Consciousness without brain

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Roger Whiteway

By Roger Whiteway

Conscious awareness? What enables it? Is it a healthy brain, whether awake or asleep? What about an individual in a coma (no brain function), does that mean no conscious awareness? What about death?

new book by neurosurgeon, Dr. Eben Alexander, in which he describes his conscious awareness during seven days while in a coma under the care of neurosurgeons at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virgina, challenges the common understanding that consciousness is the domain of a healthy brain function.

In 2008, while “doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open,”Alexander writes. Rather than experiencing seven lost days of no conscious awareness, with “my higher order brain functions totally offline”, he describes a life-altering journey into a very different world, which he recalls in vivid detail.

His training and experience as a neurosurgeon had taught him that consciousness was impossible during this coma, given that “the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity”, but he found he was conscious and aware. Click here to read this blog.

This blog by Roger Whiteway was published on the Washington Post on Nov. 1, 2012.

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  1. For anyone interested in this exploration and its metaphysical implications, a good read is "Consciousness Beyond Life' by Pim van Lommel.

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