Many near-death researchers clearly interpret NDEs as evidence for survival of bodily death. Because many people would like to that there is an afterlife rather than simply take the notion on faith, it not surprising that the study of NDEs tends to attract researchers who already believe that NDEs provide evidence for survival. NDEs seem to be a natural lure to survivalists, since they offer the prospect, at least, of bolstering such researchers' belief in survival after death and of offering them hints about what exactly is going to happen to them when die. Thus it is hardly a revelation that many of the researchers investigating the phenomenon are confident that NDEs point toward the reality of survival of bodily death.
If Pam had truly been out of body and perceiving, both her auditory and visual sensations should've been accurate; but when it came to details that could not have been guessed or plausibly learned after the fact, only her auditory information was accurate. Moreover, it is significant that as her narrative continues beyond the three visual observations outlined above, the remainder of her reported out-of-body perceptions are auditory. Finally, it is interesting that Pam reports uncertainly about the identity of the voice she heard when her OBE began: "I believe it was a female voice and that it was Dr. Murray, but I'm not sure" (Sabom, "Light" 42).
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More importantly, what is translated here as "worth living" is just in Greek, , , "to be lived, worth living." A concise English equivalent might be "liveable": "The unexamined life is not liveable for (a) man."
This famous statement, curiously, is actually not explained in its context.
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First, there is the observation that only part of her head was shaved. Perhaps she could have guessed this at the time of her experience, but there is no need even for this in order to account for the reported observation. Surely Pam would have noticed this soon after awaking from general anesthesia—by seeing her reflection, feeling her hair, or being asked about it by visitors. And she certainly would have known about it, one way or the other, by the time she was released from the hospital. Indeed, if her hair had been shaved presurgery, or at any time prior to her general anesthesia, she would have known about it well her OBE. And patients undergoing such a risky procedure are standardly given a consent briefing where even the cosmetic effects of surgery are outlined—if not explicitly in a doctor's explanation, then at least incidentally in any photographs, diagrams, or other sources illustrating what the procedure entails. So Pam may have learned (to her surprise) that her head would be only partially shaved in a consent briefing her experience, but 'filed away' and consciously forgot about this information given so many other more pressing concerns on her mind at the time. That would be exactly the sort of mundane, subconscious fact we would expect a person to recall later during an altered state of consciousness. And although we are not given the exact date of the operation, Sabom reports that the procedure took place in August 1991 (38). He later tells us that he interviewed Pam for the first time on November 11, 1994 (186). That leaves over three years between the date of Pam's NDE and Sabom's interview—plenty of time for memory distortions to have played a role in her report of the experience. So there is nothing remarkable about this particular observation.
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But is there actually strong evidence of veridical paranormal perception in Ring and Cooper's sample of blind NDErs? One reason Fox questions the significance of this study is that those known to acquire sight for the first time, or reacquire it after a very long time, have difficulty making sense of their visual sensations. He notes the case of a 52-year-man who, after receiving corneal grafts, could not visually identify a lathe that he was otherwise well-acquainted with—by touch—unless he was given the opportunity to touch it. Continually frustrated at his inability to interpret his visual sensations, he eventually took his own life a full two years after the operation (Fox 225-226). By contrast, Ring and Cooper's blind NDErs are said to have "virtually immediately [gained] the ability to perceive accurately just such things as hospitals and streetlights with virtually no difficulty whatsoever" (226). While Ring and Cooper interpret this as evidence of a previously unknown sort of synesthetic perception 'transcending' normal human vision (224), Fox points out that more mundane sources—such as learning from mass media or NDE researchers that OBEs, tunnels, and lights are to be expected during near-death crises—might more satisfactorily explain the blind NDErs' testimonies (239). Irwin notes similar possibilities: