The survival of human consciousness after bodily death or as its more commonly known these days ‘The Survival Hypothesis’ covers the posibility of disembodied consciousness or that indeed some such discarnate element of the human personality may survive bodily death. Although there are some very specific links to various religious connotations regarding this theory I will endeavour to focus on the scientific here. It may also be important to note that the survival of human consciousness doesn’t imply a kind of immortality or even a kind of external existence which is often highlighted by many religions.
Attempting to understand if human consciousness can survive bodily death is an important area to research and investigate because a substantial number of the population believe in life after death. Beyond that a significant percentage have stated that their belief in the possibility that communication of some kind with someone that has died is entirely possible. Perhaps it is important to mention that it is highly probable that some if not many of these individuals were indeed recently bereaved, thus causing them to be more willing to believe in this possibility. However reasoning aside the fact remains that throughout the world large numbers of people in varying fashions do believe in life after death and indeed spirit communication of some kind.
Although my own path into the Paranormal began as a more sceptical investigator looking for evidence of ghosts and spirits, prior to this I did conduct much of my understanding of the paranormal field through books and TV shows. However the TV side was a varied mixed bag of documentaries, fiction and the reality shows of more recent years. Still my understanding was still based on proving the existence of ghosts and spirits rather than standing as a scientist might, posing a question and then attempting to answer it. Over the last couple of years, thanks perhaps to some personal experiences and change of perspective I think my stance has changed. As this has occurred this question of survival has become more important and more connected to all we do. Hence although I never really intended to attempt to answer the same question that so many before me have, it seems without doubt I am now well and truly set upon the path to do so.
Oddly though the impotance of approaching the question correctly with individuals of both science and spiritualism is imperative to me. This possibly mirrors the early activities of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) who investigated the phenomena of the seance room and a collection of cases of spontaneous psychic experiences. This was utilised to gather data to assess the survival hypothesis. Also from this Spiritualistic Mediumship has become an important part of the survival hypothesis research. Hence why I too believe that in order to further the research we must indeed interact with those that have the gift of Mediumship in order to perhaps gain a greater understanding, not only from their view point, but also from a more scientific perspective also. In order to do so we will endeavour to experiment with various approaches from the clasic Victorian Seance that the original founders of the Society for Psychical Research may have indeed observed to some more modern influences including the addition of variables suggested by the Scoles Experiements and our own members too.
In field where arguments against seem entirely more suitable we will attempt to produce evidence, data and statement to support theory and hopefully with any luck look to prove that the human consciousness does indeed survive bodily death. However through my own understanding and research this may not entirely fit how everyone believes it may. Although I’m hardly a quarter of the way through Frederic W H Myers ‘Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death’ I get the distinct feeling that Myers brought into the possibility of telepathy as a means of communication. Of course I’ll have to wait until I reach the end of the 400 plus pages to be sure if this is the case. Still the possibility seems entirely feasible as a means of communication, after all the messages appear to be received in a similar way to those received by the living. If this is the case then we could indeed hypothesise that perhaps there is a possible method of communication between us and those that have passed.
All this in mind, we approach the question, seeking to find out if our consciousness can survive death. However proving this is more complex than it may seem. A simple way to demonstrate this is by explaining the problem we encounter in the circumstance of a basic seance. Basically during the sitting a medium may communicate with spirit and indeed pass information to another sitter. To some this could constitute proof that the information was presented by spirit, but unfortunately if communication could occur through a means of telepathy; then you must accept that the information could have been received by this means from sitter to medium.
In order to avoid presenting evidence which could be defined as received telepathically from other sitters, we can utilise proxy sitters. That way the medium will attempt to contact spirit to obtain information for a third party not currently present. However as we don’t currently know the possible reaches of our telepathic abilities this is still hard pressed to prove survival in the world of science.
As you can imagine this isn’t a simple case of finding evidence to support the theory, as what you do find needs to include a good solid argument to back it up too. There have been some really good research over the last one hundred years or so. Research that has inspired me to look further and hopefully build on what we already know. Thanks to the SPR we have some good research and theory to begin our work from. It’s also possible that following the death of the SPR founders the cross-correspondents gave us some more possibilities based on the realisation that a message split between different mediums, that only becomes legible with one final communication which ties them together. Although this received some bad press, for me I find it intriguing and a very probable piece to support the possibility of survival. In the nineties the Scoles Experiment presented some remarkable possible evidence to not only support the survival of consciousness, but the amazing possibility of communication with entities from another dimension. Oddly the SPR were involved in this too, but incidentally there was also possible communication from the spirit Myers too. Understanding the cross-correspondents and the Scoles Experiment should help us with our research going forward.
Does the human consciousness survive after our body has perished? Understanding and attempting to answer this question alone will be an astronomical challenge, but one which those involved in The Metetherial Project will take in their stride. However not one I feel which will be answered over night.