I’m having a big-picture existential crisis. If anyone has advice on how to deal with my case, I would greatly appreciate it – it would mean EVERYTHING to me (see what I did there). Bare minimum I just need to get this off my chest and you all seem really cool about these subjects. Details on my thinking below:
In the midst of my existential crisis I dove deeply into out-of-body-experience (OBE) and near-death experience (NDE) research. I am fascinated with what happens after we die. This universe is billions of years old, and will continue for trillions of years after I am dead, so I feel like the truest form of my existence is my post-death state, whatever that may be. It sounds dark, however it is actually an enlightening realization because it makes me value this life more. So I’ve become fascinated with post-death states in the same way a young person becomes fascinated thinking about “what they wanna do when they grow up”, just long-term planning.
As far as NDE/OBE research, I am most torn.
Part of me understands that science cannot actually validate any of these claims, they are all anecdotal (except for one study by Dr. Sam Parnia called “AWARE”, where like 2 people within their 1000+ samples are on record for describing an OBE while their brain is 100% dead and turned off). For this reason I am skeptical of the most famous case, being Dr. Eben Alexander’s NDE/OBE while he was in a coma, because he does not address whether or not his OBE occurred while his brain was coming back online (Google him and Sam Harris’ critique of him for more info) – also the way he is milking it for book deals and speaking gigs and blatantly targeting the bible belt smells fishy.
Another part of me thinks that while humans are very advanced technologically today, maybe we still lack the necessary knowledge/technology to make a fair factual definitive judgement call on the whole life-after-death subject. Maybe we cannot determine the TRUTH based on the tools we have at our disposal, with only anecdotal evidence available. For example, think of it like 5,000 years ago, ancient peoples rejecting the idea of micro-organism, because the only tools at their disposal (just their 5 senses) were unable to detect the presence of a microbe, even though there were anecdotal testimonies that people were getting sick from touching objects that looked perfectly normal (an infectious bacteria or something). That may be extreme example. So from this perspective, I don’t think it’s so outrageous to disregard science on this specific topic for now. People who have OBE’s seem 100% convinced in an afterlife, and I hear it’s just one of those things you don’t fully understand until you experience it.
Now what. I’ll probably just have to wait until I die to see what happens? We live in 2016, technology and science are now increasing exponentially. We might be able to figure this thing out in 50-100 years. I’m torn here too. I feel like the only thing worth pursuing is this extremely big picture stuff. But why pursue a life of researching something that I’ll just find out about when I die? I do feel like aiding in such a discovery, and making people more spiritual would be helpful for the world. But would most humans just completely take that discovery for granted and not learn how to properly appreciate this life, thus doing a disservice to humanity?
Any advice, comments, questions would be great.
Science doesn’t have to mean the commonly acknowledged evidence of things, which I think is often misinterpreted and too far removed from your personal exploration. You can disregard things if you feel like it, if it seems right to your most careful self-study. That being said, existential crises often start the mind spinning like this and the resolution rarely comes in the big picture focus. It comes more when the mind stops spinning and accepts the mystery as well as the passion to walk in the world towards some type of explorative contribution. You’re never going to figure out all the answers and it’s helpful to ask your self why you feel so much pressure to do so. That’s the beginning of finding resolution, from my experience. I have written things very similar to this with similar desperation for understanding.
Existential crisis leads to death of former self. Which leads to the exploration of new ideas, and a new embodiment. It is the process of enlightenment.
There is only 2 choices… fight and be beaten into submission or surrender to the unknown.
As for the rest, i say you should take meditation more seriously!