Đe NDE & History

Today’s intellectual and academic Zeitgeist in the West is characterized by an extreme rationalism and promissory materialism.  As a result, it is virtually impossible to obtain a clear understanding of the subconscious and inframental underpinnings of history.  For those who have an open mind free of either materialistic or religious dogma, thus, a fresh and investigation needs to be undertaken.

By now, everyone who is awake has heard of the “Near-Death Experience” (or NDE;  some other names:  in German, Nahtodeserlebnis or Nahtoderfahrung;  in French l'Expérience de Mort-Retour or l'Expérience de Mort Imminente;  in Spanish Experiencia Cercanas a la Muerte;  in Italian esperienza di pre-morte;  and in Latin Passio Juxtamortalis).  Some of the physical activities, occurrences and elements in the brain of near-dying humans seem to be shared with animals, which has led some investigators to assume that an NDE is nothing more than some kind of cerebral deterioration (too much CO2, not enough oxygen, etc.).  They summarily dismiss the possibility that evolutionarily lower life forms might also experience such “mystical” phenomena, let alone that there might be a close — even seamless — link between the physical and the inframental.  Underlying their thinking are childish notions about God, etc., inculcated in them as young children.  In the mind of the materialists, any mention of the paranormal conjures up visions of circus acts and stage shows.  The admission that, at its core, the paranormal might have to do with life itself is in their view a sin of the gravest sort.

But among other extraordinary phenomena associated with the NDE is the fact that, in rare but firmly substantiated cases, a lethally wounded or sick person with a competely devastated brain or other vital organ will “miraculously” recover from the disaster.  These cases are on a par with the many healing miracles reported in the records about holy people throughout the centuries.  There is no trick involved in these phenomena:  the neocortices or vital organs, etc., of the wounded or deathly sick individuals are truly destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and yet these people recover completely, often with startling rapidity.  And they themselves give religious or mystical reasons for such recoveries.

None of these or similar facts will convince the dogmatic rationalists, however.  Thus any such individual ought not to waste his or her time reading any further.  Better to turn on the TV and watch the evening propaganda.

But for rational (not rationalist) minds, an inquiry into the historical background of such phenomena is in order.

To begin with, the sort of “near-death” state characteristic of the NDE does not have to be brought about by an accident.  It can and is produced by other means, such as extreme fasting, wearying the body through lack of sleep, enduring cold or heat, or even by the use of some narcotic drugs, among other possibilities.  Females are generally more adept at achieving the state than males.  Historically, this condition has been brought about by the religious specialists of primitive tribes ever since we have been human.  The practitioners of such arts have in modern times been known by the word “shaman.”  The word itself comes from the language of the Tungus tribes of Siberia, among whom the practice was first investigated scientifically in the nineteenth century.  Among the Tungus, the shaman would enter into a state of unconsciousness lasting for hours, days or even longer, visit the netherworld of his culture, commune with ancestors, spirits and other entities of that world, then return and report important information about where and when to hunt game, how to cure sickness, etc., and could use paranormal powers to heal tribesmembers or do other useful things.

The Tungusic or Siberian form of shamanism was found primarily in the circumpolar regions:  Siberia and, across the Bering strait, northernmost North America and among American Indians.  The ancient Germanic peoples also practiced shamanism, Wodan/Wodin being their spiritual leader, rather like an “archangel” of Western religions.  But the core phenomenon is found worldwide in different forms, in equatorial Africa and South America and among almost all preliterate peoples.  Many anthropologists regard it as the original “religion,” although this term does not really fit such diverse cultural practices.

In the Near East of two millennia ago, historical forces welded the shamanic practice of journeying into the netherworld to the gradually developing state religions of the area.  One area of particular importance for the present discussion was the Roman province of Galilee, which had a mixture of Greeks, Syrians and Jews living under strict Roman overlords.  Among the Jews were various sects such as the Essenes and itinerant preachers such as John the Baptist, along with terrorist groups like the Daggermen (Sicarii) who hated the Romans and killed any Jews collaborating with them.  Jewish society of the area was generally saturated with superheated religion, rather like the Islamicists of the modern world.

In this milieu rose a man from the Galilean town of Nazareth;  he is known in the modern West as Jesus, the Latin form of his name.  As is the case with people living in many multi-cultural areas even today, he probably spoke all three of the important local languages:  Aramaic, Greek and Latin.  According to the Gospels, he was, it seems, originally a disciple of John the Baptist, who was famous enough to be mentioned by Josephus, the historian of the later Jewish War.  The best text of Josephus does not mention Jesus himself, since he was not that important in the eyes of the historian.

