A New View of Consciousness and Reality :
Life After Death : The Verdict Is In
Life After Death : The Verdict Is In
Pamela heard these remarks and repeated them word for word. 20 This, in spite of the fact that she had loud clicking devices inserted into her ears that were constantly emitting loud clicks to monitor her brain stem electrical activity. This fact automatically excludes hearing the conversation through the use of her physical ears because the loud clicks would have prevented her from making out any conversation going on in the room.
After viewing the operation for a while she then reports a more or less typical Near Death Experience of going to the Light and communicating with deceased relatives before reconnecting again with her body.
It should be noted that Pam’s NDE began while she was under general anesthesia, before her body had been cooled down and all electrical activity in her brain had ceased. Although she wasn’t clinically dead at the start of her OBE, the fact that she was under anesthesia, had her eyes taped shut, and had loud clicks emitting in each ear should have ruled out perception by normal sensory means. In fact, she shouldn’t have been conscious at all. Her experience lasted until she saw her body jump, which is when she again entered her body. This was after the operation had ended and electric shock had been administered to restart her heart. So, although her experience started before cool down of her body began, it persisted until after the operation was over. So a significant part of her NDE, where she entered the light and spoke with deceased relatives, occurred during a period of time when her brain was nonfunctional.
Without any electrical activity in her brain, how could she experience these things? The simplest and most plausible explanation is that consciousness does not depend on the brain to exist or experience. The brain begins to resemble more of a tool that consciousness uses to manifest in the physical world, but is not the producer of that consciousness.
Remarkably, there is another case on record of this same kind of operation where the patient experienced consciousness during a period of lack of brain function. This account comes from the book The Scalpel and the Soul by neurosurgeon Allan J. Hamilton. This case involves a thirty-four-year-old woman, again suffering from an aneurysm near the brain stem known as a basilar aneurysm. Again, her temperature had to be lowered, “to make her core temperature cold enough to stop her heart so all blood flow would cease." 21 At that time, all brain wave activity as measured by an EEG would stop.
While the operation was winding down and they were about to start warming her body back up, several documented conversations were recorded that the patient somehow heard and reported after the experience, even though all electrical activity was absent as measured by an EEG. After the patient had fully awoken from all of the anesthetic, she was greeted by her team of doctors. Specifically she said that she thought she heard someone say “thar she blows”, and she recalled “A one-and-a-half-carat yellow diamond from Johnston Fellows. Oh. . . and Morton’s restaurant where someone fell into a wine case." 22
The doctors present during her operation “all knew that this woman’s brain had been dead - without discernible electrical activity whatsoever. This meant that no brain cells were active, working, firing, or emitting electrical signals. Yet somehow the patient managed to recall the conversation in the operating room while her EEG was flat. In other words, while she was, for all intents and purposes, clinically dead - with no ability for her brain to function - she somehow managed to make or “encode” specific memories of that conversation in the OR. And this was no hazy recollection. The patient was reproducing practically word for word what had been said. Right down to the jewellery store and the waiter stumbling. No, she clearly recalled what had been said. There was no doubt about that." 23
After further investigation it was established that she could accurately report many more details than just those mentioned above, including exactly where the heart-lung bypass machine was located in the room (which hadn't been there until after she was anesthetized), and what the people in the room looked like.24 Unlike Pamela, however, she did not report a deep Near Death Experience of going to another dimension or encountering beings of light. Nevertheless this case, along with Pamela’s case, strongly suggests that consciousness can exist independent of a functioning brain.
Next: A New Way of Envisioning Consciousness and the Brain