Espiritualidade e Sociedade

Elizabeth G. Krohn

>    The Eternal Life of Consciousness

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Elizabeth G. Krohn
>    The Eternal Life of Consciousness



Submitted as an essay entry to the
Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies
July 21, 2021



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What is the best available evidence for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death? While numerous scientific practitioners have attempted to conclusively answer this question, none so far have succeeded.

Why not?

The kind of scientific evidence-seeking to which our society has become accustomed isn't what we should be looking for here. The best evidence is simply a new perspective on something we already know.

Despite the advances it has attained for humanity, the scientific method is inadequate to conclusively answer the above question. Strong innate curiosity has compelled many brilliant minds to pursue science, usually using methods that overlay data with the rigidity of the scientific method. However, some of these same researchers find that there are times that this method does not — cannot — yield accurate answers.

An integral and inextricable component to the scientific method is observation. Observation is a cripplingly missing element when it comes to what researchers call “scientific” studies. It is not possible to effectively employ the scientific method in studies on this subject because the researchers cannot personally observe the data. They can only assemble the testimony of experiencers into groupings and make some assumptions that may or may not be what the individual narratives intended. Those studies, while good tools, are not the best evidence. The best evidence must come from individual near-death experiencers telling their individual stories.

Part of what makes science so dependable is the fact that it is an iterative process. In order for a theory to be scientifically accepted, it must be repeatable on demand. Therefore, to say definitively that human consciousness survives permanent bodily death from a purely scientific standpoint, one would be required to repeatedly run the experiment on demand and get the same results each time. Since this would involve intentionally causing permanent bodily death to humans, and then somehow communicating with the deceased in a documented and verifiable manner, it cannot currently be done in a legal or humane setting. (While such an experiment could theoretically be done with terminal patients, it would be ineffective because so many such patients are incoherent or unable to communicate at all.)

Interestingly, the idea of experimenting with life after death was explored in the 2016 Netflix series The OA.(1) In the fictional show, a doctor with an insatiable desire to know what happens to human consciousness after death kidnaps five victims, to be used as test subjects. He holds them captive for years as he repeatedly kills and revives them to study what they tell him about their time in the afterlife. While the show is highly entertaining, it is also fascinating in its showcasing of not only the natural human curiosity of the subject, but also the problems inherent in proving anything related to the subject from a scientific standpoint.

(1) - 2016. The OA. Retrieved from



Near-Death Experiences


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