The Gospels must be taken carefully, for they are largely composed of Old Testament texts (especially Isaiah and the Psalms) cut and pasted into the story of Jesus.  However they do say (Mark 1:12f.) that, right after having been baptised by John, Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  This is almost a classical description of a shamanic initiation.  Jesus is said to have been out there fasting for forty days and nights.  This, of course, would be impossible for any human being:  the number “forty” is simply pasted in as a mythical reference to the story of the Hebrews wandering in the desert for “forty” years.  Like many pious lies (such as Bethlehem being Jesus’ birthplace), it sets the reader up to assume a direct chain between his alleged tribal ancestry and his mission.  As in the textbook shamanic initiation, Jesus passes the diabolic “test,” then goes on to do great things.  He exhibits paranormal powers of healing, of exorcism and of control over the weather.  In other words, typical shamanic stuff deriving from his journey into the netherworld.

Jesus is obsessed with this netherworld, which he calls the “kingdom of God.”  The Gospels, written in Greek, have ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ.  In deference to the Jewish readers who did not like reading or hearing the word “God,” the phrasing was sometimes adjusted to read the “kingdom of heaven” (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Jesus often says that one should love one’s neighbor and give to the poor, but the “kingdom of heaven” is his first priority.  Here we are reminded that many of those who have NDEs become obsessed with their experiences for the rest of their lives, just as Jesus did.  It is obviously an extreme, life-consuming experience.

But after a while preaching to the rubes in Galilee, Jesus went south to Jerusalem in Judea.  There, after an entry procession commemorated in the modern West as Palm Sunday, he and his followers proceeded to throw out the money changers in the country’s bank, the Temple.  A modern equivalent might be causing a riot inside the New York Stock Exchange in order to destroy it.  The Temple authorities — the Sanhedrin —, composed mainly of Greek-speaking, Roman-friendly, Sadducee priests, were apparently led to Jesus’ location by some betrayer(s) in his inner circle, a location where they took him captive and then delivered him to the Romans for execution.

The end was brutal and bloody:  crucifixion, typical for non-Romans.

But a couple of days afterward, Mary Magdalene had visions of Jesus and rallied the troops to return to Galilee and Nazareth.  These apparitions of Mary Magdaleneœs were soon parlayed into reports of an actual physical resurrection of Jesus, and the new cult was off and running.  For a while the cult members were termed “Nazarenes” by the Jerusalem authorities (cf. Acts 24:5);  but in Antioch they were given the appellation “Christians,” probably by some Roman official.  (“-ian-” is a Latin suffix, not a Greek or Aramaic one.) 

Enter now a young man named Paul.  Until recently, the New Testament book called the Acts of the Apostles was thought to have truthfully described his activities and life story.  It was generally assumed that this book was written about A.D. 85, within about a decade of the supposed time of Paul’s death.  As a result of intense, decade-long scholarship, we now know that Acts was written in the second century, most likely in the time frame A.D. 110-120.  As explained in “Acts and Christian Beginnings:  The Acts Seminar Report” (Dennis E. Smith and Joseph B. Tyson, edd.;  Salem, OR:  Polebridge Press, 2013), Acts is essentially a piece of early second-century propaganda devoid of almost any historical information.  It uses and abuses Paul’s epistles to construct a “charter myth,” a “literary construction of religious belief and practice in narrative form” (A&CB, p. 340).  It is a romantic, action-packed story with invented miracles and epic adventures which inspires believers while emphasizing the contrast with non-believing Jews.

(For the currently [as of 2014] best historical information regarding Paul, see the following works:

  • Arthur J. Dewey, Roy W. Hoover, Lane C. McGaughy and Daryl D. Schmidt, translators.  The Authentic Letters of Paul:  A New Reading of Paul’s Rhetoric and Meaning.  The Scholars Version.  Salem, Oregon:  Polebridge Press, 2010.
  • James D. Tabor.  Paul and Jesus:  How the Apostle Transformed Christianity.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2012.
  • Jason David BeDuhn.  The First New Testament:  Marcion’s Scriptural Canon.  Salem, Oregon:  Polebridge Press, 2013.)

