What happens when we die?

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    Oct 14, 2009 10:56 AM GMT
    This TIME article is very interesting.

    Thursday, Sep. 18, 2008
    What Happens When We Die?
    By M.J. Stephey

    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 actu
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    Oct 17, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    I have read newspaper articles of near-death experiences as well as watched TV documentaries about it.
    One case involved a trader who died briefly in hospital. He testifies of descending to a horrible place where he saw his mother screaming in agonised torment, although she didn't look actually injured herself. Then he saw himself returning to the theatre where his body was being resuscitated by a group of surgeons. He went back into his own body, and woke up alive, still screaming. The knack was, his mother died when he was born, and not seen a picture of her during his childhood. When someone showed a series of pictures of different women, he correctly picked out his mother, to the astonishment of the media.
    There have been other similar occasions, including one who was stung by a deadly jellyfish.
    I don't believe any of this were made up. Heaven and Hell are real places, and every human will go to one or the other.
    I have been flamed for these beliefs. But had I kept quiet and said nothing, then what kind of a friend would I be here?
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    Oct 17, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
    The Gforce conclusion is faulty and without scientific merit.

    There is becoming a body of scientific evidence that the brain has a mode where it shuts down non-vital portions of the brain (e.g. the site center goes into an all-on mode that is "bright lights.")

    The same experiences have also been well studied via the Air Force in G force (not the weird guy, but the forces of acceleration) testing, and, they duplicate the near-death experience to the letter.

    Like science always is, we need to do more discovery of how the human machine works. It's not God; it's the Human Machine.

    While it's easy to explain away things we don't understand with malarkey, it's not the right thing. Truth is the right thing, and science is about truth.

    As we do more scientific research, more and more false belief systems and notions will be dispelled as is always the case with science. As I said, science requires truth; faith is malarkey.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:01 AM GMT
    What happens when we die?

    You enter eternal blackness, and nothing more. No memories, no thoughts, no anything -- you just cease to exist. At least it's painless after it happens, and you worry about it no more.

    A difficult concept for humans to accept, because we want to imagine ourselves from a post-mortem perspective. But death is a one-way door, from which you don't look back. When death comes, all goes black, all ends, and that's that. The rest is left to those who survive us, but we'll know nothing of that.

    For that reason I'm not concerned what happens to my remains. I've asked to be cremated, but you can throw me on the barbie for all I'll care. I only have significance while I live (and not an awful lot of that as these things are measured), but when I'm dead I'll have no significance at all.

    Such is the fate of biological creatures like ourselves, regardless of our intelligence & prescience. Our passing has no more importance than the roadkill we see as we drive our cars, except in the hearts of those we leave behind. And before long, their own turn comes.

    Still, as a matter of principle, and humanity, we protect life, lest we devolve into Nazi atrocities. Life is all we know, all we will ever know, and so we must treasure and sustain it. But to imagine there is something after death is just wishful thinking, for which no proof has ever existed.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:05 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidThe Gforce conclusion is faulty and without scientific merit.

    There is becoming a body of scientific evidence that the brain has a mode where it shut downs non-vital portions of the brain (e.g. the site center goes into an all-on mode that is "bright lights.")

    They same experiences have also been well studied via the Air Force in G force (not the weird guy, but the forces of acceleration) testing, and, they duplicate the near-death experience to the letter.

    Like science always is, we need to do more discovery of how the human machine works. It's not God; it's the Human Machine.

    While it's easy to explain away things we don't understand with malarkey, it's not the right thing. Truth is the right thing, and science is about truth.

    As we do more scientific research, more and more false belief systems and notions will be dispelled and is always the case with science. As I said, science requires truth; faith is malarkey.


    So how does that jibe with the reports of people having out of body experiences where they are 'above' their bodies.. and they see pictures that are above the cabinets in the room where they 'died'?

    I'm not a Jesus freak, but I'm quite sure that when we die, we don't just vanish. Remember the law of conservation of energy... Energy cant be created or destroyed - only transformed.... where does our energy go? Just into thin air? Dissipated as heat? I think not.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:29 AM GMT
    Dissipating as heat works for me.

