Thought Catalog
February 18, 2011

Is This What a Near Death Experience Feels Like?

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Today Vice covered a Tumblr called ‘deathrainbows’ that apparently showcases images that its creator – “Wyatt W.” – imagines death will ‘look like’… literally.

Wyatt explains:

Conceptually, I was thinking about how it’s said that when the spirit departs the body, spectral colors refract inside the skull and countless images flash before one’s eyes: these are the “death rainbows” the title refers to, a reel of images that represent one’s universal life force. And in this sense the project is Reichian… I truly think of the work as a collage of Orgone imagery!

What Wyatt is actually talking about – “images flashing before one’s eyes” just before death – are typical near death experiences, during which (some postulate) a massive amount of dimethyltryptamine is released from one’s pineal glands, causing visual and aural hallucinations, among other effects. Other researchers have different theories. From Wikipedia:

A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light…

In a new theory devised by Richard Kinseher in 2006, the knowledge of the Sensory Autonomic System is applied in the NDE phenomenon. His theory states that the experience of looming death is an extremely strange paradox to a living organism—and therefore it will start the NDE: during the NDE, the individual becomes capable of “seeing” the brain performing a scan of the whole episodic memory (even prenatal experiences), in order to find a stored experience which is comparable to the input information of death. All these scanned and retrieved bits of information are permanently evaluated by the actual mind, as it is searching for a coping mechanism out of the potentially fatal situation. Kinseher feels this is the reason why a near-death experience is so unusual. Because people who experience NDEs report the experience of memories long considered lost, this theory necessarily depends upon a theory of memory in which all memories are indefinitely retained. Such a stance would be at odds with current scientific findings.

The theory also states that out-of-body experiences, accompanied by NDEs, are an attempt by the brain to create a mental overview of the situation and the surrounding world. The brain then transforms the input from sense organs and stored experience (knowledge) into a dream-like idea about oneself and the surrounding area…

Seems incredibly bleak. Don’t take my word for it, though! Feel closer to death for a longer amount of time at DEATH RAINBOWS. TC mark

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