Health
Charlotte Hannah
October 10, 2012

Dr. Eben Alexander, Neurosurgeon, ‘Sees Heaven’ While in Coma and Wants You to Buy His Book (VIDEO)


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“What happens after we die?”

This is probably the most enduring question in recorded human history. It’s a question that’s founded religions, sparked wars, and inspired countless works of fiction. There are many reasons for our fascination with the afterlife, but one of the biggest ones is that it’s impossible to truly know what happens after we die – after all, those who have experienced it don’t tend to come back.

One exception to this is in the case of people who have had near death experiences. People who have come close to death, or even those who have been declared “clinically dead”, but have pulled through and come back from the brink, often report similar experiences that have led some to believe that there really is an afterlife.

These experiences often involve a dark tunnel with a light at the end, meeting deceased loved ones and angelic figures, and feelings of calm and detachment from the physical body. People who have near death experiences often return to life with a newfound spirituality, a sense of purpose, and a curiously strong desire to write a bestselling book.

This is exactly what happened to neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander, whose own near death experience is described in his upcoming book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. In a story in Newsweek (found over at the Daily Beast), titled “Heaven is Real”, Alexander relates the promotional excerpt tale of his brush with death during a bout of bacterial meningitis that put him in a coma and claims that it is definitive proof of “Heaven”.

Alexander tells the (strangely familiar) story of a skeptic who never believed others when they told him they had seen the afterlife – that is, until he experienced it himself and somehow lost his ability to think objectively in the process. While his cortex was allegedly “offline”, Dr. Alexander went on a journey, where he saw fluffy pink clouds; winged, Angel-like creatures; a beautiful woman who told him not to be afraid; a “giant cosmic womb”; and other fantastic things.

While Dr. Alexander claims that when his patients told him about their near death experiences, he brushed them off as delusional, but, “what happened to [him] was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in [his] life.”

I’d like to point out that the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary defines the word “delusion” as, “The act of believing or making yourself believe something that is not true.” Delusions are not the same as lies. To the deluded, delusions feel as real as anything else.

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What’s easier to believe? That a neurosurgeon experienced a common phenomenon that has been studied and explained from a biological standpoint, and he is now positioned to make millions off a book that panders to the “I Want To Believ-ers” of the world?

Or that a formerly-skeptical neurosurgeon actually visited a different plane of existence (which, coincidentally, sounds a lot like a dream, or as Gawker pointed out, a DMT trip) and disproved a number of studies in the process?

As comforting as it might be to believe that a neurosurgeon’s unwillingness to apply the scientific explanations he gave to his patients to his own experience is definitive proof that Heaven is a real place, the facts seem to disprove this. It seems that Dr. Alexander is either a shrewd businessman looking to make money off those who are desperate to believe, or that he himself is delusional.

Either way, the answer to the question, “what happens after we die?” will not be found in his book.

Photo credit: Amazon.com