This past week CNN has been airing a special program about three people who apparently died and were brought back to life. All three had experiences of an afterlife that they viewed as being heaven. In all three cases, the physical death was for an extended period of time and they had similar experiences of what ‘heaven’ was like.
There are a number of books out on this topic. I have read a few of them, but the one I would recommend to anyone who is interested would be Proof of Heaven by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander. As a scientist myself, this book gives the best popularized empirical demonstration of likelihood that Alexander did die in the clinical sense, did return, and during the extended period where there was no apparent body or brain activity, had a clear and vivid experience of an afterlife. The book is the most compelling for those who do not have a religious conviction on this topic and I would recommend it as a valuable and thought-provoking read.
But, that is not what interested me most about the CNN program. One of the individuals featured was a rather self-deprecatory woman who spent her life trying to be someone she was not, hoping others would accept her. She was the victim of bullying and racial discrimination and thus over her childhood and early adulthood developed a serious inferiority complex, that was almost debilitating at a social and practical, everyday level.
Her best friend developed cancer and died from it. This friend had been her first and most staunch ally. Even though the woman in the program was married and her husband was a devoted partner, the illness and death of the best friend had a profound impact on the subject of CNN’s program. So much so, that she herself developed cancer, ostensibly through her fear of getting it and watching the agonizing decline and demise of this close friend. She literally ‘thought herself’ sick.
When she died, the beings she believed she encountered in the afterlife, or ‘heaven’, told her that she could cure herself by willing herself back to life, and continuing to fight to be alive and get well. After that death experience, she did in fact revive and within a few hours, apparently, all the symptoms of her severe and very advanced lymphoma were gone. If you can watch the CNN program, this particular segment is worth going to the trouble, as the medical records are shown and woman herself seems quite credible and responsible.
Among the things I deal with in my daily work, are people who have multiple disorders and many of whom are on drugs or medicinal pharmaceutical products of one type or another. Reading the material that accompanies these drugs is eye-opening and alarming. They all come with severe side effects, up to and including exacerbating the very problem for which they were prescribed in the first place.
Reading these articles and informational texts on drugs, I have to enure myself against thinking about the signs and symptoms of disease as well as the contra-indications and adverse effects that accompany medicinal treatment. One reason I do so is that I have concluded that we can literally think or will ourselves ill, or healthy, based on what we dwell on in our thoughts and imagination. Thoughts are things. This is an ancient Hermetic principle and it is as true today as it was thousands of years ago. What we think about will come looking for us.
For this reason, I think the increased use of media advertising by the pharmaceutical companies, may aggravate and actually increase the incidence of disease, as people are continually bombarded with promotional material that is masked by seemingly innocent and appealing graphics and music, and depictions of benign scenarios. One example that comes to mind is a serious psychotropic drug that is shown in the television ad with a diaphanous butterfly drifting over a sleeping woman, looking peaceful in a soft and idyllic night scene. Another is the use of an animated bumble bee who buzzes in and out of a park-like setting with people (presumably the patients/drug users) engaged in some recreational activity, while a narrator reads a truly horrifying list of known side effects of the product.
All of this is clearly meant to sell more pharmaceuticals. Big companies know that the best way to do this is to broadcast this advertising directly to the consumer. Twenty years ago, little of this was done in mainstream media (newspapers, magazines, television, etc.). The only place the layman would encounter this material was in a physician’s office, where pharmaceutical sales people would promote their wares to doctors, giving them free samples and other ‘incentive’ courtesy gifts in the hope that the physician would select one brand over another. There were sometimes plaques and ads around the doctor’s office or in the waiting room, and sometimes in “healthcare” magazines laid out on tables for patients to read while awaiting appointments.
Now, the FCC has apparently relaxed restrictions on this kind of advertising and manufacturers are free to push their products on air and in other types of media, with no restrictions on who will see this or the content and nature of the advertising. I contend that much of this material is misleading and disguises serious consequences inherent in using these products, that are often rushed through the clinical trials process in the urgency to get them to market.
I do not dispute that when someone is ill, they are anxious to try anything that will take away the symptoms and hopefully arrest the progression of disease. I completely sympathize with that altered state of consciousness and would never wish to deny anyone comfort when grappling with the terror that accompanies a serious illness.
However, I am concerned that we are all being subliminally conditioned to dwell on symptoms and to immediately request powerful and dangerous drugs, at the first sign that we, laymen for the most part, believe we are experiencing the onset of disease. And this is being done with wolves in sheep’s clothing: charming, entertaining, and child-like pictorial vignettes designed to minimize the potential severe consequences of bombarding our complex and delicate organisms with synthetic chemicals tested on laboratory animals (another sad story for another time). To me, it is especially concerning that these ads are often designed to appeal to children, starting them on a lifelong mindset of illness and drug use instead of healthy eating and living habits. Remember the Camel’s ads with the cartoon-like and colorful, lovable rendering of the animal? Who was that meant to entice to smoke cigarettes? Those ads are still being used in the developing world, where governments place no restrictions on predatory advertising. Today sugar and chemical-laced stimulative and likely toxic sports drinks are similarly pushed to very small children on our own ‘children’s’ channels.
As long as drugs are sold with astronomical profit margins built into their costs, this will continue unabated. But we need to guard our own minds and bodies and not allow this material to be imbibed wholesale for no good reason. I object to hearing repeated commercials about male erectile dysfunction enhancers as well as the insulting and largely agest and mysogynist ads about female incontinence products – essentially adult diapers. Not only are these meant to sell products, they are also quite pejorative and have a negative over-connotation that seeps into the collective cultural mindset about these cohorts and about our self image and self-health in the process.
If these drugs were not perilous and if self-induced obsession with them and with disease were not a danger, there would not be countless ads from ambulance-chasing attorneys promising compensation for ‘bad drugs’ and medical devices (implants, for the most part), that we see increasingly sharing air time with the drugs that are harming us as much if not more than they are helping. Oftentimes these drugs continue to be sold, even after they have caused irreparable harm and even fatalities. They may not be worth it. And we should think twice before we accept their propaganda unfiltered, no matter what form in which it is delivered. I think the woman in the CNN special would likely understand this danger.
It is something we should seriously consider.
Images: amazon.com,cnn.com, cbs.com, nytimes.com