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http://cnsnews.com/blog/patrick-j-buchanan/winter-conservati...

Pat compares 1964 with today. 2 periods when conservatives were getting their butts handed to them. Then finishes with this.

What does America want? To come home and do our nation-building here in the United States.

The bedrock values of Reagan — work, family, faith — still hold an appeal for tens of millions. But the faith of our fathers is dying, the family is crumbling, and work is less desirable when the social welfare state offers a cushioned existence for life.

Conservatives need to rediscover what they wish to conserve and how, in a climate every bit as hostile as 1964 — then await the moment when the country turns again to an alternative.

As it will. For our economic course is unsustainable. And our regnant elite are more arrogant than the establishment of the 1960s, though less able to satisfy the clamors of their bawling constituencies for more and more from a country that is approaching an end of its tolerance and an inevitable crash.


decath
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This begs the question, though: is there someone not patently crazy who can lay out a clear, specific set of ideas that is moderate voters might find appealing as an alternative? I don't like our two party system, but if we have to live with that reality then the country is generally better off when both parties have some control at the national level. Republicans are only hanging onto the House at the moment and the last election suggests to me that the trend does not favor them in the future. So where is the credible alternative?
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This begs the question, though: is there someone not patently crazy who can lay out a clear, specific set of ideas that is moderate voters might find appealing as an alternative?
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Paul Ryan laid out a plan that balances the budget in 2043 and liberals called his plan "extreme". So to answer your question, no, there is no chance moderate voters will ever be given an appealing alternative because any moderate alternative will be branded as extreme.
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Paul Ryan laid out a plan that balances the budget in 2043 and liberals called his plan "extreme". So to answer your question, no, there is no chance moderate voters will ever be given an appealing alternative because any moderate alternative will be branded as extreme.
*************************

You aren't a general, so you don't get to fight the last war again and again. What is the Republican vision going forward? Ryan, etc. clearly got the thumbs down by voters. What is the vision going forward?
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You aren't a general, so you don't get to fight the last war again and again. What is the Republican vision going forward? Ryan, etc. clearly got the thumbs down by voters. What is the vision going forward?
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My plan is to extend unemployment benefits for 5 years.
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This begs the question, though: is there someone not patently crazy who can lay out a clear, specific set of ideas that is moderate voters might find appealing as an alternative? I don't like our two party system, but if we have to live with that reality then the country is generally better off when both parties have some control at the national level. Republicans are only hanging onto the House at the moment and the last election suggests to me that the trend does not favor them in the future. So where is the credible alternative?
_____________________________

The problem I see is that voters chose Dems. Therefore the Dems need to present a credible alternative. If they can not then the demonized Ryan plan will make a major league comeback.

Folks are writing off the only reasonable choices because they have been rejected, not because they are not moderate as can be practicable

Folks have been lied to that there are less dramatic paths. Those paths simply have to either be shown or to be shown as just lies

Lots of folks deny reality until it slaps them a couple of times. It is still reality even if they deny it, at some point they stop demanding reality not be reality and act rationally.

Until then, you can ask for alternative and demand them and hold your breath until you turn blue. Ryan's plan was quite moderate, in fact likely too moderate. that it was rejected doesn't mean we need something better. Sometimes there is simply only worse or as good, and perception ahs to change.

Lots of folks for reasons beyond me, feel that perception can not change. I am not sure why
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brewer
You aren't a general, so you don't get to fight the last war again and again. What is the Republican vision going forward? Ryan, etc. clearly got the thumbs down by voters. What is the vision going forward?


Hello brewer, my old nemesis. You and the family doing ok?

To answer your question, I have my own vision of where conservatives should move forward. But it won't fly. It's probably not that different that Pat Bucanan's.

I don't think Republicans will change much. Just continue to be who they are....a party split by moderates and conservatives.

But I agree with most people that they will remain a minority for a while. Probably become a loyal opposition.

decath
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I don't think Republicans will change much. Just continue to be who they are....a party split by moderates and conservatives.

