, many more people have been successfully saved in medical emergencies and have come back with accounts of what happened "on the other side".
The really interesting point raised by Dr Peter Fenwick is the possibility that consciousness can exist outside, or without, the brain. If this is true, then ..... heheh, well, I can see lots of intriguing possibilities that could follow (disembodied consciousness? Something like souls? ghosts? telepathy? God without a physical body? Voices in your head?). But why should I invite a new lynch mob of angry readers. Perhaps it's better to provoke them into drawing their own conclusions.
I shall only add that completely different kinds of scientific research and experiments have been done, to investigate the possible effects of a person's consciousness (or thoughts) on physical phenomena situated in an entirely different location. I see such research as somewhat related to Fenwick's (if consciousness doesn't need a physical brain, where might it travel to, on its own, and what might it do there ...?).
In the near future, I will discuss one such interesting experiment. It was done by a Stanford professor emeritus and physicist, and the results suggest that consciousness can not only affect physical phenomena (in this case, the rate of development of fruit fly larvae), but can affect it over long distances (in other words, the person thinking thoughts about the fruit fly eggs need not even be in their physical proximity).
Stay tuned, for more TAR adventures with Mr Wang!