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Metaphysics & Psychology

Do Alzheimer’s, Dementia Prove the Soul Doesn’t Exist?

Do Alzheimer’s, Dementia Prove the Soul Doesn’t Exist? 86

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times

Do Alzheimer’s, Dementia Prove the Soul Doesn’t Exist? – The Epoch Times 

Occasionally, just before death, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who’ve been completely incoherent for many years will seem to return suddenly to their senses. Their memories, personality, and entire mind—so long shrouded by the disease that loved ones had lost hope of their return—shine forth in a final blaze. This phenomenon is known as terminal lucidity. Some say it refutes the philosophical argument that the “soul” is merely a function of the brain.  The late philosopher Paul Edwards made his “Alzheimer’s Argument Against the Soul” in 1995. He used the example of “Mrs. D.” Mrs. D was a kind and generous lady, often helping others. Alzheimer’s drastically changed that. “All her elegance was gone. She no longer recognized her children, and then in the advanced stage, became extremely aggressive. She who always helped others and was kind to others suddenly started to beat up other elderly patients,” quoted Robert Mays, a near-death experiences researcher. Mays gave a presentation on terminal lucidity at the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) 2014 Conference on Aug. 30, on behalf of Dr. Alexander Batthyany, a professor in the cognitive science department at the University of Vienna. Do Alzheimer’s,

Edwards argued that the case of Mrs. D shows the mind or soul does not exist separately from the brain. When the brain is damaged, the person’s mind is damaged. Mrs. D was kind when her brain was functioning, but her personality disappeared when her brain ceased to function properly, proving that the brain creates the mind.

Batthyany said that Edwards makes an “intuitively compelling” argument. But terminal lucidity may suggest the mind is not destroyed with the brain, Batthyany said.

If the mind were dependent on parts of the brain for existence, it is hard to see how a whole person—a person who can make connections between this memory and that, a person who can calmly and rationally interact with others and perform coherent actions—could return. If parts of the brain were so badly affected by the disease, one would expect only a fragmented individual to remain.

Alzheimer's Diseased Brain
The diagram on the right shows a brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The diagram on the left shows a healthy brain. (Wikimedia Commons)
Alzheimer's Diseased Brain
Above is a brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Below is a healthy brain. (Hersenbank/Wikimedia Commons)

Batthyany asks whether Edwards’s argument would be as compelling if the loss of cognition were only temporary. What if Mrs. D were in a state of drug-induced confusion or some dream state with effects similar to Alzheimer’s? Would it make a difference in how Edwards viewed the case if Mrs. D’s mind returned to normal functioning and her personality remained intact?

In terminal lucidity, it almost looks as if the mind distances itself from a diseased brain, if only briefly, and close to the actual dying process, said Batthyany. When one reads such reports, one cannot help but get the impression that the mind is also hidden behind and constrained by the brain, he said: “Much like the moon eclipses the sun, the brain eclipses the self.”

The Data

Further studies need to be done on terminal lucidity to understand the phenomenon and all of its implications, Batthyany said. In a survey of 800 caregivers, only 32 responded. These 32 caregivers had cumulatively cared for 227 Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. About 10 percent of these patients had a sudden and brief return to lucidity. However, these caregivers were self-selected, warned Batthyany. The low response rate may well mean that the phenomenon is rare, and that we received replies primarily from those who had witnessed terminal lucidity in their dying patients. Currently, we do not know how often the phenomenon really takes place. Most people with dementia still die with dementia. Yet cases of terminal lucidity have a lasting impact on those witnessing them.

A caregiver was quoted as saying: “Before this happened, I had become fairly cynical about the human vegetables I cared for. Now, I understand that I am caring for nurslings of immortality. Had you seen what I saw, you would understand that dementia can affect the soul, but it will not destroy it.”

Studies carried out by Michael Nahm and Bruce Greyson, including one published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 2010, are based on analyses of recorded cases from 100 years ago or earlier. More current information is needed, Batthyany said.

‘Thanks for Everything’

A few cases were cited in Batthyany’s presentation, including the following: “An elderly woman with dementia, almost mute, no longer recognizes people, non-expressive. Unexpectedly one day, she called her daughter and thanked her for everything … [she] had a phone conversation with the grandchildren, exchanged kindness and warmth, and said farewell, and shortly afterwards, she died.”

In another case study, the patient was mute and disoriented and hadn’t seemed to notice or understand when her husband, whose name was Urs, died. A few months after her husband’s death, she sat up in bed, stretched out her hand, and said, “Urs! Yes, yes, ready.” She died shortly afterward.

Though this case was somewhat ambiguous, Batthyany said, it was nonetheless untypical of hallucinatory delusions sometimes observed in Alzheimer patients  in that it was calm, orderly, and based on traces of memory that hadn’t been observed in the patient in a long time. It also showed a similarity to many near-death experiences, in which people who have brushes with death or who die for a few moments before being resuscitated often report seeing loved ones who help them “cross over.” Near-death experiencers also often report hovering above their physical bodies, seeing beings or scenes in the afterlife, feelings of euphoria, et cetera.

