Awareness and post death

Does awareness continue after our hearts stop beating and we stop breathing? My intuition tells me no, that sentience is bound to the blood saturated brain. I am not even sure if my deepest desires dictate a state of observation after death. However, one thing I do know is that I would love to hear what your standing is on the matter.

I can’t keep up with pre death. How am I suppose to know about post death?

But one thing is for sure, no one comes back to tell us what it’s like.

Maybe they can’t. Cuz no one is there. Maybe the awareness reading these words right now just vanishes when we die.

It doesn’t seem possible to this present awareness that it vanishes, or could. The awareness right now feels eternal. It can’t even dream of not existing.

Thank you for your words first of all. And at times I’ve felt, after the peeling off of human traits, (ego, desire, etc…) we are left with bare awareness that exists in us but at the same time Is somewhere else

Mystics sink deep into the awareness reading these words into uncommon realms. Is there a bottom to the awareness reading these words? Does it have a root into something? Does that root keep it alive when the body dies?

One thing is for sure, and that is, the awareness reading these words.

Yes, and no.
Yes, awareness continues after breathing is not present, and may continue after blood flow in the brain has ceased (though more rare).
No, in that what we normally may call “sentience” may not really be present without blood in the brain, yet the brain is not necessarily off-line or “dead” yet.

What is required is electrochemical exchange, specifically electrical charge.

It surprises most folks to find out that what is determined to be “death” or not is (in the US) a matter of State Law and not exactly a scientific claim per say.

Side-stepping the political portion of law and just addressing the science of the brain, the brain can continue to be “alive” (or still capable of function) without blood flow.

The brain will continue to function in the neocortex for about 2 minutes without blood, the mid-brain (such as much of the limbic system, which processes emotional stimulation) about 30 minutes, and the spinal cord can continue up to an hour without blood.

When you “die”, a massive surge of activity bursts through your brain after the heart stops; more than you normally run.
In a way, it’s almost like the brain is surging for any last ditch attempt to power everything back up and go.

Some folks have made full recoveries from time periods where only the midbrain was showing activity (neocortex “death”).

The American Acadamy of Neurology just updated their guidelines for declaration of death in 2010 (previous was 1995) in response to an increasing volume of “death” declarations reversing; the guidelines encourage verification testing using a separate method for the declaration (aside from EEG or BOLD); assuming there is no other biological massive case that’s obvious (like a giant hole in the chest, or crushed head), and some of these are isotopic injections into the brain which are then left up to two hours to collect data from the brain before declaring death (that’s the method; not the law. In some States, such a method may not be viable under law of declaring “death” due to time constraints that may exist in the law).

where does our original point of awareness go? just how aware is it after the ego is no more? are we awareness inhabiting bodies? or bodies that just confuse themselves

As a preface: I’m a physicalist, so I stick to what we can account for physically and call it done at that.

I don’t recognize the premise of this statement. The implication of this question is that awareness goes anywhere.
There is, so far, no indication that awareness goes anywhere at all.

Your terms are bit confusing, but I think what you are asking is:

  1. what happens to cognitive sentient awareness when the cognitive processes of the brain stop functioning?
    or you may be asking
  2. what happens to cognitive sentient awareness when consciousness is not present?

Version 2 is being progressively answered by using fMRI machines on coma patients to attempt to gauge cognitive response even without outward cognitive indication.
What we find is that when unconscious, the brain is still very capable of advanced cognition, and that many coma patients may not be eligible for being discounted as incapable of cognitive function as was previously thought.

Version 1 is more a question that asks what happens to awareness when the neocortex isn’t capable of functioning (more or less).
The short and sweet of this is: it stops.

Now, the at length discussion of this is…well…we’re not 100% sure.
We don’t actually know what “consciousness” is, in the sense of the term referring to sentient self-awareness.
We know what consciousness is in comparison to unconsciousness, in regards to awake and not awake vague concepts, and we know the difference between resting state process transmissions in the brain and cognitively active transmissions in the brain.