But I agree with most people that they will remain a minority for a while. Probably become a loyal opposition.

decath
*********************

I suppose it is possible that the party will choose ideological purity over contemporary relevance, but somehow I have a hard time believing that those in the party who want to run things will just leave it at that. Surely there is someone in the Republican party formulating an updated or new image/policy prescription in the wake of the last election? Something that might potentially attract the voters who are up for grabs? Even more pressing, perhaps a message that will appeal to the faster growing elements of the US population?
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I suppose it is possible that the party will choose ideological purity over contemporary relevance, but somehow I have a hard time believing that those in the party who want to run things will just leave it at that. Surely there is someone in the Republican party formulating an updated or new image/policy prescription in the wake of the last election? Something that might potentially attract the voters who are up for grabs? Even more pressing, perhaps a message that will appeal to the faster growing elements of the US population?
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What image/policy prescription did democrats change when they lost 63 seats in the house in 2010, besides becoming more socialist and rahming Obamacare through?

A swing of 200,000 votes in 4 swing states and you'd be posting about president Romney ruining the country right now.
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A swing of 200,000 votes in 4 swing states and you'd be posting about president Romney ruining the country right now.

****************

But we are not talking about president Romney. Don't fight the last war. FWIW, Romney should have won it in a walk given the modest level of GDP growth, still high unemployment, etc. The fact that he did not speaks volumes.

When Democrats lost the house, they still controlled the senate and the presidency. In contrast, the Republicans were shut out of all 3 and now are only hanging onto 1. I find it hard to believe this state of affairs is satisfactory to the people who run the party. But absent something that credibly appeals to a wider segment of the voting populace, it isn't clear to me how things will change. I actually look forward to see what the Republican party comes up with. I think it is better to have divided governmnent where both sides have to compromise and are kept honest by the other side. I suppose that the party could simply be waiting to see what message one or more of its members proves to be successful and then adopt some of it.
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When Democrats lost the house, they still controlled the senate and the presidency. In contrast, the Republicans were shut out of all 3 and now are only hanging onto 1. I find it hard to believe this state of affairs is satisfactory to the people who run the party.
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I don't know if it is satisfactory to the party since i'm not an insider, but i don't think becoming a democrat is the answer.
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I actually look forward to see what the Republican party comes up with. I think it is better to have divided governmnent where both sides have to compromise and are kept honest by the other side.
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I don't see either side keeping the other "honest".

2828
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So the only choice is to recycle the same messages that failed in the last go round? Seems like a lack of creativity. Just off the top of my head, how about a new take on immigration? We seem to have a looming demographic problem that threatens long term economic growth. If we could encourage the right kind of immigrant (educated and productive) and credibly deal with the existing illegal population it could be a real winning message.
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So the only choice is to recycle the same messages that failed in the last go round? Seems like a lack of creativity. Just off the top of my head, how about a new take on immigration? We seem to have a looming demographic problem that threatens long term economic growth. If we could encourage the right kind of immigrant (educated and productive) and credibly deal with the existing illegal population it could be a real winning message.
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I believe Rubio recently came out with something like that, but i really wasn't paying attention.
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My plan is to extend unemployment benefits for 5 years.

That's all? Let's be real compassionate and raise the minimum wage to $40 per hour. Why not?
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2828 wrote: My plan is to extend unemployment benefits for 5 years.

Just add another zero [50]. What the hell, we're doomed, anyway.
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brewer wrote: FWIW, Romney should have won it in a walk given the modest level of GDP growth, still high unemployment, etc.

The media reported otherwise.
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So the only choice is to recycle the same messages that failed in the last go round?

Well, there are two choices:

* Present something the Democrats will love, which means it will make the problem worse

* Present something the Democrats and media will lie about, to any extent necessary
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brewer
When Democrats lost the house, they still controlled the senate and the presidency. In contrast, the Republicans were shut out of all 3 and now are only hanging onto 1. I find it hard to believe this state of affairs is satisfactory to the people who run the party. But absent something that credibly appeals to a wider segment of the voting populace, it isn't clear to me how things will change. I actually look forward to see what the Republican party comes up with. I think it is better to have divided governmnent where both sides have to compromise and are kept honest by the other side. I suppose that the party could simply be waiting to see what message one or more of its members proves to be successful and then adopt some of it.


At the very least, you will see a move to attract Hispanics. Hispanics are generally pretty conservative and trend more socially conservative than whites. So the Republican party will have a challenge.

How do you attract Catholic Hispanics without being labeled 'women haters' and 'homophobic' by the media and the left? I dunno.

One strategy that could work for the Republicans is going all out fiscal conservative, stop the nation building and punt moderate to liberal on abortion and gay issues. Remain 2nd amendment rights.

