What happens to your mind during the final moments of consciousness?

Browse By

We have all asked or wondered what happens when we die. Of course we have; it is part of the human experience that everyone will experience. But what happens during these last few moments? Do all your successes and fond memories flash before your eyes?

The brain is powered by the heart, of course, but also very important neurological electric currents that run through the central nervous system (CNS) are responsible for fast reflexes, memories and thoughts. These electrical signals take place constantly during your lifetime, so you can function and avoid danger. Their speciality is their speed; they carry messages around the body incredibly quickly, however, although these electrical currents aren’t created by the heart, they are dependent on the heart beating. Nonetheless, even after your heart has stopped beating, your electrical currents still flow for a while, around 10 seconds to be precise. This means that, when you’re dead, you know you are dead for a certain period of time. Consequently, this means we can still visualise memories even after our heart has stopped. Furthermore, this brings up discussions asking questions such as, “is it wrong to pronounce a body dead if there’s a chance it could still be thinking?” as well as “is it wrong to give transplants from someone who has only just passed away?” for this same reason.

This theory of consciousness even after our body is dead is backed up by multiple people alleging that they “saw a light” and saw past family members and pets when they have died, and then were revived, such as people who have had cardiac arrests but were resuscitated. The people studied were even conscious of conversations around them even after they were pronounced dead. Scientists have also done research and experiments on the activity of rat’s brains just before they die. The results show that the brain activity is steadily decreasing and then right before the rat experienced brain-death, post-circulatory cessation there was a surge of brain activity higher than humans’ usual brain activity. Therefore, the scientists concluded that something very unique, exciting and magical happens during these last few moments of your life. They believed that everything you have ever experienced in your life is flashed in front of you and it is different for everyone.

Dying is scary to most people. However, I don’t think it is scary – more pleasant and fascinating! It may be slightly weird and scary hearing yourself be pronounced dead whilst you’re still conscious and unable to speak. The real question of life should be “what happens over the long term after death?” Maybe now, with science constantly studying death, we may get some more answers. Or maybe they have already discovered what happens after these electrical impulses end, but have decided not to announce it as it could increase terrorism or suicide rates. Who knows? Maybe that’s just a conspiracy theory.