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Existentialism 101: Pondering on Life and an Afterlife

Posted on 22 May 2023, 8:32

Unfortunately, this course is not taught in our universities.  They offer only Materialism 101, Philistinism 101, & Nihilism 101.  If Existentialism 101 were taught, the teachings would center around the ideas below.


Cui Bono?  “Well, even my information is only based on hearsay; but I don’t mind at all telling you what I have heard.  I supposed that for one who is soon to leave this world there is no more suitable occupation than inquiring into our views about the future life, and trying to imagine what it is like.  What else can one do in the time before sunset?”
– Socrates (Phaedo of Plato)  Tredennick, p.104

Nihilism: “If man believes in nothing but the material world, he becomes a victim of the narrowness of his own consciousness.  He is trapped in triviality.”
– Emanuel Swedenborg  (Swedish Scientist and Polymath)

Despair: “Despair over the earthly or over something earthly is really despair also about the eternal and over oneself, in so far as it is despair, for this is the formula for all despair.”
– Soren Kirkegaard (Danish Philosopher, “Father of Existentialism”)

Death: “When one is seventy-five years old, he cannot avoid thoughts about death from time to time. These thoughts leave me quite undisturbed, for I am firmly convinced that our spirit is an essence of completely indestructible nature; it is something that works on from eternity to eternity. It is like the sun, which seems to set only to our earthly eyes, but which really never sets, but shines on perpetually.”
—Goethe (German polymath)

Life’s Meaning:  “The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of life.  Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interest upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.”
– C. G. Jung  (Swiss pioneer in psychiatry)

Fear of Death: “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else.  It is a mainspring of human activity – activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.”
– Ernest Becker (American anthropologist, 1973 Pulitzer Prize winner)

Aging: “With the rapidly diminishing circle of my relatives and friends, I find myself increasingly lonely, reflective.  Already the larger part of my generation have become intangible, and many of those who remain on the earth are seeking, like myself, some evidence, some assurance of a life beyond the black deep whose waters they must soon cross.  That I would welcome a hail from that dim other shore, but the voice must be real and not imaginary.”
–Hamlin Garland (American author, Pulitzer Prize winner in literature)

Scientific Mechanism: “We are infected with the chaos and decay of spiritual emptiness, even as we are vaccinated and take our antibiotics. [My patients] wait without hope, without heart, tragically unaware of the reality of their undying souls.”
– Stephen J. Iacoboni (American Oncologist and author, “The Undying Soul”)

Death Anxiety: “The state of anxiety, the feeling of powerlessness and insignificance, and especially the doubt concerning one’s future after death, represent a state of mind which is practically unbearable for anybody.”
– Erich Fromm (American psychoanalyst & humanistic philosopher)

Existential Vacuum: “Every age has its own collective neurosis, and every age needs its own psychotherapy to cope with it. This existential vacuum which is the mass neurosis of the present time can be described as a private and personal form of nihilism; for nihilism can be defined as the contention that being has no meaning.”
– Viktor Frankl (American psychiatrist, author “Man’s Search for Meaning”)

Avoidance: “They come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death.  All well and good.  Yet, when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair!”
– Michel de Montaigne (French philosopher)

Beyond Materialism: “Human life, as we know it, is a tragic and pathetic affair which can only be redeemed by some belief or at least some hope in a larger significance than is compatible with the creed of materialism, no matter how nobly stoic a form it may be held.”
– William McDougall (British & American psychology professor)

Highest Ideal: “Neither a person nor a nation can exist without some higher idea. And there is only one higher idea on earth, and it is the idea of the immortality of the human soul, for all other ‘higher’ ideas of life by which humans might live derive from that idea alone.”
–  Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russian author, “Crime & Punishment”)

