Essay Part 4: Best Evidence for the Afterlife

Part 4

This is the fourth and final part of my essay answering the question, ‘What is the best available evidence for the existence of human consciousness after permanent bodily death?’ If you haven’t read parts one, two and three, you can do so by clicking here, here, and here.

I’ve opened the comments to everyone this time. What did you think of this essay? Which points did you find most convincing? Is there anything I’ve overlooked?

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Part Four: Accepting the Evidence for Survival

In this essay, I provided two examples of mediumship sittings which prove I obtained information about deceased persons that I could not have received by ordinary means. I knew nothing about the communicators or the recipients until the moment the sittings began, and yet, I presented concrete evidence in the form of cherished personal objects that belonged to the communicators. These were verified by the living recipients, and photographic confirmation was produced.

I proved that motivated living-agent psi (telepathy etc.) is an insufficient explanation for at least some cases of mental mediumship. I provided a real case study where neither the recipient nor I knew the facts that were transmitted at the time of the sitting. It seems that a deceased communicator is required to explain where the information originated from.

These are not fringe cases. What you have read about are three typical examples of tens-of-thousands of my sittings that span two decades. And there are many mediums out there who are even more accurate and prolific than me. And yet, a number of people will read this essay and remain unconvinced. Why is that?

If you take a quiet moment to ponder the experience of what it is to be you, you will notice that your body and personality (and the various aspects of it) are doing a great job of making you believe that they are all one-in-the-same thing. Every day, when they are brushing their teeth, working out at the gym, preparing dinner, and chatting with friends, human beings feel they are one single entity, and rarely question if that is legitimately true. It can take some convincing for people to believe their personalities could exist beyond their bodies.

What if your mind is to your body what a movie is to a movie theater? In the theater, watching Jaws play out in booming technicolor and Dolby Digital surround sound, you are so immersed in the action you may forget you are watching a movie. The movie and the theatre are distinct. They work together to create a thrilling experience but remain separate component parts of that experience. If the movie theater suddenly collapsed, it would not mean that the movie Jaws ceased to exist as well. The fate of one has absolutely nothing to do with the fate of the other, despite how connected they seem in the moment. Perhaps this is the reason we find it difficult to accept evidence of the afterlife. We are so immersed in the movie of our lives that we are utterly convinced that the movie and the theater are one.

What if there are mountains of evidence that our consciousness and bodies can come apart, but when they are together, they cause the immersive illusion that they are an integrated, single whole? Unless you can remember what it was like before you were born, then you have never known your mind without your body, and you have never known your body without your mind. But just because you have not known it, it does not logically entail that they cannot come apart.

Imagine someone you love needs a life-saving kidney transplant. You discover you are a tissue match, and you give a kidney to save their life. A week after surgery, you are both recovering and all will be well. Imagine how you would feel. If the mind and the body are the same sort of thing, you would expect that when you were relieved of your kidney, there would be a kidney shaped part of your mind or personality that would go with it. You would expect to feel, or at least be aware of, a loss of some kind.

And yet, our intuitions are that our minds would go in the opposite direction! Rather than feeling that we lost an equivalent part of our personalities, we would gain new aspects of conscious experience. We would feel elated, thrilled, purposeful, and grateful that our loved one was thriving once again and we were able to save their life. If you agree, then this asymmetry of your mind and body ought to have you raise serious questions against the intuition that they are one and the same. It shows just how distinct they really are from each other.

Our bodies, and the contents of our experiences that make us who we are, are deeply linked for sure. But they come apart in ways that show they are made of different stuff and are capable of doing different things. Your mind’s domain is one of concepts, and those concepts give rise to a will. Your body is the instrument you use to enact that will in a world that has mass. Is this not self-evidently true?

The experience of being you is completely unique. Your consciousness is filled with ideas, concepts, desires and warnings; and it interacts with the world of massive objects sometimes through the actions of your body. But not all the time. To be a conscious being entails that you possess both mass, with which to engage with the world, and conceptual, non-massive contents of consciousness with which to understand the world. The powerful, emotional, inventive, and sometimes stupid ideas that make you who you are have no mass, and yet, they have causal power.

What has all this got to do with survival of human consciousness after bodily death? In the first instance, it highlights that we ought not to believe the illusion that our bodies and minds are one integrated thing. We need only scratch the surface of the illusion to see that they are distinctly different to each other. They are partners in the dance of your life. Furthermore, if there is no evidence that consciousness cannot survive death, and we have already shown that the mind and body can come apart even whilst we are living, then the logical and surprising conclusion is that we have more evidence in favor of our minds surviving death than not!

To accept the good and varied evidence for survival, you must reject the powerful and pervasive illusion that your body and your experiences are a single thing. If we view the evidence for survival with the presupposition that our minds and bodies have very different properties to each other, and that they diverge in their functions and objectives even whilst we are living, then we may find the evidence for survival much more plausible.

Conclusion

Survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death is proven by certain cases of mental mediumship. In some sittings, some true pieces of information pertaining to a communicator are transferred, where that information was not available within either the mind of the medium, or the mind of the sitter.

Cases which seem to require a third mind may be much more common than we think, but they have gone unnoticed. We have valued mental mediumship sittings where the recipient gasps in amazement and immediately recognizes the accuracy of the information. The difficulty with this, in terms of proving survival, is that we cannot confirm whether the information came from a veridical communicator, or from the medium reading the mind of the recipient. To address this issue, and enhance the evidence for survival, we must recreate the dynamics of Judy’s sitting. We begin with the hypothesis that true information, in the form of correct answers to secret questions, can come through a medium, without the medium or the recipient knowing about it. We set up experiments to confirm or falsify this. If we achieve a positive result, this would be highly indicative of an additional consciousness in possession of awareness and agency.

There are some aspects of some mental mediumship sittings that seem to be explainable by ordinary means. And there are some aspects of some mental mediumship sittings that seem to be explainable by extraordinary means that do not require a deceased communicator. However, none of these explanations have succeeded in fully accounting for the detailed and personal information that arises in many sittings, sometimes without the medium or recipient’s knowledge. Because of this, the case for survival of human consciousness beyond bodily death remains compelling.

It is often the case that to ‘explain away’ mediumship sittings, alternative theories must be deployed in a patchwork fashion, as if the medium enacts some unique combination of trickery for each and every sitting they participate in. Not only is this approach deeply inelegant, but as someone who is uniquely positioned to describe the phenomenology of contact, this explanation is both untrue and insufficient.

Deceased communicators are not necessarily present in all sittings. I have shown, however, that there are some sittings in which the presence of a communicator is required. And if there are any sittings in which a communicator is required for the facts of the sitting to have taken place, then that is sufficient to conclude that human consciousness survives bodily death.

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