CULTURE

Life after death? Scientific researchers suggest it is possible

SANTIAGO – The philosophical question of whether life after death exists keeps people around the world in a constant controversy. While scientists and religious representatives continue to complain about the answer, many people affirm they have had an ultra-sensory experience.

Since humanity exists the question about an afterlife has been present, and the different points of view on this matter have always provoked strong debates. In this sense, many scientists have dedicated their lives to prove the impossibility of any bit of a human being remaining conscious after death. On the other side, many researchers think a piece of consciousness could break away from a corpse and survive on some plane of existence. However, preference for one theory or the other mainly depends on the religious and moral code a person has received during life.

Theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology Sean Carroll insists that the phenomenon is impossible. According to physics, people should stop taking up “non-real theories and beliefs” and start focusing on the explanations provided by the universe and its laws. For Carroll the study and application of the laws of physics explain more than enough the rules that govern life and death. Carroll also remarks that the only way in which an afterlife could exist is if consciousness could be separated from the body. In this sense, he explains that the laws of physics do not allow that parts remain alive once the body is dead.

Carroll argues that consciousness is composed of a series of atoms and electrons that make up what we know as mind, and those particles can’t stay active after death. “Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there is no way within those laws to allow for the information stored in our brains to persist after we die,” said Carroll according to the news website Express.co.uk. Related to the evidence provided by the physicist, in his book about the afterlife he claims that everything happens within the realm of possibility.

´To expand the current paradigm´

On the other side, many people and investigations back up the existence of afterlife, for example the Division of Perceptual Studies Mission of the University of Virginia, USA. The entity has been devoted to the investigation of phenomena of post-mortem survival of consciousness. Its researchers strive to find empirical evidence to show that consciousness survives death and that mind and brain are separable. On its website it states: “Our goal is to expand the current paradigm, because we believe that recognition of consciousness as something greater than a physically produced phenomenon is both more optimist and more accurate than the prevailing materialist worldview.”

In addition to that, Dr. Bruce Greyson, an emeritus physiatrist and neurobehavioral professor at the university, presented evidence to the United Nations of an afterlife realm. The information consists in many documented cases in which people were clinically dead, but after being reanimated were able to describe situations that seemed impossible in that state. Greyson highlighted that “we can’t rule out something just because we aren’t able to explain it through materialist means. The simple fact that conscience itself is a non-physical thing is very difficult for some scientists to explain.”

A conscious state after brain death

Another investigation that supports the existence of life after death was undertaken by the University of Southampton. In the respective study, the permanence of a perception of a conscious state after brain death has been proved. The research took as a sample 2,000 cases of people who suffered cardiac arrests, in which a 40 % of them survived. The survivors described experiencing certain conscience between the moment they died and the moment their hearts restarted. One outstanding testimony came from a 57-year-old patient who could see from the outside of his body how doctors were trying to bring him back to life. Certain details of the story were confirmed by the professionals that attended him while he was clinically dead.

The director of the investigation, Sam Parnia, assured that many people could have witnessed such experience but attribute it to an illusion. However, investigations of this kind might open the gate to a future study that leads to explanations of the most controversial themes by using something more than empirical formulas or theoretical explanations.

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