Monday, March 19, 2012

Parapsychology & Life after Death

The topic I chose for this post is parapsychology.  It's something that I've always found interesting, and I even did my senior research paper for high school on the topic.  I personally believe in life after death and things of that sort, because of my religion but there are times when I am definitely a skeptic about certain things.
The purpose of this post is to see whether or not these types of phenomena can be proven or if they are just strictly peoples religious beliefs. On the website I found, it states that parapsychology is the phenomena and experiences that suggest personal survival of man after death.  While the academic community, as well as scientists don't want to believe it, there are many people who swear that it is true and gave their examples.  I found a lot of good information on this topic from the website I chose.  The first point made was that human consciousness can exist independant of brain activity.  This is called Reductionism or Epiphenomenalism.  Another point made was about people who claim to have psychic powers. These include such things, like telekenisis, precognition, psychokinesis, psychic healing, bi-location and psychometry.  Another point made was about people who claim to have out of body experiences.  In class, we learned about the Heaven's Gate cult who firmly believed that by committing suicide together, they would be serving their beliefs in the only way they knew how.  Also, people who are sickly or are in hospitals for a period of time, have said that they can see apparitions or they have ghosts visit them when they are near death or so it seems.  People also have been known to say that when they have a near death experience, their life flashes before their eyes.  Lastly, very religious people tend to believe in life after death, being visited by loved ones who have passed on and reincarnation.  This is something that I like to believe, and hope that is true.  Although it hasn't been proven, I have had experiences that I believe are ghosts of loved ones visiting.  When I was younger, my mom says that I was sitting in my room talking to what looked like "no one" but at the end of my conversation, I explained to my mother exactly what my great grandmother had looked like. I had never met her, and at that time I hadn't seen any pictures of her, but I described what she was wearing and it ended up being what she was buried in.  I believe that a lot of times you dream about loved ones who you have lost, and you like to believe that they are "coming to visit you" in your dreams.  That hasn't been proven either, and probably never will be, but I have another kind of creepy story about that as well.  7 years ago, we had a family friend who unfortunately was dying of lung cancer.  We knew that it was almost his time to go, but it could've happened at anytime at that point.  I remember sleeping one night and having the most vivid dream about him. We were in my house and he looked at me and said, "I just wanted to tell you I'm leaving but don't be sad because I'm ok now. Goodbye." He walked out of my house and I woke up at that moment. The next morning, my mom got the phone call that he had died over night.  I know it's probably coincidence but I will never forget that.  So as the article states, the interpretation and inference of the matter is that none of the above arguments are sufficient proof for personal survival after death. Yet, taken together, the above phenomena constitute a solid body of testimony in favor of the belief. Even after reading this, my point of view remains the same and I still have beliefs in parapsychology.

Date updated: January 3rd, 2011

By: Amanda Wood

1 comment:

  1. I found it cool that human consciousness can exist independently of brain activity.