Humanism: “The moralist (i.e., humanist) must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes well – morality suffices.  But the athletic attitude tends ever to break down and it inevitably does break down even in the most stalwart when the organism begins to decay, or when morbid fears invade the mind.”
—William James (American pioneer in psychiatry)
Hopelessness: “If the question should be finally decided in the negative, if all men without exception ever come to believe that there is no life beyond this life, if children were all brought up to believe that the only happiness they can ever enjoy will be upon earth, then it seems to me that the condition of man would be altogether hopeless, because there would cease to be any adequate motive for justice, for truth, for unselfishness, and no sufficient reason could be given to the poor man, to the bad man, or to the selfish man, why he should not seek his own personal welfare at the cost of others.”
– Alfred Russel Wallace (British biologist & co-originator with Darwin of the , Natural Selection Theory of Evolution)

No Doubt: “I had but one object, to discover fraud and trickery. Frankly, I went to Mrs. Piper with Professor James of Harvard University about twelve years ago with the object of unmasking her…I entered the house profoundly materialistic, not believing in the continuance of life after death; today I say I believe.  The truth has been given to me in such a way as to remove from me the possibility of a doubt.”
– Richard Hodgson (Australian philosopher, poet, researcher) 

Convinced: “I am personally convinced that the evidence we have published decidedly demonstrates (1) the existence of a spiritual world, (2) survival after death, and (3) of occasional communication from those who have passed over.”
– Sir William Barrett (British physicist and author)

Humdrum Heaven: The Church is deliberately wooly on the subject and the ordinary man is not attracted by their anemic heaven, nor frightened by their eternal hell.  Such a system just doesn’t make sense to the man in the street, so he is inclined to concentrate on this life which he thinks he know all about and leave the next life until the time comes to face it.”
– Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding (British War Hero, author, “God’s Magic”)

Symbolisms: “All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible.”
– C. S. Lewis (British theologian and author)

Full Realization: “Too many indeed hold the solemn verities concerning the hereafter in a sort of half consciousness, believing in them, yet nevertheless not fully realizing them. They must flame within us, setting our whole moral and intellectual nature on fire, sending a life current of energy through every part of our being, arousing us to impetuous action and to sustained effort born of strong conviction.”
– Madison Peters (American clergyman and author)

Conviction: “I should be willing to face the stake rather than be unfaithful to so vital and pregnant a truth – a conclusion so illuminating in our understanding of the meaning of existence, so instructive in relation to the scheme of the universe, and so vitally affecting the hopes and aspirations of man.  I do not even feel tempted to succumb to either ecclesiastical or philosophical censure concerning the initial stages of what may be described as the scientific discovery of the soul, as a verified and persistent entity.”
– Sir Oliver Lodge  (British physicist and electricity pioneer)

Ignorance: “I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the skeptic as having any right to speak on the subject.  Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short rift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject.”
– James H. Hyslop (American professor of logic and ethics)

Certainty: “It cannot be doubted that the personal life is condemned to destruction, and that a life conformable to the will of God alone gives the possibility of salvation.  It is not much in comparison with the sublime belief in the future life! It is not much, but it is sure.”
– Leo Tolstoy (Russian author, “War & Peace”)

New Beginning: “For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose, verse, history, philosophy, drama, romance, satire, ode, song. I have tried all; but I feel I have not said the thousandth part of what is in me. When I go down to the grave, I can say, like so many others, ‘I have finished my day’s work’; but I cannot say I have finished my life. My day’s work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes in the twilight to open with the day.”
– Victor Hugo (French author)

Knowing:  “The dying experience is almost identical to the experience in birth. It is a birth into a different existence which can be proven quite simply.  For thousands of years you were made to ‘believe’ in the things concerning the beyond. But for me, it is no longer a matter of belief, but rather a matter of knowing.”
– Elisabeth Kűbler-Ross (American physician and author)

Spiritual Beings: “I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity.  This belief must be classed as superstition…We have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.” 
– Sir John Eccles (Australian Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist)  Alexander, p. 140

