Dr. Gregory Shushan is the world’s leading authority on the study of near-death experiences across culture and time.
[00:00:00] Alex Tsakiris: On this episode of skeptiko, a show about finding truth in science.
[00:00:08] Gregory Shushan: There actually were a lot of accounts overtly saying, , this particular person, , Died went to the other world and came back and that’s how we know what the afterlife was like. . I found, you know, 40, 50, 60 of them from different parts of the world. , , so that’s not in dispute. ,
, the idea that. , for all these thousands of years and pretty much every cultural region of the, of the planet, people have just been making things up and let’s instead, , look at the world through our own sort of mechanistic, materialistic, scientific viewpoint, , and say that, , no, it’s all culture and it’s all in the brain.
, to me, that’s a pretty limited way of looking at the world and that to me seems completely illogical and unreasonable and it’s faith rather than science, it’s people sticking to their predetermined, philosophical paradigms, rather than looking at the actual evidence and extrapolating.
( — )
[00:01:02] Alex Tsakiris: And his show about spotting scientists who are full of baloney.
[00:01:06] Yuval Noah Harari: (—–) I don’t have any answer in the Bible, what to do when humans are no longer useful to the economy, you need completely new ideologies, completely new religions, and they are likely to emerge from Silicon valley everything that the old religions promised, happiness and justice and even eternal life, but here on earth with the help of technology and not after.
We just the help of some supernatural.
what’s a humans for as far as we know for nothing. I mean, there is, there is no great cosmic drama, some great cosmic plan that we have a role to play in it. Uh, this has been the story. All religions and ideologies and so forth.
But as a scientist, the best I can say this is not true.
[00:02:01] Alex Tsakiris: The first clip you heard was from today’s guest, Dr. Greg Rashaan,
who seemed to be a little bit embarrassed when I said he’s doing some of the most important work in science period, full stop. so in this introduction, I had to pair his quote with one from a science darling right now, Dr. Yuval Harari, who is named dropped by Barack Obama and bill gates and sucker Bergen has sold 30 million books in is on 60 minutes and is all over the place. And of course, it’s one of the team members in the world, economic forum. Great reset. That’s just the way it is, but as that quote reveals, he’s really not too. Well-informed on science. Is he at least on the science we’ve explored here. On skeptical.
He’s certainly not up to date on why we’re not biologic. Robots in a meaningless universe.
Ah, but we shall leave all that behind and turn our attention towards some great, work done by a terrific scientist and researcher. Here’s my chat with Dr. Gregory Shu, Shaun. Sean.
(—) Welcome to skeptical where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics.
I’m your host, Alex Charisse. And today we welcome Dr. Gregory Sean, back to skeptical. He’s here to talk about his terrific new book, the next world, extraordinary experiences of the afterlife. Now, in case you don’t remember no other way to put it. He’s the world’s leading scholar, leading authority on NDEs across culture and across time across history.
That’s his specialty. And let me kind of backtrack a second and break down why that’s so important. So in my estimation, I think a lot of people would have to agree with this, the near-death experience and the science associated with it is just about the most direct challenge slash contradiction to the dominant scientific paradigm in our culture, which is materialism and nothing confronts that as directly as near-death experience does, and that’s not hype, that’s just the way that it is.
I mean, if consciousness is shown to be real and extend beyond bodily death, then it’s kind of a whole new ball game for some. so here’s Dr. Gregory Sushant. He comes along and he says, gee guys, I see that you have a lot of these near death experience reports, but you still seem to be having a hard time figuring out if this phenomenon is real, tell you what, I’m a distinguished scholar, Oxford college of London, post-doctorate fellowships, all that good stuff.
And I know how to do this because I’m going to use the tried and true method of examining whether or not this phenomenon shows up across culture and across time. And if it does, then that’d be it go a long way towards kind of establishing the reality of this near-death experience. And if it doesn’t then what suggest that maybe it’s not what we think it is.
So. That’s what he’s done. He’s done it better than anyone else. He’s published a number of books. We’ll pull up his website in a minute, many articles, many scholarly articles. And for anyone who’s really paying attention to his work, he’s kind of changed the way. This is phenomenally important research. I couldn’t be more serious about it.
This is the cutting edge, really of scientific thought, which is what does it mean to have a near-death experience? What does that tell us about who we are about as human beings? So, um, I’m not hyping that one bit. I am super excited to have this guy on, you know, I reference him all the time. I referenced his work.
I think it’s super important. And Gregory. I’m just delighted to have you here. Thanks so much.
[00:06:06] Gregory Shushan: Thank you, Alex. That’s quite a buildup and I hope I can live up to it even slightly,
[00:06:13] Alex Tsakiris: you know, you don’t even have to live up to it. Book lives up to it. And that’s where I think we should start. So this new book is the next world, extraordinary experiences of the afterlife.
It’s a very serious, , scholarly book written in a very accessible way. It’s not going to like overwhelm people that you can get it, but it’s really important. So there’s a lot of topics to talk about. Tell us what you think the book is most important kind of takeaways might be for people that are picking it up.
[00:06:51] Gregory Shushan: Uh, I think for one thing is, , just the, I guess, negotiating the similarities and the differences in near death experiences around the world that I guess the takeaway really is that, , whatever you think, it’s not that simple basically. So, so whether you’re, , completely convinced. , you know, near death experiences are just all in the brain and it’s a dying brain and there’s no such thing as this kind of phenomenon it’s hallucination.
Or if you think that near death experiences are absolutely evidence for an afterlife, um, and that it’s the same around the world and all humans have the same experience and we all go to the same afterlife then either of those positions that the book is probably going to make you think again, because all of the other books about near-death experiences, , very few of them really have taken into account the cross-cultural and historical stuff in formulating their theories.
You know, what a near death experiences and what the phenomenon means for the debate about whether there’s an afterlife or not.
[00:07:53] Alex Tsakiris: Right. I would, it does all of that. Um, and then this is kind of an extension. This book comes out of this ongoing research that you’re doing, you know? So tell people about when that research started, how you’ve gone about it.
We talked a little bit about this last time, but I think it’s important for people to know how you’re processing.
[00:08:15] Gregory Shushan: Sure. Um, yeah, I started off doing Egypt and archeology and that was at university college, London. And I, um, you know, you read things like the books, books of the dead and pyramid decks and coffin texts.
And I just started noticing, um, that in a, in a very general way, the descriptions of the afterlife and these, these ancient texts, uh, echoed near-death experiences. So for example, the soul leaves, the body, uh, travels through darkness comes out into another realm, meets a being of light in the form of a sun.
