My Near-Death Experience
Aaron, this one’s for you. Thanks for all of the good reading and for fighting the good fight.
October 27, 11:25 AM: I walk into an operating theatre at a local hospital. I’m there to have a piece of torn cartilage removed from my knee. Nothing life threatening, so I’m a little nervous, but not terrified. This is the first time in my life that I will be receiving a general anesthetic. I’m a little buzzed from the IV, and I lay down on the table as directed. The O-R nurse straps me down, fits a blood pressure cuff to my right arm, and then proceeds to place electrodes on my forehead. This sort of feels like being stuck with the scratchy plastic side of Velcro. The nurse quips that she is looking for signs of intelligent life in males. I play along and say, “Let me know if you find any.”
1:45 PM: I wake up in the Recovery Room. I have ten pounds of flannel blankets over me, I have no sensation of being cold, but I am shivering. I explain this to the nurse, and she tells me that it is a common reaction.
That’s it. No voices, no bright lights. No feeling of being pulled, pushed, poked or prodded… but that’s my point. For about two hours, I was completely switched off. I have no memory of that time; no dreams, no uneasy twitches, no feelings, nothing. While most of the rest of the human race ate, or worked, or played or screwed or slept, I was turned off. A doctor put two deep puncture wounds in my leg and chewed up and dragged out a piece of my knee joint. Nothing. One minute it was 11:30, the next it was 1:45. In between, nothing. No sleep is so deep that you don’t dream or fidget, or twitch when your neighbor slams a car door or something, but this was NOTHING!
Now that I’ve had this experience, this is what I imagine death to be: nothing to be afraid of, nothing to look forward to, nothing to experience, NOTHING! A blackout with no end, and no awareness of time or being, because you need some form of consciousness in order to be aware. No difference between the first millisecond and the rest of eternity and no discomfort because there is no perception of duration. No perception of anything else for that matter, because all of the mechanisms for sensory input and processing are shut down and gone.
So why am I telling you this? Because I am betting that many thousands of people have had the same experience that I just had. Do they get any publicity? The people who get publicity are those that have some hallucinatory experience or neural firestorm that leads them to believe that they have experienced a non-corporeal state of being. The activity in their respective brains bears no relationship to the lack of activity in a corpse. Their brain is putting on a show. The show is largely based on the expectations of the Producer/audience. In other words, the brain is showing the brain’s owner what that owner desperately wants to see. If this owner has spent a lifetime hearing what he wants to hear, and making self-supporting, delusional types of conclusions, why should this kind of behavior in a starving brain be a surprise? When there are people who get a financial reward by perpetuating these delusions, it is also no surprise that these experiences get talked about. You can’t buy that kind of advertising, but you can play it over and over again like an accordion. I think the average person gets the impression that “go into the light” type experiences happen to everyone. I don’t think that is true. I think the more common experience is … nothing.
* * * *
My blog is not accepting pictures again. Here is a link and desciption of what I wanted to post. I'll try again later.
Caption: An Egyptian-style burial at Tombos, a cemetery at the third cataract of the Nile in what was once the center of ancient Nubia and is now northern Sudan.
Credit: S. Smith
Usage Restrictions: None