"Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven is a personal account of a medical doctor who came within an ace of a documented brain death yet made a full recovery. That person was Alexander himself. While in the coma Dr. Alexander had a near death experience of startling reality and duration in which he had no awareness of his previous identity; not his name, his profession nor his memory. He instead voyaged without any apparent self-consciousness through three distinct “worlds”: “the rough, ugly Realm of the Earthworm’s-Eye View, the idyllic Gateway, and the awesome heavenly Core”.
Upon regaining consciousness, Dr. Alexander on the advice of his son set down his recollections while they were still fresh in his mind and attempted to reconcile what he subjectively experienced with his training and career as a neurosurgeon, which included a stint as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the publication of numerous scientific papers.
From reviewing his own medical records and interviewing the physicians attending him, Dr. Alexander came to the conclusion that his experiences could not adequately be explained by the standard models of brain function. Although convinced of the reality of what he experienced while in the coma, Dr. Alexander could only indicate the lines of inquiry that might be pursued to explain his experience in the physical sense, since it could not be adequately modeled by the mechanisms currently known.
The main problem he had to deal with was the inverse relationship between the depth of his disease and the richness of his experience. The ‘deader’ you were, it seemed, the more complex and information rich the near death experience became. It was the reverse of what you would expect if the experiences were conjured up by a dying brain.
That led him to posit that the human brain might be a filter, and not the exclusive source of available knowledge. It’s ability to exclude information or at least to process it in a form compatible to common experience may be at least as important as any processing functions it may perform. We experience “the world” as much by exclusion as admittance.
The deader the brain the more it would let through. And in his hopeless state Alexander was bombarded by information of some kind which his brain was unable to bar.
The question is whether it is “real” information — a representation of objective reality. Alexander argued that we are only now beginning to understand how “entangled” individual objects in the universe are; how they are literally part of a larger system. To understand the information content of a particle of any size you had to understand the influences acting upon it. Everything we examine is impinged upon by “real information”."
And the creepiest part ( cue eerie music ):
"The one question that bothered Alexander — which he left unanswered till the last — was whether admittance to the network necessarily meant the obliteratation of the meager little things that make us individuals. Whether the price of the upgrade was the elimination of local memory. He was especially bothered by the absence in his near death experience of any human presence he could recognize in retrospect, from “life”. His sole human companion through the realms was a women he did not recognize.
That recognition came only later when Alexander received the photo of a deceased biological sister that he had long been seeking. Alexander was adopted and had never seen his biological sister, who had died some years before. In the process of reconnecting with his biological relatives he received the photo. It was of the woman in his near death experience."