God has this evaluation of the. Earthly life. Um, there’s a sort of symbolic way of encountering the person’s own corpse, which echoes the out of body experience. Um, and that’s why I say symbolic. It means they, um, encounter the, um, God of the underworld oh, Cyrus in, in the form of a corpse and the tech state that, that actually is the corpse of the person.
So the person is being identified with all these, um, deities and afterlife beings. And the idea behind it is that the realization that you’re dead, but still conscious and still alive, um, enables you to proceed spiritually through, through the, um, through the next world. So that was interesting to me. And I remembered a book by Carol’s Leschi, um, other world journeys where she, um, compared near death experiences with medieval.
Afterlife other world journey texts from medieval Europe. Um, she concluded that, um, you know, it was all just kind of a product of the imagination, which, which to me was, um, you know, she, it kind of fell flat because she went through all this effort to show, look how similar they are. And then she said, but they’re imaginary.
So to me, that was not satisfying. And I thought, I thought just the opposite, if, if they’re, um, uh, descriptions of the afterlife or similar to, uh, these visions of the afterlife, then, you know, what, what came first basically. So if they’re happening in ancient Egypt as well, that kind of starts you thinking that it wasn’t just a cultural creation.
So to test that, um, I compared, um, the Egyptian after life texts with ancient India, ancient China as tech and Maya and ancient summer, um, And that was my first book, uh, conceptions of the afterlife and in early civilizations, um, that book’s going to be revised and reprinted by the way, next year, I’m under the title near-death experience in ancient civilizations.
So that will be accessible to people. The first edition of that book was like, as, you know, 150 bucks or something. So, , nobody outside of academia was able to read it, , 15 or 20 people within academia. Right.
[00:11:04] Alex Tsakiris: , yeah, the D the semination, I’m sure might’ve been disappointing, but I don’t think the impact was disappointing. I mean, I’m pretty tuned to this community near death experience science community, and they all have the highest regard for your work and they all immediately understand the importance of it because the approach you’ve taken.
The other thing I wanted to kind of add, or have you talked more about, it seems like every time I talked to you, you’re like, Buried in this process of taking up these accounts, you only go, oh, well, yeah. You know, I have found this other account and, oh, I just ran across this, which I just imagined you, you doing that.
So tell people where you get these accounts and what that process is like. And is it as exciting as it sounds like you’re having so much fun finding these? Or what is it like?
[00:11:54] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, I mean, it, it is, for me, I don’t know if it would be for most people it’s if, if you enjoy, you know, long, long, long hours in libraries and on the internet and, uh, you know, websites like, uh, internet archive, where they have tons and tons of, you know, public domain anthropology and religious studies and, you know, th the stuff is out there, it’s just, , a matter of finding it.
So, , for example, uh, for the native American stuff, which I did my second book, , It’s I, I saw some scholar refer to it as leapfrogging. So, so you look in, you know, one of my main sources with it was this book, uh, the north American Indian Orpheus tradition by a Swedish scholar, like could hold Crohn’s.
And he was, that book is about, uh, journeys to the afterlife, uh, in order to rescue the soul of somebody who’s in danger of dying and then, uh, Chemonics sort of thing. And then how that was mythologized, you know, these, this process of shamonic experiences and Andes turning into, into myths, , which of course as is a sort of central theme of my own work.
So in that book, , you know, he’s 1957 and he’s writing about your death experiences, you know, a couple of decades before that word was, even that phrase was even invented. So, , you know, I went through that. Which is a fairly substantial book with a fine tooth comb. And going back to the original reference from, you know, 1859 or 1689 or whatever it was, , for each of these accounts and determining, you know, are they really an NDE?
Did they happen to, , you know, uh, allegedly an actual historical individual? Um, or is it a myth or is it a shamonic account or what, , and then kind of, you know, categorizing them and analyzing them according to which of those categories they fall into. And then, , oftentimes, you know, I would follow to, I’d get back to the original source and then there’d be one or two other NDEs in there and there’d be another one referencing, you know, see this other NDE that happened in 1767 for this particular.
So it’s this it’s really an endless, , kind of process. And it’s just a lot of, lot of legwork. If you could use that term.
[00:14:05] Alex Tsakiris: So I can only imagine. And then for the end result is for people to pick up this book. You have a good sense of this as a writer, I have to say, because you open up this book. And you, boom, you hit us with story after story, after story accounts, if you will.
And the book opens up in the bid third century, BC in China, a man after several days of dying, , is revived and said he had witnessed all sorts of things related to demons and deities and heaven and earth and the sensation of being in a dreaming state. And by no means dead.
And then on each one of these paragraphs, I won’t go through them all, but I may be my highlight them. The last sentence is the real kicker to your point. This is just one of over a hundred similar narratives from ancient and medieval China. So then you go to the next, your next paragraph is 700 years.
5,000 miles away in Greece. And then you tell this story from Greece and then you say again, you know, dozens and dozens of other story, then you go to all these different cultures and it’s super impressive.
As a reader. You’re like, whoa, there is something to this that is undeniable in a way.
[00:15:23] Gregory Shushan: Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to open it like that deliberately because, um, you know, I still keep reading things in popular media or skeptical critics saying things like. If near-death experiences were real, they’d be happening all over the world and they don’t, we don’t see any evidence of that.
So I wanted to put paid to that because it’s ridiculous that people keep saying, the only reason they’re saying that is because they haven’t done the research because you know, there, there are books out there, not just my, my three books, but you know, Jim McLennan and Ellen Kelly here, and people like this, , Jenny whey did an native American one.
So, , I wanted to highlight that, you know, th the occurrence of these experiences and the existence of these accounts is just fact, you know, it’s not in, it’s not a matter for debate at all. And I want an in doing opening the book that way I wanted to show you just the really wide diversity of where they happen all around the world and throughout.
[00:16:20] Alex Tsakiris: The other thing that’s really impressive to me is you marry that with a deep knowledge of near-death experience science and you directly address that in the book in a way that I don’t think, , some of your colleagues are really capable of handling. So, I mean, you talk Sam Parnia, you talk, you know, doctors, penny Sartori, you know, all those people and you are able to kind of handle the evidence of that.
So there’s kind of this other moving part to your research, which is near death experience science, which has kind of come out of nowhere in the last 20 years, but is now advanced to the point that really no one directly challenges. The reality of the phenomenon. They want to nibble around at the edges and stuff like that, but that’s a sea change that plays right into what you’re doing, but you fully embrace it.
So what has been that, process for you in terms of, uh, understanding near-death experience science and would have been some of the highs and lows of that for you?
[00:17:28] Gregory Shushan: Uh, yeah. I mean, the it’s difficult because I’m not trained as a scientist. I mean, other than, you know, archeology anthropology, or kind of social sciences, a little bit of, you know, empirical stuff in archeology, but certainly not anything like, you know, cardiology or, , with these, , actual indie scientists are.