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul himself writes, “I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven.  And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak.” (NET.)  The Greek verb translated by “caught up” is ἁρπάζω “I take by force;  take away, carry off;  catch up (into heaven),” and its Latin translation is raptus, past participle of rapereseize by violence, etc.”  This “tertium cælum” and “paradisus,” where he heard “ῥήματα ἄρρητα” (“words too holy to express,” “sayings too sacred to be put into words”)/arcana verba (“mystic words”) impermissible for an ἄνθρωπος/homo (“human”) to speak, is the same as Jesus’ “kingdom of heaven.”  In Galatians 1:15f, Paul says that “God … called me through his grace [and] was pleased to reveal his Son to me so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles.”  And then, in 1 Cor 15:8, after speaking of the resurrection apparitions of Jesus to various people, he says “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

In other words, Paul underwent the kind of shamanic “otherworld journey” well known in the annals of comparative religion.  Like many so-called “psychics” both today and throughout the ages, Paul had lots of “visions.”  He was persuaded that the apparitions were those of the heavenly Christ — a spiritual being quite different from the Jesus historically crucified in A.D. 30 by Pontius Pilate, the then Roman prefect of Jerusalem.  Paul was in a constant battle with Jesus’ original followers headquartered in Jerusalem and its temple.  Their leaders (whom Paul sarcastically calls “pillars” in Galatians 2:9) were Jesus’ brother James and the latter’s adjutants, Peter and John.

About these statements in the letters of Paul himself, A&CB (p. 332) states:

Paul’s version is so cryptic that little of the underlying story can be reconstructed.  Luke, however, knew how a conversion story should be told and created his own version.  Luke’s story became the standard account of Paul’s conversion and defined for generations thereafter what a “conversion” experience should be.  The Acts story has become the quintessential “Damascus road experience,” but it rules out Paul’s own characterization of his experience.  Paul’s version, cryptic though it may be, is the only reliable account we have for reconstructing his biography.  According to his own description, Paul had a life-changing experience.  It did not take place on the legendary “Damascus road” nor did it involve a light from heaven, a disembodied voice, a period of blindness or instruction from one Anaias.

For various observers knowledgeable in psychology, the “visions” or “raptures” of Paul, Jesus, Thomas Aquinas, Joseph Smith (the founder of Mormonism) and countless others throughout the ages have been viewed as nothing more than schizophrenic hallucinations:  such ecstasies or visionary experiences are attributed to brain overload, and have no external relevance whatsoever.  Something went wrong in the cerebral connections due to excessive work and/or anxiety, and the result was a visual or auditory hallucination.

What has rarely been considered is the probability that such internal events are a presentation, by the brain and subconscious, of the solution of a major crisis (or crises) in the visionary’s life.  German scientists who have solved major puzzles through a milder form of this phenomenon have referred to such “involuntary” realizations as occurring in “BBB” — “Bett, Bad und Bus” (“bed, bath and bus”).  That is, after having worked long and frustratingly on a problem, the solution suddenly pops inton one’s head at a time when the thinker is doing something else entirely and not concentrating on the issue at all — the “eureka” moment.  St. Thomas Aquinas is reported as having wept tearfully in prayer over difficult philosophical and theological problems, after which the answer would often come to him as though by magic.  St. Paul was a man riven by the excruciating dichotomy between his Jewish religion and his Greek cultural background.  Joseph Smith was torn by all kinds of agonizing doubts due to the various religions and social forces pelting him with their opposing claims.  And so forth.

In each case, the solution was suddenly formulated by their respective unconscious minds and presented to the searcher in a holistic and compelling way in an understandable form, often graphic or auditory.

The classic example of this is the German organic chemist Friedrich August Kekulé, discoverer of the carbon ring.  According to him, after long struggling to understand the form of the carbon molecule, he had a day-dream of a snake biting its own tail, revealing to him the molecule’s shape:  a ring of six atoms with alternating single and double bonds.  Similarly, Einstein is said to have grasped the essence of general relativity theory by envisioning an undulating plane in which the “dips” were matter (celestial bodies).

In most cases, such formulations are valid only for the individual experiencing them.  Occasionally, however, they fit the times and culture, or the science of a particular researcher, and accordingly change the social paradigm.  A biopsychosocial earthquake thereby changes the human landscape.

Psychology lets us know more about the processes of visionary experiences.  However they are generated, the brain formulates them in accord with the cultural material already stored in the deepest and earliest childhood memories.  A fairly recent example is the visions of the aforementioned Joseph Smith, the American founder of Mormonism.  He produced a marvelous tale of Old-Testament-like adventures couched in the English of the King James Bible, a “Book of Mormon” claiming among other things that American Indians were really the ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel.  Similarly, Paul invented a new religion in which he rejected Judaism’s defining characteristics:  the Torah or “Law” (the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old Testament), circumcision and the kosher dietary laws.