A Philosopher’s Take

As he seeks further scientific data, Batthyany considers also the words of philosophers. He quoted Spinoza: “You can have light without shadow, but you cannot have shadow without light.”

Lucidity, the mind’s normal state, is the light. Dementia and confusion are the shadows.

Batthyany also said: “You can have truth without error, but you cannot have error without truth.” Error is a deviation, as dementia and Alzheimer’s are deviations from the brain’s normal functioning. There may yet be a true mind or a light shining behind the distorted shadows of the disease.

Batthyany closed on a cautionary note. Terminal lucidity research is a very young field, and it would be premature to draw strong conclusions from the little data currently available. We still do not know what is happening and how it is possible that some of these patients who have been lost for years return to cognitive lucidity in the presence of severe brain pathology. Batthyany’s research also shows that terminal lucidity episodes tend to be relatively brief (between 30 minutes and 2 hours) and are therefore easy to miss. The only strong conclusion so far seems to be that we should never cease giving attention to dying patients—whether demented or not—as end-of-living experiences such as terminal lucidity have deep impact and give warm consolation to family, friends, and caregivers, whatever the wider implications may be.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A part of a person’s essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan

A part of a person's essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan 99
Photo: pixabay.com

A new method of scanning the human brain has produced amazing results. It turns out that in every person there is a certain part of his essence, which accompanies him all his life from the moment of birth to death.

Scientists believe that this is the core of a person’s self-awareness. It combines memories of the past with fleeting sensations of reality and provides a basis for anticipation of events in the future.

It turned out that a certain part of a person’s consciousness is consistent as they grow older and older.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been interested in the question: can this sense of “personal self” be stable throughout life? A new psychological study with the results of a brain scan made it possible to conclude that a certain part of a person’s consciousness really accompanies him throughout his life.

It is consistent as it gets older and older. Miguel Rubianes, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, says the aim of the study was to answer the question: Are we the same person throughout life? In combination with the results of other studies, scientists have concluded that there is a certain component that remains stable from birth to death.

The other part of consciousness remains susceptible to current changes. The scientists recognized independence as the basis of identity. And every time a person uses the word “I”, he means a thread that connects together all the events and experiences that have occurred in life.

Experience gained over the years changes a person, changes the components of his identity. Each case associated with personal experiences, a broken heart, a successful career step, expected or unexpected failure lead to the fact that a person compares himself to himself before and after these events. It is a neurological programming scheme that involves visual self-knowledge as an indicator of connection with your impressions of yourself.

This effect makes it possible to cope with memories and recognition of information when it is associated, for example, with one’s own photograph of an infant. Although this principle has a lot of evidence, scientists believe that the very mechanism of the brain involved in this remains a mystery.

This study was published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop 100

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes do not notice how time flies past us, what miracles surround us. We do not have time to listen to the rustle of leaves in the wind and we miss those minutes when the crimson moon hangs at the very horizon.

Below are 10 films that reflect the beauty and diversity of our world. You watch such a movie and forget about everything.

Kytice

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

7 fairy tales-ballads based on Czech folklore are filmed colorfully and poetically. 

They endure a time when people were closer to nature, believed in miracles and the spirits of the forest, when the terrible and the beautiful were merged together.

Ashes and snow

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Gregory Colbert’s documentary has no plot, but it attracts with its stunning, unrestrained beauty, reflecting the unity of man with nature.

The film was shot for 13 years in the most exotic corners of our planet: Burma, Ethiopia, India, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Tonga islands and many other picturesque places.

The fountain

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main character Thomas tries to find a cure for his wife Isabelle. Every day she gets worse, and he cannot be near, because he puts experiments in the laboratory. In his soul, love, the desire to be with Isabelle and the desire to extend her life are fighting. 

Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical drama was filmed in vivid colors, despite the fact that the director did not use computer special effects.

Samsara

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful one and a half hour trip to the most amazing places on the planet. 

Director Ron Fricke showed the inextricable connection of all people and events on earth, the cycle of death and birth, the versatility of our world, where beauty coexists with nondescriptness, and the end means the beginning.

The Bear

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The story of a bear cub that lost its mother and nailed to a large wounded bear. Together they have to go through many trials, the worst of which is meeting the hunters. 

The wonderful plot of the film is combined with stunning music that helps you immerse yourself in the world of nature and feel it with your whole body.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The harsh Siberian nature, untouched by man, the majestic Yenisei River and the small village of Bakhta with a simple way of life. 

People live and survive in these parts, rely only on themselves and also ask only themselves. Four seasons – four lifestyles for each of them.

August Rush

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Young musician August Rush does not know his parents, but he really wants to find them and for some reason is sure that if he plays, they will hear and recognize him by his music. 