, so it’s, but yeah, it’s definitely a learning curve trying to, , figure out what evidence actually is compelling. , what is. Just anecdotal, but nevertheless compelling and, and, you know, trying to just negotiate and get my head around it. But then really the purpose of that is to, look at that work in light of my own work, in other words.
, so, , the kind of central question is really, you know, given all the cross-cultural similarities and cross cultural existence of NDEs, , what kind of afterlife could be possible. , if we accept all the evidence of NDEs from these, you know, mainstream scientists and the other question being, uh, how does the diversity and inconsistencies between NDE accounts corresponded with, , you know, the, the survival hypothesis for indeed.
[00:18:39] Alex Tsakiris: Absolutely. And that that’s what really is going to propel all of us forward because you’ve now raised the bar in terms of the level three kind of questions that we all have to ask. , but I, I would return to, you know, like your work looks one way. If there’s no, there, there, if you are constantly having to prove no, really this is real, there really is this phenomenon. And look, you know, then you’re not one way. Or if you just are able to lean on that, which you can and should it’s appropriate and say, well, these people have kind of established this to this point. Now it exactly what you said. It jumps us to the next level question, which is how is this different than the shamonic experience?
What about these angels and demons and purgatory and hell? What about pre-cognitive experiences advanced information, that you couldn’t have gained otherwise in these realms, all that stuff now comes on the table and now we’re again, turning to you and going, oh, I wonder how does that look through this?
worldwide cultural filter rather than our narrow cultural filter. And how does it sync with ours and doesn’t sync with ours. So there’s just a number of jumping off points. They’re kind of laid out in the chapters of your book. What interests you as one to jump into yeah,
[00:20:09] Gregory Shushan: , the, the non-scientific yet nevertheless evidential stuff I think is really interesting. So for example, the peak and Darien experience, which is when, , a near-death experience or it goes to the other world and meets somebody that they don’t know had actually died on earth. They’re unaware of that person’s death.
And then they come back and they find out that that person had died after all. So, you know, they’ll. You know, their uncle Joe or whatever, and come back.
, and everyone’s excited that they’ve come back to life, but, you know, by the way, uncle Joe died while you were dead. And so that, you know, is basically confirmation that the vision that they had in the other world of uncle Joe was, was vertical.
, and then there are also other things like, , there’s a really interesting Mormon, um, example, which, uh, seems to, you know, indicate some kind of predestiny. There was a guy named Mr. Monson. I don’t think they give us his first name from 1923. And, , he dies and has an NDE. , it’s a very brief one and he’s met by his daughter.
His daughter died 23 years before he did. And she told him to go back to earth. , and the reason he had to go back is because his six-year-old son has to die first. Then his mother has to die and then his wife has to die and then it will be his turn. So, , He returns to life. And within a few months, his mother dies and his son dies.
And then his wife dies a few years later in the, in the exact order, , , that he was told they would die. So, , you know, that, that brings up all kinds of weird things for one thing. It’s, you know, it seems to be an evidential confirmation of his visiting, his, his daughter who died 23 years earlier. , but for another thing, it raises all kinds of, to me, uncomfortable questions about predestiny and, uh, you know, whether, what happened if he hadn’t come back, what if his body had been totally mangled and it was uninhabitable and, and he interrupted that flow, or what if his, you know, one of his, , people who were supposed to die in this particular order, what if one of them died, , in an accident out of order.
And so it’s just, , it kind of reaches my boggle threshold at that point. , But I would also say that it’s equally interesting and, and you know, me, I’m always like straddling going back and forth between these, these things. Uh, equally interesting is, is these cases from the late eighties, , Kenneth ring, , in the U S and Margo gray in the UK independently, , started finding these cases of NDE ears coming back and saying, you know, we had this apocalyptic vision, the world is going to end within a certain number of years.
It’s going to be, , you know, a nuclear war or environmental catastrophe or whatever. , very, very similar, um, in both the UK and us totally unrelated studies on unknown to each other. , and even mentioning the same years in 1988, apparently came up the most often, but it was either late eighties, early nineties.
, and of course, none of this came to pass. We didn’t. Have a global catastrophe. And we’re certainly not now in a golden age, which, which is what they also predicted that, you know, the catastrophe would be followed by a golden age. , so how do we understand the false, um, divine revelations that people get in NDEs?
[00:23:27] Alex Tsakiris: Uh, apparently false, whatever that means. And there’s like a ton to pull apart there and I’d even go back to the very first part. What you said is, what does it say about death? Like even the part that’s kind of, you know, the, I see people that I didn’t know or deceased, and now I find out that they are deceased.
That is saying something that we can’t really pin down in terms of what death and life means, right. Because which perspective are we on? You know, and the years always tell us we’re returning home and this is really where we’re from. And we have these soul groups and we decided. Uh, how does that, how does death in life is that what it looks like?
And then as you mentioned, the whole time thing is just crazy and it gets into all sorts of issues. Look, parapsychology pre-cognitive pre-cognitive dreams. Andy Paquette, Dr. Andy, Paquette’s been on this show has recorded thousands of pre-cognitive dreams and has gone to great lengths to document the accuracy of them then highly accurate.
What does that mean about this space, time continuum that we’re in. . And then we have plenty of accounts where it, I don’t know the tricks, tourism, , where
they’re directly trying to mess with us. Right. They’re directly trying to tell us stuff that maybe isn’t true and we don’t know why and why would they screw with the some, why would they do all this stuff? But, but through all that, and this is what I want you to also kind of touch on. And this is the strength of your book is you’re able to kind of get to that next level and say, this is really messy.
And it gets really messy all over the place. Whichever way you look at the same time, there’s these consistent themes. There’s these consistent truths that seem to be profound in terms of the way that we’ve tried to answer these questions up to now, which has been as you point out in the book, just unbelievably absurdly, inadequate.
What do you think about the patterns that do seem to emerge from your work?
[00:25:37] Gregory Shushan: I wanted to test that further beyond NDEs. And so there’s a chapter on mediumship and, , not just, you know, again, I’m not looking at the evidence for and against mediumship, but what I did is I wanted to find, you know, the most highly rated mediums in the history of psychical research, and then see what descriptions of the afterlife were transmitted through those mediums, allegedly by, , souls in the afterlife and, you know, compare that with NDS, because like you said, at the beginning, , I sort of see Andes as the baseline for evidence for an afterlife it’s the most compelling, , of, of any of the different kinds of psychical research phenomenon.
