Is it scientifically possible that a blind person during a near-death experience can see in a pictorial visual way ? Here are some basic prerequisites:
Biological tools to see
To be able to see, man needs much more than two healthy eyes. Of course, the cornea, lens and retina, vitreous and optic nerves must be intact. The image is then projected via the optic rays onto the primary visual cortex (Area Striata, V1, Brodmann Area 17). The image is then further processed in the neighboring secondary visual cortex (Brodmann Area 18) and the tertiary visual cortex (Brodmann Area 19) in order to recognize shapes, images, faces and more. Defects in the primary visual cortex result in the so-called “cortical blindness”, i.e. despite healthy eyes one can not see anything. There are forms of partial cortical blindness due to defects in secondary and tertiary visual cortex sites. For example, there are people who can not distinguish geometric shapes such as circles or triangles, and there are other people who can not recognize or identify faces because of another cortical defect.
Development is necessary for seeing
But this complicated structure must develop in the first years of life. It can only develop in a healthy visual system. The toddler combines the impressions that it receives with the eyes, with the ears, with the keys of the hand and when running and covering distances. This creates a visual perception in the brain. If a person is now blind from birth, he cannot develop any visual idea, these parts of the brain will then lay fallow. Studies have shown that people who go blind before the age of 5 do not have any idea of vision, light, shadow, etc. in their lives. Even if people can not see for years through an eye disease, these brain areas regress. The brain is plastic, i.e. it constantly adapts to what is needed in daily life. If you plaster an arm, then the movement and sensation area for this arm in the brain evidently regresses, which has been proven by MRI examinations. And if the plaster is taken off again after two months, man needs a few days, weeks and months to regain his old skill and strength. Here the brain areas can enlarge again. In a blind person the ability of the hearing and the sense of touch increases enormously, the corresponding brain areas increase. A normally sighted person could never read Braille, which is based solely on the sense of touch.
Can blindness be operated?
You can read this story in the Gardian 2003, Wikipedia or University Washington News. It is a man named Mike May, who suffered a severe corneal injury in the third year of life by an explosion, making him completely blind. He coped extremely well with blindness and even skied. He was then implanted at the age of about 46 years, a new cornea on the right eye, the transparency could be maintained by certain stem cells. The vision of the eye has been excellently restored, but the man had enormous difficulty recognizing objects: he could not distinguish a can of cola from a peach, could not recognize his wife, could not distinguish a shadow from a stair-step, etc. This is illustrated in this article very vividly. This man could still orient himself better with closed eyes than with a seeing, but mostly cortically blind eye. And that, although his visual cortex in the first three years could develop a little at least.
Kenneth Ring describes a man who was given corneal transplant after blindness acquired at a later age. The visual cortex had receded during the years of poor vision. The man still could not see two years after the transplant, i.e. he still did not recognize familiar objects and allegedly took his own live out of despair.
What do blind people dream?
A blind man lives in a completely different world. He has no idea of color, no idea of light and shadow, no idea of any shape, or the appearance of a human being. He only knows how surfaces and faces feel when touching. His dreams consist of acoustic and tactile impressions (feel to the touch), he can not see anything in the dream, because he does not know what pictorial vision is because he has no brain area at all for it. And that’s why a blindborn can not hallucinate anything visually. According to the monistic neuroscientific view, all our fantasies emerges from some of the impressions and memories we once had and are stored in our brain, otherwise they can not come from nowhere. A blind man can not even develop the imagination that he can see if he has never seen in his life.
What to see blind people at the near-death experience?
Now, if normal-sighted people leave their bodies during a near-death experience and can see themselves outside their bodies, that is without their eyes, in a transcendental way, what about blind-born people?
The answer has been examined several times. Most blind people have some sort of vision during a near-death experience. Kenneth Ring reports in his book “Mindsight” published in 1999 on 31 cases of blind people with near-death experiences. 14 of these were born blind. 15 out of the blind or 9 out of the blind born, reported visual perceptions during near-death or out-of-body experiences.