Driven by his apocalyptic visions, Paul, with his Greek Stoic background (which shows up in his epistles), became a leading although bitterly contested figure in the new movement outside Judea and Galilee.  But this happened in a wider cultural environment which was slowly unifying formerly separate local inventions, practices and ideas of all sorts.  This general mixture of the various gods was called theocrasia (θεοκρᾱσία, literally “god-mingling, divinity-blending”), a mingling and fusion of several deities and their attributes into one.  Paul inadvertently set the stage for proto-Christianity’s conversion from a Jewish sect into a Greek mystery religion like that of Mithras or Eleusis.

Regarding Paul himself, A&CB (p. 332ff.) comments:

“The following details are found only in Acts:  Paul was once called Saul, he was from Tarsus, he studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, he was a tentmaker, and he was a Roman citizen.  None of these details can be verified in Paul’s letters, some of them are at odds with Paul’s own representation of his history (e.g., his Roman citizenship), and all of them fit motifs emphasized by Luke.  With varying degrees of certainty, we would have to exclude all of these details from an authorized biography of Paul.”

“After ruling out the individual narrative units, we are left with a core set of data [about the alleged final journey and circumstances of death of Paul]:  Paul made a final trip to Jerusalem, he was arrested there, he was sent to Rome as a prisoner, and he died by Roman execution.  None of these details can be affirmed directly from Acts.  At best, they represent an assumption that a tradition about Paul’s death may lie in the background of the elaborate story told by Acts.  With so little to go on, this is the best we can do to reconstruct the ending of Paul’s biography.”

Paul is thought to have died by execution under the cruel emperor Nero around 65 -67.  (Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, Section 1] relates a possibly true story that Paul’s Judean adversary, Jesus’ brother James, was stoned to death by order of the Sanhedrin in 62, during a short interval between two Roman governors.)  The year 67 saw the beginning of the Jewish revolt which ended in the capture of Jerusalem (in A.D. 70) and the end of Judean nationhood.  (The next Roman emperors minted coins with “Judaea capta” — “Judea captured” on them.)  With that, Christianity was no longer under the thumb of the now exterminated headquarters in Jerusalem, and became its own master.  Following the lead of Paul’s hellenizing tendencies, it went on to become a full-blown Greek mystery religion with gnostic touches.  A small relic of this is the fact that the Latin word “sacrament” (sacramentum “military oath”) was turned into a religious translation of the Greek word “mystery” (μυστήριον “secret [initiation] rite;  mystery”), due to the fact that initiates took an oath not to reveal the secret rituals of the cult.  The seven sacerdotal orders (four minor, three major) of the Catholic Church also stem from that transformation.

Over the next few centuries, the new cult was thoroughly Graecized and then, in the West, Latinized.  In the course of the Middle Ages, Islam gradually destroyed the Byzantine Empire, leaving only the Latin West and the northeasternmost Slavic regions viably Christian.  But very little of the original Jesus movement was left.

Following massive political corruption in the medieval Roman Catholic Church, with the Protestant Reformation came also a tendency to “return to the roots,” that is, to throw out the Greek aspects (e.g., the priesthood) and re-Judaize Christianity.  However, this happened without recognizing the true nature of the epochal eruption of the sacred mysterium tremendum et fascinosum in the visionary ecstacies and trances of Jesus and Paul.  A partial result is the politicized, guilt-imputing and guilt-tripping religiosity so typical of America — a “spirituality” empty of sincere religious conviction and with no inframental taproot.  On the other hand, fundamentalist, Bible-pounding irrationalism resulted in a blowback of equally mindless materialism, including dialectical materialism (Communism).  Moreover, Christianity is still used to justify the mass slaughters of the American Civil War and of World Wars I and II.  Christians were just “destroying evil.”

Despite these perversions, it is clear that, beginning with two visionary, shamanic experiences, the course of civilization and world history were changed.  For, despite all of its high crimes and misdemeanors and its current decline, European Christianity and its international language of Latin led to the modern world.  It is a world in which science plays a prominent part and could just possibly (if anything can) help mankind out of its current predicament.

This is by no means to say that the Christian religion is the central source of all truth and knowledge.  Before the end of the western Roman empire, the developing caesaropapist hierarchy devised the propaganda technique of using guilt — especially guilt over sex — to gain political power and to demonize enemies.  The guilt was ultimately due, it was claimed, to man’s “fallen” nature, inherited from the first humans, Adam and Eve.  The myth of the “Fall” from an idyllic state in Paradise by those alleged first parents was used to “explain” how humans became prone to sins invented by the Church (or, today, by the media).