, from, from my perspective, So I wanted to see to what degree, the mediumship mediumistic descriptions of the afterlife correspond with what people who have had NDEs, tell us about what the afterlife is like. And, and that’s a really interesting, and, and in a way it reflects the cross-cultural and historical differences and similarities of NDEs.
Because what I found was that there are all these typical elements of NDEs, you know, leaving the body and going to another realm and meeting deceased relatives and spiritual beings and evaluation of your life and all this kind of stuff. But then they’re very, , highly culturally specific, uh, descriptions of what that other world is.
, and keeping in mind that most of the stuff comes from Victorian and Edwardian England. It’s no surprise that the afterlife is, is basically, uh, an idealized version of Victorian and Edwardian, England. , and, and certainly not, , enlightened in the sense that that people who have had NDEs come back and tell us, you know, I experienced one with oneness with the universe.
Um, there’s no difference between me and any of my fellow human beings. We’re all of this collective consciousness. Am I of universal understanding, , in the. You know, summer land, uh, which is what they called it in the Victorian Edwardian mediumship it’s, you know, hierarchies are maintained, uh, between classes, between religions, between races.
And it’s very much just a duplicate where nothing’s bad. It’s basically England where everything was perfect. So, so to me, that’s not very convincing. , then there’s also really wacky stuff like, , you know, sir, Walter Scott says that there’s salamander flame beings living in the sun and, , you know, there’s mermaids and giants and all this kind of, , obviously, , dream-like or hallucinatory descriptions.
, , so again, how do you square that with the similarities with, with Indies?
[00:28:11] Alex Tsakiris: Well, it’s hard cause every everywhere we turn, we’re kind of shackled with this language. You know, when we say it’s, obviously he’ll listen to Tara. Oh, right. Yeah. We don’t know if right. Cause what some people conclude is that you are being presented with what you need at that time.
So what you know, and that we can’t say that that’s, that’s just a theory, but it could fit in this to, , to, to some of your other points I think are super interesting to me is this question of there being a moral imperative there being good or bad there being individual souls versus collective souls.
And you kind of have to hash that out, especially in light of what some of your colleagues have said, because we do have this kind of academia wokeness overlay on it that says that, and you just directly confront this, but. You know, there, there is no experience other than that, that can be separated from the culture.
There’s nothing, you know, and as you point out that that can have a very racist, uh, unknowingly, it can have a very, , racist or, uh, certainly, uh, cultural superiority kind of vibe to it. And so we, that’s a, that’s an equally a problem of, of this whole thing. Right? So on one hand you have, these people do seem to be layering on their cultural thing.
And then when we say, oh yeah, it’s all cultural. Well, that doesn’t really make any sense either. Any thoughts on that?
[00:29:48] Gregory Shushan: , that’s a really good point because a lot of it, especially in religious studies, um, they seem mysticism and, you know, any kind of religious experience, including NDEs as totally generated by the cultural tradition that they’re a part of, but they neglect the fact that these experiences are spontaneous, that there is no tradition associated with, you know, having an NDE being hit by a bus or having a heart attack and leaving your body and coming back, you know, that’s not a tradition, that’s not a practice that people, you know, engage in.
There’s not like, , here’s how to have, whether it’s, you know, in shamanism, there’s sort of like how to have an NDE, but for the
[00:30:26] Alex Tsakiris: most part, well, hold on. So let’s talk about that. Cause, cause that’s next, but every, every one of these has a contradiction to it. That it’s kind of interesting, but. , back to what you’re saying of that, that they’re, they’re not a spontaneous will.
The other thing I remember from your previous book that I think is just really, really amazing. And I always kind of hold up to people is you found that the many of the near death experiences from these cultures are directly connected to the reason why they have the afterlife belief system that they do.
And that is extremely powerful. And you also offer kind of the supporting evidence of that, of like, When they say, oh yeah, we used to believe this. And then Joe had his NDE and we started believing this and then it was confirmed by this. So I think that’s really powerful. Do you want to kind of recap that and then, and then, cause I think that also then ties into the, or could be an explanation for some of the shamonic things.
Oh, you got to drink this poison. I’ll catch you at the club. So you’ll die, you know, because it fits in with what you’re saying. It’s like, this is a tremendous gift to have this knowledge. Let’s get more of it. No matter, even if I have to kill you to do it.
[00:31:46] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was , my second book, which is a near death experience in indigenous religions.
That’s I think the one you’re referring to that, , yeah, kind of delve deeply into is very different from the first book because the first book was looking at, you know, afterlife beliefs. And trying to match them up with near death experience to see if, you know, were these beliefs influenced by NDEs, but there wasn’t a lot of, , evidence or actual accounts for Indies in those ancient civilizations with the exception of China, as you mentioned, one or two and Mesoamerican India, but I’m looking at the, you know, small scale indigenous societies or used to be called tribal, , in, you know, the native Americans, uh, Pacific areas and, and Africa.
, there actually were a lot of accounts overtly saying, you know, this particular person, historical person, like grandfather, whoever, , Died went to the other world and came back and that’s how we know what the afterlife was like. So just overtly, totally stating, , you know, we, our afterlife knowledge comes from near-death experiences.
If they had the term NDE, that’s what they would have would have been saying. I found, you know, 40, 50, 60 of them from different parts of the world. So, , so that’s not in dispute. So, so these scholars, you were mentioning earlier who say, no, these are all culturally generated. That is basically, , you know, indisputable proof that these experiences proceeded their beliefs.
And the only way to argue that they weren’t, as to say all of those people were lying essentially. And, and which is totally ethnocentric, , you know, pretty racist thing to say.
[00:33:22] Alex Tsakiris: Come out in the appendix, the first appendix , I think very appropriately call to task or what’s going on here with exactly what you just described and how it is absurd. It’s not reasonable. It isn’t logical. It isn’t very convincing. , so w I’ll read a quote from that appendix the humanities have limited our knowledge of the origins and development of religious and ritual systems and therefore of human cultural development.
Hmm. I want to go the next step with that, but the first thing we have to do is make sure we’re getting that. How is that limiting our cultural development? I would say, how is it directing, , our cultural development a certain way?
[00:34:18] Gregory Shushan: , I would say it’s, , denying that there is any value or importance to these experiences or even the next stage of denying that they even happen.
, is turning a blind eye to a whole category of human phenomena. That’s been, uh, tested for pretty much as long as humans has been recording their experiences. Uh, I think the earliest, you know, Andy is probably in, , the, the precursor to the epic of Gilgamesh, epic of Gilgamesh is old enough, but the actual earliest Sumerian version.
, so there’s, you know, the idea that. You know, for all these thousands of years and pretty much every cultural region of the, of the planet, people have just been making things up and let’s instead, , look at the world through our own sort of mechanistic, materialistic, scientific viewpoint, , and say that, , no, it’s all culture and it’s all in the brain.
