The hereafter within us

4. 0 Bliss in the right temporal lobe of the cerebrum What is probably more important is the participation of the body’s own hallucinogens, even though synthetically produced hallucinogens like LSD can produce elements of the near-death experience. One recently discovered a cannabis receptor and its associated neurotransmitter in the human brain. Its name Anandamid characteristically means as much as “inner bliss”. What areas of the brain are engaged during a near-death experience can also not be accurately determined. It is assumed that the temporal-limbic system that runs through the cerebrum and the midbrain, also plays an important role. This system is however also involved in other, integrating efforts like memory, learning, speech and self-awareness. When one electrically stimulates the right temporal lobe, many of the elements of near-death experience like fragments of life films, time changes, feelings of joy or out of body experiences could be observed. ECG measurements, amongst other things, make us assume that the frontal cortex also seems to be involved, ergo the region of the cerebrum that is thought of being responsible for making conclusions, assessments and the linking of experiences. But it is obvious - as it is with other changed states of consciousness - that only very specific areas of the cortex are activated. Other regions, those that are active under normal waking consciousness, seemed to be inhibited. Are near-death experiences therefore “only” a specific state of the brain without an analogue within “reality”, ergo hallucinations after all? If one wanted to come to that conclusion on hand of the rather sparse knowledge in the field of neuropsychology about such states of consciousness, one would have to declare that the whole world was a hallucination. Because neither colours nor forms nor solid objects exist in the eyes of physics. They only exist as interpretations of physical particles and fields of energy in our brains, they way hatred, pain, love or even near-death experiences “only” exist in our brains. Neuropsychology can therefore not reductively explain these experiences away. We don’t know which side of the two realities - on the one side experiencing and on the other side the processes within the brain - is primary and able to explain the other. Maybe none of them can explain the other because they inseparably belong together. Altogether, near-death experiences seemed to selectively agitate very specific structures in the brain. This pattern of experience seems to be biologically arranged within the brain so that it can be activated “when necessary”. The psychiatrist Stanislaus Grof could for instance trigger neardeath experiences in incurable cancer patients through hallucinogen elements thereby giving them (religious) confidence and take away the fear of death, brighten their mood and reduce their pain. Consciousness changing technologies and substances are understood to be the gateway to religious (otherworldly) experiences in most cultures. Near-death experiences represent their prototype and also indicate their biological origin. All religious experiences and the religiousness of man seemed to be based on such a neuropsychological basic structure. Near-death experiences have a healing effect because they expose this inner religiousness, something that is generally suppressed within us. Marx (religion is the opium for the masses), Freud (religion as neurosis) and Drewermann (religion must be adapted to the common rationality of psychoanalysis) have erred as far as I am concerned. Religious experience is rather based on a biologically arranged matrix, one that lies beyond the psychoanalytically reachable layers of the subconscious and whose healing potential can surpass all psychoanalysis. The popular rationality a lot of theologians try to frantically adapt to, reveals itself to be a reduction of the reality.

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