It is now 35 years since I wrote Survival, mainly over the summer holiday of 1982. I was 30 then, now I am 65 – in a different phase of life. Writing the book was an intense process, and much harder work than with modern word-processing equipment. I produced the first draft in 8 weeks on a manual typewriter and got up early for several months over the autumn and winter to retype two pages a day of a manuscript that ran to 240 pages. I had met Eileen Campbell of Routledge and Kegan Paul at the Mystics and Scientists conference in 1982 and she said she might be interested in publishing the book when I had finished it. I did not know then that I would take over the running of these conferences in the late 1980s, and the series, beginning in 1978, has just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. I duly sent the manuscript to Eileen and she sent it to Colin Wilson, who enthusiastically recommended its publication. This led to meeting Colin Wilson at his house in Cornwall along with his library of some 25,000 volumes. There were books in every nook and cranny and he offered £10 to visitors for any ideas of where to put another bookcase!
Survival – now re-subtitled Death as Transition - is the first book of two and lays the groundwork for Resonant Mind, where I formulate an ethic of interconnectedness, partly based on the life review in the NDE. During the life review we re-experience events multidimensionally, not just from our own viewpoint. Thus we feel what it was like to be another person experiencing that event. In Survival I survey the history of ideas about the nature of death in the first part. Then I consider the status of evidence, recommending that a legal rather than a scientific approach is more appropriate to the kinds of case histories presented in this book. Experiments are repeatable, while our experiences are unique. So one has to establish the validity and internal coherence of these related psychic experiences, experiences that should not be possible if the tenets of scientific materialism are correct. However, as Lawrence LeShan has pointed out, impossible facts don’t happen – it is just that theories may not be able to account for them. We can’t change the facts, so we have to modify our theories so that they are capable of explaining these phenomena rather than dismissing them or explaining them away.
No developments over the last thirty years have fundamentally modified my analysis and conclusions in this book. The basic issues remain the same: is consciousness just a local by-product of the brain? If so, then near-death experiences should not happen during cardiac arrest; nor should children’s memories of previous lives; and even less so should there be any verifiable communications with the deceased. Yet all these things do happen, therefore a paradigm shift in our understanding of consciousness is urgently required. Scientific materialists continue to maintain their sceptical position mainly by collectively ignoring the evidence. In my view, this is intellectually disreputable. It is like Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen putting the telescope to his blind eye and saying: “I see no ships.”
It is five years since the publication of a landmark book by the brilliant ‘heretical’ biologist Rupert Sheldrake: The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry. In this book he discusses a number of scientific dogmas and turns them into questions. These include the propositions that nature is essentially mechanical, that matter is unconscious, that brains produce consciousness, that memories are stored as material traces in the brain, that minds are confined to the head and that unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory. None of these propositions is true, as Rupert convincingly demonstrates, yet they are dogmatically adhered to in spite of over 100 years of evidence to the contrary. This shackles the spirit of enquiry and stifles the real progress that might be made if mainstream scientists had more courage in questioning these dogmas, defying the peer pressure of their colleagues. As Nikola Tesla, another neglected genius, put it: ‘the day science begins to study nonphysical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.’
David Lorimer, St Colombe sur l’Hers, France, August 2017
About the author
David Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA is a writer, lecturer and editor who is Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network. He has also been President of Wrekin Trust and of the Swedenborg Society and was founding Chief Executive of Character Education Scotland. Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books, most recently The Protein Crunch (with Jason Drew) and A New Renaissance (edited with Oliver Robinson) He has a long-standing interest in the perennial wisdom and has translated and edited books about the Bulgarian sage Peter Deunov. His edited book Prophet for our Times was republished in 2015 with a foreword by Wayne Dyer.
He is also a founding member of the International Futures Forum and was editor of its digest, Omnipedia - Thinking for Tomorrow. His book on the ideas and work of the Prince of Wales – Radical Prince - has been translated into Dutch, Spanish and French. He is the originator of the Inspiring Purpose Values Poster Programmes, which have reached over 300,000 young people. See http://www.inspiringpurpose.org.uk and http://www.character-scotland.org.uk He lives in France with his partner Marianne van Mierlo. Personal website: http://www.davidlorimer.co.uk
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published October 2017
Size: 229 X 152 mm