Another World:  “Although there is always something that will stand in the way of scientifically proving life after death, the truth about this subject may just lie with those who have experienced it.  I have listened to thousands of people tell their stories of ‘going to the other side,’ and I can tell you that I believe what they say, and can tell you that for most of them, nothing stands in the way of their faith that another world awaits them.”
– Raymond Moody (American psychiatrist, NDE researcher, author)

Dualism Confirmed: “The evidence points to the fact that we are more than brain function, more than just a speck in creation, and that something, whether we regard it as soul or consciousness, will continue in some form or another, making its journey to ‘Elsewhere.’”
– Peter Fenwick (British neuropsychiatrist, NDE researcher, author) 

Transformation: “That death is the end used to be my own belief.  But after many years of critical research into the stories of the NDErs, and after a careful exploration of current knowledge about brain functions, consciousness, and some basic principles of quantum physics, my views have undergone a complete transformation.  As a doctor and researcher, I found the most significant finding to be the conclusion of one NDEr: ‘Dead turned out to be not dead.’ I now see the continuity of our consciousness after death of our physical body as a very real possibility.” 
– Pim van Lommel (Dutch cardiologist, NDE researcher, author)

“…now that I have been privileged to understand that our life does not end with the death of the body or the brain, I see it as my duty, my calling, to tell people about what I saw beyond the body and beyond this earth.”
– Eben Alexander (American academic neurosurgeon, author, “Proof of Heaven”) (Alexander, p. 12)

Overcoming Rationalism: “Leaving rational thought behind, even momentarily, isn’t a loss we easily invite.  But if we want access to the state in which anomalous knowing might be possible, a deliberate invitation might be precisely what’s required.” – Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer (American professor of psychology, author “Extraordinary Knowing”)

Resisting Change: “It’s hard to change how people think. People have vested interests, and their projects and reputations would be threatened if certain things were shown to be true.” 
– B. D. Josephson (Welsh theoretical physicist and 1973 Nobel Laureate)

Rejection by Science: “They think that if they once admit this evidence [for consciousness survival] it will plunge them headlong back into superstition and wreck the structure of law on which science has been built. They think, as one psychologist put it, that it is a case of psychical research alive and science dead, or vice versa.”
– G. N. M. Tyrrell (British Mathematician & author)

Uncertainty: “We need have no hope that any one will utter on this earth the word that shall put an end to our uncertainties…The unknown and the unknowable are necessary and will perhaps always be necessary to our happiness.  In any case, I would not wish my worst enemy, were his understanding a thousandfold loftier and thousandfold mightier than mine, to be condemned eternally to inhabit a world of which had surprised an essential secret and of which, as a man, he had begun to grasp the least tittle.” – Maurice Maeterlinck (Belgian author and researcher, 1911 Nobel Prize winner)

Acceptance:  “[Considering the evidence] it makes sense to me to live our lives as if this is really the way things are – that we are more than our physical bodies, that some part of us may continue after our bodies stop working, and that we may be intimately connected to something greater than ourselves.  And that has tremendous implications for how we live our lives, and for what makes our lives meaningful and worthwhile.” 
– Bruce Greyson (American psychiatry professor, NDE researcher, author “After”

What’s Important: “If I had my life to live over again, I should devote myself to psychical research rather than psychoanalysis.”
– Sigmund Freud (Austrian pioneer in psychiatry)
No Boundaries:  “The soul of man is so vast that you will never find its boundaries by traveling in any direction.” 
– Heracleitus (pre-Socrates Greek philosopher, 576-480 B.C.)

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post:  June 5


Dear All,
I am always interested in the skeptic to believer path. This article came to my inbox and I thought that others might like to also read it

Bruce Williams, Mon 5 Jun, 07:42

After al is said, this is simply a great collection of quotations I am happy not to have to look up. I have slowly amassed my own collection of quotes and am happy to add some of these to my own. Thank you, Michael.

