Near-Death Experiences

Implications of Near-Death Experiences for a Postmaterialist Psychology
February 25, 2010 — barry
Implications of Near-Death Experiences for a Postmaterialist Psychology by Bruce Greyson

from Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2010, Pages 37-45

Classical physics, anchored in materialist reductionism, offered adequate descriptions of everyday mechanics but ultimately proved insufficient for describing the mechanics of extremely high speeds or small sizes, and was supplemented nearly a century ago by quantum physics, which includes consciousness in its formulation. Materialist psychology, modeled on the reductionism of classical physics, likewise offered adequate descriptions of everyday mental functioning but ultimately proved insufficient for describing mentation under extreme conditions, such as the continuation of mental function when the brain is inactive or impaired, such as occurs near death. “Near-death experiences” include phenomena that challenge materialist reductionism, such as enhanced mentation and memory during cerebral impairment, accurate perceptions from a perspective outside the body, and reported visions of deceased persons, including those not previously known to be deceased. Complex consciousness, including cognition, perception, and memory, under conditions such as cardiac arrest and general anesthesia, when it cannot be associated with normal brain function, require a revised psychology anchored not in 19th-century classical physics but rather in 21st-century quantum physics that includes consciousness in its conceptual formulation.