On December 20 of last year, Whitley Strieber appeared on C2C, and it's always enjoyable to listen to him; even if you do not agree with him, you have to concede that he is an interesting speaker. On this show he focused largely on impending climate change. He grew testy with one caller who implied that our current climate upheavals are simply the result of natural cycles that should not alarm us. Strieber was correct to be angry; what he did not say, but has said before, is that climate change deniers are largely confined to certain segments of the American population who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by propaganda put forth by the petroleum industry and the last Presidential administration, which they financed. I can't say that I've ever been persuaded by Strieber's superstorm argument. My belief is that while climate change is very real, predicting the future is a perilous enterprise. We simply do not have enough data to say, exactly, what climate change is going to look like in ten or twenty years. I have some ideas which I will write about down the road, though.
The second C2C was one that I wanted to enjoy: it was an interview with Dr. Sam Parnia of the Weill Cornell Medical Center, broadcast on January 3. Unfortunately, my enjoyment was stolen from me by a series of inane and irrelevant questions from George Noory, who peppered the good doctor with queries about ectoplasm, the "soul," demons, hell, and whatnot. Thankfully, Mr. Noory cut to the callers when he realized that he was dropping the ball. However, Dr. Parnia was able to make one very important point: "death," as we define it, is not a single moment in time, but instead is a process that unfolds in a series of stages over many minutes, up to an hour, after the heart ceases to function (cardiac arrest being the traditional boundary between "life" and "death"). In fact, Dr. Parnia was able to state with assurance that consciousness persists for many minutes after the body appears to be dead and in fact seems to be able to operate independent of the body. This assertion by a scientist is in fact profoundly significant. It reminds me of something that Seth said in "Seth Speaks," which didn't make a whole lot of sense to me when I first read it, but does in light of what Dr. Parnia says: "There is no separate, indivisible, specific point of death.... Your consciousness may withdraw from your body slowly or quickly, according to many variables."
Rather than attempting to define the "soul," as Mr. Noory spent so much time trying to do, he might better have asked the doctor to define "consciousness." Because the nature of, and the definition of, consciousness, is at the heart of debate of "life after death." We have tremendous semantic and logical barriers in understanding what consciousness is, simply because it is very difficult for consciousness to step outside of itself and observe itself objectively. But I think that we should try, because the study of the nature of consciousness is integral to any examination of the metaphysical and the paranormal. We cannot separate our consciousness from what that consciousness observes, though we may think that the reality that we perceive is objective to a large degree. And when our physical cells are finished, it's that consciousness that survives and moves into environments beyond the physical.