The Frontal Cortex

Culture and Near-Death Experiences

People who have near-death experiences often report a similar set of symptoms: they levitate above their body while being slowly pulled towards a bright white light. Nevertheless, the details of this experience – the particular afterlife that lies beyond the light – reveal a tremendous amount about the culture you exist in. From the Mental Floss Blog:

Many Africans interpret near-death experiences as somewhat evil, a bad omen or a sign that they were somehow “bewitched.”

Among 400 Japanese NDErs that participated in a study, many reported seeing long, dark rivers and beautiful flowers, two common symbols that frequently appear as images in Japanese art.

East Indians sometimes see Heaven as a giant bureaucracy, and frequently report being sent back because of clerical errors.

Americans and Brits often say they are sent back for love or in order to perform a job or task.

Natives of Micronesia often visualize Heaven as a large, brightly lit American city with loud, noisy cars and tall buildings.

One assumes that the East Indians excluded from Heaven because of a clerical error could always bribe the gatekeeper.

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    January 18, 2007

    Natives of Micronesia often visualize Heaven as a large, brightly lit American city with loud, noisy cars and tall buildings.

    I think they’re on to something.

  2. #2 Scott Belyea
    January 18, 2007
    Natives of Micronesia often visualize Heaven as a large, brightly lit American city with loud, noisy cars and tall buildings.

    I think they’re on to something.

    Naaah. That’s hell they’re describing …

  3. #3 Gav
    January 18, 2007

    Happy to report that my own (fortunately few) near death experiences were all on the lines

    “Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ���� ”

  4. #4 Rachael Black
    January 20, 2007

    Fun piece and oh so true regarding culture vs experience. I just finished reading ‘Spook’ by Mary Roach. Love the tales, facts, errata and cast of characters involved in our continiung search for the eternal answer.
    Thank you, this was a nice bit of synchronicity!

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