Looking down at one’s own body as the soul floats upwards…a feeling of immense calm as one moves towards the light…such reports by those who have come perilously close to death are often cited as proof of an afterlife or spiritual realm. However psychiatrist Dr. Karl Jansen explains that these near-death experiences are identical to a ketamine trip:
The near-death experience (NDE) is a phenomenon of considerable importance to medicine, neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, philosophy and religon. Unfortunately, some scientists have been deterred from conducting research upon the NDE by claims that NDE’s are evidence for life after death, and sensationalist media reports which impart the air of a pseudoscience to NDE studies.
All features of a classic NDE can be reproduced by the intravenous administration of 50-100 mg of ketamine…including travel through a dark tunnel into light, the conviction that one is dead, ‘telepathic communion with God’, hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and mystical states…becoming a disembodied mind or soul, dying and going to another world. Childhood events may also be re-lived. The loss of contact with ordinary reality and the sense of participation in another reality are more pronounced and less easily resisted than is usually the case with LSD. The dissociative experiences often seem so genuine that users are not sure that they have not actually left their bodies.
Ring (1980) classified NDE’s on a 5 stage continuum: 1.feelings of peace and contentment; 2.a sense of detachment from the body; 3. entering a transitional world of darkness (rapid movements through tunnels: ‘the tunnel experience’); 4. emerging into bright light; and 5. ‘entering the light’. 60% experienced stage 1, but only 10% attained stage 5.
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