Mesmerizing music permeates the entire film and works wonders to dispel the evil spell of separation.

Baraka

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

A documentary masterpiece, a philosophical essay accompanied by superb cinematography and music, goes without words. The only and main actor here is life in all its diversity and unity. 

The gaze of a monkey sitting in a hot pond is equal to all the depths of cold space, and the dances of the aborigines are synchronized with the movements of the forest.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful and unhurried philosophical parable about a wheel of time moving into infinity. Each time, with the beginning of a new cycle of rotation, life on earth is renewed, and everyone has the opportunity for a new rebirth. 

The film by Korean director Kim Ki-dook tells about two monks – a teacher and his student – and the obstacles that must be overcome on the way to finding harmony.

Chronos

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main characters of the documentary narration are cultural and historical monuments. 

They absorbed the life of the people who created them, and have remained for centuries as an imprint of bygone eras.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video)

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 101

At present, the Coronavirus epidemic is making a comeback in the mainland. At the same time, anomalies have also appeared in various places, such as meteorites falling from the sky, red “odd lights” in the sky, earthquakes and so on. In Beijing, where the epidemic is in urgency, “three suns” appeared yesterday, which stood high above Beijing for more than two hours, which was very eye-catching.

According to a comprehensive report, at about 9 am on December 29th, a spectacle appeared in the Beijing sky and the “three suns” were reflected at the same time. According to the netizens who filmed the phenomenon, the whole process lasted for about 2 hours starting from around 9 o’clock in the morning. Photographers called it a “bilateral sun” wonder.

The online video shows that there is a faint layer of white clouds in the sky, and a bright big sun is mapped out from behind the white clouds. There are two small suns on both sides. Although the light of the small sun is not as bright as the big sun, the coexistence of three suns is still visible.

A netizen posted:

“Beijing today can see the sunshade on both sides of the city around noon today. In some areas, there is also an arc around the zenith and a very light 46-degree halo. Huairou has an external halo.”

Netizens were on alert:

“Something is going to change.”
“The three suns are still so cold?”
“I always feel that there are so many spectacles this year. Rain, snow, and rainbows ring the zenith rainbow.”
“What’s the sign? Begin to interpret…”
“Great omen.” “Frequent astronomical anomalies in recent years especially recently.”

Since 2020, the Covid epidemic has ravaged the world, and various anomalies have appeared one after another across China, including crows flying all over the sky, some cities being overcasted, extreme thunders in February, tens of thousands of sparrows blocking the way and so on.

At around 6 o’clock in the morning on March 16, the shocking landscape of the “three suns” appeared in the sky in Hulin City, Heilongjiang Province.

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 102
In the early morning of March 16, the shocking landscape of three suns appeared in the sky of Hulin City, Heilongjiang Province. (Weibo picture)

On the morning of March 18, Shenzhen suddenly went dark. On the same day, Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin and other places were hit by strong winds of magnitude 9 to 11, and sand was blown in some areas. The sky in Beijing became muddy yellow, debris was blown into the air, and pedestrians were blown over.

On the same day, the Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace in the western suburbs of Beijing set off a huge wave. The waves were turbulent.

An old man in Beijing said that the rising tide of the Lake in the Summer Palace is a big omen and that China is about to change its route.

On May 21, Beijing went from thunderstorms to heavy rains, and then suddenly dark, day like night, and hail. Some netizens said:

“If there is a omen in the sky, something big must happen, usually a disaster.”

At the end of 2020, meteorites descended from the sky appeared in China , the sky showed pink “exotic light”, earthquakes, “three suns” and other phenomena.

At 7:25 in the morning on December 23, the Qinghai Seismic Network recorded a bolide falling into Nangqian County, Yushu, Qinghai. The video showed that after a loud noise from a distance, a big fireball suddenly struck across the air. Experts said that what fell into Qinghai was “a super meteorite.”

When the meteor fell, a mysterious and strange “pink light” appeared in Delingha, north of Yushu , Qinghai that day , which netizens called the “red moon”.

Three suns were observed high above Beijing for 2 hours (video) 103
Twelve hours after the meteorite fell in the morning in Yushu, Qinghai Province on December 23, a mysterious pink cluster of light appeared in the Delingha area north of Yushu, causing concern. (Video screenshot)

At 7:51 on the 24th, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake occurred in Maduo County, Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai Province, with a focal depth of 7 kilometers.

Many people believe that the earthquake and red light may be related to the bolide in Qinghai.

Recently, epidemics have broken out across China. Not only has Beijing cancelled large-scale mass events, but also all large-scale meetings originally scheduled to be held in Beijing. At the same time, the prevention and control of the epidemic in Beijing has entered a state of emergency.

Some analysts say that there are omens in the sky and changes in the world. Coupled with many disasters in 2020, according to ancient astrological predictions, it indicates that there will be major events in China in the coming year.

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