However, that myth (in Genesis chapters 2 and 3) is actually a symbolic narrative of man’s rise to consciousness, not a “fall.”  The Genesis text states that there were two trees in the “middle” of the “Garden of Eden”:  the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  From the perspective of comparative religion and psychology, the “garden” is the human body, and these two trees are in fact one and the same “tree”:  the “world tree” or “axis mundi,” found in all the world’s early religions in one form or another.  Psychologically, this tree is the brain’s own projection of itself as the central nervous system with the spinal column and its “roots” extending throughout the body.  The CNS is quite literally the “tree of life.”  The “fruit” of the tree is in fact knowledge — including knowledge of the results of one’s actions.  Thus, “eating” this fruit brings about the knowledge of good and evil and the responsibility that goes with it.  The “expulsion” from “Paradise” is the awakening from the animal or childlike state of unconsciousness to human consciousness.  Also according to Genesis, Adam and Eve were originally naked and without shame.  But after eating the “fruit,” “God” gave them clothes, because clothes represent consciousness.  Animals and small children are unaware of any need for clothes.  Only as a human being grows older does the awareness come that one’s own self is separate from the rest of society and from nature.  Hence the need for a barrier between oneself and the environment.  (Divestiture of that barrier — total nakedness — is used, e.g., in the Indian religion of Jainism to fuse back into nature and Paradise.)  Finally, consciousness brings the foreknowledge of one’s own mortality, unknown to animals.  Thus consciousness is by definition an expulsion from the (previously unconscious) Garden of Eden:  we cannot henceforth partake of the tree of life and live forever.

This is the true import of the Genesis myth.  It has nothing to do with an original “sin” and guilt or “falling” from grace.  Only the religious misinterpretation of the myth has allowed guilt to be imputed and used to justify such things as burning at the stake and similar niceties.  When fused with Roman law, mythologically defined guilt became a wonderful justification for savagery, not just against true malefactors, but against any politically weak or unfortunate person.  Sexual variations from a current social norm used to be one target of this tool.  Today the accusation of “racism,” “homophobia,” “sexism” or (horror of horrors) “anti-Semitism” is enough to cause loss of employment or worse.  Indeed, guilt is a wonderfully useful tool.

Moreover, guilt is associated with the human propensity toward neurosis and schizophrenia.  Neurosis itself is actually a form of guilt, and is built into the human brain as an aspect of intelligence.  It emerges from the neocortex, whose function is to censor and control the impulses arising from the lower, inner brain.  As with intelligence, Negroes on average show the least neurosis, Mongoloids the most, while Whites are in the middle.  All civilizations are based on schizophrenia and guilt of some level, since the individual has got to be made to be self-censoring and self-inhibiting before any serious level of obedience to the monarch or civil authority can be expected.

But sometimes, if the tension becomes too great, the schizophrenic collapses in a nervous breakdown, when anything can happen, including a shamanic initiation such as Paul’s.  It is characteristic of many shamanic transformations that they may include what might be called inframental psychotherapy.  In some way the “patient” comes to know what is wrong in his or her life and discovers the ultra-dimensionality in which one’s soul is embedded.  There are instances in Siberian shamanism where the “out-of-body” initiate is cut up and dismembered by various spirits, cleaned up and put back together in a symbolic “reconstruction.”  Likewise in some “abductions” by flying-saucer “aliens” from “outer space,” the subject is laid on some kind of flat surface and similarly “examined” or “operated on” by the otherworldly beings.  The result is a “new person” whose self is more integrated both interiorly and exteriorly, at least from his or her own point of view.  (Clinical psychiatric analysis may be another matter.)

Interiorly, the schizophrenia which characterizes most humans may be healed, but for that very reason the former schizophrenic may no longer fit into normal society which, as mentioned, is schizophrenic by necessity.  This often leads to serious conflicts with family or society.  Exteriorly, the “cure” may fit the subject better into the larger context of life than thitherto, given the extranormal ability to perceive things beyond the obvious.  Such radical transformation may likewise include both an astounding, miraculous healing of one’s own body (as in some NDEs), as well as endowment with inframental abilities such as telepathy, healing of others, and the like. 

Jesus was a case in point.  His society was in the throes of a mental breakdown which finally culminated in two major events of utter national suicide (A.D. 67-70 and 133-135).  After his visionary experiences in the desert with the “devil,” he possessed characteristically shamanic, paranormal powers and preached profound interiority (to access the “kingdom of heaven”).  He was clearly of superior intelligence, but unfortunately disrupted operations at the Temple, for which he died a horrible death.  The Jesus Seminar (http://www.westarinstitute.org/projects/the-jesus-seminar/) gives a good examination of his life, except for the fact that the Seminar participants are rather inclined to disbelieve in shamanic phenomena of any kind.  It seems that they have not studied the history of the paranormal outside of early Christianity, which would have allowed them to consider seriously the possibility that perhaps Jesus really did heal some people with grave, non-psychosomatic afflictions.