That could work but it threatens to lose the conservative Christian vote. There are millions of Christians that absolutely refuse to vote for a 'pro-choice' politician. Where they would go, I dunno.

If the Republicans go any more moderate, they will just be Democrat light and lose millions of voters to 3rd parties.

decath
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brewer
So the only choice is to recycle the same messages that failed in the last go round? Seems like a lack of creativity. Just off the top of my head, how about a new take on immigration? We seem to have a looming demographic problem that threatens long term economic growth. If we could encourage the right kind of immigrant (educated and productive) and credibly deal with the existing illegal population it could be a real winning message.


Possibly. What I don't get is why it's such a big deal? My wife's family is largely Hispanic. Her grandparents came to America legally back in the 1910's from Mexico and Spain. DW's late uncle was one of the 1st Hispanic lawyers in the state of TX. He worked for the state to get immigrants 'legalized' through the proper channels.

Even though they were all democrats, they fully supported 'legal immigration' and were very much against illegal crossing of the Rio Grande. In fact, I heard the word 'wetback' more at family gatherings with them than I ever heard anywhere else. In fact, I believe it was 1981, the year I first dated my wife that I learned of the derogatory term 'wetback' for the 1st time. They still feel that way. Maybe they are an exception.

decath
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One strategy that could work for the Republicans is going all out fiscal conservative, stop the nation building and punt moderate to liberal on abortion and gay issues. Remain 2nd amendment rights.

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I think a fair bit of that would be pretty attractive to a lot of moderates and independents (including me, if the fiscal conservative thing is not overdone). I assume that the center shoft on social issues would lose some far right Christian conservatives, but probably not as many as you would think. After all, we are in a 2 party system, like it or not, and its not likely they would go to the Democrat side. That might also appeal to a lot of younger voters.

I'd guess that if the Republican party had an image of being a touch less white than Alaska in winter it would not be that hard to attract Hispanics.

I never understood why the Republicans (especially; Democrats are guilty of same when they are in power) were so in love with nation building and wars in places most voters could not find on the map, pronounce or spell. Seems so wildly at odds with the idea of fiscal restraint that it never computed for me.
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I think a fair bit of that would be pretty attractive to a lot of moderates and independents (including me, if the fiscal conservative thing is not overdone).
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Yeah, you got a point, that fiscal conservatism has been done to death. I mean you can't take it with you, why are we running up all these surpluses.
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I've been to a few rallies....3 over the yrs. and saw mostly white people,yeah there were women there, a few ethnic looking folks too.

Hot button issues: abortion issues and gay issues. They need to let them go, they are very divisive and have nothing to do with running the country....defense of country, infrastructure, support of industry and small business.

I'm fiscally conservative and don't vote on social issues.

The Dem's are extremely weak on defense and loathe the military, they hamstring businesses with more regulation and taxes.

The Repub's and Dem's are at a stalemate here. They need to do something to build confidence in this country. As it is, we have a black President who talks a great deal and accomplishes nothing except winning elections, hoarding money and attacking all those who disagree with him on his socialistic nature.

The Repub's need to take the social issues out of the platform and go to work on appealing to young men and women of all colors, denomination, ethnicity, gay and straight. White people are becoming a minority here, so they need to move quickly and not just talk about the Repub Party subsribing to the Big Tent theory.

LD
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oh I want to add that I had dinner with some friends the other night and a woman said she was in a mixed political marriage now. Her husband turned Dem and she's still a Repub. He's disgusted with social issues thing plus economy. He's the one who was let go after 30 some yrs. working for bank. He's in IT and so is the wife. He found another job fairly quickly because he worked long days doing it plus picked up little side jobs in IT. Although mild mannered usually, he came across as a angry man when he discussed his political switch and after a few glasses of wine. I feel sorry for her and him....what he thinks O is going to do for him is beyond me.

LD
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The Dem's are extremely weak on defense and loathe the military

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Help me out here: what is the proper role of the US military? A large military is extremely expensive (right, fiscal conservative?), so why is this form of high gubmint spending better than any other in a time when I think most people would agree that we need tow ork down government expenditures/
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"I never understood why the Republicans (especially; Democrats are guilty of same when they are in power) were so in love with nation building and wars in places most voters could not find on the map, pronounce or spell. Seems so wildly at odds with the idea of fiscal restraint that it never computed for me." - brewer


I feel the same way. The only time I was ever ready to go to war was right after 9/11/01 and I wanted to Nuke the middle East. Turn the whole bloody mess into a sheet of glass. Luckily I wasn't President and no one listens to me anyway.