Uh, to me, that’s a pretty limited way of looking at the world and it’s also ignoring, I mean, even just as a, uh, in an anthropological way, it’s ignoring the most key experience type that could explain afterlife beliefs. And I just, and that to me seems completely illogical and unreasonable and it’s faith rather than science, it’s people sticking to their predetermined, philosophical paradigms, rather than looking at the actual evidence and extrapolating.
[00:35:44] Alex Tsakiris: And not go one step further and say, there might be a purpose behind it. And the purpose may be that to promote the idea that you are a biologic robot and a meaningless universe makes you easier to control. I mean, we’re going through that right now with whatever you think about the plan emic and the great reset and the economic forum.
That is exactly what they’ve cited now is that science proves that we are meaningless in terms of the larger universe we do. And it just falls right out of that. There’s no such thing as a soul. There’s no such thing as God, all of that. And I connect that to just then, then the decisions we would make about how to organize and run our society slash culture and how to do that moving forward.
And whether we should all be in a hive mind. Dr. Dean Raiden recently said in an interview with him, all those questions, the philosophical underpinning to those is exactly this point. Are you essentially a biological robot in a meaningless universe or is there evidence that you are more, whatever that more is?
You know, we don’t have to throw Jesus in there, boot in there just, is there more, or is there not more? And I think you’re rightfully calling out these folks and saying, Hey, the evidence overwhelmingly is more. Now we just have to figure out what that more is. And here are some clues that are being kind of laid at our feet to try and put together.
What do you think about that?
[00:37:24] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, I think, I think that is a good extrapolation of it all. , and you know, one thing that. You know, despite all the divisions and chaos going on in the world, uh, one thing that we all share in common is that we’re going to die essentially. , and the other thing that we all share in common is that we really don’t know, you know, we might believe, but we don’t know what’s going to happen to us when we die.
, so that’s something that really should, in a sense, bring us together. And it’s a commonality that, , you know, it’s the great leveler, uh, death.
[00:37:57] Alex Tsakiris: Throughout history it has brought us together, right? I mean, isn’t that part of history is that that is the humanity that we share. Even when we see that we’re not sharing it and we veer away from it.
Ultimately people come together and they go, I realized your loss because something happened that, you know what I mean? And or that. Yeah,
[00:38:20] Gregory Shushan: for some reason, can’t do that. , about the other, you know, about people that we perceive as different from us and, and the, you know, the w I don’t want to get political, but you know, the war in Ukraine is a good example.
You’ve got, , you know, and it’s a horrible thing. I’m not gonna, you know, be little that, or diminish that in any sense. But, um, there have also been at the same time. You know, equal suffering an equally horrible wars going on in countries where people are of darker skin, , people who are not like us. And, you know, when the war first started happening, , the media was a lot of the reflections in the media was like, oh, but they look just like us.
These are people just like us. These are people in the middle east, you know, wearing rags on their heads or whatever, you know, horrible term they would use. , so, so you’re right. You know, people would be brought together with death and suffering and mourning if they’re within their own community. But why can’t they also say, you know, that person’s death is equally as tragic as mine or as my family members,
[00:39:20] Alex Tsakiris: uh I’m with you 100%, but we don’t even have a shot of it.
If we buy into. Biological robot, meaningless universe, then there’s no reason to even contemplate the injustice, the inequality, the, all the rest of it, which I know you’re down with. You know, what I thought might be interesting is to kind of get your take on where you think we stand based on your research about some of the biggest questions that people have about the near-death experience.
So one is hell I mean, there’s no two ways about it. You know, people suppress asking that question, but that really is number one for a lot of people. Is, is there a chance I’m going to go to hell? Is that whole thing real? So from what you’ve learned, how do you sort that out?
[00:40:13] Gregory Shushan: I mean, there are negative, , distressing or hellish or whatever you want to call them NDEs. They’re not very common. And I think there’s some argument that they’re, you know, more disorganized than, than a more positive, more typical NDE that maybe they’re more hallucinatory.
[00:40:33] Alex Tsakiris: Can you think of some cases, can you think of some stories? You, you have a bunch of them here. I can pull them up, but yeah, I remember this. I remember this last time that, uh, you’ve probably got like a million of these things in your head spanish McNay, Peter died and registered a life.
He described seeing men, he knew suffering torments in hell and being rescued by the same fate by an angel.
And you have a bunch of other, uh, medieval accounts. This is in the 15th, 16th century.
[00:41:08] Gregory Shushan: Yeah. A lot of there’s a lot of, , hellish medieval accounts. Um, and there’s also a lot of hellish Buddhist accounts. And I think that very much reflects those religions, you know, a medieval Christianity.
[00:41:23] Alex Tsakiris: you got some hellish native American accounts in there too, right?
[00:41:27] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, there’s a couple, but, but I think overall, , there’s a, there’s not a pattern I think, of, of hellish native American American ones. , And it’s not that, you know, the medieval and, and, , uh, Buddhist, medieval ones as well, have a monopoly on hellish Andes.
But I think there is an overall concern with them. , and that I think reflects the overall concern, , within the religions for, for going to hell and for suffering. And a lot of them, especially the medieval ones, a lot of them are really long. Uh they’re they’re obviously, um, you know, , elaborated, uh, I would say even I would even go so far as to say they’re either totally literary based on some earlier NDE, , or they have a kernel of an NDE in there, but have been turned into this, , you know, didactic educating teaching thing to, to warn people about the dangers of hell and, um, to, to behave better.
So they, so they’ll go to heaven. Which is not to say, you know, that these amongst didn’t have a negative or distressing NDE, especially if they’re sitting around all day drawing pictures of demons and they’ve got these ideas in their head. So, um, so I think there that, I guess that brings us all the way back to the whole question of.
How much are they creating their own experience because they’re expecting a hellish NDE and how much would they have had in anyway, if they weren’t constantly, you know, delving into that, , that kind of imagery and ideas,
[00:43:00] Alex Tsakiris: A bunch of thoughts popped to mind, but one is that the shamonic accounts certainly are, have plenty of accounts of those places that you don’t want to go.
And you got to believe, you know, just based on the natural conclusion from your work is that there’s a relationship there between the near-death experience accounts and the shamonic journeying knowledge and they’re interplaying with each other. What advice do you have in terms of how we go about the counting process, you know, which roll into 84% of India ears experienced this and 22% of women in, you know, I see the, I see both sides of that. I mean, we want that, we need that into a certain extent. And another ways we don’t know what we’re looking at, we’re looking at still a relatively few number of accounts.