    I guess I live a pretty good life though.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:33 AM GMT
    NotThatOld saidI have read newspaper articles of near-death experiences as well as watched TV documentaries about it.
    One case involved a trader who died briefly in hospital. He testifies of descending to a horrible place where he saw his mother screaming in agonised torment, although she didn't look actually injured herself. Then he saw himself returning to the theatre where his body was being resuscitated by a group of surgeons. He went back into his own body, and woke up alive, still screaming. The knack was, his mother died when he was born, and not seen a picture of her during his childhood. When someone showed a series of pictures of different women, he correctly picked out his mother, to the astonishment of the media.
    There have been other similar occasions, including one who was stung by a deadly jellyfish.
    I don't believe any of this were made up. Heaven and Hell are real places, and every human will go to one or the other.
    I have been flamed for these beliefs. But had I kept quiet and said nothing, then what kind of a friend would I be here?

    [citation needed]

    i heard. i've read. a friend told me.

    great stories, but i see nor heard of any concrete evidence for anything after death.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:37 AM GMT
    ZbmwM5 saidSo how does that jibe with the reports of people having out of body experiences where they are 'above' their bodies.. and they see pictures that are above the cabinets in the room where they 'died'?
    The account(s) you're remembering here describe the opposite. The near-death patients did not read the signs/placards placed above the bed. When asked to describe what was above their bed they described things not present in the room--a sign of dreaming.

    See: http://www.esalenctr.org/display/confpage.cfm?confid=19&pageid=151&pgtype=1
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:46 AM GMT
    What happens when we die?

    Some guy carries you off and charges the family about 10 grand.
  • barriehomeboy

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    Oct 18, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
    Exactly. Pilots experience the same thing at high altitudes when the G forces suck the blood out of their brains. It's not a near death sighting of God. It's functional in-body phenomenon.
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    Oct 18, 2009 12:58 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidThe Gforce conclusion is faulty and without scientific merit.



    What conclusion did G_Force make? G_Force quoted an article. Except for the first sentence in his post -- "This TIME article is very interesting" -- the rest of the post came straight from the article and G-Force made no commentary on it.

    Btw, it seems that G-Force didn't realize that the article was too long for all of it to post.

    Here's a link to the article:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1842627,00.html
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    Oct 18, 2009 4:17 AM GMT
    theantijock said

    theantijock saidEven when having what might be described as out of body experiences every day of life, even if (it) actually is out of body when you are alive, you still have no proof to say consciousness survives death


    Your absolutely right. At 27 had 4 near death experiences caused by two doctors mistakes that finally lead to hepatic necrosis. When I was in my first crisis I was given a hypo ( shot ) meant for a cardiac arrest patient. My crisis was severe internal bleeding caused by liver failure, That was the beginning of my four near death experiences.

    They were the classic that many of you have read about and are told about so nothing to add as to what happened.

    Crap..........I don't give a crap about what will happen next I know.

    I not afraid of dying.....I afraid of not living, The gift that was given to me is mine and I will use it. Once it is recalled it is done but until that moment I am using it, all of it, through all the pain through all the joy.

    My only concern......... I am here I am now!
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    Oct 18, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidWhat happens when we die?

    You enter eternal blackness, and nothing more. No memories, no thoughts, no anything -- you just cease to exist. At least it's painless after it happens, and you worry about it no more.

    A difficult concept for humans to accept, because we want to imagine ourselves from a post-mortem perspective. But death is a one-way door, from which you don't look back. When death comes, all goes black, all ends, and that's that. The rest is left to those who survive us, but we'll know nothing of that.

    For that reason I'm not concerned what happens to my remains. I've asked to be cremated, but you can throw me on the barbie for all I'll care. I only have significance while I live (and not an awful lot of that as these things are measured), but when I'm dead I'll have no significance at all.

    Such is the fate of biological creatures like ourselves, regardless of our intelligence & prescience. Our passing has no more importance than the roadkill we see as we drive our cars, except in the hearts of those we leave behind. And before long, their own turn comes.

    Still, as a matter of principle, and humanity, we protect life, lest we devolve into Nazi atrocities. Life is all we know, all we will ever know, and so we must treasure and sustain it. But to imagine there is something after death is just wishful thinking, for which no proof has ever existed.


    I have to agree with RedVespa. I talked at length with a hippie friend of mine who has somewhat different views than I do about this and he explained to me that death is just the end. I used to believe in the afterlife and that I would come back as something else, but after listening to him talk about dying, it seems to make more sense that we just cease to exist and all we can do is live life to the fullest and the best of our ability.
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    Oct 18, 2009 4:31 AM GMT
    We decompose.... thats pretty much it hope you did not hold your breathicon_razz.gif
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    Oct 18, 2009 4:52 AM GMT
    jprichva saidI know this sounds really banal, but something I read once completely ended my fear of dying.

