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Ron Patton | March 26, 2024

Life after death is our “only empirical ground for hope” since we all die. We also heard of people who experience near-death events and that too adds to the faith that somehow we escape the bodies of death only to live again in another dimension or plain. Most arguments for life after death or the experiences we hear about are rooted in philosophy and theology. The After Death movie provides hope that even in your last breaths, whatever or whoever is on the other side loves you and does not want you to suffer — even rescuing you from the darkest points of the end of your existence. Tonight on Ground Zero (7-10pm, pacific time) Clyde Lewis talks with the director and producer of the movie, After Death, Stephen Gray and Jason Pamer about HAPPILY EVER AFTER DEATH.



After pondering the impact of last night’s show I got to thinking about how living in a matrix of sorts after death at least gives you a choice over how you will end up after you shake this mortal coil.

I mean the gift of life has always been intertwined with the idea that one day you will cease to exist. you have no choice in the matter. You didn’t choose to be born either, that is if you think your existence is some random accident.

death is the price we must pay for being born, even though we don’t choose it and it is frustrating to realize that at my age. you are racing against time hoping to reach a point where you are confident about passing away knowing that everyone you love will be taken care of and that you are not just another mess for them to clean up.

It is hard to talk about the cold reality of the end — it is a finite sentence for the non-believer in the afterlife –and it is also a trip that you take where you leave everyone behind that you love.

The truth is that in death you lose all of your friends and family — they only lose you –and you hope that you make a lasting impression knowing that you will live forever in their hearts and minds.

That is why it is hopeful that you find love in most things so that will go with you when you die.

The meaning of death, and whether humans do or do not survive it in some form, has always obsessed people, from the average person to the great artists and thinkers. Death is the mother of philosophy and all the arts and sciences. It is arguably also what motivates so much human behavior– You want to finish your life in a graceful and dignified way.

Death can be a distraction when you become obsessed with your age and wonder how many years you have left. It is also what we cannot ultimately control, although a lot of violent and crazy rich people try. The thought of it drives many people mad.

This is why we talked about the transhuman post-human choice of surviving death with the preservation of one’s consciousness. Or at least a simulation of it. Of course, many religious purists see this as anathema — and one wonders if it’s because it appears to be playing God — or that they are angry that they even have to think about their fate and how they can’t control their ends.

No one is immune from wondering about it. We are born dying, and from an early age, we ask why. Children often explicitly ask, but as they grow older the explicit usually retreats into implicit and avoidance because of adults’ need to deny death or their lack of answers about it that make sense.

Life after death is our “only empirical ground for hope” since we all die.

We also have heard of people who experience near-death events and that too adds to the faith that somehow we escape the bods of death only to live again in another dimension or plain.

Most arguments for life after death or the experiences we hear about are rooted in philosophy and theology.

But science is also grappling with these Near Death Experiences as they have already recorded the brain activity of someone who was dying and yes it is as if the brain is a computer network finding ways to hang on to the source of what keeps us alive.

Is death and the experience afterward like a dream until we pass through some esoteric line in the sand?

One of the most iconic scenes of science fiction is in the film 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Dr. Chandra is speaking with SAL–9000, a computer that is notably the sister of HAL-9000,

SAL–9000 is considered the virtual “twin” of HAL- 000, and both computers are evidently from the same 9000 Series.

In the film, the rescue mission to the Jupiter system is about to commence and Dr. Chandra uses SAL as a test bed, disconnecting and re-connecting the higher cognitive functions of the computer to establish what, if any, damages might occur when doing so.

Before he disconnects SAL – the synthesized female voice asks “Will I dream?” Chandra responds, “Of course, you will dream, all intelligent creatures dream.”

Her twin brother, HAL- 9000 asked the same question before it was deactivated.

These two computers asking Dr. Chandra, “Will I dream?” — may have been a wink to Philip K. Dick’s 1968 short story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

Dick’s short story explores the issue of consciousness and what it is to be human and whether empathy is a purely human capability. It explores several possibilities that machines can outthink humans or tap into existing thoughts, create thought transference somewhat like synthetic telepathy, and experience death.

If machines experience digital death could these machines simulate the process that humans also experience?

The answer may be surprising.

In a published article in Scientific American called “Daisy Daisy” by Philip Yam it is reported that when a type of computer program termed an “artificial neural network” is “killed” by cutting links between its units, it in effect approaches a state which “might” be something like biological “death.”

S.L. Thaler, a physicist at McDonnell Douglas, has been systematically chopping up artificial neural networks.

He has found that when 10% to 60% of the network connections have been severed, the program generates primarily nonsense. But, as the 90% (near-death) level is approached, the network’s output is composed more and more of previously learned information.

It is as if it is having the digital dream of its life passing before its eyes and through its neural network.

Also, when untrained artificial neural networks were slowly killed, they responded only with nonsense.

This is fascinating because what we may learn from this is that a soul may just be a series of electronic impulses that are expelled during death. However, these impulses have intelligence and are not necessarily just scattered. They are focused and have sentience and intent.

These same impulses can show up in a network and eventually simulate what can be called a similar human experience. Some call this the advent of having a “Ghost in the machine” or a “spirit” capable of programming itself to assimilate or even attack.

All this is a secular attempt at understanding the shutdown for both networks of machines and the human body– which some have compared to a machine.

It is based on the idea of the non-duality between mind and matter, with the difference being that for humans matter is conscious and for machines, it is not.

These debates take place at the highest level of abstraction where intellectuals dwell, and accepting one new scientific paradigm does not necessarily lead to belief in life after death. Far from it.

That is when God enters the picture.