Whatever else Jesus may have been, he was not a terrorist like the Daggermen (Sicarii) or a fanatic like the Zealots who started the disastrous rebellion against Rome.  He was generally mentally stable (although there were times when some thought him mad), and focussed on his vision of the Other World.  And he sought to help people, not kill them for their politics or money.  He was, in other words, aside from the Temple escapade, a quite salutary fit for his time and place, far better than the fire-breathing maniacs who dragged their country to its doom.

The core of the Christian creed is the myth that Jesus the shaman physically rose from the dead after his crucifixion.  Its attraction derives from the fact that human beings fear death, and wish somehow to overcome it.  The Christian story of the resurrection gives them hope that they can do this.

The myth itself began much earlier when Pharaohs, Shahs and other Oriental potentates were claimed to become gods after death.  As time went on, this belief became “democratized,” so that everyone could likewise become a god if one conducted one’s life properly.

Following Cyrus the Great (reigned 559 - 530 BC), Jews in Babylon picked up this idea from the Zoroastrian Persians, who taught a good-god-vs.-bad-god (Ahura Mazda vs. Angra Mainyu) dualism and the idea of heaven and hell, along with a “personal judgement” immediately after death.  The Hellenistic Sadducees who ran the later Jerusalem Temple did not believe in this, but many Pharisees did, as did Jesus.

It should be mentioned here that the whole concept of a “god” or “God” as a human-like Master of the Universe arose from this deification (“apotheosis”) of Oriental potentates.  The Old Testament Psalms are filled with talk about the eyes, ears, arms, hands, voice, etc., of Yahwéh.  In the Near East, the shamanic or Buddhist — or even certain Greek — ideas of the paranormal basis of the cosmos as being partly or wholly impersonal was replaced by the concept of a divine monarch who was at bottom a man.  This is the origin of the popular Western view that “God” is a human-like “person” who can even be imaged as a body-building geezer on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  This primitive belief is also an unstated premiss of many materialists who deny any paranormal basis to nature.  Indeed, with the Protestant reversion to pre-Pauline Nazarenism, God could easily be imagined as the emotionally volatile Oriental tyrant of the Psalms rather than the cybernetic inframind inchoate in the logic and mathematics of Greek thought.

However, considering the global spread of the belief in “life” of some form after death in most cultures, it behooves us to consider the actual evidence for the idea, without preconceptions.

There are three main categories of argument for a personal existence transcending death:

  1. the issue of what is popularly called “reincarnation”;
  2. the elements found not only in Near Death Experiences but also in Shared Death Experiences;
  3. the phenomenon of incorruptible bodies of people deemed to be holy or somehow involved with the supernatural.
(See the relevant literature on this elsewhere, since this article is too constrained in space to list it here.)

Reincarnation (“Palingenesis”)

There are some types of hypnotherapy called “past life regression,” in which a subject is hypnotized and seemingly “regressed” to a time before birth.  The hypnotizee will sometimes seem to recall a previous life in which traumatic events supposedly occurred.  Many of these seeming remembrances are clearly historical allegories of current personal problems plaguing the subject.  The therapist can then often use the “re-living” of such events to cure present neuroses through catharsis.

A well-known researcher in the field of Near-Death studies is Raymond Moody, M.D.  He has also researched hypnotherapeutic regressions and published his findings.  In Paranormal:  My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife (NY:  HarperOne, 2012), Chapter Fourteen (pp. 153-166), he lists twelve traits of such regressions:  they

  1. are usually visual;
  2. seem to have a life of their own;
  3. have imagery which has an uncanny feeling of familiarity;
  4. focus on a single character with whom the regressed subject identifies;
  5. can evoke emotions which may be (re)experienced during the regression;
  6. present past-life events which may be viewed from two distinct perspectives:  first and third person;
  7. often mirror current issues in the subject’s life;
  8. may be followed by genuine improvement in mental state;
  9. may beneficially affect medical conditions;
  10. develop according to meanings, not a historical timeline;
  11. become easier with repetition;
  12. show most past lives as mundane.
Dr. Moody’s conclusion is that such regressions are ambiguous:  it is not possible unequivocally either to verify or disprove the historical truth of the regressional narratives, but they certainly reveal aspects of the subject’s current personality.  Aside from this, on occasion the report given by the patient under hypnosis does agree quite well with known historical facts.  At the same time, in group hypnotherapy sessions, Dr. Moody discovered that — apparently by telepathy — two different people might simultaneously experience the very same past event!  It is thus quite possible that in such hypnotic “regressions” the mind either fabricates scenarios which dramatize the current personality dynamics of an individual, or actually pulls information out of a common ancestral pool of memories reaching far back into evolution, or both.