Now I like the Israeli way of dealing with their idiotic neighbors. They mostly use the Mossad to go in and "clean up" and whack their enemies. Sort of like Ninja types who are really good at killing people. I think that's economically smart and efficient. Those Jews are smart.

Art
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I'm fiscally conservative and don't vote on social issues.
_______________________________

I can't vote on social issues

Half the time the Dems are so screwed up I wonder what planter they are from the rest of the time the Reps are so screwed up I wonder what planet they are from

So from a social issue standpoint, I don't vote the issues, but I figure even if they are not too good at following it, the Republicans admit there is a constitution so at least they might feel bad when they screw me.
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If the Republicans go any more moderate, they will just be Democrat light and lose millions of voters to 3rd parties.

The Republicans have been Democrat lite since 1933, when the Democrats changed from being the party of small central government to being the party of even bigger central government.
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"I feel sorry for her and him....what he thinks O is going to do for him is beyond me." - LD


That's how I feel pretty much about all politics. I was born in 1953 and have lived through all different kinds of administrations with all different kinds of flavors of politics. I've eaten and slept and watched TV and made love and gone on with my life pretty much through the whole thing. Even when the stock market has gone up and down it hasn't affected me that much. There's been times that I wasn't even paying attention and it's fluctuated wildly and I've been so busy just living my life that I hardly noticed.

Art
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Half the time the Dems are so screwed up I wonder what planter they are from the rest of the time the Reps are so screwed up I wonder what planet they are from

Was that deliberate?
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brewer wrote: I never understood why the Republicans (especially; Democrats are guilty of same when they are in power) were so in love with nation building and wars in places most voters could not find on the map, pronounce or spell.

It's the human slaughter that goes on in these countries. Decent people can't stand that.
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It's the human slaughter that goes on in these countries. Decent people can't stand that.

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Doesn't seem to bother us when it happens in countries that aren't laden with natural resources or otherwise politically attractive to some to invade. So the US military is primarily responsible for policing the entire world? Last I checked, it was called the Defense Department, not the Global Peace and Fairness Department.
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Half the time the Dems are so screwed up I wonder what planter they are from the rest of the time the Reps are so screwed up I wonder what planet they are from

Was that deliberate?

In reading it, how I wish I could say yes honestly, I am going to chalk it up to Freudian in nature and enjoy the post thoroughly!
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brewer wrote: Doesn't seem to bother us when it happens in countries that aren't laden with natural resources or otherwise politically attractive to some to invade.

Yeah, like Rwanda and Bosnia--veritable oases of natural resources.
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Yeah, like Rwanda and Bosnia--veritable oases of natural resources.

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We didn't spend a decade with tens of thousands of troops on the ground in those places. Pretty much bombed and ran, unlike Iraq and Afghan.

Why exactly did you think the US military should be the world's arbiter and police force, rather then simply protecting the US? Remember, all this stuff costs a LOT of money that is coming out of your and my pockets.
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brewer wrote: Why exactly did you think the US military should be the world's arbiter and police force, rather then simply protecting the US?

Well, I agreed with Ron Paul's policies except for his constant admonition against becoming the police force of the world.

In life, there are always bullies and always someone who stands up to the bullies. You've seen this played out countless times in the schoolyard. Sorry to say, the United States is the country other countries turn to when they're being bullied. If it wasn't that the rest of the world perceives America to be their only hope against brutal dictatorships, there would be many more brutal dictatorships in the world and those dictatorships would eventually set sail for our shores. That's just the nature of evil.
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The Dem's are extremely weak on defense and loathe the military

********************************

Help me out here: what is the proper role of the US military? A large military is extremely expensive (right, fiscal conservative?), so why is this form of high gubmint spending better than any other in a time when I think most people would agree that we need tow ork down government expenditures/
brewer

>>>>>>>>>>

proper role of the military is to defend the U.S. from attack and whatever our elected govt. leaders choose worthy to put military forces.

Military complex is just like anything else run by the military, run by good old boys and girls who give favors to cronies and hire alot of incompetents to run things and have layers and layers of management. If they cleaned up all the waste in all govt spending, it would be a good thing but it ain't going to happen.....so don't just single out the military for wasterful spending brewer.

