Lisa Smartt, Linguist Explores What We Say Nearing Death |348|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 9, 2017.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Lisa Smartt, Linguist Explores What We Say Nearing Death |348|
    by Alex Tsakiris | May 10 | Near-Death Experience

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    Lisa Smartt examines what our final words tell us about consciousness and the afterlife.
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    photo by: Skeptiko
    On this episode of Skeptiko…

    Alex Tsakiris: One of the things that surprised me is the playfulness of [these final words]… “Hey, I’m going to Las Vegas. Hey, we need a fourth for the golf tournament.” What the heck is going on there, what does that say about this other realm [after death] and how we ought to feel about it?

    Lisa Smartt: Um, it’s so true. One of the stories I loved was from Carol and it was the account of her last words of her father, who was a roofing contractor, and she said, “He would awaken and look at over at me and smile so big and he told me, ‘They have all these kitchenettes over there, there were miles and miles of them,’ and he would be helping build them all.” So there is a sense of almost joy and wonder and awe and not always, I mean I don’t want to sugar coat the experience of dying because there are people who also, you know, their last words are, “Help me, help me,” and that’s real too.

    Stay with us for Skeptiko…

    Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we have an interesting interview with Lisa Smartt, who is a linguist, has a Master’s Degree from Berkeley, has written this book, Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death. And for this book she collaborated with Raymond Moody, the famous Raymond Moody who started the whole near-death experience thing way back. And what they looked at were the words that people say when they’re about to die, in and around the time that they’re dying. So you might have heard of terminal lucidity, and maybe you’ve heard of stories of the profound things people say before they die, there are ton of these accounts, almost all of us have family stories of this kind.

    So, she’s taken a disciplined, methodical look at what’s being said, and it’s just fascinating. It has huge implications for near-death experience, but also obviously for science and this question of the afterlife and consciousness and particularly, what I’m interested in, you know, what is the nature of these extended consciousness realms? I think she raises some questions about that as well.
     
  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    What does Lisa's work regarding these final words tell us about the nature of the afterlife?
     
  3. Pollux

    Pollux New

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    Yeah, there is quite a bit of suger-coating going on regarding much of the reports of NDE's, shared NDE's, terminal lucidity, peaceful fulfilment before dying, regarding patients/people who are either having a brush with death (NDE), or are in the process of actually dying. We all know of these accounts. But speaking with some ambulance personnel, ICU-doctors/nurses, firemen, hospice-nurses, you find out that there is a lot of death anxiety, sheer horror, indescribable pain, and flat out panic, going on when a patient/victim is dying, or about to die - or thinking they are about to die.

    Patients who have been in a in a hospital/hospice can often be treated with different kinds of painkillers/medications to ease the anxiety, before passing. But in many cases this doesn't even help because the pain are too severe. People/victims dying "out in the field", during rescuing, in car crashes, different accidents, or as victims of a crime, is quite rarely "at peace" with their situation - and realisation - that they are about to die. What usually wears down the psyche of rescue-personnel are these situations, where they are unable/helpless to save people who are just screaming their way in to death. It doesn't take much imagination to conceptualise a situation like that - and how horrific it might be.

    This doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of people dying at peace with a smile on their face. I know there are many cases where people beforehand have felt death anxiety, but right before their passing feel at ease. But for every person dying with a smile on their face I bet there is ten persons dying in horror.

    Not to be a downer here, but death are rarely pretty.

    I haven't listened to this interview with Lisa Smartt yet, but I will. Maybe she touches on some of the situations when dying isn't "nice".
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  4. Reliable information about the afterlife helps people facing death and this is one reason it is harmful for materialists and activist atheists to deny the evidence of the afterlife.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  5. It seems to confirm a lot of what Sir William Barrett wrote about his studies of death-bed vision in 1926.
    http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/library/barrett/dbv/contents.htm


    What about the University of Virginia School of Medicine Division of Perceptual Studies, which is where Ian Stevenson did his research into children with memories of past lives?

    Too bad academia is against this type of research which is so helpful to people. But it isn't just materialists. Many parapsychologists are also prejudiced against afterlife studies.
    Parapsycholoigst Dr. Carlos Alvarado wrote:
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/near-death-experiences-and-afterlife.html#facts_alternative
    I think part of the problem is that people in a position of authority don't like to recognize a higher authority.
     
