“Death-x-Pulse”: A Hermeneutics for the “Panoramic Life Review” in Near-Death Experiences

  • Jens Schlieter


The term “near-death experiences,” in the sense in which it is used today, was introduced by the American physician Raymond Moody in the mid-1970s. Moody offered a standard description, a synthesis that combined all those elements that he could identify in a significant number of personal reports. Several elements of Moody’s description, such as movement through darkness or a tunnel, an encounter with deceased loved ones and other entities, or visions of light, played a prominent role in pre-modern deathbed visions. Other elements, such as the “life review” or an extracorporeal-autoscopic perception of one’s own body, seem to be of growing importance in near-death reports of the twentieth century. For almost 40 years now, near-death experiences have played a major role in legitimizing “experience-based” spiritual worldviews. Though forming a considerable part of those experiences, the life review experience has usually not had the same prevalence as, for example, out-of-body experiences, the tunnel experience, the “(being of) light,” or meeting with the deceased. Nevertheless, several scholars have integrated it in their framework of near-death experiences as supernatural postmortem revelations. This chapter proposes to analyze the life review feature with a hermeneutics of wake-up dreams, which will allow us to navigate carefully between the Scylla of reductionism, ignoring the existential meaning of these experiences, and the Charybdis of esotericism, ignoring the structure of human consciousness.


Near-death experiences Life review Wake-up dreams Death-x-pulse Friedrich nietzsche 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BernBernSwitzerland

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