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Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, March 2024

Coma and Near-Death Experience
The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of
The Unconscious
by Alan and Beverley Pearce
Foreword by E. Wesley Ely, M.D.,
Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center

Inner Traditions
Bear & Company
One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767-0388
2024, 336 pages, 6x9" Paperback, U.S. $22.99
ISBN-13: 9781644119211

Reviewed by Brent Raynes

A Coma and an NDE (Near-Death Experience)? Huh?

It's not something that the vast majority of us would imagine as being interconnected, but the authors of this book do. They point out that some coma patients indeed do have experiences of a deep and spiritual oneness with the universe or even describe having glimpses of what they feel is the afterlife.

Others however emerge from a coma state with no particular memories associated with the experience. Some coma victims on the other hand lay paralyzed in their beds with complete awareness of what's happening around them. Some may report vivid nightmares.

The authors describe the various levels of consciousness that coma victims may report. In addition, their research has uncovered that while the brain is switched off by coma-inducing sedatives, those drugs may also facilitate expanded states of consciousness. They warn though that in many instances medically inducing a coma is often unnecessary and can even result in lasting cognitive and physical harm. They detail proven alternatives that can be safer for critically ill patients.
In his contributor's preface to this book, the esteemed Jeffrey J. Kripal, an associate dean of the humanities and the J. Newton Rayzer Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University in Houston, Texas, points out that Coma isn't just a book about coma and sedation, but also a book about the very nature of consciousness itself. "It is a book about the profound moral ambiguity of shutting down the brain as filter for a time. It is about risk, danger, brain damage, and transcendence. It is also about the near-death experience, schizophrenia, psychedelics, savants, and out-of-body experiences. It is about us."
The authors live in France. Alan Pearce is a book author, journalist, broadcaster, a former BBC correspondent, and has written for such noted publications as Time Magazine and The Sunday Times of London. Beverley Pearce is a former private investigator who today works as an aromatherapist and a practitioner of yoga-based bodywork.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024