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Unlocking the Secrets of Existence Beyond Death: Interview with Bryon Ehlmann.


In A Natural Afterlife Discovered: The Newfound, Psychological Reality That Awaits Us at Death, Bryon Ehlmann challenges centuries-old beliefs and invites readers to embark on a transformative journey. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this groundbreaking book unveils a profound truth:  Death is not the end of consciousness nor synonymous with nonexistence. While it may or may not lead to a faith-based, supernatural afterlife, death preserves one's self (or soul) and makes any final moment of pleasure eternal.


Ehlmann's exploration illuminates a mesmerizing reality. Human consciousness is paused at death—imperceptibly suspended in time, as in never waking up from a dream and so, never knowing it's over. Remarkably, such pause may result in a timeless natural afterlife—possibly one of unparalleled happiness, akin to a heaven of profound fulfillment. To see this, Ehlmann invites readers to peer into the depths of their final conscious moments before the onset of eternal timelessness, offering a tantalizing glimpse into previously uncharted territories.


Professor Ehlmann retired from Florida A&M University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville after 30 years of teaching and research in computer science. A native of St. Charles, Missouri, he earned a BS and MS in Computer Science from Missouri University of Science and Technology and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Florida State University. For the last ten years, he has refocused his research on the Big Questions about life.


You started out in the Computer Sciences field. How did your interest in the afterlife originate?


At age 62, I grew tired of keeping up with the ever-changing idiosyncrasies of computer software systems. As a computer science professor, almost every time I taught a course I hadn’t taught in a while, I had to make significant changes in the course plans because something had changed—for example, a new version of some system. I’m a more research-oriented, theoretical type of person, so I grew tired of these efforts. Instead, in the remaining time I had in life, I wanted to apply my talents, skills, and an open mind to the Big Questions in life, which meant exploring the more established fields of philosophy, religion, and psychology. So, I retired early.


Turns out, soon after I retired, I lite upon a phenomenon that I would explore for the next ten-plus years. I woke up from one of my many weird dreams and, for the first time ever, thought, “Suppose I had never woken up. How would I ever know the dream was over?” My strong suspicion was, “I wouldn’t. How could I?” I also thought, “Why hadn’t others asked this question before?” I had to investigate.



Tell us about your book. What is a “natural afterlife”?


The book’s title is A Natural Afterlife Discovered: The Newfound, Psychological Reality That Awaits Us at Death. This newfound reality is based on human experience and cognitive science and reveals that many people experience a natural afterlife with death. 


The book upends the current orthodoxy about death. It explains why, psychologically, there’s no such thing as nonexistence after death. We never lose our sense of self. Call it our soul if you wish. Either we experience a supernatural afterlife or, scientifically, we are imperceptibly paused in our final experience before death. This reality is expressed by the natural eternal consciousness (NEC) theory. I believe it will bring about a better world as more people become aware of it.


So, people need to know that unless some supernatural afterlife begins at death, their final experience will become imperceptibly timeless and deceptively eternal to them, an illusion of immortality. The experience could be an awake experience (perhaps a hallucination), a dream, or a near-death experience (NDE). You will never know when your final experience has ended. Those living know it’s over, but you will never since you’ve died. Admittedly, this newfound reality seems unbelievable.


Even more incredible, suppose your final experience is an NDE, and you believe that you’re in Heaven, as have many survivors of NDEs. Then, for all eternity, you’ll never know you’re not in Heaven. Moreover, as with all conscious moments we experience, you will believe there are more such moments to come. This reality will be your natural afterlife, made possible by your NEC. It’s timeless and can deliver the utmost happiness.


The book covers the NEC theory’s evolution, validation, and major significance for individuals and society.


Have you interviewed many individuals who were medically dead and then returned to life?


Not a one. As seen in the movie After Death, many NDE survivors believe that they have died, gone to Heaven (or Hell), and returned to life. While they may have suffered a cardiac arrest—that is, were clinically dead, they were not yet medically dead—that is, brain dead.


