My friend Ted Vaggalis has called my attention to this important story from the world of nature:
I like to keep my readers up with the latest news from the cutting edge of zoological research.
This article poses — not, of course, even remotely for the first time — a very significant question, about which opinions differ dramatically:
To me, the very fact that we can (and even must) reasonably ask the question is quite significant. As I intend, someday, to argue at book length.
An item from Howard Storm, My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2005) 9-27:
Here’s the background: Howard Storm, then an art professor at Northern Kentucky University, was leading a student tour of Paris art museums. Suddenly, a stomach ulcer perforated his duodenum — an occurrence that, left untreated, commonly leads to death within just a few hours. Unfortunately, even once he had reached a hospital, adequate medical care was not forthcoming.
I knew I was dying now. . . . Fighting against a flood of tears, I told Beverly that I loved her very much. I told her it was over. We said our good-byes. . . . I knew for certain that there was no such thing as life after death. Only simpleminded people believed in that sort of thing. I didn’t believe in God, or heaven, or hell, or any other fairy tales.
Storm closed his eyes and, well, died.
Although he expected nothingness, he found himself suddenly standing next to the bed. Then he opened his eyes.
“Could this be a dream?” I kept thinking. “This has got to be a dream.” But I knew that it wasn’t. I was aware that I felt more alert, more aware, and more alive than I had ever felt in my entire life. All my senses were extremely vivid. . . . As I bent over to look at the face of the body in the bed, I was horrified to see the resemblance that it had to my own face. It was impossible that that thing could be me because I was standing over it and looking at it. . . . I had never felt more alert and conscious. I wanted desperately to get through to Beverly, and I started yelling for her to say something, but she remained frozen in the chair next to the bed. I screamed and raged at her, but she just ignored me. . . .
[T]he light was more intense and more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. It was brighter than the sun, brighter than a flash of lightning.