Stafford Betty, Wed 31 May, 20:59

“...if cpr allows for electrical activity to result during a cardiac arrest, then any experience one has could be a result of the brain so this would prove nothing re whether ndes are real or not and whether consciousness does or does not reside in the brain.”

Your general extremely cautious position on accepting the afterlife is well taken. However, I would still differ somewhat from your what I would regard as selective hyperskepticism, especially when it comes to NDEs.

You seem to ignore the raft of empirical evidence furnished by veridical NDEs. How about considering some of this empirical evidence, of which there is a lot? That trumps much materialist theorizing. For instance, The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences, by Rivas, Dirven and Smit, .

“Presents the most confirmed cases of consciousness beyond death ever compiled (over 120). In these cases, the authors have gone back to the original sources, the people involved in each case, whenever possible, rather than relying on secondhand sources. In so doing, they have assembled a unique collection of empirical data.

By carefully studying and describing many convincing and corroborated cases, during cardiac arrest and other cases, the authors conclude that there are good reasons to assume that our consciousness does not always coincide with the functioning of our brain: Enhanced consciousness can sometimes be experienced separately from the body.”

David Magnan, Sat 27 May, 21:08


What a very fascinating compilation! Thank you!

When all of us are on the otherside, what great conversations there will be!

Most Sincerely,

Yvonne Limoges, Sat 27 May, 02:42

Dear all,
Recently I was connected with the Spiritist point of view which differs from the Spiritualist point of view, mainly over reincarnation.
I totally agree with Amos (a rare but strangely nice experience).

Nosso Lar (Our Home) by F Chico Xavier is the experiences of a physician in the after life. The spirit guide was Emmanuel. It was dictated in Portuguese. Kardec’s Spiritism by Emma Bragdon PhD is a bridge between the Western paradigm and Spanish point of view.
My point is that different cultures have similar outbursts of that after life craze.

I taught about the problems of group think where a group will not see anything out of their framework. The implication in cybersecurity is to have a red team look at the defence of the blue team. The red team assumes no groupthink and looks for weaknesses. One of my friends bypassed telecommunications security in a red team exercise. I see all the various groups of after life points of view have some form of group think.

Bruce Williams, Fri 26 May, 04:06


Like you, I am not 100% convinced. As I have often said, I’m stuck at 98.8% conviction, which does it for me.  As one of the quotes in this post suggests, uncertainty or doubt is a necessary thing if we are to advance. Thus, I’m OK with the 1.2% uncertainty. At what percentage would you put yourself?  Hopefully, you are at 90% or better.

As for the pre-1920 research, I’ve come across so many modern-day researchers who know a little about it but really haven’t grasped what it was all about. Maybe I haven’t, but I prefer to think that I understand it better than 99.9% of them. Again, I’m not at 100% on anything outside of pure math, and I’m not even sure about that.

Michael Tymn, Fri 26 May, 01:12

When writing about heaven, Patience Worth said:

“Oh man, what spotless Heaven would’st thou create?
Milkwhite in sanctity, no stuff but that it gleams in colorlessness, with pearled gates and alabaster shadows, rimmed with white walls, cloud—tipped of whiter silver and lucid gems of water pureness; the paths enshrouded in a snow of blooms, and the silver streets lined of fleece clad angels whose white wings enfold their whiter form, and whose whiter souls abide this white, white land.
Ah, what a heaven thou createst!

And I pray you, wherein thou?