LD
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Well, I agreed with Ron Paul's policies except for his constant admonition against becoming the police force of the world.

In life, there are always bullies and always someone who stands up to the bullies. You've seen this played out countless times in the schoolyard. Sorry to say, the United States is the country other countries turn to when they're being bullied. If it wasn't that the rest of the world perceives America to be their only hope against brutal dictatorships, there would be many more brutal dictatorships in the world and those dictatorships would eventually set sail for our shores. That's just the nature of evil.
___________________________

I waver on this one personally.

I am not sure that there would be many more brutal dictatorships in the world or not. However, and I am certain that there would be someone helping maintain order. Would that be a good thing?
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Military complex is just like anything else run by the military, run by good old boys and girls who give favors to cronies and hire alot of incompetents to run things and have layers and layers of management. If they cleaned up all the waste in all govt spending, it would be a good thing but it ain't going to happen.....so don't just single out the military for wasterful spending brewer.

LD
******************

There is certainly wasteful spending in the military just like there is in other gubmint expenditures. My question was more on the absolute size of the military and related spending than to do with waste/fraud/whatever. Its not clear to what we get for our money by, for example, maintaining bases in western Europe. Similarly, I would be hard-pressed to point to tangible benefits for the average citizen or the country as a whole stemming from our adventures in Iraq and Afghan. But these things sure did run up the budget and debt.
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brewer wrote: Its not clear to what we get for our money by, for example, maintaining bases in western Europe.

There are an unbelievable number of U.S. military bases around the world. Ron Paul says U.S. has military personnel in 130 nations and 900 overseas bases.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/...

I don't know the rationale for this, frankly. It'd be interesting to hear the Secretary of Defense 'splain it all.

Here's one ordinary citizen's point of view.

http://hnn.us/articles/3097.html
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brewer wrote: Why exactly did you think the US military should be the world's arbiter and police force, rather then simply protecting the US?

Well, I agreed with Ron Paul's policies except for his constant admonition against becoming the police force of the world.

In life, there are always bullies and always someone who stands up to the bullies. You've seen this played out countless times in the schoolyard. Sorry to say, the United States is the country other countries turn to when they're being bullied. If it wasn't that the rest of the world perceives America to be their only hope against brutal dictatorships, there would be many more brutal dictatorships in the world and those dictatorships would eventually set sail for our shores. That's just the nature of evil.


I've suggested that it is in the world's interest and the US's interest that there be a "global cop", and that it is in the world's interest and the US's interest that the US be global cop - but NOT in the world's interest OR the US's interest that the US be THE ONLY global cop.
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brewer
There is certainly wasteful spending in the military just like there is in other gubmint expenditures. My question was more on the absolute size of the military and related spending than to do with waste/fraud/whatever. Its not clear to what we get for our money by, for example, maintaining bases in western Europe. Similarly, I would be hard-pressed to point to tangible benefits for the average citizen or the country as a whole stemming from our adventures in Iraq and Afghan. But these things sure did run up the budget and debt.


Well feldercarp! I'm back in the camp of thinking the world IS going to end on 12/21 again.

Brewer and I agree on something! <g>

decath
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Well feldercarp! I'm back in the camp of thinking the world IS going to end on 12/21 again.

Brewer and I agree on something! <g>

decath
**************************

Heh, I never would have taken you for a follower of Mayan theology!

Seriously, if you strip away the soundbites, mudslinging and downright nastiness that passes for politics these days, most reasonable people can have a calm discussion about stuff and find common ground. I wish the members of the political establishment would remember that.
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"Well feldercarp! I'm back in the camp of thinking the world IS going to end on 12/21 again. Brewer and I agree on something! <g>" - decath
---------


We can only hope.


This material is NOT copyrighted:

My Near Death Experience
Mark A. Horton

I "died" from total kidney, liver, and respiratory shutdown. Coupled with massive internal bleeding and the associated anemia.

