Death is a resonating topic in modern culture and the main source of people’s fears. Humans have been reflecting on mortality for millennia, and this practice plays a big role in religion. Studies of near-death experience contribute to the discussion, by taking a look at individuals who were at some point close to dying, which led them to a dramatic transformation. Scientists Raymond Moody and Kenneth Ring have worked with many people who have such experiences, and the scholars can be considered the key figures in the field of studying the subject. Learning from stories of those who have had near-death experiences and investigating the phenomenon might enhance one’s awareness of life, but it is essential to abide by scientific methodology while approaching this sensitive issue.
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Ring dedicates a significant portion of his work to the investigation of the way near-death experiences affect individuals. In his book, the scholar in detail discusses the positive change that people show after such events (Ring and Elsaesser-Valarino 9). Moreover, it might be possible for those who have never been through such a transformation to promote the same kind of positive change in their lives.
As the author suggests, individuals who read about stories of persons with near-death experiences can learn from their examples (Ring and Elsaesser-Valarino 9). It might be a good opportunity for many people to take a different look at their lives and value systems and promote awareness, conscious behavior, and appreciation of living. Taking a different perspective on death might also help alleviate the fear of dying and enhance motivation for living a meaningful life at the same time. It is especially important when it provides psychological support for terminally ill people and other vulnerable individuals.
In addition to that, in his work, Ring often turns to the discussion of the authenticity of near-death experiences. The author argues that near-death experiences are real and there is evidence supporting the statement that people in that condition can hear or see things that cannot be perceived under normal circumstances (Ring and Elsaesser-Valarino 10). Life after death is another controversial topic that is discussed by the scientists in their book (Ring and Elsaesser-Valarino 12).
To reinforce his point of view in these discussions, Ring mostly uses reports of people. Applying solely to personal experiences is not sufficient to prove a theory, and more evidence is required to correctly support the author’s points. Failure to abide by proper methodology and reasoning might lead to misinterpretations of facts and, eventually, to wrong conclusions. In addition to that, such practice along with the attempts to use populist techniques to get more public attention lead to misunderstanding of the subject among audience and oversimplification of facts. It is dangerous also because it damages the reputation of the discussion.
Near-death experiences have a very strong impact on people, and having such experience might completely change the course of life of a person. Only a small fraction of the population have been through these dramatic events and transformation. Learning from the examples and personal stories of such people might help those who have never had this kind of experience to take a look at their lives from a different angle and better understand themselves.
It is also critical to make sure that the phenomenon of near-death experiences is studied with proper use of the scientific method to guaranty that the conclusions are correct. It will help avoid baseless speculations and commercialization of the subject and allow to use the findings both in academia and in everyday life.
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Ring, Kenneth, and Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino. Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience. Moment Point Press, 2006.