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Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind Paperback – August 20, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kenneth Ring, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and co-founder and Past President of the International Association for Near-Death Studies. He is also the author of several previous books about near-death experiences, including Life at Death, Heading Toward Omega, The Omega Project, and most recently, Lessons from the Light.

Sharon Cooper, M.A., is a Ph.D. candidate in counseling psychology at New York University. She has studied yoga, Eastern spirituality, and the field of near-death studies since the early 1980s.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (August 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966963008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966963007
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,973,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
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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