Beyond the academic closet. It pleases me greatly to see DOPS at UVA improving its website by proclaiming the possible autonomy of the mind from the brain (body). This opens the door to renewed academic study of near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), reincarnation and rebirth, and other parapsychological areas traditionally shunned by scientistic and positivistic scholars.
There are two reasons I am greatly interested in these phenomena now being resurrected and studied anew by DOPS. First, my MA in Psychology from Seattle University was based on the study of existentialism and phenomenology, sometimes referred to as “Continental (European) Thought”. I was also an Associate Member of the American Psychological Association before my cancer diagnosis.
Second, the fact that I have terminal cancer, other bodily ailments, along with old age means that I will be losing my physical body soon. The thought of my consciousness being eternal and my eventual placement in a fetus to later be thrown into existence where I will develop my essence during life doesn’t frighten me. The Vienna psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, saw having purpose in life as physically healing. And the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, saw humans as “beings towards death”. As a being moving towards death, I wonder if the sum TOTAL of our lives follows us through life to finally end at the point of death. C’est juste une pensée.