What inspired you to write your book in the first place? 


Before writing the book, I had published three peer-reviewed articles in psychology journals on the NEC theory and natural afterlife. I wanted to write a book to better present the content of these articles to the public and offer my views on the theory’s impact and significance. The latter I refrained from in my scholarly articles.


Again, the more people who know about the NEC theory, the better our world will be. For instance, one will realize that suicide may not be the answer as it does not rid oneself of self. So, tragic suicides will likely be much reduced. And so too will be mass shootings as they are most often perpetrated by the suicidal. I begin the first chapter of my book by quoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In contemplating suicide, Hamlet ponders in his soliloquy, “… aye, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.” According to the NEC theory, they may indeed come, though they come just before death and then timelessly linger, paused in one’s mind forever.


Also, given the NEC theory, the possibility of accountability after death will be “back on the table” for many. Karma and the golden rule will likely become more prominent in everyone’s mind. Why? Because one cannot control their final experience. It can be a vision, dream, or NDE, and who knows what or who determines the content? Is it nature, a God, or merely randomness? Will the content be heavenly, hellish, purgatorial? Perhaps, just to be safe, one will ensure they lead a good life, treat others well, and in the end, love oneself—because they’re never going away, at least from their perspective.


What do you hope your readers will take away from your book?


I hope readers will gain at least three things: first, knowledge of the NEC theory and the insight indicated in my last answer; second, a realization that perhaps there’s a significant purpose for end-of-life visions (or hallucinations), dreams, and near-death experiences—which is that with death, they provide a timeless, eternal, spiritual realm where we (i.e., our consciousness or soul) will reside; and third, more open-mindedness to new ideas and points of view that challenge orthodoxy and perhaps their current beliefs.


How do you personally feel about your own mortality? Have your viewpoints changed since you wrote your book?


I can best answer this question by quoting from my book (pages 183, 184):

My Beliefs About an Afterlife. Given my belief in a God, what do I believe about an afterlife? For many years I’ve thought that one should live their life assuming no afterlife yet striving to do as God would do because it’s simply the right thing to do. A heaven should not be the incentive for doing good. After all, God has no such incentive. Also, I’m grateful to God for my life and believe it extremely ungrateful to expect another—even more so, a perfect, activity-filled one. Based on the teachings of Christ, I certainly don’t deserve one. Given the NEC theory, these beliefs have not changed.


Besides, I’ve been given the opportunity in my earthly life to feel the gratification that comes with overcoming challenges, helping others, and contributing to the world’s betterment. So, what do I hope to accomplish in some eternal, already perfect world or make up for what I failed to do in my earthly one?

Before this theory, I believed that if Heaven existed, I would only get there by God’s grace, and if Hell existed, trusting in God’s grace and mercy, I need not worry. If neither Heaven nor Hell existed, I was satisfied with a before-life kind of nothingness. Given the NEC theory, I now believe that a heaven exists and I will experience it only by God’s grace and that a hell exists but trusting in God’s grace and mercy, I need not worry. I no longer believe in the possibility of a before-life kind of nothingness after death. Moreover, I will be more than satisfied with an NEC that includes self and feelings over which I may have some control: peace, contentment, and gratitude. Note that the NEC theory now gives more meaning to being able to pass away on one’s deathbed with these sentiments. But if I lack control of my thoughts in my last wakeful moments, or even if I don’t, it will still be “into thy [God’s] hands I commit my spirit” (RSV, Luke 23:46).


Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?


I’m a 75-year-old retiree and too busy with my new hobby to even think about another project. This hobby is marketing my book and responding to comments and questions from readers. By the way, I have to call it a hobby since my wife accuses me of still working too much on my book. I’ve found that writing a book is half the job. Marketing it is the other half when you self-publish. While self-publishing has many advantages, a disadvantage is that you don’t have a publisher with the incentive and means to market it.


For more information, please visit bryonehlmann.com.  A Natural Afterlife Discovered can be purchased on Amazon. 

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