This was fascinating:
Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife, which became a Newsweek cover story…
…counterpointed with this:
This Must Be Heaven, in which Sam Harris debunks it.
Reading the feedback: Despite a lot of junk comments online, there are more strong and rational voices out there than I had thought long ago, now that there are spaces for them to be heard. The death of traditional media forms is like an old tree falling and clearing room for light to shine down and a multitude of new views to start taking root. Small voices, but often voices of great clarity, beating back the fuzzy molds of wish-based thinking.
(In fact, Newsweek announced the discontinuation of their print edition almost immediately after publication of this story.)
It seems that internal experience can be incredibly powerful and compelling, and believe that when we can learn to accept the metaphoric nature of mental hyper-realities as expressions of our own reality tunnels and a playing out of the thinking process (that this is how the brain actually thinks, in the ocean depths below the surface ripples of normal consciousness), we will some day learn how to harness our actual mental capabilities, as they exist before our ego programs clamp down on them, in new and startling ways.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
Heaven is not “real.” Gods are not “real.” But our cultural ideas about all these things came from people’s actual experiences with what to them are real (filtered through the limitations of language, which is a blunt instrument, and through which experiencers struggle to communicate the reality of what they’ve experienced): landscapes of thought which reveal metaphysical truths that make everyday beliefs based on what we’re told to be true, simply given to us to accept by society around us and which are therefore expedient to believe, or on the conclusions of abstract logic (e.g. word-based thinking) seem vastly distant in comparison. But such experiences are themselves nothing more than thinking, in unchained glory. This is the brain trying to make sense of some aspect of reality, modeling concepts not necessarily bound to three dimensions and time, within a hyper-concrete exploratory experiment different from (because of the feelings of awake-ness/awareness, “reality,” and “conclusiveness” attached, to begin with), but at the same time not all that much different from, dreams.