Near-Death Experiences
and
Quantum Consciousness

by Kevin Williams, B.Sc.
Webmaster of Near-Death.com
Max Planck, one of the founders of quantum theory, once said: 
 

"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve."

 

But because of recent discoveries in the physics of LIGHT and the physics of consciousness, a merger of science and spirituality is taking place which is solving this ultimate mystery. 

 
 

This is because the phenomenon of LIGHT is of central importance to both quantum physics and consciousness research including near-death experience research. 

 

Ancient mystical traditions equate divine consciousness with LIGHT - a consciousness from which all other consciousness originated and have their being. Modern near-death experience research supports this equation.

 
 

The Christian Bible declares that "God is LIGHT" and the Hebrew Bible declares the universe began when God said, "Let there be LIGHT." 

 
 
Albert Einstein's famous equation:  
E = mc²
describes the awesome energy holding every atom together where E represents energy, m represents mass and c represents the speed of LIGHT.

 

 
 
Physicist Stephen Hawking once stated: 
 

"When you break subatomic particles down to their most elemental level, you are left with nothing but pure LIGHT." 

Eminent physicist, David Bohm, viewed all matter as "condensed" or "frozen" LIGHT.

 

In 1982, physicists led by Alain Aspect have experimentally demonstrated that "entangled" particles of LIGHT were able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them - even if the distance is billions of miles.

This phenomenon, called "quantum entanglement" for which Einstein called "spooky actions from a distance," suggests there exists an unknown, underlying reality where everything is potentially connected to everything else.

 

So it is not surprising why the pioneers of quantum mechanics sought to understand this unusual phenomenon by turning to the ancient mystical traditions that teach how everything is "One" -- the LIGHT of God holding everything together.

For example, Erwin Schrodinger turned to Hinduism; Werner Heisenberg looked into Plato's theory of the ancient Greeks; Niels Bohr was drawn to the Tao; Wolfgang Pauli to the Kabbalah; and Max Plank to Christianity.

Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung (1875-1961), a near-death experiencer who founded Analytical Psychology, is famous for pioneering concepts such as a "collective unconscious" and "synchronicity."

Synchronicity is defined as...

the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.

Such "meaningful coincidences" appear to be connected on a hidden, underlying level.

Carl Jung's discussions with Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli led to Jung's belief of the existence of parallels between collective unconsciousness and its connection to synchronicity and the relativity of time.

Jung was transfixed by the idea of life not being a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order which he and Wolfgang Pauli referred to as "one world" - a term referring to the concept of an underlying unified reality to the universe from which everything emerges and returns to.

 

Physicist David Bohm developed a corresponding theory called the "Holographic Principle" which defines the universe as a single, gigantic hologram of LIGHT where everything is connected to everything else in the universe - including consciousness.

 

At the same time, neurophysiologist Karl Pribram arrived at a "Holographic" model of the mind and brain. However, mainstream materialistic theories assume consciousness emerged from "goo" (the brain). But one of the greatest mysteries in science is how consciousness can arise from "goo".

These holographic models of the universe and consciousness provide a basis for the existence of mystical experiences such as the near-death experience where consciousness can still exist in the hologram after the death of the physical body ("quantum immortality") due to "quantum superposition" and "quantum decoherence".

According to physicist Fred Alan Wolf, near-death experiences can be explained using the holographic model where death is merely a shifting of a person's consciousness from one dimension of the hologram to another.

A holographic universe explains the supersymmetry found in the universe and suggests how everything from atoms, LIGHT, cells, molecules, plants, animals, and people participate in a connected flowing web of information at the quantum level.

Taken all together, these holographic models are part of the new paradigm called "Holism" as opposed to the materialistic old paradigm of reductionism.

Because every part of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other part, the human brain is perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated, holistic system. The brain processes LIGHT by encoding and decoding LIGHT frequencies which is precisely what a hologram does best.

In the 1990's, physicist Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff developed the theory of "quantum consciousness" which assumes classical, Newtonian physics cannot fully explain consciousness. Interestingly enough, like David Bohm and Karl Pribram before them, Penrose and Hameroff developed their theories at the same time synchronistically.

The theory of quantum consciousness suggests that consciousness can be found inside the microtubules of brain cells through the process of quantum entanglement where information can be processed at different parts of the brain instantly without a path of neural networks through gap junctions.