In addition, there are many cases in which young children below the age of about five report having lived before.  Their narratives sometimes reveal true information about places and events which had actually existed or happened before they were born.

Thirdly, as the late researcher Dr. Ian Stevenson detailed in his massive study, Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects, in the world’s backwaters (e.g., India, Lebanon, Southeastern Alaska, etc.) there can often be found people born with birthmarks or birth defects which correspond strikingly to fatal wounds suffered by a previous personality that died violently, whether by crime or accident.  There is a certain overlap between such cases and those mentioned above, in which very young children report living and dying violently in a previous existence.  The proportion of the alleged previous personalities dying violently in these instances is very high — over half of all cases.

NDEs and SDEs

Juxtamortal experiences are by now common knowledge, although it took a lot of persistence by researchers to penetrate the dogmatic denial of materialist fanatics in the medical field before they were generally acknowledged to happen.  Today we know from research in foreign cultures (India, Japan, etc.) that they are found in some form almost everywhere, perhaps even among animals.  (It is well known that many animals show telepathic and other sensitivity to the paranormal.)

The reports vary according to culture and personality, proving that each individual is his or her own idiosyncratic “lens” on nature;  but there are a number of common cross-cultural elements which often occur:  finding oneself out of body;  a tunnel;  the transcendent light;  meeting other “discarnate” beings;  etc.  A general conviction of those who visit such realms is that death is not the end, and that existence in some form continues.  They also sometimes report witnessing other souls waiting to be born.

On rare occasion, some of the inadvertent “shamans” are not just told somehow that it is not their “time” to die, but, when they return to life, they become inexplicably and totally cured of whatever their cause of near death was.  This may be, e.g., a brain turned to mush by cerebral meningitis or physically destroyed in a car accident.  Nevertheless, they are healed totally — sometimes quite rapidly — and beyond all medical expectations:  a true miracle.

Such miraculous healings correspond well with Rupert Sheldrake’s hypothesis of “formative causation” (https://www.sheldrake.org/homepage.html).  This theory understands the physical shape of things — and, most prominently, of living beings — as maintained by a “morphic field” — a non-material form characterized by an inherent intelligence and memory.  (A minor offshoot of this morphic-field aspect is occasionally seen in major organ transplants, especially of the heart:  the recipient may begin strikingly to exhibit inclinations, tastes and practices characteristic of the [usually deceased] donor.)  Given enough energy from some as yet inexplicable source, physical “matter” (as with lower life forms such as worms, starfish, lizards, etc., but faster and more completely), can be forced to re-align itself with this memory field or “soul.”  The injection of such power would constitute the “miracle.”

Congruently therewith, the “carryover” or new imposition of such a memory field onto an infant in the act of being born (i.e., of full individuation by separation from the mother) would on this view imprint it with some characteristics of the previous personality.  (An analogous process would happen in the case of the lower animals and plants.)

Another consideration is the Shared Death Experience.  In brief, these are NDEs which are co-witnessed by people surrounding a dying individual, and so are utterly unexplained by the fable of reduced brain oxygen or surfeit of carbon dioxide so beloved of the materialists.  Per Dr. Moody (op. cit.), traits of the SDE include:

  1. mystical music — recognized by the witnesses as ethereal;
  2. geometric changes in the environment in which normal spacetime is completely altered to an inexplicable alternative geometry;
  3. a transcendent light seen by everyone in the immediate vicinity;
  4. a “mist” or “fog,” frequently in human shape, being emitted from the dying person and often noticed by doctors, nurses and hospice workers as well.
All of these factors are evidence that something radically different from the usual physical processes occurs at death, and that a very real aperture to supernature has become briefly perceptible.

It might be mentioned here that Dr. Moody has also developed what he calls the “Theater of the Mind,” a modern form of the ancient Greek psychomanteum (ψῡχομαντεῖον), which was a place where spirits of the dead were interrogated.  In his Theater, people grieving for lost loved ones and seeking contact with them can experience a facilitated apparition.  Whether such apparitions are real or not, his newly (re)invented institution has turned out to be a major tool for grief therapy.  Of course, the standard materialist crowd is incapable of understanding any of this and prefers to assign it all to madness — their way of designating people as fit for burning at the stake.  Thank God that in America we (still) have laws against giving dogmatics their way.