“Might I build a Heaven; I’d make the day contain the early dawn’s first breath and the eve’s first shadows that it be neither o’er bright nor o’er shadowed.  I’d make the land to roll in gentle rises wherein valleys lie, and the peaks be not over-far.  And the roadway that I’d set me there would be a circle winding about the hillocks and the vales, where at each turn a changeful shade of some sweet memory would greet me.  I’d make me such a land, so full of recollections, that like trooping throngs of happy babes they’d sport the fields, and then I’d take a golden trumpet and stand upon its portals and cry, “O Brother, come.” ”

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 25 May, 19:38

I think words fail us when we try to discuss consciousness, meaning a spirit rather than being awake and aware of what is going on around one’s body, that is, what is called ‘being conscious’.  A simple example is consciousness during dreaming.  Obviously, the body is asleep and not conscious of the environment surrounding the body, but the consciousness, meaning that awareness of identity, the awareness of being may be experienced in some dreamscape, i.e., heaven.  Often after awakening, that dream consciousness can recall what it experienced in dreamland when the body was asleep and not conscious.  In a similar way, people who have been in a coma for varying periods of time often recall being aware and experience other environments and interactions with other “people” while their body lies unconscious in a hospital bed. People who report an NDE experience their consciousness in another realm when their body is experiencing trauma, and there are reported cases of people who were “locked” in their body seemingly unconscious but were aware of everything going on around them but unable to communicate in any way.  So, one’s consciousness is not equal to being or appearing conscious in the physical world. It is a separate entity—-a soul if you will—- that can be aware and experience things regardless of the state of the body or absence thereof.

There seems to be a dichotomy between being aware when the body is awake and being aware when the body is asleep or in a coma or when the consciousness is not associated with a body at all.  Consciousness can experience physical life through its physical eyes and other bodily senses and apparently is able to experience spiritual life through some sort of spiritual eyes.  (Some NDE-ers report that their vision was 360 degrees when they were out of their body.)

Permit me to quote Patience Worth again when she said, “Thou didst see not with thine eyes o’flesh afore thy coming.  Aye, but at they bearing, thy mother oped up thine eyes and thee didst see and behold o’ the Earth.  Aye, now list thee, Death then, is thy mother, for hark at her bearing thou shalt shut up thy eyes o’flesh and see o’ the Land o’ Here.” (Note: “Land o’ Here” is where Patience Worth abides i.e., heaven.)  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 25 May, 19:08

You bring up so many good topics for discussion it is difficult to know where to begin.  Most or all of the issues have been discussed for years by people from many different academic backgrounds and interests, so for those who have had interest in these topics and studied them for many years, they may be reluctant or frankly weary to discuss it all again.

I would like to address your most recent comment and Shushan quote that much of the documentation concerning mediums is of an Anglo-American and perhaps racist point of view.  And while that may be true in accounts written by Anglo-Americans and Europeans it of course is not true of NDE and mediumistic and reincarnation accounts generally from other parts of the world.  Haraldsson and Osis wrote in “At the Hour of Death” near death reports primarily of people living in India. Those accounts as I recall reflected the belief systems of non-Christian people of India.  And, as I recall without researching the source, there were reports of Africans reporting NDEs decidedly based on the African primitive cultures and belief systems.  Even Ian Stevenson in his studies of reincarnation in children reported culture-specific experiences. I think that after life reports from American Indians were also culture specific and well as reports from the Inuits of the Artic regions. I surmise that Chico Xavier wrote his communications with the spirits from a Latin point of view.

I think what this all suggests is that there are in fact “Many Mansions” in the afterlife. That the afterlife is not the same for all.  Quoting Patience Worth, she said that “ Each man enjoyeth his Heaven—-I say his Heaven—-for the thing he enjoyeth in that same Heaven shall not be thine” One might expect that mediums communicating with people primarily from their own culture would speak in terms and present symbols reflective of the culture in which they both lived, Europeans speak as Europeans, Americans as Americans, Orientals as Orientals and Primitive Africans as Africans and they all experience and report an afterlife in which they feel most comfortable.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 25 May, 18:02


I forgot to mention that Prof. Shushan (PhD London University and researchers at Oxford University)spent a great deal of time studying the mediumship research that you studied. He did not come away impressed and does not think it is strong evidence of an afterlife. I am paraphrasing here ( don’t shoot the messenger) but he noted that when mediums of the 19th and early 20th centuries talked about what the afterlife was like, it simply came across as an extension of their Anglo-American centric, mostly racist views held on earth during that time period. For him this was evidence that the messages being received (specific to what the afterlife was like) was simply coming from the conscious or unconscious minds of the mediums of the day. That said, he does tend to think there could be an afterlife so he is not a materialist.

