By Anupum Pant
Today we have Dr. Eben Alexander III, an American Neurosurgeon and the author of a number one New York Times bestseller, in the house. Well, not really, but let us imagine he is here with us.
Background: Dr. Eben Alexander has been a member of the American Medical Association, a neurosurgeon and has taught at the Harvard school of medical sciences. He has spent a lot of time among scientists believing that there is always a scientific explanation for everything. But, one day, he experienced something that defied all scientific explanation. Turns out, there isn’t a scientific explanation for everything. Later he went on to write a number one New York Times bestselling book – Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.
Like logical open-minded Possibilians, let us read the book first, to start arguing against it. I haven’t read it yet. So, for now, I’ll stick to writing about just what I’ve learnt about it, rather than formulating theories against it.
The story: In the year 2008, Eben was affected by a severe case of bacterial Meningitis and fell into a coma for 6 days. His Neocortex showed no signs of activity. When he got cured miraculously (with just 2% survival chance) and returned from coma, he had experienced something out of this world. According to him, during the coma, he had experienced a vivid journey into the afterlife – kind of a near death experience.
The experience: When he fell into coma, he found himself in a dark and suffocating place for a very long time. Later a spinning bright light with a beautiful melody came in slowly and “rescued” him out of this agony. It took him to a fertile green land. Some points that he makes about this mysterious land:
- There was no need for a spoken word to communicate there. Every communication was telepathic.
- The instant you asked questions, you knew the detailed answers for those questions. (Something similar to the experience of Zen)
- The experience was more real than real-life. In comparison, real-life seemed like an illusion.
You can watch a 42 minute long interview here for further details. [Video] I’d also suggest reading: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
Although we’ve progressed a lot in science and technology in the past 400 years, there is a much more science doesn’t explain than there are things it can.
For instance, to make our equations sound right, we assume there is something out there we can’t touch, feel or sense in any way; we choose to call it dark matter. The most incredible thing – 90% of our universe is dark matter (and dark energy). That is too much to sweep under the rug. And we know nothing about it.
In the words of David Eagleman – “Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion.”
Or in the words of Carl Sagan – “An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.”