Epilepsy, NDE's, & Statistics
“Although I don’t know how far your expertise extends beyond the field of NDEs, I still want to bring up this issue. I have come across various skeptical sources confidently claiming that lots (if not all) mystics like Edgar Cayce, Joan of Arc, Soren Kierkegaard, and Ralph Waldo Emerson were so-called ‘temporal lobe epileptics,’ e.g. their supposed visions and teachings were due to illness.
“However, is there really substantiated evidence for this claim, or is it just ‘theories being presented as facts’?”....Steffen
No, this is not true. Some may have been (such as Swedenborg), but the majority were not. By the way, the idea of temporal lobe epilepsy as an illness has yet to be proved. Certainly, many epilepics have visions during their seizures, and report experiences similar to near-death experiences and/or mystical illuminations. However, if you study what they are reporting, then take a look at aftereffects, well, the match is not there....not even close. Remember, it’s the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects that validates mystical and spiritual and near-death experiences, NOT the other way around. To better understand the significance of what I have just said, please read my latest book, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story. An excellent book that expands this subject is Subtle Worlds: An Explorer’s Field Notes, David Spangler (a modern mystic); Lorian Press, Everett, WA 2010.
P.S. Many times when you connect directly with spirit guidance, you feel a “seizure” in your brain as if you were switching brain levels to one not ordinarily used. This seizure feeling is brief, more of a wiggle, really - a reliable signal that you have reached another state of consciousness and are no longer focused in the everyday world. An illness? Goodness no. This feeling state is very positive, very practical, uplifting and energetic. It functions as a signal, only. Nothing more.
Anyone who connects this with the illness of epilepsy is either uninformed, or, in the habit of slapping labels to anything that appears to fit favorite theories.
“I have read some sections of your new book, and find it quite interesting. I have a question about your book. In Chapter One, in the section titled ‘statistics’ you write that....4-5% of the general population had a near-death experience. Global estimates jump to 12-21% when focused on those receiving critical care when the phenomenon occurs. What is the phenomenon? If the phenomenon is the near-death experience, then 100% should have the near-death experience when the near-death experience occurs. You should clarify what you mean in future editions of your book. Are you saying that 4-5% of people who die, and are revived have a near-death experience which they can recall? Then perhaps you are saying that 12-21% of those who die, and are revived in a critical care setting have recollections of a near-death experience.”....Brian
I thought I was clear. When I speak of the phenomenon of near-death, I am including the experience plus the aftereffects. In research, you cannot just focus on the near-death experience and establish any more than what you find out about “the light show” (the scenario). You must include the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects to gain a more thorough and complete picture of what you are talking about. Hardly any researchers in the field do this, though. When others speak of aftereffects, they usually list things like becoming more loving afterward, losing the fear of death, becoming more generous and service minded. I have objected about this for years, and still do, so in the book I made it clear (at least I thought I did) that it is now time for us (actually past time) to focus on the entire phenomenon, not just the parts of it that impress us the most.
Statistics about people who have had a near-death experience come from the large clinical studies that have been done in several countries, and for several years. Interestingly, these same statistics stack up with Chinese researchers, those in India and elsewhere, and are proving to be global. Therefore, in the general population, worldwide, it can be said that the estimated number of people who have had a near-death experience are between 4 to 5 percent. If you focus on on medical/clinical/accident/emergency figures, the overall percentages in this population are between 12 to 21%. There are some studies where the percentage jumps to 25 to 29%. These are smaller, more isolated studies. That’s why I stick with the figures that come from the larger studies.
The near-death experience, as an experience, comes from people who are close to death, nearly die, or are clinically dead but later revive or are resuscitated. The near-death experience comes from “fear deaths” too (from those who are afraid they are going to die but do not), and/or from any moment, any event, when suddenly the individual ceases function and has a full-blown near-death experience that completely changes their life, and that includes the pattern of aftereffects. Seldom are any of these people ill, most are in good health and remain so. Why this stoppage occurs and the phenomenon takes over, no one knows.
My book cannot be amended. What is in it, remains as is, nor will I be writing another on this subject. Sorry. PMH