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A Natural Afterlife Discovered with Author Bryon Ehlmann

A Natural Afterlife Discovered with Author 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.


Tell us a bit about your background.

My academic and professional background is in computer science. All my degrees are in computer science—BS, MS, and PhD. I graduated first in my undergraduate class at a rigorous engineering and science university. I mention this as evidence that I’m a very tenacious, mathematical, logical, and analytical person. (Too rational, according to my sisters.) After getting my MS, I worked in industry for twelve years doing research and development in computer databases and user interfaces. I worked for thirty years as a computer science professor and retired as such.

In 2011, at 62, I had enough of the technical stuff, of having to keep up with the fast-moving field of computer science, and of putting up with the ever-changing idiosyncrasies of software systems. After all, I’m also a theoretical person. In whatever time I had left, I wanted to study the Big Questions about life and perhaps apply my talents, skills, and open mind to the more established and now, to me, the more exciting fields of philosophy, religion, and psychology. So, I retired early.

What was the impetus for writing “A Natural Afterlife Discovered”?

It all started when I woke up from a dream at the end of 2012 and thought, “Suppose I had never woken up. How would I ever know that the dream was over?” My immediate conjecture was, “I wouldn’t. How could I?” Another thought was, “Why hadn’t I asked this question before?” I needed to investigate.

This thought experiment led to others, like “When being given general anesthesia, when do I know I’m not on that operating table?” My answer: “Only when I wake up in the recovery room.” But then, “suppose I never do?” My response: “Then I’ll forever believe I’m on that operating table. Reading many articles about near-death experiences (NDEs) led me to think: “Suppose I’m having an NDE, where I believe I’m in heaven. When do I know I’m not? When I recover. But suppose I never do? How will I ever know I’m not in heaven? I won’t!”

These thought experiments and a scientific mind led to ten years of research and analysis. I defined new terms and theories based on human experience and cognitive science to describe a new reality about death and the afterlife. As my understanding evolved, I wrote articles about this reality, including three psychology journal articles. The book is the culmination of this, my main “retirement hobby.”

Why did you feel it was important to write this book?

The book allowed me to merge the content of my journal articles, making it more accessible to the general public. It also allowed me to do three things I couldn’t in my academic journal articles: first, to tell of the challenge I faced in trying to propose and publicize a new reality that radically upsets current orthodoxy; second, to discuss the potential philosophical and religious significance of this reality; and third and most importantly, to make as many people aware, ASAP, of “the newfound, psychological reality” about death—which, I believe, will improve the world for the better.

Can you give a brief explanation of the theory of Natural External Consciousness (NEC) in layman terms?

The theory states that when you die, for all eternity, you will never know your final experience is over, so you will never lose your sense of self. That is, there’s no before-life kind of nonexistence after death. This means that if your final experience is a dream or NDE where you believe you’re in heaven, then when you die, from your perspective, you will forever believe you’re in heaven. Your NEC is a heavenly natural afterlife.

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

To precisely describe the natural external consciousness (NEC) and the natural afterlife that it makes possible given their elusive essence—timeless, eternal, and relativistic—and then, at the cognitive science level, to logically deduce their existence and establish the NEC theory as a scientific theory.

Do you feel your theory can coexist with various religious beliefs about an afterlife?

Yes. The theory only claims what scientifically occurs with death, by default, if no faith-based afterlife overrides it. For those with religious beliefs about an afterlife, my theory changes nothing, except that it states the existence of a scientifically based (i.e., natural) and logically consistent timeless afterlife. This afterlife could be a heaven, hell, purgatory, or some other intermediate state or realm.

Who do you think will enjoy reading this book?

“Enjoy” might be too lofty of a word for a nonfiction book about death. How about “appreciate”? I think any English-reading high schooler or adult thinking about dying someday would appreciate knowing what awaits them—scientifically, that is.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Primarily, an understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of the NEC theory and a new focus on doing what they can to love themselves—as they must live with themselves forever— and on doing good to others. Both of which may increase their chances of a peaceful and pleasant NEC. Also, to be open-minded about new concepts that may be unorthodox and tolerant of others’ beliefs that science cannot refute.

Do you plan on writing any more books?

No. I’m retired, and at age 75, I think I'll be too busy for the rest of my life with my new hobby. This will be discussing and defending a radical and controversial theory.

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