Sunday, June 11, 2006

Near Death Experiences

Was just going through this month's issue of Reader's Digest. Came across yet another article on Near Death Experiences (NDEs). - Spirited Away by Randal Sullivan (June 2006)

The article talks about how an 'out of the ordinary' patient motivated Dr. Melvin Morse to dedicate the rest of his life studying NDEs and search for a plausible explanation to the hitherto, enigmatic phenomenon.

The interesting part of the story is that his researches and experiments have been chiefly revolved around children. Quoting him -

"The adult NDE is cluttered by cultural references and contaminated by the need for validation. But in kids, its pure. Kids don't repress the memory or fear the ridicule that might come from talking about it."

Over the next ten years, he studied 26 children who came close to death and therefore whose visions could be qualified as NDEs.What he found refutes one of the standard beliefs held by most - That most NDEs are more or less similar in nature and follow the same pattern broadly. Morse found that NDEs were in fact quite idiosyncratic.The article goes on to talk about how he concludes the authenticity of these strange visions/hallucinations.

However, what I found amusing, were some of the visions that some of the kids talked about. Quoting from the article -

'Eight year old Chris Eggleston, who had been trapped inside his family's car when it plunged into a river, recalled going into a huge noodle and entering an animal tunnel where a bee gave him honey and took him to heaven'

'Michelle Wilson emerged from a diabetic coma to describe finding herself abroad a rowdy school bus where two tall doctors showed her a green button she could push to wake up'

'Seven year old Chris Davis, who was rescued from a collapsed tunnel on a beach, reported that a wizard, all dressed in white, came to him and said "Struggle, and you shall live."

Now, honestly speaking, those didn't sound like NDEs to me. Did they to you? Much likelier explanation would be that these were just a creation of the fantasy loving minds of these children. I am not saying they were lying, they in all probability had genuinely had these visions, but accepting them as NDEs is slightly difficult.

Of course, Dr. Morse would counter that these experiences happened when there was absolutely no brain activity in these kids and therefore, couldn't have been dreams. Well, in that case, how do you actually establish that these visions occurred within that period? Couldn't they have had those visions after their activity was restored and before they regained actual consciousness?

The food for thought, however, is what can be inferred if these experiences were genuine cases of NDEs. The visions, you'll accept, are purely juvenile in nature. Noodles and wizards and school buses don't sound very grown-up-ish to me.

And if these visions were indeed from the beyond, then maybe, just maybe, The Almighty, The Creator, GOD, is actually, a child! And maybe all this universe is truly 'Child's Play'!

And that, could be the worst joke on all humankind. Or maybe, humankind is a joke anyway!


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Anonymous said...

I am a relative of Chris Eggleston....he was FOUR years old, not eight...and by the way he was completely dead for 15 minutes. how else is a 4 year old supposed to explain a tunnel...and how else would "god" or other beings try to make sense of heaven to a 4 year old. figure it out. You don't need a degree.

Anonymous said...

in addition to my last post.....

this wasn't a "Near Death Experience"....



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