Is consciousness biological, or is there something more to us? Do our minds survive our physical death, only to be reborn? Leslie Kean, an investigative journalist and best-selling author, dives into the pool of evidence in this book. She leads us into a multilayered cruise of the data, the signs, and the scientific facts, piloting us through topics such as past-life memories, real death experiences, after-death communications, out-of-body and near-death experiences, and the psychic aptitudes of physical mediums.
Kean reports that although the cases she has cited throughout the book “suggest that consciousness can operate even when the body is dead, without a functioning brain…we must not forget that there is no scientific evidence that our thoughts and feelings, self, psyche, or soul are generated by the brain.”
Curiouser and curiouser. What now? What are we to make of this growing body of testimony from people all over the world that defies scientific explanation? The author writes that she herself has “come to the inevitable conclusion that most likely the brain has a facilitating or receiving and not a producing function in the experience of consciousness. So under special circumstances our enhanced consciousness would not be localized in our brain nor be limited to the brain.”
Even MORE curiouser and curiouser. Still, while we may one day better understand the brain and its function, proof of survival into an afterlife will perhaps remain an unsolvable mystery. For now, however, we have stories from children of their past lives with recalled events and circumstances that have been verified, we have reports and investigations that have not been able to dismiss certain physical mediums and the phenomena that accompany them (ectoplasm, mysterious rapping sounds, spirits taking control of a medium’s mind and body, full body materializations), and we have narratives of end-of-life experiences (deathbed visions, visitors seen only by the dying, witnesses who have observed a transcendent light at the moment of death).
Kean does a stellar job of investigative reporting on this delicate subject. She is thorough, though on the tedious side. And while she pulls together the bits and pieces of human experience, cognitive neuroscience, and spirituality, the age-old question remains unanswered. Do we survive physical death? Many of us believe we do. All I know is that I want to see what Steve Jobs saw just before he died, whatever it was that made him cry out, “Oh wow. Oh Wow. OH WOW!”
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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