Examples of blind seeing during a the near-death experience
Prime example from Ring’s study: Vicki Umipeg had a car accident in 1973 at the age of 22 years and a near-death experience during a subsequent operation. The special thing is that Vicki Umipeg was and is blind from birth. She reports that she has been able to see in her near-death experience. She has seen her own body lying on the operating table. Due to her blindness, she has never been able to see her body and did not recognize it. Only when she saw the wedding ring on her finger she did conclude that this body had to be herself. She could see that they had shaved a large part of the long hair here for the cranial surgery, and was annoyed about it. She perceived all this with a mental eye, as if she could see. After her return to her body, she remained blind. (Report to read in English)
Inexplicable perceptions of blind people during OBE or NDE (most examples come from “Mindsight: Near-death and out-of-body experiences in the blind” by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper, the page numbers refer to the German translation, Santiago-Verlag, 1st edition 2011. The names in quotes are pseudonyms, the true names are known to the author):
“Nancy” (pseudonym) was able to detect 2 men on the hospital floor at a time when she was already blind due to a complication of an operation (Ring Mindsight p. 119)
A patient of Ingegerd Bergström, who had been so blind for 10 years that she could no longer see her own kitchen sink, could clearly see during an NDE during a cardiac arrest that the dishes on her sink were still not washed up (Mindsight p. 117)
“Carla”, who was severely visually impaired from birth, was able to observe the lines on the monitors of the operating room during an NDE (Mindsight p. 95). She could clearly see the structure of the ceiling of her friend during an OBE. She checked the correctness of her memory one day later by fumbling. (Mindsight p.107) She was also able to read the name tag of a nurse unknown to her during another OBE (Mindsight p. 109).
The blind “Cheryl” could see her friend living in another house in her bathroom during an OBE and could later describe this bathroom exactly (Mindsight p. 112).
“Frank”, blind for 10 years, was able to describe the color and design of a tie in an OBE, which a friend had bought just before without describing his appearance (Mindsight p.114)
The blind ones themselves are all convinced that during these experiences they could actually and inexplicably see. At first they were completely amazed by their new perceptions. Those with congenital blindness report a visual perception that they had never made in their lives before and did not know from their dreams (blind ones have no visual conceptions in their dreams). Those with acquired blindness reported that they could at least see as clearly as they did before they lost their sight.
How can blind people see?
How should conventional science explain this phenomenon? There is some sort of replacement vision, perception of light or color over the skin. But these replacement vision skills must first be trained for a long time and are not available suddenly during a cardiac arrest. And they only provide blurry impressions, and only when things are close to the skin. In no case can blind people achieve a clear vision at distance, as described in the near-death experience. Maybe these replacement eyesight is also a “seeing with the soul”.
Conclusions, if blind see
Thus, if a blind-born woman reports on the ability to see in the near-death experience, then, from a materialistic-neuroscientific point of view, there is absolutely no approach for an explanation. It is completely impossible for a blindborn to develop any idea of vision. It is completely impossible for a blind person to see in any way in the situation of cardiovascular arrest.
Many scientists say that one could and can never prove the existence of an independent soul, which is not “psyche”, but a soul that can leave the body, or of an otherworldly world. But you can not prove that the soul does not exist, that is not possible in principle, as for the sake of logic one single counter-proof would be enough.
Science means observing, describing and explaining the events of our world in an unbiased way and, if necessary, drawing the consequences. These facts can now only be explained by the dualistic hypothesis, recognizing the existence of an independent soul. Anyone who contradicts this must give a valid explanation of how the facts described here should be explained with the monistic world view. These facts are like Galileo’s telescope, through which the churchmen did refuse to look for not to see the 4 moons of Juppiter, because according to the view of that time, there could not and should be no other celestial body except earth which was sourrounded by other bodies or moons.
Those who still want to insist absolutely on their monistic worldview have only the claim left that all these reports from around the world, collected by different researchers, are invented. I would not find that very logical on a factual level.
We have a non-material soul and can have seeing-like sensations with this soul. These differ from material vision with two healthy eyes: some of those concerned persons report that they have a 360 ° all-round view in an unusual way and during an NDE simultaneously could see both forward, backward, right and left and also up and down. Others report that seeing there is more of a kind of inner knowing, a perception of the “self” that nevertheless provides very detailed images, even at a distance.
[revision of the translation on sep-01-2019]