It would be good to have Prof Shushan comment here as he obviously would do a much better job of explaining himself than I can, but that was the general gist of his conclusion.

Ian, Thu 25 May, 13:36


Numerous ndes have been reported for many centuries across almost all cultures. Professor Gregory Shusan is a scholarship who has studied cross cultural ndes for 30 years. He has written some wonderful (expensive)academic books on the subject. Google his name for his academic background and his books, which may be of interest. I may be mistaken but I think Prof Shushan also won a Bigelow prize for his essay.

As for ndes people experience when not facing death being evidence of a separation of consciousness from brain, I wonder if that is an oversimplification re such a conclusions. Most neauroscientists would not view this as being evidential of consciousness separating from brain as many provide physical neurological explanations for the phenomenon. I do not know who is right I just mention that mainstream neuroscientists provide physical explanations.

I am in the camp that consciousness is not a product of the brain based on all my research and personal experiences but I am not at the point where I am 100%:convinced and closed to cogent arguments against this view.

Ian, Thu 25 May, 11:09


Thanks for the comment. As I argued in my Bigelow essay, the case for survival was made before 1920, based primarily on trance mediumship.  While there were a some NDEs reported before 1920, they are, along with the more current NDEs, icing on the cake for me. As Amos points out, the blood flow or heart beat doesn’t seem to be a factor in the mind-body separation.  What about people having out-of-body experiences without being near death?  Doesn’t that suggest a mind-body separation?  The issue does, however, seemingly add to that of autopsies and organ removal, as discussed in my blog of May 14, 2012.

Michael Tymn, Thu 25 May, 00:46


I hope I misunderstood the findings and that it does not mean, as I thought, there is electrical activity in the brain during cardiac arrest (beyond mere seconds unless cpr is performed). But if cpr allows for electrical activity to result during a cardiac arrest, then any experience one has could be a result of the brain so this would prove nothing re whether ndes are real or not and whether consciousness does or does not reside in the brain.

There are plenty of people having nde’s who are not even at risk of death, let alone not having a cardiac arrest.

Ian, Wed 24 May, 20:37

Dorian, thank you for the comment relative to the reference on the Dostoyoevsky quote. “Crime & Punishment” was not intended as a reference, but to identify the person with his best known work.  I did not intend to put references, although I was sloppy in that regard and left partial references for Socrates, Eccles, and Eben Alexander. They should be removed.  That’s what happens at age 86.

Michael Tymn, Wed 24 May, 19:38

Interesting report.  A key factor in the report is that the people were receiving CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation), that is, some degree of blood circulation and oxygenation was getting to the brain so that some brain activity could be present during the hour of CPR.  It is not that brain activity was occurring when circulation was totally stopped, at least that is how I understand it.

I recall that some people have an NDE without having a cardiac arrest and their brain is apparently still functioning. I am not so sure of the significance of the AWARE II study and I will have to study the links you provided in more detail.

If consciousness is not a function of the brain, then whether or not the heart is beating or brain waves are occurring is irrelevant. The brain is taking care of the body while the consciousness is somewhere else.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 24 May, 16:48

Hi all,

I had to respond to the quote from Pim van Lommel. Until rather recently I thought very highly of the argument made by Dr van Lommel re an afterlife based on NDEs he researched (I thought his book was absolutely incredible in establishing the fact of NDEs being real insights into an afterlife). His main argument relates to the fact that during a cardiac arrest there is no brain activity, yet people have incredible experiences ndes).

