Saturday, September 16, 2017

Near-Death Experience: A Metaphor of Transformation


One of the more surprising phenomena to emerge in the 20th century was the so-called “near-death experience.”  Apart from its claims as pointer to the possibility of life after death, its great value may also lie in its fertility as a metaphor.  You can see this in various ways.  The first thing that occurs to me, it plays a subtle role in all things dramatic.  Every drama entails a conflict where one risks death of one sort or another.  The closer the hero comes to death or being vanquished, the greater dramatic value of the final triumph.

I may complain about the inconvenience of being bedridden with flu; but if my heart stops, there is a chance that I confront a being of light that puts all my previous assumptions about reality in the shade.  Quantum leaps of consciousness are not free lunches.  This old idea is enshrined in the ancient Greek dictum:pathei mathos “by suffering, learn.”  Surely, the important lessons of life don’t come cheaply.  But with apps nowadays for everything under the sun, one might easily forget that wisdom cannot be shipped overnight from Amazon. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why All the Research on Consciousness?

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Why is consciousness becoming a topos—a place in the world of thought where it is discussed, examined, explored? Why does it prompt us to wonder and speculation?   The first answer that comes to mind: Consciousness is where everything is at.  It is where we all live, the dimension by means of which we all experience “reality.”  Consciousness is what everything comes down to, the place we can never get out of, escape from or transcend.  What we are and what we feel and think and imagine are born of consciousness; without consciousness, our greatest thoughts, our most wonderful and horrific experiences are null and void.  Consciousness is the primary fact of our existence; it is also the most intimate.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Most Spectacular Psychic Phenomenon



Amid all the fake and frankly depressing news that swamps us daily, there is a category I’d like to call hidden or repressed news.   I mean news that may grab headlines for a day but is quickly forgotten; news that is extraordinary and mysterious but never fully confronted intellectually as it deserves to be.
           
Consider, for example, what may be the most spectacular case of paranormality on record: the story of the Zeitoun appearances (1968-1971) of what witnesses believed was the Virgin Mary.  The story appeared in the New York Times and became news all over the world at first, but except for Egypt it faded from public awareness.  But this is still news, extraordinary news but hidden.  So let me summarize the main points on the Zeitoun phenomenon.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Key to a Possible Afterlife





Before modern science, most people assumed there was an afterlife.  But that belief was soon to decline among the educated classes.  With the new 17th century mechanistic science, it suddenly seemed to many of the “brights” that there was no afterlife, no soul, and no God. Science was about what can be measured exactly.  There is no way to measure and manipulate soul, God, or afterlife; therefore, they do not exist!

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