Anomalous (paranormal) experiences contain a subset that is directly or indirectly related to death. There is a considerable amount of literature concerning each member of this subset, yet, to this author’s knowledge, no one has proposed a way of conceptualizing all these experiences in a unified way that is related to an underlying, scientific (yet non-reductive) theory of the mind-body relationship. The author’s mind-body theory, the Theory of Essence, is a dualistic interactionist theory that is based on the intersubjective data of the near-death experience and integrates those data with classical and modern physics in such a way as to explain what mind is without reducing it to the functioning of the brain. The theory holds that the mind is formed in the interaction between the non-material “essence” (the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and personality that survives the death of the body) and the living human brain. The theory is capable of uniting death-related anomalies in a consistent way to form something of a continuum illustrating the connections among these anomalies. These include: (1) out-of-body experiences; (2) near-death experiences; (3) ghosts/orbs; (4) after-death communications; (5) mediumship; and (6) reincarnation. Theory of Essence unites these six phenomena under the umbrella of temporary or permanent dissociation of the essence from the body; in the cases of permanent dissociation, the disembodied essence attempts to communicate with living persons in the physical world, or returns to the physical world to live another lifetime. Thus, there is a single conceptual framework tying a temporary, non-life-threatening experience (OBEs) with the beginning of a completely new life cycle (reincarnation) and several phenomena in-between. Death and related phenomena reach consilience through the Theory of Essence.
Bio: Kenny Arnette is a rogue consciousness researcher with a dualistic bent. His academic background includes Ph.D.’s in physical chemistry and counseling psychology. He is also licensed as a Professional Counselor in Colorado. He is currently an MA student in Philosophy. He has published three articles and a book chapter on his “Theory of Essence,” a non-reductionist theory of mind-body interaction based on interactionist substance dualism. His interests also include religious studies and psychohistory.
Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Broomfield, Colorado 2019.
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