Around the world there exist untreated bodies of dead people (usually but not always holy ones) which have not decayed.  Most of the known ones are in a number of Catholic churches in Europe.  On rare occasions these “incorruptibles” are also documented apart from religious contexts, but the Catholic Church has kept the best evidence on them by using the bodies or parts thereof as relics for display for popular devotion.

In some unknown way, the original souls in these bodies opened themselves up to the power of the cosmic inframind underlying material phenomena.  Moreover, in some cases those departed souls have actually appeared to living people in visions or dreams and imparted information to them.  (One striking example is that of the martyred St. Andreas Bobola [1592-1656] whose mutilated body was found in 1701 as the result of separate visions to two people after decades of his body’s having been buried under mud in a crypt where all other bodies and everything else had decayed.)

From all of these considerations it is hard to imagine anything else that might convince the obdurate materialist that intelligence continues after death.  What kind of proof would such a person demand?  Maybe a sudden magical restoration of the corpse of a 90-year-old who had just died to a 20-year-old youthful body?  A Hollywood-like science-fiction scenario of some kind?

Or maybe the best solution would be a visit to a local shrink specializing in mental blindness.

Today, the intelligentsia meets any mention of the inframental undergirding of nature with derision.  It refuses categorically to examine any evidence for non-materialist, non-mechanical factors in evolution or history whatsoever.  Government dispensers of public funds for science view themselves as gods and automatically deny support to scientists who are in any way associated with such topics as intelligent design or Sheldrakean causative formation.  Materialist dogma supersedes evidence.  The editors of scientific journals are browbeaten and threatened into censoring beforehand any papers that do not agree with or espouse the crassest materialism.

The media assists in this tyranny by presenting any elements of the paranormal in puerile and sensationalist terms as ridiculous magic, valid for proletarian entertainment only.  Serious investigation is largely suppressed in academe if it cannot be ridiculed, and those who propose non-materialist explanations of natural phenomena, no matter how well grounded, are often punished with lack of academic employment.  This extreme surge of irrational vitriol against non-nineteenth-century explanations is reinforced by the ultra-materialism of economic life.  The result is an utter disregard of the invisible foundations of nature — frequently accompanied by contempt for the conservation of the biosphere.  Since life is dogmatically asserted to be meaningless, there is no reason to be concerned about preserving it beyond one’s own lifespan.

As far as Christianity goes, the focus on the “kingdom of God” (i.e., heaven, hell, supernature, etc.) has been replaced by overemphasis on “helping the poor.”  Hence, large numbers of the population are now outdoing themselves in claiming poverty status in order to get government benefits.  Cultural crudity, assisted by narcotic stupor, is all the rage.  And the parasitic ThirdWorld is pouring in to take advantage of Whitey’s secularist compassion.  Meanwhile, as the revelations of government spying exposed by repentant electronic snoop Edward Snowden have shown, the U.S. government is as corrupt as any other in history.  Its only difference is Washington’s massive power and wealth, now being maintained by surreptitious criminal means.

All this is happening as the globe is experiencing diminishing returns on every level.  The constantly mounting price of oil is a prime example;  rampant government falsification of fiscal and economic reports (together with subversion of freedom) is another.

Meanwhile the evidence for the inframental reality behind NDEs continues to mount.  From what has been written above, it should also be obvious to all non-materialists that the cosmos was produced by a cosmic inframind transcending spacetime.  According to the most recent estimates, the universe we know came into existence from “pregeometry” and “pre-mathematics” about 13.8 billion years ago, and now consists about 5% of perceptible stuff and 95% of utterly invisible (“dark”) energy and matter.  A question:  in a situation in which there was neither spacetime nor energy — as is frequently thought to have obtained “before” the Big Bang, and assuming, as usual, that there was “nothing” but an utter vacuum —, what else could have produced our “Goldilockish,” cosmogonic quantum event?  Plus other Goldilocks questions.  (Ah yes:  it must have been “chance” — certainly nothing involving intelligence.)

The deeper we probe, the more mysterious the universe becomes.  Yet as a race, we are ignoring this fact and treating nature and our own existence with cavalier disdain.  All, while we are nearing an ecological (or nuclear?) collapse of world civilization, despite the happy talk from the Utopians who cannot bear reality.  Clearly the bulk of mankind, led by the U.S., seems less and less evolutionarily fit for the planet.  There is not going to be any miracle from the Beyond to save us from our own decision to commit genosuicide.  Maybe it is time for the intelligentsia of the West to be less politically correct and to reconsider its attitude toward the intelligent foundation of being.

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Deus vult ! — Þeedrich ( Inscriptio electronica :   )
Dies immutationis recentissimæ :  die Jovis, 2014 Jan 9