Could the dead hear and feel?

Charles Hokanson Phnxbmed at
Sat Apr 8 06:24:45 EST 1995

While the original question and content of the text seem more 
appropriate to a religious or philisophical mewsgroup, it does raise and 
interesting issue, That of the definition of death.  It has long been 
accepted that the clinical signs of death are lack of vital signs, ie. 
heart beat and brian wave activity.  And that in the absense of these 
for some length of time, cell and tissue death occur.  It had been 
thought that this process occurs rather rapidly (minutes).  However, 
this process can be slowed (or stopped?) by substantially reducing the 
temerature of the body.  

A recent TV program showed a surgical procedure in which the heart and 
brainwave activity of a patient were totally stopped for one hour.  Half 
of the blood was removed from the body to reduce the pressure of a very 
large brain aneurysm.  Once the aneurysm had been deflated, it was 
clamped off.  The temperature of the patient was gradually increased, 
and the vital signs were all restored.  Apparently, thousands of similar 
procedures have been performed in Russia for many years, utilizing 
hypothermia techniques.

Therefore, back to the original question, Can the dead hear or feel? It 
would seem to depend on your definition of death.  The woman who 
underwent the procedure neither heard nor felt while she was "dead' by 
normal clinical standards.  And the absence of brain wave activity would 
seem to indicate that she did not think either.  However subsequently 
she lived.

It would seem therefore that a definition of clinical death would have 
to include a refernce to cell, tissue and organ death, such that when 
sufficient cell, tissue and organ death has occured, the host organism, 
human in this case, can not be restored to life.

As to the many reported cases of, out of "body experiences" and "white 
light experiences" of people who presumably died and then supposedly 
come back to life, there is sufficient scientific evidence to debunk 
this nonsense as nothing more than lack of oxygen, and/or reaction to 
anestheic gases.

Finally, as to the religious answer, I don't know what other religions 
teach, however since you mentioned a catholic, and presumably 
judeo-christian perspective, I refer you to Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 
Verses 5 and 6:

 " For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at 
all.  They have no further reward and even the memory of them is 
forgotten.  Their love, their hate, their jealousy have long since 
vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens 
under the sun."

and Job 19: 25,26 :

"I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon 
the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will 
see God."


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