Since I was already in a coma, I have no idea when my NDE actually occurred. From reading my medical chart and other sup- porting information and anecdotal evidence, I presume it was on New Year's Eve, 1992. It was that evening that my kidneys had quit, my liver had ceased functioning, and the doctors had told my parents that they should contact a funeral home since it was doubtful that I would make it through the night and if I did, they would have to put me onto a kidney dialysis machine the next morning; the shock of which would probably kill me anyways. During the evening (from what I've read in the chart) I went into full respiratory arrest and was placed on a ventilator. So there I was, kidneys shut down, liver not functioning, fluid building up, getting pneumonia, and a machine breathing for me. I suspect that's when I "left." I have vague, very vague recollections of looking down on a body in a bed with tubes and machines, but I cannot honestly say that it was mine. I was, well, floating is not an adequate description, more like held up, contained, buoyed, sustained in a warm, dry, medium of some sort, suspended without pressure or any feeling of containment, just there. I felt safe, warm, calm, without pain or fogginess at all, completely aware.

Then the "experience" began.

Suddenly dusk became full, blazing daylight, except with a brightness brighter than normally associated with daylight... everything was bright as I was lifted (without any feeling or pres- sure) upwards to a high point (I assume, since I was unaware of standing on anything or for that matter aware of any "body" that I had) I was pure intellect, absorbing information and knowledge through "sensors" or means that I have no concept of. From this vantage point, I had to merely think of a place and time and I was there, experiencing everything about the place and time and people present.

I have always, I don't know why, had a very strong "pull" toward Scotland. I have some Scottish ancestry, but no more so than English, Swedish, and Prussian, but I don't know why I have such a strong affinity for the land, its history, its culture, and the music. (No sound in this world can stir the feelings that the sound of bagpipes arise in me!) Well, one of my first "trips" was to Scotland, on a high cliff overlooking a grey, crashing sea during a violent thunderstorm. I was there! I could feel the wind lashing at me and the driving force of the rain while I could see and hear the crashing of the thunder and the sea. All I had done was have the merest fleeting thought of the land and I was there! As I've said, I have no idea why I have such a strong tie to that particular piece of space/time.

I next thought of warm sunshine and I was in a place of bright warm light and comfort. I could discern nothing but a comforting brightness around me (such that "me" was... I still had no "body" that I remember, but had the "feeling" that I was an amorphous, glowing pure intellect... all sensors and no tangible gross physical body to drag me down or contain me. It was a truly wonderful feeling? state? being? Words just don't exist to describe this.) This was very pleasant and comforting and went on for microseconds or billions of years, I have no idea since time just wasn't an operative construct and had no meaning or relevance to existence. I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously.

This brightness ceased and was replaced with a view of the earth rapidly receding "below" me. I was still enveloped in a sense of warmth and comfort, but "moving" backwards at an ever- increasing velocity; the view of the earth almost instantly gave way to an overall view of our solar system which as quickly gave way to a cluster of star systems that apparently was in one of the arms of our galaxy. I was still absorbing all of this on so many different levels beyond merely what we think of as seeing as I raced outward. I could still sense the location of our planet even though at this distance that should have been impossible in the normal space/time continuum. My overall feelings were of comfort, wonder, amazement, belonging, a sense of "rightness", and overlaying it all what I can only call an overwhelming love, although that word is woefully inadequate to describe those feelings.

Still moving (backwards always for some reason) I suddenly just relaxed completely and allowed "myself" to dissolve (?) open up (?) merge (?) into the "oneness" that surrounded me. The explosion of emotion and (again words are almost useless) over- whelming "love" that I now felt made any previous feelings I had experienced even during this episode, however "long" it had/was/is going on, seem like nothing! I cannot possibly put into words that any human language has that feeling. I was everything, I was nothing. I was everywhere, I was nowhere. I was everywhen, I wasn't. My intellect had expanded to contain every thing, time, place, and even being that was, is, or ever would be! I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole. I know this is sounding like gibberish... it even does to me a times when I read it on paper; but to have been it! Words don't exist to describe the joy and love and warmth. It truly is indescribable!

And I was still accelerating outward, absorbing, observing, and becoming more! Entire galaxies became the size of grains of sand. I saw immense galaxies colliding together. I saw "holes" in space that weren't holes at all, but were filled with some- thing I couldn't comprehend even in my "enhanced" state... proto-galaxies perhaps? And there were so many galaxies to see and feel; but still I could sense where our planet was... I say sense because our tiny Milky Way galaxy had vanished; I could "feel" it there, but could no longer "see" it.

