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What if They Gave a Review of Your Life and You Had to Come?

Near-Death Experiences—A New Take on Life, Part 2.

by
P. David Hornik

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February 23, 2014 - 8:00 am
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Editor’s Note: Click here for Part 1 of P. David Hornik’s new series: Near-Death Experiences—A New Take on Life, Part 1: Sam Parnia Explains Where the Field Is Leading. And click here to see his previous articles on the subject here: Do You Believe in Life After Death?

Out-of-body experiences, tunnels, bright lights, deceased relatives, a being of light—and life reviews. These are the most commonly reported elements of near-death experiences. They have been reported now for decades from all over the world, across cultures and religions. Of all of them, the life review may be the most difficult to imagine and “otherworldly.” Out-of-body experiences, encounters with dead people, mystical experiences of a deity—all these have long been on record outside of NDEs as well. The tunnel experience seems to have been represented in a painting by the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch over five hundred years ago. Life reviews, however, may be the most “exotic” compared to our familiar modes of perception. Dutch cardiologist and NDE researcher Pim van Lommel quotes this life-review account of one of his patients:

All of my life up till the present seemed to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic, three-dimensional review, and each event seemed to be accompanied by a consciousness of good or evil or with an insight into cause or effect. Not only did I perceive everything from my own viewpoint, but I also knew the thoughts of everyone involved in the event, as if I had their thoughts within me. This meant that I perceived not only what I had done or thought, but even in what way it had influenced others, as if I saw things with all-seeing eyes…. Looking back, I cannot say how long this life review…lasted, it may have been long, for every subject came up, but at the same time it seemed just a fraction of a second, because I perceived it all at the same moment. Time and distance seemed not to exist….

This is only one account, but anyone who has delved even modestly into the NDE literature as I have knows there are numerous other, remarkably similar ones.

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All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
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A life review is my idea of Hell.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
P. David Hornik:

Thank you for personalizing this by including an anecdote from your own life review. It is distressful to think how cruel we can be as children; I include myself. I look back on my time as part of a classroom mob and feel shame. As a seventh grader at Marrs Junior High in Omaha, I was silent as my classmates ran our teacher into a nervous breakdown, this back in the good old days. He was an admirable man, a teacher during the week, and the white pastor of a black church on the weekend, unheard of at that time.

As a Christian, my faith has the concept of Sins of Omission as well as Sins of Commission. Being Silent or Uninvolved is not what God expects of us, as demonstrated in the story of the Good Samaritan.

We are expected to be Moral Heroes as God gives grace and courage.

What did I take away from that long ago incident, when I was young, feeling not-too-powerful, and mute in the face of wrong ?

Not to be silent, to speak up. I think Hillel's formulation encompasses that: not only action, but inaction.

Again, thank you for these postings, and for framing the ideas in a way that leads to introspection.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, we should strive. Refraining from misdeeds is not enough; trying to make a positive difference is also essential.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Odd things happen when your brain is deprived of oxygen or when your brain is affected by psychosis and certain chemicals. The entire so called NDE is complete and utter BS. Other than that it is an interesting mechanism for fraud upon the gullible and desperate.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
What you write, of course, may be true. I might be on a grand snipe hunt based on a dillusion brought on by a specific set of physical circumstances. But it didn't strike me as a phenomenon of normal thought breaking down into chaos and confusion. How can an artifact of a malfuction lead to such profound understanding, clarity and objectivity beyond anything I'd ever experienced?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very hard to sign on on the basis of verbal or written accounts alone.

This neurosurgeon's story a case in point.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2354351/Proof-Heaven-author-multiple-claims-book-debunked-doctor-treated-seven-day-coma.html
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know how anyone who's been through an NDE can even try to describe it because I can't really find anything in this physical existance to compare it to. Yet there are things to take away from the "life review" because its all about your physical existence. The deep embarrassment and humiliation of that time of life after I was injected with those drugs called "hormones" was so intense. The enormous amount of time and effort given to such ludicrous behavior seems such a waste. I was so rational and having such a fine life before that. If we could just have one week a year and go nutty and mate, (like the Vulcans on "Star Trek") it would make much more sense.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
My life has been a complete waste of time. If they make me watch it after I'm dead, I'll probably fall asleep.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
We've profited from your wisdom, so not a complete waste of time. :)
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fascinating thing, coming from the first article to this one, is that only a percentage of those going through ADE actually have a memorable experience. It may not be a universal phenomena and I doubt it would be ethical to actually set up a set of experiments to find out.

Still this work can be coupled with information from Tom Shroder's work Old Souls, which documents childhood memories of past lives. Again, not a universal phenomena but something that does point to a separate existence outside of the physical body.

Perhaps a coupling system is what was described by Vladimir Vernadsky and fleshed out beyond that: Noosphere. This actually has had tests done to see if there is a phenomena whereby skills and knowledge for doing things can be passed via non-technological and non-physical means just by teaching people to do tasks. This has been double-blind studied and is an actual phenomena and may point to some larger repository of information and knowledge that is accumulated by all of humanity and available for use. I have no idea if this is a true separate phenomena or may be linked to the ADE and prior life memories that have been documented. The Noosphere, at least in conception, is available to everyone and universal and it would be strange to have separate non-physical systems for non-corporeal life review and common knowledge sharing. Indeed the Nooshpere may serve as that life review repository of other people's view of you as it is an active repository and not limited to the deceased, and from it the views of the living could also be gathered. Separate systems for similar and related phenomena would be an inefficient way to do things... although if this is a part of Nature, the concept of 'efficiency' can vary greatly from what humans understand it to be. Still, form follows function, and if these have similar functions they should have related forms if they are not the same system.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think this article can be read in conjunction with Roger Simon's article yesterday ("American Spring") in which he pleads for kindness and for conservatives to reach out to political opponents.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Guilt is destructive and should not be allowed to dominate the inner workings of a human psyche.

In any conceivable life review, I don't think "atonement" will be required for anything you did out of stupidity, youth or ignorant indiscretion. But intent to injure and damage might be another story, hence the essence of the Torah, cited above:

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor."
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think evil is taking pleasure in the suffering of others. I'm not sure I can think of anything else in human nature that deserves supernatural punishment.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent article ! Thank you !

I could only add that the theme of Confession (e.g. in the Catholic Tradition) has a lot to do with this discussion...

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...all of it is an energy field which influences oneself as well as others..."

I am currently re-reading The Secret of Light, Walter Russell. For me a truism that information provided to us about the nature of reality from our senses and our so called thought processes is limited, flawed, even wrong.

link: https://archive.org/stream/WalterRussellTheSecretOfLight/WalterRussell_TheSecretOfLight#page/n0/mode/2up

"...during a life review a connection with the fields of consciousness of other persons as well as with your own fields of consciousness..."

Consciousness may not inhere in the individual but "outside", everywhere, there being only one field into which all humans dip.

RW Emerson wrote in his essay on Self-Reliance:

"We lie in the lap of immense intelligence which makes us organs of its activity and receivers of its truth."
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for the link. From the description of what occurred to him in 1921 in his book "The Secret of Working Knowingly with God," and the subsequent way he lived his life, I believe Russell achieved enlightenment during his lifetime.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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