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Metaphysics & Psychology

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

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

Man is able to induce controlled hallucinations without psychotropic substances

The human brain is so cunningly designed that accidental damage or malfunctions in the neural network can generate large-scale effects that do not harm a person, but, on the contrary, deliver a lot of new sensations. 

We are talking about hallucinations, influences on the sensory system, which stem from the inside of the brain itself. Modern technologies make it possible to purposefully launch such reactions without harm to humans.

The technique of guided hallucinations is based on the Ganzfeld effect, which states that when the brain receives a powerful stimulating signal in only one area, it automatically begins to “think out” signals in other areas. 

For example, if you peer into the darkness and listen to white noise, the brain draws an imaginary picture, although the eyes do not receive a single photon of light. And if you run noise on the screen in absolute silence, the brain will complement them with sound hallucinations.

Hallucinations

One interesting experiment with guided hallucinations was conducted by TV host and inventor Derek Müller, who locked himself in an anechoic and completely darkened chamber for 45 minutes to conduct a sensory deprivation experiment. 

His brain, which at once lost 90% of the signals from the outside world, remained fully functional, and Derek did not go crazy. Moreover, in the absence of external stimuli, he began to feel the subtlest vibrations of his heart and the flow of blood through the veins. 

It was not a hallucination, it was just that the brain switched to processing the signals that remained at its disposal, amplifying them and presenting them in the form of sensations understandable to the mind.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Angels showed the End of the World to a child from Indonesia?

In early October, on many eschatological and conspiracy sites (The End Times Forecaster , 444prophecynews.com), a video was posted by a girl named Jacqueline, who lives in South Africa. The video tells that on September 16, in some altered state of consciousness, similar to a lucid dream, Jacqueline was given a warning: on October 10, 2020, there will be some kind of nightmarish geological catastrophe – either a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake. 

Jacqueline does not specify where the catastrophe will occur, but immediately after the volcanic eruption, she saw President Trump in Washington and the destruction of the Washington Monument with fiery stones falling from the sky. The full text of Jacqueline’s video was posted on the forum and can be viewed at the link, but her revelation itself is not very informative. It is only clear that on October 10 something may bang, and very strongly. Another thing is much more interesting. 

Since Jacqueline was shown truly creepy things, she, like anyone in her place, doubted that all this was true. However, she noticed that in her dream, before the horror broadcast began, she was shown a calendar on which she read the KIMIKO inscription.

“Kimiko” is a popular Japanese female name that literally means “wonderful unusual child”, so Jacqueline decided: if she got it right, then she needed to look for a girl from somewhere in Japan who would kind of hint at her deciphering what was shown in her dream. 

Kimiko was never found, but another girl named Catherine was found. She lives in Indonesia, is in 4th grade and is 9 years old. Jacqueline had her dream on September 16, and on September 18 some angels took this Catherine to heaven in a dream and showed her what would be on Earth in the very near future. 

According to Catherine, everything will begin on October 10, 2020, when some kind of catastrophe occurs – a catastrophe, most likely of a geological nature. Buildings will collapse and coastal cities will suffer from terrible tsunamis. At the same time, a terrible rain will pour, which in some regions will flood buildings up to the fourth floor. Thunder will thunder in the sky, which is 10 or even 20 times stronger than ordinary thunder, and after the thunder, hail will fall the size of a car windshield. But besides the hail, all the planes located there fall from the sky. 

However, the End of the World will not happen as life goes on and Trump wins the US election. After that, Israel will begin to restore the Temple, but they will not have time, since a war will start around. At this moment, the Earth will face unprecedented catastrophes.

A huge new planet will appear in the sky and the atmosphere will take on a reddish tint. It will get hotter. H achnut erupting volcanoes, and terrifying winds will become commonplace. And further, in the region of the Bermuda Triangle, a hole is formed in the lithosphere, and armada of some strange flying machines will appear from there. On TV they will say that these are good aliens. 

In parallel , a total vaccination will take place on Earth, after which people who have received the vaccine will be endowed with some unthinkable ability to communicate with their gadgets – phones will show them everything at the click of a finger and connect to subscribers with the power of thought. But happiness will not last long, because then the skin of the vaccinated will begin to turn green and many will be covered with ulcers. Further, these people mutate into a kind of zombie who will engage in cannibalism and those who have not taken the vaccine will become their preferred food. And for those who will not be eaten by mutants, aliens will chase in their flying cars, kidnap, throw bombs at them and burn them with rays. 

Finally, to top it all off, mutations will affect flora and fauna. So, insects will become gigantic, and algae will begin to crawl ashore and whoever gets into their nets will be devoured. Mutations will affect birds, jellyfish, and the rest of the fauna. Dinosaurs and real fire-breathing dragons will appear, which will fly everywhere and pour fire on everything. 

