Near Death Experiences Explained, or Sometimes a White Light is Just Your Mind in Overdrive

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I've had a few near death experiences. I never saw anything, but I had heard some years ago that the bright light, or other things people were seeing, was in fact the brain just trying to grip what is left of life. Honestly I have no idea, I'm not a doctor, but it does make sense for the brain to go into hyper drive so close to death.

Interesting article James.   I always thought the "light" was a type of migraine aura, caused by vasospasm of the associated arteries in the brain.  Deprive the brain of oxygen, and the visual cortex could have hallucinatory behavior, just as other parts of the brain malfunction at the same time.

The eeriest experience for me was surgery.  Turned off like a light.  Turned on again like a light with some of the wiring malfunctioning. I kept thinking, that is what death is like.  Nothingness.  Which is our best impression of what death must be.

Yes, but with death, consciousness ceases, so how would you even experience "nothingness"? :-)

I think you are right, Sentient.

I've been actually close to death a few times (hypothermia, starvation, blood loss, etc.), and thought that I was some other times.  In the actual cases I don't recall any sort of tunnel of light or much of anything except fading consciousness.  An example of one of the imagined cases is when I overdosed on LSD and was taken to a hospital.  I could absolutely swear that that I had sex with the attending nurse, and am just as certain that it didn't really happen, despite completely believable 'memories'.  If I were to find that it really did happen I'd have to revise my model of reality, and maybe switch to that hospital as my primary health care provider.

I rather doubt that a Hindu ever sees Jesus reaching for his hand at the moment of death (unless maybe he's on acid).  I have never had any religious fantasies, and so I haven't encountered them when I've approached or imagined that I approached death.  I think that those who claim religious near death experiences are probably trying to piece together post-priori, as with me and the nurse, encounters with the unknown so to fit their walking around beliefs & values.  Ignorance begets faith, which is a vacuum, and the 'mind' abhors a vacuum.  It fills in.


Ted, I have to redefine my reality, repeatedly.  Whenever I become settled in a mind-set, it changes on me.

Seconding Mindy's comment. 

Maybe acid should be part of hospice care?  Although, some people have terrible experiences with hallucinogens, so maybe not.

Not to mention, you've been through some terrible times.  I hope you are doing OK at this point in life.


Thanks for your concern.  I've already lived about as long as expected in my shallow gene puddle, so everything from here on is a hilarious extra.  Defining and redefining reality is what we human beans do, since we long ago gave up primarily running on instinct.  Much of what I considered real and important when I was 17 is completely irrelevant in my 6th decade, as much of Aristotle's postulates, even the good ones, have little relevance to quantum physics.  They all are, or were, 'real' in that we granted them credence and used them as a screen onto which we projected our lives.  But screens are by nature obfuscatory -- hiding what's behind them to provide a venue for what's important now.

I think that these purported 'near death experiences' are largely drawn from the movie we've made to describe our lives, and that it's a mistaken misdirection to ponder the intent of the supposed projectionist (probably some minimum wage schmuck) rather than to look behind the screen.


Not acid, but good strong sensimilla.  I would like to die stoned.  Give me a brownie made with sensimilla.  They put you on a four hour high.  What a way to go!


Some decades ago I belonged to an informal redneck Jeep club.  Our motto was, "We shall leave no turn unstoned".  And we didn't -- it's a thousand wonders that we all survived.  Now that marijuana is legal back home in Colorado, my phone conversations there have changed.  Most often I hear something like, "I wanted to talk to you about something, but damned if I can remember what it is".

I don't have a problem with that.  Hell, I've probably smoked more pot and dropped more acid than Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary combined.  But that's mainly in the past.  Oh I might accept a joint on occasion if I don't have anything important to do right away, but probably not LSD or DMT.  With those I was seeking quasi-religious experiences, and I'm sort of over that.  My neighbor back home does have a knockout recipe for 'Mexican Pizza".


Time magazine reviewed the Hitchcock movie, The Birds, and ended with the quip, "The moral appears to be, never leave a tern unstoned."

Considering the lack of major short term side effects, and the pleasure it can provide, pot should be provided the dying.  It's not like we have to worry about it being a supposed gateway drug.   

I want mine in a rich, smooth, chocolate cake.  With tart cherry ice cream.

If weed were a gateway drug, I would be dead of a heroin overdose by now.  I think I have tried most of the substances, legal and illegal, and found none I like except weed.  I have not tried meth or crack but have no wish to from what I know of their immediate-addiction potential.  I was an alcoholic for much of my adult years and can give at least anecdotal evidence to the effect that booze is possibly 100X more debilitating than pot.  Booze makes a person argumentative and rude, rowdy and rapacious.  Weed makes one mellow and pacifistic. There is no reason why booze should be legal and weed illegal.  Ironically, it is the booze industry that keeps lobbying to keep pot illegal.  They have too much to lose. But now that an ex-Microsoft exec has teamed up with the scion of a famous Mexican family, the Pellicers, as well as ex-president Vicente Fox, to market marijuana should it become legal nationwide -- something they are pushing for as I write -- the liquor industry is going to have a run for its money.



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