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on March 24, 2000
This is required reading for anyone interested in NDEs. It succinctly covers an aspect of the phenomenon not covered elsewhere. There are, however, a couple of disconcerting aspects: First, the authors' Acknowledgement makes clear that they received funding and support from the Theophosist to whom the book is dedicated and that the results of their research are generally in harmony with the doctrines of Theosophy. This is not necessarily a problem, but it is noteworthy in light of Theosophy's checkered past (i.e., founder Madame Blavatsky and her cast of "Ascended Masters"). Second, there is a pasted-in disclaimer telling you to ignore the Author's Note and Appendix because the case presented therein is now believed to be a fraud. They included this case without personally investigating it. It is to their credit that they included the disclaimer, which had to be embarrassing. The rest of the book is excellent. The cases are presented and discussed in a very matter-of-fact manner, and the authors' speculation as to what the explanation may be is interesting and credible. The authors also seem to be quite candid about acknowledging weaknesses in the evidence. As with any anecdotal evidence, the weight you attach to it will depend on how much faith you have that (1) the experiencers are reporting their experiences honestly and accurately, and (2) the authors are honestly and accurately reporting what the experiencers said. I was left with a reasonably high level of confidence in regard to both (1) and (2), although I would liked to have known more about the medical and psychological histories of the experiencers. Overall, I would highly recommend this. (Oh, there is also a short but excellent Foreword by Charles Tart which should be required reading for debunkers in which he explains the difference between true science and "scientism" -- i.e., scientific-dogma-as-religion -- about as clearly as it could be explained.)
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on July 21, 2001
The book is an important contribution to the subject for a number of reasons, one of which is that some of the so-called skeptics have dismissed NDEs as evidence in favour of the survival hypothesis on the grounds that the NDEs of the blind differ from those of the sighted. This book firmly puts that myth to rest.
The book consists mostly of reviews of various cases of OBEs and NDEs in the blind, and one of the strongest concerns a woman blinded during surgery who apparently left her body while she was dying on a gurney with a breathing apparatus over her face. She seems to have seen her boyfriend and former husband standing speachless some distance away down the hallway. Seperate interviews with the two me support her story.
I predict more cases like this being made public in this decade. We could use a book on the cases of NDEs occuring during times when the patient's EEG recording was flat.
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on March 12, 2000
In the current scientific framework the Near Death Experience is something of an anomaly. The accounts are intriguing, but science is by nature a skeptical enterprise and so, too often, NDE's are politely - and sometimes rudely - dismissed because they fail to accord with the prevailing materialistic paradigm. For those interested in the phenomena, however, a credible study that treats the NDE as worthy of serious scientific investigation is needed. For both the layperson and the professional scientist MINDSIGHT, by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper, is by far the best book to start exploring this subject. Ring and Cooper's ambitious study involves NDE and Out of Body Experiences in the blind. After all, if evidence could be confirmed that blind individuals, particularly if they have been blind since birth, could see during a NDE the repercussions would be astounding. Ring and Cooper approach this study with great sensitivity, rigor, and ultimately reach conclusions that something more subtle, more profound may be involved than the experience of "physical sight" during an NDE. All aspects of this book are well handled from the description of the study, the first person accounts, and the scientific issues involved. But what I believe will the be the enduring contribution of this book is way Ring and Cooper articulate, in a clear and lucid fashion, a metaphysical framework that can account for such experiences. This includes grounded speculation on the quantum nature of consciousness, particularly as it is congruent with Eastern metaphysical traditions. Undoubtedly, many scientists will remain skeptical that such radical overhaul of our worldview may be called for. But the speculation Ring and Cooper engage in is philosophically sophisticated, and it has the added advantage that the latest research in quantum mechanics coincides so elegantly with the Eastern Wisdom tradition. Ring and Cooper are brilliant guides for the NDE, intrepid explorers really, determined to catch a glimpse of an undiscovered country so that they can, as Columbus did, confirm that the world is not quite as flat as the learned skeptics suppose.
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on October 31, 2003
Whatever one may say about the actual evidece, the book is downright gripping reading. When you start reading it, you will _not_ want to stop. The stories are absolutely fascinating!
What about the actual evidence? Weak or strong? Well, it is problematic... You can't structure an experiment for NDEs all that well. After all, you can't really study this in the lab (unless you're an unethical mad scientist). This, natrually, brings the problem of credibility. And this is valid. But, hand waving is not much good. As a matter of fact, if we can't trust humans at all, we're going to have to scrape _all_ of the social science, because that's almost all its got.
Overall, then, the state of affairs is not so bad. Obviously, the book has problems, but it is rigorous enought to have been cited in more than one medical journal.
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on January 13, 2000
Kenneth Ring is a pioneer researcher in the field of near-death research. In "Mindsight," he and Sharon Cooper divulge the results of their studies of blind persons who have had near-death experiences. In many cases they describe events seen and felt by the blind which could not have been explained in any other way than an out-of-body event. This is, as are most of Ken Rings books, a professionally created book with substantial new information on the near-death phenomenon. As a near-death researcher and author, I can heartily recommend the book.
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on May 6, 2014
I believe this is the only book about Near Death Experience as described by people who are blind. Fascinating accounts of what they went through, how they "saw" things--for some it was the very first experience of sight, as they were blind from birth.

Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper provide a totally different perspective on the NDE subject with this very worth-reading book. Another keeper for my library of "woo-woo" books.
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on October 8, 2008
Dr. Kenneth Ring is one of the original founders of IANDS, the International Association of Near Death Studies. Currently a non-profit organization headquartered in Connecticut. He has written two classics in the field: Life at Death &Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-death Experience. You could call him someone who is quite familiar with the subject matter.

Anyone conducting research on anything has to contend with the possibility of errors, and the outright falsification by those giving any kind of testimony, even given in a court of law! That does not mean that an entire field of research, such as Near-Death studies, can be simply be dismissed just because of some potential inaccuracies, anymore than the legal system would grind to a halt because some folks lie under oath!

Mindsight is a fascinating, and one-of-a-kind book. A must have for the serious student of Near-Death Studies! A book written with heart! It's not a book for someone without an open mind, or who is a determined materialist. Nor is the book providing conclusive evidence like one would find in a mathematics or physics book. And, it's rather obvious that no level of proof would be satisfactory for those who have a chip on their shoulder!

When studying Near-Death phenomenon. I like to think in terms of the legal system and instead of using the famous, "beyond a reasonable doubt" how about a "preponderance of evidence", as the standard of proof? Along with one's own experience(s)and/or the first-hand testimony of others. For one thing is certain: Everyone is not a liar, or delusional, or looking for attention when reporting this magnificent experience of mind-boggling love and light!

See:Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences
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This book is an extremely useful and scientific approach to looking at verifiable evidence for NDEs. I have read dozens of books published on NDEs and found new information in this book which can be found no where else... The presentation is more scientific and objective than any other book I have read on this very important and often misunderstood experience. I highly recommend this book.
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on February 27, 2001
If you are even remotely interested in the NDE, this book will not only provide you with thorough evidence and annecdotal science, but the descriptions of the study participants' NDEs will leave you breathless. This book is superbly written and reads like a novel, although it is definitely a scientific text. The participants in the study are presented with the dignity and professionalism they deserve - not as freaks being prodded in the name of science. Quite seriously parts of this book made me want to cry out with joy for the potential it lays at the feet of humankind. I was so taken by this book that I finished it in a few hours in one sitting. Although the authors steer clear of sentimentality and "lessons from the light", etc., this book will provide riveting and rich lessons to anyone who dare pick it up. Highly recommended for ALL readers, especially the bereaved or those facing terminal illness and their families.
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on June 2, 2011
Kenneth Ring's and Sharon Cooper's book "Mindsight" is written in a very dry and almost boring style, yet their claims border the fantastic.

Ring and Cooper have investigated a number of near-death experiences (NDEs) and come to the conclusion that even people who have been blind since birth have such experiences. If true, this is sensational since NDEs are usually experienced visually. Also, people having NDEs supposedly "see" real events taking place in their immidiate surroundings, from a vantage point outside the physical body. If even blind people can *see* during NDEs, this could be the smoking gun evidence for the existence of a soul.

Of course, sceptics hate open-minded research of this kind (see the sceptical reviews at this product page). The authors are "true believers" and their research has been sponsored by crypto-New Age groups. Still, I find it fascinating. But then, I'm not a materialist! ;-)

Interestingly, Ring and Cooper eventually reach the conclusion that neither the blind nor the seeing "see" in the classical sense during NDEs. Rather, it's a kind of transcendental vision or consciousness. They also admit that some blind persons don't experience visual or quasi-visual NDEs at all, but rather a kind of tactile "visions" (which is equally strange).

Finally, the two authors criticize other researchers for not documenting cases of this kind properly. Interestingly, both Raymond Moody and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross are criticized in this way, and yet, they are the leading researchers in this field. Another researcher, whose name is withheld, even perpetrated a hoax, essentially making up a story about a person who could "see" during a NDE despite being blind!

The point of "Mindsight" is to set the record straight, and provide the proper documentation.

Are we to believe Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper, even the blind can get "blinded by the light" during near-death experiences.
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