We don’t know the process by which those are being filtered just from a physiological standpoint. Why are some people remembering, some people aren’t in what distress states of dying or, you know, there’s just, we could be totally looking at distorted data. How do we be careful about counting?
[00:44:09] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t know, I think with the historical and cross-cultural stuff, it’s impossible because there just aren’t enough records out there. , but as far as, yeah, how many people, you know, in the United States, for example, have Andes, um, who have been temporarily dead, clinically, temporarily, dead, and come back to life.
, how, and what percentage of those see a tunnel? What percentage, you know, see a being of light. , every time I start kind of trying to, you know, get to some conclusion about that, it just starts seeming like, like chaos to me. And it’s almost like with, uh, with mediumship or with like trickster stuff that you mentioned, it’s almost like the closer you get or the closer you feel like you’re getting to some, you know, scientific, uh, objective understanding.
Of the stuff. Um, it takes a step further back, you know, it’s, it’s like a receding landscape as, as you’re trying to get closer to it. , and this kind of reminds me too, like, you know, the grace and the scale of NDEs, which, , , and, and even moody trying to find, you know, these 15 elements, right.
Moody himself saying these are the elements of an NDE. However, not everybody has each of those experiences. And then subsequent researchers like Grayson and whoever else coming along and saying, okay, let’s try to narrow this down. Let’s try to figure out what all these, uh, elements actually are. And actually they get expanded far beyond what Grayson said, but these are the particular ones that all indie years, and it’s just impossible, you know, there’s, it’s, it’s proven, I mean, they’re great tools and, and they’re necessary for us to, , identify this repertoire from which Indies pull, you know, re repertory of sub experiences.
, but yeah, I don’t think we’re ever going to get to all ND years have this experience. , and that’s, to me reflects the possibility that maybe we don’t all have the same kind of afterlife.
[00:46:03] Alex Tsakiris: Absolutely. That’s a great point. And I think Grayson himself has, has tried to kind of pump the brakes a little bit and say, Hey, you know, great, glad it’s useful as a tool, but realize its limitations here, you know?
So like that’s great. And I guess that relates to kind of another one that I’d like you to kind of process is the big one is this hierarchical nature of consciousness and you know, is there a. It’s commonly reported in the Western things. You know, I saw Jesus, I saw God. I saw even just, I saw angels. I saw beings that knew more than I could ever know.
I saw people, , beings that assisted me. I saw light, you know, all the rest that suggest, and they suggested that there was more beyond it and that there was this hierarchical nature of it. And then you hear other accounts that are more kind of a, not so much, you know, just kind of moved into the light. I moved into the love.
It was kind of the unity consciousness thing. How are you processing that question from the accounts you’ve looked at?
[00:47:08] Gregory Shushan: Uh, I tend to think that it’s kind of along the Tibetan Buddhist, , beliefs or theory, really that it’s, , sort of a case of overlaying our. Perceptions and symbols and cultural consciousness onto these experiences that exists in any case.
So I’m not saying we’re creating the experience, but we’re projecting our own symbols onto the experience. So, , some person might see a being of light as, , you know, uncle Joe again, or, uh, grandparents or parents or whatever. And some people might think it’s Jesus and some people might think it’s the Buddha or Mohammed or, or whatever.
, to me that’s the most logical way of making sense of all of it, uh, because. It’s, you know, otherwise it brings up too many questions of, well, why isn’t this person seeing Jesus? And it’s like, well, okay. Cause there were Muslim, you know, why would they see Jesus? But you know, of course evangelical Christians.
Aren’t going to like that answer because Jesus has to be the objective son of God for the entire world, not just for them. And it would be the same with Muslims or anyone else.
[00:48:18] Alex Tsakiris: And I think , your work goes way beyond the kind of usual religious stuff. Uh, again, and that’s the advantage of, you know, going cross culture, but what do you think about kind of the, the love positive feeling?
You know, all that kind of stuff is also suggestive in a way of the same thing, you know? Yeah. So there’s different ways you slice it so you can slice it and dice it and say, there’s this overlay. Yeah, we get it. But is there. Are there, are there, you know, I mean, I think whenever I hear people talk about the Buddhist stuff and they talk about it from this atheistic perspective, and I want to go time out, that’s purely a, what do you want to talk about a Western overlay?
There’s no Buddhist in history that could even connect with the idea of being atheists. I mean, that was assumed that of course there is, you know, this ultimate consciousness and it’s good and it’s loving and it’s all the rest of that. So w w and I think that’s, uh, that comes through in the work and in the accounts that you have of this goodness, which is the most widely reported experience among the near-death experience is love.
Is this indescribable love? It’s not the tunnel. It’s not their life review. It’s that? I just felt home. I felt love. I felt connected. And I see that all over the place in the accounts you’re talking about.
[00:49:40] Gregory Shushan: Yeah. Yeah. It’s , maybe not always putting those terms exactly. But, um, it is almost always, you know, the, the negative distressing accounts leaving them aside for now, but it is almost always a place of something positive, , a place where the person brings back some kind of positive knowledge or some kind of new, um, religious tradition or cultural tradition.
Um, there’s an example I always think of from native American accounts where the guy was told, um, you need to go back and tell your people that wife beating is not acceptable. , for one thing and for another thing, , the dead don’t need your offerings. We don’t need you to keep, , you know, basically wasting your resources by slaughtering Buffalo or, you know, burning grain or whatever, because, you know, the belief was that they would burn these offerings and that they would ascend to the other world and feed the, the ancestors.
And they said we don’t need them. So, , that’s obviously a positive thing for the community. , so they have, you know, better resources and they don’t have to be wasteful. They don’t have to hunt as much or whatever. So that’s not necessarily, necessarily love explicitly, but these are all things that are beneficial to, to society.
And, , that’s, that is really a cross-cultural, , consistency that, that there’s, you know, nobody is told in the other world, , you know, you need to go back to your body because you have to go. I don’t know, do a school shooting. That’s that’s, that’s the, uh, you know, your, your destiny that you need to fulfill once you’ve done that you can come back, you know, that that’s, , that doesn’t mean.
[00:51:19] Alex Tsakiris: I think that, you know, what full stop right there. It’s really interesting that that never happens. And you can go search Jeff longs and the ERF database, and you can Google search for thousands and thousands of accounts. It’s never there. So kind of interesting on that thing. And related point to that, I guess, is the moral imperative question that again, you know, the accounts that I remember and I want to make sure I’m not just kind of cherry picking, but so many accounts from so many different traditions, including kind of more these, , non Western cultures where they say, you know, do good, go back and change your wicked ways and be better and be a better man, you know, kind of thing.
, thoughts on, on the moral imperative and do good.