We don’t know, for example, if it’s even valid to think of sentient self-awareness neurologically as a “thing” at all.
This may be an error of our neurological method of conception, and not a real “thing” itself.

Why this was brought up is because let’s take the example where someone “dies” and their neocortex stops functioning, but the midbrain is still active.
Now, by ye olde text book, we would say that there’s no perception capability at this level, but that may not be accurate.
One part that is still active at this layer is bare level sensory input, even if cognition is not working.

What may occur in such a case is that all of the sensory information is still piling in, and there may be some form of sensory memory protein still active at this level and when the neocortex re-engages, it may be that all of that sensory information during the neocortex “offline” time may flood in and since cognition is now back “online”, the way that we would conceive of the information would be that “I” heard, felt, saw, X events because that’s the only language our cognitive self diagnosis speaks in.
There’s no real method of translating sensory information into “not the thinking me, but was received”.
If there is a memory of tactile sensation at a time when cognition was absent, the memory will still be processed under the identity of “I” after-the-fact even though the identity “I” cognition was absent at the time of the event.

This is a possibility; we aren’t 100% certain of these things yet because the difference between identity and non-identity is extremely fragile, about as fragile of a physical observation as digging down to the quantum state in physics (I’m not implying quantum consciousness; I’m only comparing the difficulty).

One of the best leads we have on your question is Capgras, specifically subjective capgras syndrome.
In these cases, individuals don’t recognize their own face.
They can tell you who they are, and they can tell you anything about their life that you wish, but all of a sudden one day they wake up and they look in the mirror and reject the image that they see as actually being them.
They will agree that the image is their image, but they will reject that it is them as an identity, a consciousness and person.

Well, what happens is the fusiform gyrus gets disconnected from the amygdala and that means when they look at a face, they no longer feel any emotional stimulation (even benign stimulations that tell you something is normal).
Because the sensation is absent, they are convinced that they are not the image in the mirror.

As a result, these individuals will very often claim to be dead-alive, possessed, stuck in some other plane of existence, or some secret agency of some kind has stolen their body or their soul or some variation of the type.

So one way to answer your question is to also phrase it as: 'what happens to our sense of identity after we lose cognitive recognition of our identity?"

The answer here is: we become terribly, terribly confused and I can only imagine this would be the most torturous of experiences for any human to experience.

Which leads us to your final two part question:

We are both.
We are biologies that create awareness as a result of our neurology, and that neurology does very, very often become confused.

It is extremely easy to fool our brains into asserting that they witnessed an experience that was never witnessed.
Magicians are a great example of this; they take advantage of shortcuts our brain uses for efficiency of digesting information and as a result do things right in front of our vision that we simply neglect to observe.

For a more clinical example, we can take an electrode and slap it on top of the TPJ (temporal parietal junction), and stimulate the angular gyrus (which resides right in the TPJ region) and cause someone to suddenly feel completely and fully that they are on the ceiling of the room and not laying on a lab table.

All we did was apply a little extra current of electricity to the part of the brain that works on relaying sensory input into spatial navigation conception and suddenly our conception is entirely misguided.

That’s rather keen to keep in mind, as recall, right as you “die”, your brain amps up the activity in the brain well over normal amplitude levels of current.
It has not been shown yet in a test, but I will not be very shocked to find out that out of body experiences that occur in near death experiences are a result of the brain over charging the current in the brain and as a side-effect result, causes the TPJ area to be hyper stimulated and the perception in memory then to be very, very wrong about where “I” went to.


You’re not supposed to keep up with it. You’re supposed to simply ride the wave until it knocks you off your surfboard.
And isn’t that enough to keep you focused on the wave?

In all honesty, I ask you, would you really want to know? Would you do anything differently?
What would you do differently?
Would you look for another wave in other waters?

Well, we can only hope so being that it isn’t the greatest awareness which we have. Who knows, maybe afterwards, we really get to see what lies beneath on the ocean’s floor. ooooooooooooooooo

That’s the ego’s and organism’s desire to survive, no? But wouldn’t you trade this awareness for a far better one?