And I kept going outward! I began to discern a curvature to the scene before me and realized that the universe was really a large sphere containing all the galaxies. It became more and more apparent as I moved (still backwards) into the "darkspace" beyond the sphere of galaxies. Still, the occasional galaxy whipped by as I continued moving outward. And then I "felt" a large something or presence behind me. I seemed to slow slightly and hesitate and then was through this barrier and looking down at the sphere that contained our universe. It seemed to be at once transparent and slightly opaque as if I were seeing the energy fields that contained it. The image of the electron shell of an atom seems to fit here.

I was still moving outward and could now make out around the shrinking curvature of our universe, other spheres which could only be other universes. These seemed to be arranged in some sort of order, a spherical shell of universes around a core that I could not see. And beyond this shell, another, towards which I was now speeding. The overall impression I'm left with is of something like those little carved "spheres within spheres" of ivory that one used to see in import shops.

I never made it to the next shell. As I was moving outward to the next shell layer of universes, something started pulling at me and I was suddenly racing back forwards, inward toward our universe and then inside it. The other galaxies within our uni- verse were gone and I had one last "sight" of our arm of the Milky Way galaxy and then I was back. Stunned, confused, sad, having a tremendous sense of loss, I guess at the loss of the knowledge and love and "oneness" that I had been.

My NDE was over.

I drifted in and out of a coma for some time after that, I have no idea of how long. During this time I had a mixture of strong dreams, perhaps some hallucinations if I understand how hallucinations are supposed to be - very vivid, almost concrete dreams in which the "dream-people" have real, solid, bodies and with whom one can hold logical, normal conversations, and I think short "mini-NDEs" in which I was able to experience some small fraction of the overpowering love and "oneness" that I had during my major "trip."

I guess then I started to "adjust" and begin my unconscious attempt at ignoring what had happened to me and trying to "get on with" my life. But still something was missing... that hole was still there and gnawing at my mind. Finally after almost a year I sat not thinking, I guess you could say meditating and letting my mind relax, when everything starting coming back into my conscious thoughts. I could no longer suppress these memories and knew it. So I just let them flow inward, becoming ever more strongly convinced that what I had experienced WAS real, that it wasn't just an hallucination or dream, that we are all individuals and "one" at the same time, and that the only thing important ever is love. Complete, open, giving, incredibly filling love. That is the only thing that matters. All else is superfluous.

I was changed forever. I simply am. We are all one, we are all "God." Or perhaps "God" is all of us. I have thought long on the biblical phrase "And God made man in His image." I wonder if perhaps this really means that man is created and exists in "God"'s imagination which is then man's reality. I am no biblical scholar and will not debate theologies since those are so very personal, but that possible interpretation of the biblical phrase is interesting for me to contemplate. I do not profess to any specific religion at all; never have, and definitely now never will, for they are all right and all wrong... merely man's at- tempt to quantify, regiment, and control even the spiritual aspect of the individual. I now know that living to be kind and love each other is the only true "religion" there is; if one must label something "religion." From what I've read and spoken to other NDEers about, this seems to be an almost universal feeling among-st those who've had NDEs. We may describe what we've "seen" in various religious terms depending upon background and pre-NDE beliefs, but the message of universal love and forgiveness is the same.

So that is my experience. The aftereffects are still there and growing every day. To say it has changed me completely is at once obvious and an incredible understatement. I still am interested in computer systems and work with them as a profession, but find myself more interested in how they can truly help people as opposed to just being intellectual "toys" that perform functions and that people pay me money for designing and tuning. I've never been outwardly materialistic in the "yuppie" sense of the word, but had cherished certain possessions and worried about them; now I still cherish the beauty in things, but the possession of a thing is unimportant. I find myself giving many things away to others if they express an interest or desire for them. I'm probably labeled as a "patsy." It doesn't matter. I find myself openly crying over the sadness in the world and in people's lives. I share many of the same feelings that other NDErs have... the total lack of fear of death - it's comforting actually to think of it since it'll be a return to that state that I experienced and can now only briefly make contact with, the overwhelming sense of love for everyone and everything around me, the peaceful calm that I feel, even the sometimes painful empathic abilities that now seem to have blossomed within me - if I can somehow relieve another's suffering by taking it from them and into me, I do so gladly.

In summary I suppose the question many would ask is "was it worth dying?"

I would have to answer joyfully, "Yes!"

Mark Horton, http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html
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