[00:52:10] Gregory Shushan: Yeah. Yeah. There was a famous one that I liked by, um, Aja or who was a materialist philosopher. And, , after he had his NDE and came back, his wife said, you know, he’s much better since he died. He’s a much nicer person. So, , but yeah, that’s, , that is a pretty universal common thing too.
And, and it’s again, you know, bringing back, , new strictures, new ideas and, and new, , you know, recommendations for better behavior, things like that. But it’s also pretty common. And this is interesting in light of light of that question, pretty commonly are told, go back and tell people, , about your experience and that there is another world and that, you know, teach them about the afterlife essentially.
So that’s almost seen as. You know, uh, a moral imperative thing to do that people need to learn about these kinds of experiences and maybe, you know, going back to what I was saying earlier, that, that, you know, the one thing we have in common is we’re all going to die. Maybe that’s the kind of thing that people need to hear that, um, there is this something beyond this, this current world that, um, you know, we’re, we’re all going to, I don’t know, think about what you’re doing now, because we’re going to be going to another, um, metamorphosis at a, at a later date.
[00:53:31] Alex Tsakiris: So Gregory, what do you think about the technology angle to this? Because there’s, a lot of people have pointed out. It seems to us that we have more indie ears around than ever before, because we’ve had this advanced medical technology that allows us to resuscitate people. I think that’s kind of undeniable.
You can’t really get around that. How are you processing that in this whole thing? You know what I mean? Is there some limitation to the message coming through that you know, is being helped along by technology? Um, I’m just, I can’t get comfortable with that, but that seems to be somewhere some of the data’s leading.
What do you think
[00:54:13] Gregory Shushan: you mean that the people brought back from, with technology? Or having more limited experiences or
[00:54:20] Alex Tsakiris: not, not more limited, just there’s more of them. So we say, what does it mean that there’s more near-death experiences now than there were 50 years ago? And one, do we think that’s true? And then two, what would possibly, you know, back to what you’re saying about, you know, go tell the people, you know, is it a way of go tell the people, you know, we can we give them those paddles and then they’ll come back and more people people get.
[00:54:46] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, no, that is a good point. And you know, when I say, like I found 70 examples of native American Indies, 70 might seem like a lot because before that people only knew about five or 10 of them were, were acknowledged. Um, but that’s over a period of, you know, from 1589 to 1940s or something. So 70 over that amount of time, it really isn’t that many when you have probably hundreds a day, uh, happening now.
So yeah, conceivably, um, you know, it would be nice if, if this culture were open enough for people who have Indies ease to be able to come back and feel safe talking about them. But I think there’s still a stigma about that. So I think, um, any of those figures are probably skewed by the idea that, um, a lot of people are just too afraid to talk about them because they’re going to be seen as crazy.
Um, and, you know, given psych drugs or whatever, um, ostracized by their community and, and even, you know, that’s also a factor cross-culturally because in, um, some of these. Uh, Micronesian and Australian and African tribal accounts. Um, there was a sort of hostility to people seeming to come back to life. So, uh, you know, in our, in Western cultures, uh, generally speaking, uh, if one of our loved ones died and came back, we’d be rushing to their side and everyone would be, you know, crying tears of joy and saying, this is a miracle.
Uh, but in some other cultures they would be seen as like, you know, oh yeah, yeah. Zombie has come back to life or this person must be possessed by sorcery and they’re a threat to the community and yeah, we need to put a stop to that. And an another distinctive thing about that is one of the reasons there are so few NDEs in those cultures, , aside from the fact that they, they might be, be killed if they come back, , is that they would actually go to two.
You know, extreme measures to prevent people from coming back. So if somebody, you know, when during a burial, they would bind their hands and feet, it put stones on top of the grave. So it’s just the opposite of, you know, the, the modern medical advances that, that bring about more, , resuscitations. So it would be interesting if, you know, , uh, different cultures around the world are starting to get access to this type of technology.
And we get more and more Indies from, you know, smaller cultures and, you know, Thailand and Tibet and Arab countries and whatever, you know, there are very few Muslim Indies known, for example. So hopefully that will, , you know, that will be one of the, the positive effects of, of this technologies.
[00:57:30] Alex Tsakiris: And just returning to that one second, you, but you don’t make.
Anything of the fact that that technology has advanced, I mean, back to this thing, there’s this moving target, right? There’s this new death experience science, there’s this increased awareness. There’s this cultural change, . And now boom. At the same time, this technology emerges that is suddenly making this much more prevalent.
So there’s a lot of people that jumped into some kind of metaphysical conclusions about that. I don’t necessarily want to go there, but I don’t want to limit the possibility. Is there a reason why the technology’s advanced at this time?
[00:58:09] Gregory Shushan: I see what you mean. Yeah. , wow. I don’t know.
Yeah. I mean, that’s, I wouldn’t even know how to, how to go about addressing a question like that. Because to me it opens up to. Cans of worms because who’s, uh, who would be, , responsible for introducing that technology to us, you know, who, who is determining that there’s a reason and all that kind of that.
Yeah. There’s too many, , things to accept before I’d be willing to go there.
[00:58:39] Alex Tsakiris: , fair enough. And I think as anyone who reads the book will see, you are really, you know, rolling your sleeves up and digging into these tough issues surrounding that, but you’re not going to be kind of pushed into wild speculation that venture’s beyond where your data is taking you.
And that’s what we’re looking for from your excellent work here.
[00:59:04] Gregory Shushan: Thanks. Yeah, I L I loved the last interview. We did how your headline for it was something like, you know, Gregory used to show on rankles skeptics and believers, you know, deliberately trying to rankle, but I am, you know, I w I will pretty much come up with, , you know, the opposite argument for, for whatever, or not the opposite argument, but I can, I’m willing to see both sides of any argument.
So which in a way, , you know, it, it does frustrate people because people want to say, oh, well, the cross-cultural similarity. Doesn’t that just mean it’s a dying brain and now that’s not really the case. And other people say, well, doesn’t that mean that, you know, there’s a universal afterlife and it’s all the same spirituality.
No, it’s not that either.
[00:59:48] Alex Tsakiris: Well, Gregory the, the, the underlying ethos of this show is inquiry to perpetuate doubt. So you’re right at home here, buddy. Let me tell you it’s a
[00:59:59] Gregory Shushan: yes,
[01:00:00] Alex Tsakiris: but at the same time, because I always like jumping over on the other side too. I appreciate the intellectual agnostic, openness, you know, But like what I always say from a spiritual perspective, none of us are agnostic.
We wake up every day and that little voice inside our head is yammering away. And we’re going to decide what our relationship is with that consciousness. And that is our spirituality. So any insights into, how you are processing that from a, from a personal spiritual perspective?