  6. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    Thanks Pollux - speaking as someone carrying a fear of death since childhood, you are a real ray of sunshine. ;)

    No but seriously ... I don't have many personal stories to relate but I know for a fact (because I visited her daily) that my step-mother was at peace with the prospect of her impending death in the last few days. I wasn't there when my birth mother passed but I spoke with her on the phone a few weeks before and she sounded terrified. Yet, by all accounts of those who were with her, her last few days were almost serene and she was in good spirits, if you'll excuse the pun.
     
  7. Ginko

    Ginko New

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    Loved this interview! So genuine! Will be exploring the links. What does it tell us about the afterlife? It tells us that the afterlife is a realm of poetry.

    Leaning on metaphor is

    Pure poetry

    Metaphor is leaning on the afterlife

    The afterlife is leaning on metaphor

    Leaning on the metaphor I lean

    on the scientific method

    which is

    metaphor
     
  8. Pollux

    Pollux New

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    Sorry for that. :)

    Yeah, I think that for many people, especially those who have been fatally ill for some period of time, or those who have reached high age, have familiarized themselves with the notion that they soon are about to die. The fear might be high for the actual moment, but they have had the time to contemplate it more, compared to, lets say; a young 20 year old kid who just crashed his car into a tree - going from one moment, where his whole life was ahead of him, and the next moment he being fatally injured and feeling his life slipping away from him.

    It might be also, that there are a number of people - who are dying slowly - gets the chance to see a "sneak-peek" of whats to come. We have heard many accounts of those who are met up with some dead relative who are trying to "ease them in" to what's about to come - either in dreams, or like in visions.

    The serenity, or acceptance of ones fate, might also be the effect of the psychological 5 steps through the Kübler-Ross model:

    1. Denial and isolation;
    2. Anger;
    3. Bargaining;
    4. Depression;
    5. Acceptance.​

    Everyone reacts differently though, but the fear-factor tends to increase if the insight of death is fairly sudden and "out of the blue", i.e. dying right after an accident, or sudden fatal illness etc.

    Here is a comical look at this animated giraffe, sinking in quicksand, and his steps through the Kübler-Ross model:

     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
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  9. Andrew9

    Andrew9 Member

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    Seems to me that some people look forward to death so there should be at least one more step...
     
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  10. Andrew9

    Andrew9 Member

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    Regarding people's behavior at death - screaming etc. I recall some NDE experiencers observing their body convulsing while they were calming watching from above. In other words the behavior of the body may not tell us what the 'spirit' or 'soul' is feeling. Of course this will make no sense unless we have a spiritual perspective.
    Just reporting what I have heard, cannot confirm it myself :)
     
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  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Even so, it is probably unwise to assume that the process is always pleasant. For example, a proportion of NDE's are said to be hellish - though I get the impression this relates to what is seen rather than actual pain. Some of them seem to morph on to something better at a later point.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Distressin...&qid=1494758046&sr=8-2&keywords=hellish+nde's

    David
     
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  12. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Maybe 'fighting it' is the cause of the 'unpleasantness' initially, a tension between the ego and 'the soul' perhaps? Although I do acknowledge that NDEs are not always pleasant even when people have long since died, and presumably have accepted their fate, or what they think it may be at the time.
     
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  13. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    What is fearful to one person may be exhilarating to others. Perhaps negative NDE experiences are a matter of interpretation sometimes.
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I read that experiencers of negative NDEs often come around to seeing them as positive eventually. I have come to see my stroke in the same light, maybe God wraps the light in dark smelly material sometimes to get the message across. :D
     
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  15. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    I think it probably says more about you than any god Steve. I'm not inclined to see positive or negative events as deliberate acts by some deity. As you rightly observe though it is possible sometimes to extract learning and strength even from the darkest events, if we have the appropriate perspective :)
     
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  16. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I think that we are sometimes given choices, the decision we make adds or subtracts without judgement to our growth. I don't see a very separate deity like you seem to, the acts are ours to decide upon, God simply sets the scene, neither good nor bad in his view.

    All this is speculation by me of course.
     
  17. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    I don't have particular view on a deity. I'm agnostic really. If there is such a thing I'm sympathetic toward Silver Birch's concept of The Great Spirit. How do you think we are given choices? It's speculation for most of us really :)
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Like being dealt a stroke, or cancer, or having a close family member dying. These are just a tiny sample of a million Choices any of us may face every day. These 'big events' and other smaller scenarios challenge our consciousness daily, on top of these we are capable of creative wonders. All this data is retained. We are amazing things really, when you think about it.
     
  19. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    Forgive me for saying it but I don't see where the choice is in strokes, cancer or loss of a family member? Unless you mean the choice in how we deal with it?
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Yes, sorry, that is what I meant.
     
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