Robert McNeil: More people are coming back from the dead now. Who knew?
AFTERLIFE news and international researchers from several universities have established a standard definition of near-death experiences and guidelines for studying them.
The decision – made by experts from Harvard, New York, California, King’s College London and Southampton – follows, so to speak, advances in health care bringing more people back from the dead. Or anywhere.
Many books chronicle these cases, where common experiences reported include hovering over his corpse, floating – yes, floating! – along a tunnel of light, watching without popcorn a review of his life (hopefully there is at least one commercial break), and feeling “at home” and enveloped in love. Yeah, that’s right.
Accounts are often marred by interviewees who also claim to meet, or at least see, their various gods, fueling the suspicion that this “experience” is just a fiction from deep within their brains. Trust the religious to spoil the afterlife.
The researchers detail the key elements of their definition as loss of consciousness, sense of transcendence, and positive transformation, unrelated to dreams or delirium.
I have read many books about near death experiences because over the past few decades I have had a near life experience. I’m also keen to see the idea of reincarnation dispelled. If not, I will lead the first attack in paradise.
I want to believe. But some aspects of these stories trouble me. First of all, you still apparently have a sense of “self”. And I don’t want my eternal soul to be tied to the sad loser who writes these columns again.
Second, we’re all meant to be on a learning curve, which is why you’re sent back to that dump for more sadistic challenges. It’s worse than a reality TV show. In addition to this idea of learning, people often describe the libraries of heaven, and since the most famous stories in classic texts are now around 50 years old, it’s interesting that they don’t have internet or Kindles. Instead, readers pull heavy tomes off the shelves. So 1970s.
Moreover, there is only one section: self-help. These libraries are particularly quiet, putting them back in time again. In today’s libraries, you would be forgiven for thinking you walked into a disco. It’s the same with beautiful gardens: no hint of The Droning, that daily peace-breaking horticultural din that erupts daily in Britain from spring to late autumn. Who cuts the grass in paradise?
By definition, no one who has had an NDE stayed long enough to experience the biggest problem: boredom. From the accounts I have read, while ethereal simulations of sensual earthly joys such as fish suppers may be enjoyed in heaven, they are not the same. Rather cooked meals.
Also, you don’t feel the wind on your face. You are not breathing. That is why, although this planet is a terrible hell, the dead sensualists yearn to return. Not this soldier. I like a fish supper and breathe as much as the next taxpayer, but I’m not coming back to this starchy lunatic asylum for the world.
I also don’t know what the point is, if you communicate telepathically and don’t breathe, to still have a beak and a beak. Will my beak still be huge and red? Or do we all have nose jobs? Mind you, if you’re ethereal, you’ll save a fortune on moisturizer. So many questions. So many doubts. But, as I say, I want to believe. And I’ll believe it when I see it. Eyes or no eyes.
I still watched Carry On movies. Not all of them are brilliant but the best ones really lift your spirits. Their secret lies in bringing together a community of very disparate characters – most of them completely desperate men. If that sounds like porous-faced cod psychology, the bottom line is that they’re a lot of fun and innocent.
As such, the awakened no doubt hate them. But a new book on the movies says they’re empowering because they’re filled with strong women. In Carry On Regardless: Going deep into Britain’s favorite comedy movies – ooh, matron, sassy title! – Caroline Frost says movies like Carry On Cabby were “resolutely feminist,” while Barbara Windsor’s supposedly objectified characters proved smart and got the last laugh.
The author cites other actresses recalling that, unlike many other film sets of the time, actresses were treated with respect as equals. Some of the scripts’ racial stereotypes were literally “ignorant”, not knowing any better at the time, but there was never any malicious intent. No possibility of double meaning – however slight – was overlooked, and it is true that the last two films in the series of 31 were “awkward”.
But who can forget the previous classic lines? Julius Caesar: “Infamy! Infamy! They all have that infamy! Taxi driver to Kenneth Williams (accompanied by a chimpanzee): “I’ll take you but not your brother.” Mrs. Fussey: “I have serious apprehensions.” Sid Boggle: “You should put talcum powder on it.” Crazy and corny but so much the better for that.
Said Caroline Frost of the Carry Ons: “They got me through the lockdown in a way that I didn’t expect. I have a sophisticated cultural palette, but I think they celebrate something special about the solace of companionship and camaraderie in times of chaos. See you, ma’am.
A waste area
Former Nasa chief scientist Jim Green predicts that we will discover extraterrestrial life in “the next few years”. The other planets in the galaxy must have sun and water. But then what? As so often pointed out, this simply means there will be bacteria. Space: It’s a colossal bore. And it’s not called space for nothing: there’s nothing there.
What a hoot
Bats buzz. Italian scientists have found that when attacked by owls, the greater mouse-eared bat emits a hornet’s hum, which owls don’t like. There’s a lot to digest, so to speak. Owls eat bats. Bats can make impressions. Owls don’t like hornets. Isn’t nature wonderful? No. Nature is crazy.
Reduce the rap
The capitalists reduce your business again. Philadelphia Green Cheese, McCain Oven Fries and Magnum Ice Cream are the latest in offering less pabulum for the same price. This is called shrinkage. Which of us would notice? Profiteers must think we were born yesterday. But that was the day before.
Not everyone is suffering from the cost of living crisis. A beach hut in Southwold, Suffolk, has gone on sale for £250,000. The real estate agent said, “I’m sure it will go very quickly.” To recap: it’s a cabin; no water; no electricity; and you can’t sleep in it. If that doesn’t provoke a popular uprising, nothing will.
Rich in crisps
That’s what we suspected. No matter meditation or spirituality, happiness is in chips. The combination of salt, sugar, and fat triggers a “happiness point” that makes people keep eating. Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped said it worked “in the same way as some addictive drugs”. And addictive drugs don’t even make smoked bacon.
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