[01:00:40] Gregory Shushan: Yeah, that’s a great question because they, , like the Mormon example I gave earlier with the whole predestiny thing, it’s just like, I don’t even want to go there.
I don’t, I don’t like the idea of predestiny or, or these kind of, , you know, quantum physics type explanations for an afterlife or for a soul. , it’s just, you know, It takes me outside of the, you know, historical humanities cross-cultural stuff. And it’s interesting. , but yeah, it’s difficult. I just know I come with my own biases and other one is, , you know, you probably know Anthony peak and his, his idea that we’re reliving our own lives over and over the Groundhog day kind of thing.
And I, you know, it was really interesting. His, his work is, is interesting, but I just don’t want to, you know, my mind just thinks, Nope, don’t want to do it. So I don’t know if it’s just that I don’t like the idea or that, you know, it doesn’t correspond with. You know, the other stuff that I’m finding, but we all have our limits of where we want to go with this stuff.
Aliens and UFO’s is another one for me, you know, I don’t like going to the relationship between there being an afterlife in aliens or iOS, SCA deities being aliens. And that that’s all the same realm as an afterlife. It takes me a little beyond my, uh, my comfort zone.
[01:01:57] Alex Tsakiris: , but I think he’d do it in a, in a smart way, because you don’t shy away from like, uh, hallucinogenic kind of experiences.
And at least in terms of mentioning that they have to be part of this discussion of transformative non-ordinary experiences. And we don’t know what that means. So that has to be on the table as well. You know, the other thing I was going to throw in there that it’s kind of interesting, you know, when you do sort of the NDE, even the predestiny stuff that all kind of falls away, it’s like, right.
Cause there’s plenty of counts of people. Yeah, you can choose, you can go back. We can not go back. Well, wait, I thought it was all dusted, you know, I thought, yeah. So back to your point of like, do you have to go back, do you have to die in that order? Or, you know what I mean? It’s like,
[01:02:46] Gregory Shushan: same with, same with reincarnation, you know, you’ve got in the Indian traditions and Hinduism and Buddhism, you don’t, , have this idea where you choose your next life and, you know, you get to have a preview of it basically.
Whereas in the Western examples, you know, they often will say that. , and to me that’s another place where, where my, you know, uh, it hits my agnostic threshold to where I feel like, , I can accept the randomness. Uh, in, in Hinduism and Buddhism or, or the sort of general karmic progression that, you know, you’re going to get a slightly better life if you did a bit better in this life, but I can’t accept everyone choosing their own lives because then, you know, who chooses to be, you know, a victim of violence or in the middle of the war and who chooses to be the perpetuator of that violence or so, , you know, it could be that that happens and it just really is a totally morally a neutral system and universe.
, but I, I sort of choose to think like, if any of this is, is real and true, then, um, that kind of thing would, it doesn’t really make sense to me, that choice of, of, you know, participating in immoral and violent acts as a means to spiritual progression, you know, it’s, it’s like a complete, it’s a twisted kind of thing to my mind is no,
[01:04:09] Alex Tsakiris: I agree.
And as soon as you say that people want to jump in and give you all sorts of explanations and particularly people who claim to be, and I’m not denying, you know, people have abilities to connect and you’re saying the mediumship, but then when they come in and all the pat answers that, you know, I’m like, you I’m like pause all that stuff.
So Dr. Shushan, where next, where do you go next with this important work?
[01:04:36] Gregory Shushan: , I’m putting together a historical anthology of near-death experiences, which is going to be, just that, like a lot of the accounts that I talk about in my books, I, you know, I’ve just for reasons of space by necessity, I’ve had to give, you know, short descriptions of them or, or, you know, a little extract from them.
But I thought putting together a book of, you know, full verbatim accounts from across time would be, uh, a fun thing to do. So that’s, , that’s a long project, but it’s, uh, it’s got, uh, making a little progress. , And then eventually I’m going to do a one on, um, kind of sighing because it’s such a daunting project, but, uh, I’ve been thinking about it a long time, but I want to do, um, near death experiences in classical antiquity and kind of looking, um, at all the verbatim accounts that we have from, from Greece and Rome, but also at how they, , interact with the ritual, , side of things.
So ancient mystery cults, for example, , in mystery cults, you know, people would enter into these cave like temples and I kind of see them as reenactments of NDEs kind of shamonic reenactment. So there’ll be partly that. And then also how, um, ancient early Christian NDEs kind of fit into that world as well.
Uh, but that’s, that’s a long way off, but I’ve also, , I don’t know if you know about this, but I started a new imprint of white Crow books called afterwords press. And that’s an exciting venture, , because I get to pretty much publish, , any books that I want in this area of research. So the first one is, , one, I mentioned at the beginning of the, okay, hold Krantz.
One about, , native American NDEs and shamanism and afterlife beliefs. , the second one is by a German scholar. You might’ve run across this book to die is gain, and it was a, , chemo came out the same year as. In this country, but it was a couple of years before in Germany. And, , it’s basically, he, you know, independently discovered into ease at the same time as moody.
And he has a totally different take on it. He comes at it from a perspective of spirituality and theology and philosophy and kind of delving deeply into those questions about, you know, what do these beliefs mean for our life on earth and what do they mean for, , the future and, you know, the, the intertwining of, of NDEs with philosophy in the afterlife.
So, so that’s an exciting project in a whole kind of different can.
[01:07:07] Alex Tsakiris: Absolutely. So we will look for that through, uh, an imprint of white Chrome. What is your imprint name going to be? It’s
[01:07:14] Gregory Shushan: called after world’s press. And then after,
[01:07:16] Alex Tsakiris: when it’s pressed. Great. Well, we’ll definitely keep an eye out for that.
It’s been absolutely terrific. Having your mom. I wish you the best of luck with this latest book and with of course, just your research in general. It’s terrific. The name of the book again is the next world. Extraordinary experiences of the afterlife and our guest has been Dr. Gregory Shushan.
[01:07:40] Gregory Shushan: Thanks Alex.
[01:07:44] Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Dr. Gregory Sushant. John for joining me today on skeptical.
One question to. T up from this interview.
What is the importance of the near-death experience accounts across culture and history that you Sean, as documented? How do those fit into the larger and most pressing scientific issues we face. Like those featured by Yuval Harari, who we played the clip from at the beginning.
Let me hear your thoughts. Love to hear from you. There’s only really one place to do it. If you want to talk me skeptical forum. I’ve tried kind of going in other places, but it, it, it kinda never really works out. So not on Facebook, not on Twitter.
Not on YouTube. Really. , but I am on skeptical forum. If you ever want to chat.
So once again, thanks for joining me. Glad you’re here. Until next time. Take care. And bye for now.
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