It isn’t often talked about, but the biggest paranormal phenomenon of all might be the Mind.
Of course, our minds are not considered to be paranormal because everyone (well, almost everyone) has experienced their own mind. So we all agree that the mind exists.
But science has never been able explain how the billions of neurons and trillions of neuronal connections, playing with electrochemical exchanges among themselves, produce images, thoughts, memories and emotions, and, most enigmatic of all, consciousness.
Because damage to the brain almost always results in significant impairment of thoughts, images, emotions and consciousness, most neuroscientists assume that those things are dependent on the brain for their existence.
But there is evidence to the contrary. The strongest is to be found in the near-death experience, or NDE.
The usual approach to explaining away the NDE is that the subjects are simply having a last dream or hallucination at the end of life. Dr Jeffrey Long discusses why this doesn’t fit the facts in his 2010 book, Evidence of the Afterlife – the Science of Near-Death Experiences. He says:
To understand how remarkable it is to have a conscious experience at the time of clinical death, it is helpful to understand that when the heart stops beating, blood immediately stops flowing to the brain. Approximately ten to twenty seconds after blood stops flowing to the brain, brain activity ….stops. Brain activity can be measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG) ……. When brain activity stops, the EEG readings go flat, indicating no measurable activity. ………Medically, I can’t conceive of any meaningful experience that could occur near death. Aren’t people near death generally unconscious? Doesn’t the very term unconscious mean that there is no possibility of an organized conscious experience? Yet despite what should be a blank slate for NDErs, they describe highly lucid, organized, and real experiences. In fact, NDErs say they are usually experiencing a more heightened state of awareness than in everyday earthly life.
That isn’t a particularly new finding, yet most of mainstream science still refuses to give it attention.
Those who have studied the paranormal – I’m thinking particularly of the Society for Psychical Research in the UK beginning in the 1880s, and psychologist J.B. Rhine and his associates in America, frequently proposed that the brain may be more like a radio receiver/transmitter, picking up thoughts, etc that are out there and working with them in a medium outside the brain.
When we get two conflicting views of something, it’s reasonable to assume that one of them is a mistake. But in this case I suspect that that would be a big mistake.
Why not ask ourselves instead what it means if both are right?
Evidence is evidence and we shouldn’t be throwing anything out. The apparent conflict here suggests that there is something more that we need to know, probably much much more.
That’s why I consider the Mind to be a paranormal phenomenon, and a paranormal problem.