I'll admit right off the bat I don't read many books on death, especially neurobiology books on the brain-mind organization and structure with respect to death. I'm looking at death from a general logic perspective, and I'll admit, the ideas are either a "Duh!" moment, already known by scientists, or so far out in right field even Ichiro couldn't catch them.
My ideas are more observational in nature, reading about personal perspectives by people involved in hospice care, terminal illness, suicide, and other fields associated with death. What I don't see in the literature is how the brain-mind has evolved to account for death. I believe it doesn't just happen, our bodies sudden accept death and quits. There has to be an alternative evolution gave us.
And what is this gift of evolution and nature? I don't think it's unique to man, but a general model of most higher species. I don't see where everything is fine one moment and then not the next, and we're no longer conscious of our existence and the body shuts down. I believe we have a hierarchy of mechanisms that work and only when death is sudden that it gets short circuited.
My logic is that first we know our body is continuously monitored, a statement of the obvious. But the difference I believe is that there are thresholds we have that signals something has happened and death is immenient. These thresholds determine the triggers that causes a sequence of events in the brain to let the individual die.
That seems reasonable as the body has to have triggers to signal the heart, organ, and other parts of the body to stop working. These triggers are the key in my view as they start the process, one to shut down the body, and the other to fool the mind about death. This is something missing in many discussions of death or excused and nonsense by the scientific community.
I think when the brain has triggered the death sequence it automatically, meaning it isn't a conscious control, but an establish innate process, triggers the mind to release it's memory into the consciousness, in effect flood the individual with memories to completely overwhelm the thought process and ignore all signals of pain and death. In short the brain fools the mind to ignore its own body. This is what I think is the white noise effect many people who survive near-death express, the brain flooding the mind with good thoughts and memories to ignore the pain.
A deviation from this sequence can occur from many sources, such as sudden trauma such as accidents, murder, suicide; illnesses or diseases which damages or destroys areas of the brain used in the death sequence; or simply aging, where parts of the brain have reduced or ceased to function. I think, however, the brain has alternative mechanisms in these cases where some sequence still works. In short, there is no real part of the brain controlling death, but it's a diffuse mechanism to ensure success.
And how do I believe this? If it's not something close to this, what is the alternative? Death would be an overwhelming pain and fear ridden experience, and it's not. How many people realize they're dying and are overwhelmed with pain? Very few, and usually from traumatic events which short circuits the parts of the brain involved with death. All of the rest of us die relatively peacefully.
Well, that's it in a nutshell. One of these days I'll read more to sort out the details, unless of course something happens to short circuit that notion. Like death?
|[Top] [Columns] [Home]|