In general, the girl tells something that is impossible to believe – no reality can stand that. However, the probability that reality is real, according to estimates of the theory of probability, is no more than 50%. That is, we live in the Matrix with a probability of 1/2, although nothing can be proved / disproved somehow. But if we take into account various strange quantum effects and other miracles, then the probability of the Matrix is ​​already seventy percent and 30% remain for a flat / round Earth, for the rest of “natural science”. Therefore, maybe we are now on the eve of the reboot of the Matrix, during which we will begin to load characters from other entertaining games. 

It is possible, of course, that all these stories were invented by her mother, but similar stories are told by other children, and even adults, who were thrown either somewhere into the astral plane, or into the next world, or generally into the deepest warp. Different, unrelated people cannot tell the same tale. Therefore, most likely this is not a fairy tale and there is something in all this. But what – here we do not know, so we just have to wait and see. 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Clinical death helped the inveterate egoist to change his attitude towards life. He is grateful for this experience

William F. did not live the most righteous life. His selfish, authoritarian behavior caused a lot of suffering to the people around him, especially his wife. And it is not known how his marriage would have ended if one day William had not had an accident.

On that fateful day, November 6, 2019, a man was riding a motorcycle and crashed into a truck as it changed lanes. William tried unsuccessfully to get out from under the heavy truck, as his helmet got stuck under the front axle of the car.

A policeman was the first to come to help, then an ambulance arrived. The motorcyclist was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital. The man in the helicopter told William not to sleep, but he collapsed into unconsciousness.

What William saw in oblivion made a strong impression on him and changed his future life.

xusenru / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

William’s near-death experiences

The next thing I remember happened on a large field. There was a fence about 100 meters away from me. There was a black hole in the fence on the other side of the gate.

I was drawn to the gate. The closer I got, the more love and warmth I felt, the more selfishness and bad feelings went away.

When the gate was about five steps away, and I was about to open it, someone’s hand stopped me, grabbing my forearm. Looking at this man, I noticed a few more.

– You need to stop. I watched you for a long time, son, you made a lot of mistakes. Do you know where you are? The man asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, looking around.
“You are dead,” he said.

I panicked.

“You’re scared,” he remarked.
– No.
“Then [during your life] you were always afraid of it for no reason,” he said softly. I nodded in agreement, and our dialogue continued.
– Do you feel that everything is under your control?
“I don’t know… no.
– You have never controlled anything in your life. It’s an illusion …
– Yes, you’re right, – I nodded again.
– You are given a choice that many do not have. God gives you a choice: come back and correct your mistakes, or you can go through the gate. If you enter this gate, all the regrets of life will torment your soul until you are given another chance. It will feel like eternity.

I still have regrets about my past life, ”he added after a pause. – If you come back and do not start working on yourself to become better, if you do not find happiness in the righteous way, you will always remember and crave the feeling that you are experiencing in this place now, but you will not get here again.
When you return, recover, heart and mind will be restored. You are given something great … But you understand that God already knows your choice.

Then he looked at me and asked:

– What are you going to do?
“I’ll be back,” I replied.

At that moment, the feelings that gripped me were gone, and I let go of the gate.

“See you again very soon,” he said at last.

Then I woke up and saw my mother. I told her that I was back for good and that I would not go anywhere. She had a tired face.

“You’ve been in a lot of pain,” she said.

I said that everything would be all right with me, and told that I saw Him. She clarified who exactly. I replied that I did not know for sure, but they gave me a second chance. Mom laughed and said that probably my grandfather kicked me in the ass to bring me back here.

William’s life has changed

William underwent several operations, but the doctors said that physically he would not be the same. Among other things, the man had to learn to walk again.

About a month after the accident, thoughts of the pain inflicted on his loved ones and loved ones flooded into William, so he focused on correcting the mistakes of the past and changing his future.

Five months later, William was walking without limping. Now she runs for several kilometers, and the only evidence of an accident is scars.

The biggest proof of the reality of what he saw during clinical death is a complete change in himself, says William.

haomao57 / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

“I saw mistakes, especially in my relationship with my wife, and I understand things that I didn’t understand before. It is strange to think that someone was watching my life from a distance and knew about my actions. If I had not changed, I would have yearned for death. “

“I used to have sociopathic tendencies and no empathy. I have never felt guilt or remorse. Now I am selfless and empathetic, I feel the emotions of others, and it is overwhelming. I know how people feel just by looking at them. This is a kind of intuition.

Remorse and guilt help me re-evaluate the past. I also notice that when I do something instinctively, in the old way, I realize it and I can stop. “

“People believe when I share my experience because they see a big change in me.”

Source: NDERF

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