It was until recently believed by most MDs/scientists that the brain had no electrical activity during a cardiac arrest. Van Lommel was proven wrong recently by Dr Sam Parnia in his recent AWARE II study which showed heightened brain activity of people up to one hour into cardiac arrests. I was very disappointed by these study results as always felt NDEs were great evidence of an afterlife…now they remain questionable.

Aware II study findings for those interested:
“A key finding was the discovery of spikes of brain activity, including so-called gamma, delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves up to an hour into CPR.”


Ian, Wed 24 May, 14:31

Michael, you referenced one quote as “Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russian author, “Crime & Punishment”),” while Wikiquote lists the quote source as coming from Dostoyevsky’s A Writer’s Diary, Volume 1: 1873-1876 (1994), p. 734.  Now, I just checked this latter reference and it’s true.

Dorian, Eastern Europe, Wed 24 May, 10:56

When I was teaching I usually met other lecturers and looked at their textbooks. I opened one such textbook and found that Abnormal was the heading of the first chapter. I don’t have a copy handy but follows

There have also been exclusive approaches in trying to classify intellectual disorders. Abnormal includes three different categories; they’re subnormal, supernormal and paranormal.The science of abnormal psychology research two sorts of behaviors: adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. Behaviors which can be maladaptive recommend that a few problem(s) exist, and also can mean that the man or woman is prone and can’t deal with environmental stress, that’s main them to have issues functioning in day by day existence of their emotions, mental wondering, bodily movements and talks. Behaviors which can be adaptive are ones which are well-suited to the nature of people, their life and surroundings, and to the humans that they talk with, permitting them to recognize every other.
So I thought well I must have stress in my life (even before being in this blog).

So having a Thinking of an after life would be good but we would need a textbook. Maybe not the psychology textbook that I mentioned.

Your quotes were great and in my collection of books I often find newspaper cuttings. One on my desk is about Lady Dowding ( a 53 year vegetarian spiritualist etc) from 3 September 1961 Sydney Morning Herald. I have kept the article on my desk as it covers her new move in to beauty products (soap) from vegetables. To me it is a reminder that we like to read about the outer glow rather than the inner glow.
I did like Don’s quote from Mary. I would start with that in the course.

Bruce Williams, Tue 23 May, 03:54


Good, easy to read, thought provoking piece. Well done bro👍

Mike S

Michael Schmicker, Tue 23 May, 01:02

I neglected to ID the photos. I think most readers will know who they are, but, if not, they are Swedenborg and Jung on top and Kubler-Ross and Hugo on the bottom.

Michael Tymn, Mon 22 May, 19:49

Bravo! Michael -
I am hosting a Chinese high school student attending a Catholic school and I cannot believe the garbage they are teaching them in Philosophy. I am trying to make up for it by teaching him the philosophers shown above along with the best of Stoicism.

Suzanne Carter, Mon 22 May, 14:39


An excellent and thoughtful looking collection—I haven’t read through it yet, as my head is still in process of waking up, but will shortly.

Allow me to add just one more (as I’m sure many will do) from the the other side (the “religious” side) of the question—my all-time favorite from Mary, delivered at Medjugorge sometime in the 1980’s, and which I think represents the most important underlying thought beneath ALL of your subject: “May every person you meet be an encounter with God.”

Don Porteous, Mon 22 May, 11:21

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Ukraine War: A Story of Survival, Sacrifice, and Service – If charitable service to those in need is the ultimate in spirituality here in the physical life, this book most certainly deals with spiritual matters. The author, Amber Poole, an American woman and her husband, Paul, from Scotland but with Polish roots, operated an educational center in Poland when the Russians attacked Ukraine in 2022. As many Ukrainians fled to Poland, they turned their center into a home for as many as 40 refugees. The author kept a very interesting “war diary” over the first 18 months of the war, discussing everything from the cultural adjustments required by both the Polish and the Ukrainians to her own reactions and adjustments, as well as philosophical concerns and conflicts that often surfaced. In spite of the adversity and distress, she embraced the adversity. Read here
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