Quantum consciousness also supports the theory that, at death, consciousness (i.e., the quantum information inside these microtubules - what religionists refer to as the "soul") doesn’t disappear; but instead, is retained in the fine structure of the holographic universe.

In December 2001, the United Kingdom's highly respected journal of medicine (The Lancet) published the results of a study by Dr. Pim van Lommel showing 18 percent of clinically dead patients having near-death experiences.

Dr. Lommel's study documented verified events observed by clinically dead patients from a conscious perspective outside of their physical bodies - called "veridical perception" - suggesting the existence of a phenomenal, transcendent consciousness that can exist separate from a clinically dead body and brain.

 

But materialistic science assumes consciousness is only the result of objective, physical interactions within a material brain. It holds that when the body dies, the mind dies with it. However, materialism has yet to produce a conclusive, physical model of the mind/body relationship because of its inability to explain first-person, subjective conscious experiences. For example, how can physical interactions between particles in the brain give rise to the subjective conscious experience of the color red?

Physicist Erwin Schrödinger said this about subjective, conscious experiences: 

"The sensation of color cannot be accounted for by the physicist's objective picture of light-waves. Could the physiologist account for it, if he had fuller knowledge than he has of the processes in the retina and the nervous processes set up by them in the optical nerve bundles and in the brain? I do not think so."

 
 

The person who has arguably done more to support the subjective nature of consciousness is the philosopher David Chalmers who specializes in the philosophy of mind and language. Chalmers defined this explanatory problem of materialism's view of consciousness as the "hard problem of consciousness." The problem: How can interactions between particles in the brain give rise to subjective conscious experiences? 

This idea that a material, conscious reality must include a non-material, subjective conscious reality is epitomized by a person's ability to experience simulated realities such as dreams during REM sleep. It suggests there is a statistical likelihood that our objective, material reality may also be a simulation. 

 
 

This idea is also epitomized by Chalmer's "brain in a vat" thought experiment: Suppose a person's brain is suspended in a vat of life-sustaining liquid and its neurons connected to a supercomputer providing it with electrical impulses identical to those a brain in a skull normally receives. The person's "disembodied" brain would have perfectly normal conscious experiences similar to the brain in a skull except that the conscious experiences of the disembodied brain would not be related to events in the objectively real world.

 

So materialistically speaking, the brain's experience - whether it is in a vat or in a skull - would be identical. It would be impossible to tell, from the brain's perspective, whether it is in a skull or a vat. Yet when the brain is in a skull and running on a beach, the brain's conscious experiences are objectively real and true. But when the brain is in a vat, the brain's conscious experiences are objectively unreal and false. Therefore, because a strictly material brain cannot make a distinction between these subjective and objective conscious experiences, there cannot be solid ground for a strictly material brain to believe anything it consciously experiences and objectively believes. 

 
 
 

The nature of subjective conscious experiences is also epitomized by the out-of-body veridical perception component of near-death experiences. Materialism has yet to fully explain out-of-body conscious perception while near-death researchers provide veridical evidence showing consciousness can function independently from a material body and brain.

Therefore, a complete definition of consciousness must include subjective, conscious experiences such as veridical near-death experiences which have not yet been adequately explained in materialistic terms. This new paradigm of Holism supports the reality of veridical out-of-body perceptions occurring in a holographic universe without the help of the physical senses or the brain. 

 

According to veridical near-death experience experts Jan Holden and Jeffrey Long:

"Even if future research convincingly demonstrated that electrical stimulation of a particular area of the brain consistently induced typical out-of-body experiences, this finding would not explain veridical perception associated with out-of-body experiences." 

 

One particular NDE experiencer, a neurosurgeon named Eben Alexander, has a profound understanding of the physiological aspects to the NDE he experienced. He says the materialist model of reality is fundamentally flawed because, at its core, it intentionally ignores what he believes is the fundamental aspect of all existence - the nature of consciousness. 

 
 

Eben Alexander says the experiments of the pioneers of quantum mechanics inferred that consciousness plays a definite role in creating reality. Recent experiments, specifically the "quantum eraser" experiments, reveal an astonishing fact about how consciousness is the ruling factor in quantum mechanics. 

