Question: Is the near death experience a result of dissociation, a typical reaction to stress?
Answer: No. Dissociation is just another theory of psychology. The dictionary explains it as:
3 Psychol. a) a split in the conscious process in which a group of mental activities breaks away from the main stream of consciousness and functions as a separate unit, as if belonging to another person b) the abnormal separation of related ideas, thoughts, or emotions.
The examples given by a doctor in an article I read are as follows:
Daydreaming and total absorption in a book are examples of mild dissociative experiences. Pathological dissociation includes amnesia and multiple personality disorder.
Roger Penrose, eminent physicist and winner of the prestigious Wolf Prize, states in his book "The Emperor's New Mind" that "we don't have a good definition of consciousness because we don't know what it is."
Roger is right, we don't know what consciousness is, yet we make up all kinds of theories of how it works. Dissociation is such a theory. A theory that raises more questions than it gives answers.
How many streams of consciousness does an individual have including the main one?
When a "group of mental activities" break away from your consciousness where does it go?
What is the definition of "a group of mental activities"?
How can thoughts and feelings separated from your consciousness still be known to you?
What proof is there that a consciousness can split, no one has ever seen a consciousness?
What proof is there that these "separated mental activities" develop a separate consciousness of their own?
If they do have consciousnesses of their own how do humans function with thousands of consciousnesses?
If we can't define it; don't know what it is; have never seen one; what makes people think they know how it works?
It seems to me that thoughts, feelings, and emotions are only a small part of consciousness. They arise from memory, belief systems, as well as thinking processes (whatever that is) and affect the thinker only while they remain in the consciousness. When they separate from the thinker's consciousness they can no longer be known. They do not develop another consciousness of their own, coming back to create illusions for the thinker.
I see no relationship between "absorption" in a book and multiple personality disorder. If absorption in a book or focusing strongly in one's vocation, hobbies, or vacation activities is dissociation, then the entire world population is dissociative every day. Since this word is applied to abnormal events it would seem the whole world is abnormal. When it is applied to Near Death Experiences it is a misnomer. This theory of "dissociation" has many serious logical flaws and should not be applied to anything.
As for "daydreaming," I can't think of anyone that doesn't. Programmers, visionaries, housewives, well just everyone spends time thinking, planning, and studing, with a far-away look on their face. Who can know what they are thinking, but the thinker. Walt Disney was called a daydreamer in school, but he turned out better than most. There is no logical way to determine who is daydreaming and who is not. There is no logical way to determine who is dissociative and who is not.
We humans think by putting a "name" to something, we know what it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. The science and psychology fields are filled with theories, unproven guesses. We really don't know much of anything about consciousness, and are not likely to find out using theories instead of truth.
As for the Near Death Experience, it is real, it is what it appears to be. I don't expect this web site to change the minds of the skeptics. Albert Einstein said that people seldom change their minds, the old ones just die off, and the younger generations look at the new ideas with minds less cluttered by past limitations. I write for the younger generations. They will look more closely at the material and discover the truth it holds. They will teach the world to love as I could not.