That’s because the only eternal moment is this present one.

Yet, it constantly questions its existence and death. :laughing:
These are simply my silly musing. …maybe no value in them at all. But I’m alive for the moment.

Good response Arcturus Descending …

Define good! :stuck_out_tongue:

The opposite of bad.

:laughing: It’s that simple? You must like this painting…

Good and Bad.jpg

So do I but…

Tell me, V how long does it take before good becomes its opposite?
We’re all sooo good up to a point until we have to make a decision about how good …where we really stand…where we really are…


And perhaps, only perhaps, you might say "well, that was only a movie, a play, BUT it was also a real life drama of good and bad, and black and white, and what flows between them - back then within most human beings. We can’t ever forget those shades of gray and other colors.

Good can be good for me and bad for you.

:laughing: There IS A serpent in every paradise!

But there has to be a more 'refined" kind of good and bad, beyond perception? No.
I hope so.

thank you for this very well informed reply. I have a lot of research and thinking to do


As many believe, Jesus came back from the dead. Christianity is based on that belief.

The tortuousness which Jayson talks of loosing identity after death, is precisely what Jesus talks about in John:   if you love your life you will loose it, but if you hate your life, you will gain everlasting life. The relevance is the buddhist concept of relinquishing the apex of awareness: the sense of self.  If you try to do it before Your die, it makes death less painful.  That's the key, I believe, and Khrishnamurti's influence Sri Aurobindo equally attests to this in his important work.

Jesus may have picked it up in his travels along the Silk road culminating in Nepal, which has relevance to what we surmise of the Gnostic Jesus.

It could also just be a human observation.

Not all humans are as tied to their sense of identity as the average.
I can attest to this a bit; my sense of identity is generally very slippery and vague. I obviously have one, but I have a hard time recognizing my own identity as me unto myself.
Along with this, I don’t really have a problem with death, but instead had a heck of a time understanding the Christian paradigm as a young kid because I just could not relate to the imperative, or the want to be more than what I was.

Equally, however, there is a flaw in this for me and that is that I tend to be rather poor on future-planning as it is challenging for me to understand myself as a concept beyond just the momentary state of now.
As well, my internal biography is pretty messy; I don’t really know my own personal history chronologically that well. Things are claimed in my memory to be in no particular order and events are loosely related by different variables than time, so I end up relying on others whom I have known to establish a timeline if someone asks me a question about my past in a chronological account.

Perks and negatives, I suppose.

Another negative, to me anyway, is that a lot of Buddhist philosophy strikes me personally as bland and obvious as if I was a bird reading writings by humans about how to fly…similarly, I don’t understand a lot of the struggle or the methods entirely; for me, it is rather easy, but I think there are a few flaws in the premise that it makes life just generally better.
It helps clear the mind, I would suppose, and it helps perspective changing, but I don’t know that I can say that life is just inherently altered to the better as a result…I suppose in some ways it is; you don’t really see struggles, but just waves of occurrences like surfing without knowing what waves are coming.

However, for me at least, I am inhibited a bit in reflection capacity and forethought as a result of being in a regular state of temporal awareness mostly.

The slipperiness of Your identity, if I understand you correctly, falls neatly within the folds of ideas as I have been preoccupied of late.

Don’t misunderstand, there are limits to everything, and these folds do not necessarily consume anyone venturing to look within.

However the coincidence is a slippery slope generally, philosophically at any rate, because it seeks a temporal reduction, and it is that, which seems to be going on with You, a qualitative return, whereas that can’t be done. It’s not necessarily irreversible, but it does become slippery, because a quantifiable resumption of the return subtly misses a de qualification,((de/realization)) (because we presume our identities as a constant)

What is scary about regression I need possibly not to point out to you, but here Jesus again chimes in~unless they be like children again~

This can be seen out of context, but within context, it becomes the interpretative tool of understanding within it’s own vocabulary.