The new Holism paradigm provides a theoretical basis for a quantum nonlocal model of consciousness while materialism is unable to explain how conscious, subjective experiences can arises from a material brain. Also, recent scientific discoveries of quantum processes in the brain supports the theory of a nonlocal quantum consciousness. 

 
 
 

The principle of holographic parallel universes, known as the "many-WORLDS" interpretation of quantum mechanics, also incorporates the "many-MINDS" interpretation of quantum mechanics. The theory holds that the mind must be a property which can separate from the body as suggested in near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences. 

 

The problem with materialism, as applied to the consciousness, is that it does not distinguish between mind and brain. It views all aspects of subjective experience can be explained purely by objective states within a physical brain. 

 
 

Materialism's claim of consciousness being produced entirely by the brain is analogous to claiming television sounds and images are produced entirely by television sets, despite the fact that television sounds and images are produced by TV stations transmitting nonlocal radio waves. 

In conclusion, while all this evidence may not persuade materialistic skeptics, the millions of individuals who have had a near-death experience are absolutely convinced of their consciousness survived clinical bodily death. 

 
    Scientific Articles on the Near-Death Experience and Its Relationship with Quantum Physics    
1.  P van Lommel, P. (2013). Non-Local Consciousness: A Concept Based on Scientific Research on NDEs During Cardiac Arrest. Journal of Consciousness Studies. 
2.  Venselaar, M. (2012). The Physics of Near-Death Experiences: A Five-Phase Theory. Noetic Now Journal. 
3.  K kumar Mukherjee (2012). Three Cases of NDE. Is it Physiology, Physics or Philosophy? Annals of Neurosciences. 
4.  S Hameroff, D Chopra. (2012). The “Quantum Soul”: A Scientific Hypothesis. Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship. 
5.  Ratner, J (2012). Radiant Minds: Scientists Explore the Dimensions of Consciousness. NeuroQuantology. 
6.  E Facco, C Agrillo. Near-Death Experiences Between Science and Prejudice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 
7.  C Fracasso, H Friedman. (2012). Electromagnetic Aftereffects of NDEs: A Preliminary Report on a Series of Studies Currently Under Way. Journal of Transpersonal Research. 
8.  JP Jourdan. (2011). Near-Death Experiences and the 5th Dimensional Spatio-Temporal Perspective. Journal of Cosmology. 
9.  B Greyson. (2011). Cosmological Implications of Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Cosmology. 
10.  RG Mays, SB Mays. (2011). A Theory of Mind and Brain that Solves the “Hard Problem” of Consciousness. The Center for Consciousness Studies. 
11.  J Pilotti. (2011). Consciousness and Physics: Towards a Scientific Proof that Consciousness is in Space-Time Beyond The Brain. Journal of Transpersonal Research. 
12.  GD Belaustegui. (2010). Phenomenology of the Transcendence of Space-time Coordinates: Evidence from Death Announcements. Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche. 
13.  V Laws, E Perry. (2010). Near Death Experiences: A New Algorithmic Approach to Verifying Consciousness Outside the Brain. NeuroQuantology. 
14.  K Ray, MK Roy. (2010). A Theoretical Basis for Surges of Electroencephalogram Activity and Vivid Mental Sensation During Near-Death Experience. International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology. 
15.  D Pratt. (2007). Consciousness, Causality, and Quantum Physics. NeuroQuantology. 
16.  P van Lommel. (2006). NDE, Consciousness, and the Brain: A New Concept About the Continuity of Our Consciousness Based on Recent Scientific Research on NDE in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest. World Futures. 
17.  RA Brian. (2003). What can Elementary Particles Tell Us About the World in Which We Live? NeuroQuantology. 
18.  RJ Brumblay. (2003). Hyperdimensional Perspectives in Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 
19.  FG Greene. (2003). At the Edge of Eternity's Shadows: Scaling the Fractal Continuum from Lower into Higher Space. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 
20.  TE Beck, JE Colli. (2003). A Quantum Biomechanical Basis for Near-Death Life Reviews. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 
21.  CR Lundahl, AS Gibson. (2000). Near-Death Studies and Modern Physics. Journal of Near-Death Studies. 


 

"The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced." - Aart Van Der Leeuw

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