Philosophy and theology can get very abstract and leave regular people in the dust. However, you would be surprised at how many religious thinkers, who believe in life after death reject the stories of those who claim near-death experiences.

These detractors state that these experiences all have similar stories, but many of them lack any doctrinal proof from the bible as these religious zealots expect life-after-death experiences to be judged on the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law.

Spirit indeed.

Christianity brings a strong element of fear into perceptions of the afterlife. Especially when they speak of Purgatory and Hell.

The people whose behavior needs to be controlled are frightened into being good and given long promises about eventual eternal bliss at the end of time.

If experiencers of an NDE share their experiences and they do not fit the criteria for hell-fearing Christian then they may be criticized and even dismissed by literalists.

In the recent documentary, After Death, produced by Angel Studios, we experience gripping research that explores what happens after we die, based on real near-death experiences, conveyed by scientists, authors, and survivors.

What is most distressing however is that in some cases, those who tell their incredible stories, have found themselves abandoned by their friends and family because many of them do not believe that these people experience the journey to the other side.

Skeptics tend to say that while most of these stories sound the same — they all end up with a happy ending –well even though this film creates hope in an existence after death — it also illustrates the tragedy and confusion thar experiencers feel afterwards.

They wonder why they came back, and others say that the afterlife is far more comfortable than the earth’s existence so they yearn for a moment when they can go back home.

Telling one’s story is never easy. But it is the staff of life. these experiences can be faith-promoting of negative depending on your point of view.

The part about this whole ordeal that shocks me the most is just how well-coordinated and effective the suppression of free-flowing information has been in the public sphere, even though everyone connected to the internet has access to and the ability to find the truth if they only put in the effort of seeking it out.

Partly, the problem arises from the fact that a certain percentage of people don’t want to hear the truth or hear of other people’s experiences because once knowing it they are then presented with a larger responsibility to actually do something about it in their lives.

Realizing that there is an afterlife puts us in a position to reevaluate Pascal’s Wager.

Pascal thought it is better to bet that God exists, and therefore to live accordingly. If God exists, we could gain a lot, like eternal happiness in Heaven, but if God did not exist it would make no difference. For this reason, it would be better to believe in God and live as though there is an afterlife.

But it is so much easier for some people to just keep a low profile and flow with whatever the consensus bias happens to be at any given moment and simply go along to get along without causing any disturbance or drawing any unwanted attention to themselves.

One of the great ironies and tragedies of human psychology is the propensity of our minds to facilitate behavior that is self-destructive and irrational.

And so, when a mistake is made or a sin is committed, it is common that a person, instead of assuming responsibility and altering their course appropriately to avoid the same pattern from being repeated in the future, will, rather, shun such responsibility and project blame outwardly on others or on the world at large or on God or on nature or on any other force that can be raised in their consciousness to point at and target as a scapegoat.

And, instead of viewing the situation from a logical perspective, they will enter into a state of cognitive dissonance, denial, and learned helplessness that allows them to block out the problem and not have to deal with it.

Dealing with the afterlife — have you dealing with the life you have now — if you see it as bad, and full of regrets, perhaps the thought of death and judgment creep in and make it all terrifying, and fear of course is a trigger for anger.

The concept is that when people realize that they are in a hole, instead of climbing out when it is still relatively shallow, they continue digging even deeper, hollowing out the space for their own potential grave.

The grave is a cold reward– but an afterlife full of color, beauty, and love awaits anyone who is penitent.

The After Death movie gave me hope that even in your last breaths whatever or whoever is on the other side loves you and does not want you to suffer — even rescuing you from the darkest points of the end of your existence.

I would like to see God as a saving force, a superhero without tights who will always find a way to save me and give me comfort in my time of need.

It is a somber and realistic approach to whatever plans we have ahead. A whole new world of life and adventure that is never finite but infinite in cause and action.

There will never be a more welcome and peaceful breath that purifies the lungs than that first inhalation after breaking loose from the shackles of this physical existence.

It is a freeing up of the pains of a damned soul embracing the blessing of true sovereignty as a renaissance reignites your existence.

The transcending moves from one existence to another.

It most certainly is a beautiful sight to behold as massive waves of hundreds of thousands of people point the way toward a great awakening here in the age of Revelation.

Perhaps we should open our minds to these experiences — so that we become more aware of the realities of life and death.

When you rocket out of the womb with a rebellious streak slashing straight through your soul, existence tends to take on a heightened sense of meaning and more purposeful intensity once the chaos starts ramping up. These trying times are just a test of character until the end.

And then — it repeats, and perhaps we get one more chance to get it right.


Stephen Gray is a multidisciplinary filmmaker based out of Winnipeg, Canada. He’s currently producing a feature documentary for Amazon Studios and his latest documentary, After Death, released in theaters October 27th becoming the highest grossing documentary since 2019. This film explores one of life’s biggest mysteries – “what happens when we die?” with New York Times bestselling authors, doctors, scientists, and survivors. Stephen’s work also includes award-winning short films and commercials.

Jason Pamer is the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Sypher Studios, a boutique full-content studio with offices in Los Angeles and Seattle. He’s produced content with Steph Curry and Jada Pinkett Smith and worked with Academy Award winners like Laura Dern and Golden Globe winners Paul Walter Hauser, Michael C. Hall, and Annette Benning. He’s produced multiple theatrically released documentaries with New York Times Bestselling Authors and poignant stories around human trafficking and climate change. He’s also a partner in a machine learning company. 


Written by Ron Patton


This post currently has 6 comments.

  1. Robert Orona

    March 26, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    In the religion I am currently indoctrinating myself in, believes in reincarnation. It is called Scientology.

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