    The remark was "The last day of your life will be like any other day...except shorter."


    Hey, what if you die at 23:59:59?
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    Oct 18, 2009 5:06 AM GMT
    jprichva said
    theatrengym saidHey, what if you die at 23:59:59?

    Well, then, it's 00:59:59 a mere time-zone east of you.


    There you go again with that time thing.

    Hmmmmmmmmmm sure it's not just change Mr. A Parsons
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    Oct 18, 2009 5:12 AM GMT
    Wut a really weird topic...icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 19, 2009 1:44 AM GMT
    NotThatOld saidI have read newspaper articles of near-death experiences as well as watched TV documentaries about it.
    One case involved a trader who died briefly in hospital. He testifies of descending to a horrible place where he saw his mother screaming in agonised torment, although she didn't look actually injured herself. Then he saw himself returning to the theatre where his body was being resuscitated by a group of surgeons. He went back into his own body, and woke up alive, still screaming. The knack was, his mother died when he was born, and not seen a picture of her during his childhood. When someone showed a series of pictures of different women, he correctly picked out his mother, to the astonishment of the media.
    There have been other similar occasions, including one who was stung by a deadly jellyfish.
    I don't believe any of this were made up. Heaven and Hell are real places, and every human will go to one or the other.
    I have been flamed for these beliefs. But had I kept quiet and said nothing, then what kind of a friend would I be here?


    I agree with you and you are a good friend.
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    Oct 19, 2009 1:53 AM GMT
    We are all going to find out eventaully anyhow, so why worry now? I don't like to focus on the end of my life when I love what I have going for the living portion.
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    Oct 19, 2009 1:56 AM GMT
    we all go to hell... its the price for the life we have chosen.
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:23 AM GMT
    you're judged by your maker, then deal with the consequences.
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:26 AM GMT
    theatrengym said
    chuckystud saidThe Gforce conclusion is faulty and without scientific merit.



    What conclusion did G_Force make? G_Force quoted an article. Except for the first sentence in his post -- "This TIME article is very interesting" -- the rest of the post came straight from the article and G-Force made no commentary on it.

    Btw, it seems that G-Force didn't realize that the article was too long for all of it to post.

    Here's a link to the article:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1842627,00.html


    You are right I didn't make any conclusions when I posted the article. Unlike animals I believe we are more than just physical bodies, but we are also spiritual beings with human bodies. At death, I beleive only the body dies and decomposes, but our spirits do not die--they are immortal. But even though our human bodies die and decompose, I believe Jesus will resurrect my body by the simple command of his word and my body will be alive again to be reunited with my soul--only my body after the resurrection will be totally perfect without any effects of sin harming it and it will be changed into an immortal body (it will never die again). It is not natural for our spirits to live apart from our bodies.

    My belief is NOT because of this article though, but because of God's promise given in 1 Corinthians 15.

    1 Corinthians 15 (New International Version)

    The Resurrection of Christ
    1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    9For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

    The Resurrection of the Dead
    12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

    20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he "has put everything under his feet."[c] Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

    29Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
    "Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die."[d] 33Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 34Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

    The Resurrection Body
    35But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

    42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

    If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"[e]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

    50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."[g]
    55"Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?"[h] 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

    People can beleive whatever they
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:00 AM GMT
    The body is finite.
    The soul, energy or atman is the same stuff of the universe that connects us all. We like all energy are transformed into something else. As human beings it is not for us to know or comprehend because our mental capacity is too small and finite.

    I am content in this ignorance.

    Check out the Bhagavad Gita. Very illuminating text.

    Enjoy & live life now while you still have it.

    Why worry or concern ourselves about what comes next when we haven't finished our purpose here?
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    Oct 20, 2009 1:38 AM GMT
    chasgo3 saidThe body is finite.
    The soul, energy or atman is the same stuff of the universe that connects us all. We like all energy are transformed into something else. As human beings it is not for us to know or comprehend because our mental capacity is too small and finite.

    I am content in this ignorance.

    Check out the Bhagavad Gita. Very illuminating text.

    Enjoy & live life now while you still have it.

    Why worry or concern ourselves about what comes next when we haven't finished our purpose here?


    true, we need to fulfill our purpose here, before we move on.
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    Oct 22, 2009 6:19 PM GMT
    G_Force saidWhat Happens When We Die?


    When we die, we die.

    The only question that will matter then is this:

    "What happened when you lived?"