JIS News

University of the West Indies philosophy lecturer, Dr. Oswald Harding’s interest in near-death experiences, has led him to write a theoretical explanation on the subject called, ‘Near-Death Experience: A Holographic Explanation’.
The author, accompanied by his publishers – husband and wife, Mike and Dawn Henry of LMH Publishing – today (February 2), presented a copy of the book to Governor General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke at King’s House.
Following a short conversation with the Governor General, who congratulated Dr. Harding for his literary undertaking, the author spoke with JIS News about what motivated him to dedicate four years to penning a book on the near-death experience.
He told JIS News that the book’s subject matter was a phenomenon that is classified “as an out-of-body experience where people claim that they leave body and travel to a different realm”. “One needs to examine whether that is an illusion, a hallucination or whether it is a real phenomenon,” Dr. Harding pointed out there has been documented writings by the Grecian scholar, Plato and even Native American Indians that support the belief that near death experiences were in fact, possible.
“Now if this phenomenon is accepted as being genuine and real, then we can’t falsify it, and it is in need of an explanation,” he added. Expounding further, Dr. Harding, who lectures on philosophy of the mind at the university, explained that the intent of the book is to “seek to give those explanations to these mysteries, if you want to call it that, or human behaviour”. He noted that the book approached the issue “by a holographic view and that is a modern metaphysical view in philosophy”. This philosophical viewpoint, he added, “has to do with another realm, so to speak, because today for example, we now say that the ultimate nature of things is not matter, it is energy”. With the current book being written from a theoretical perspective, and using contemporary literature on the question of near-death as its primary source of research, Dr. Harding said he was also interested in writing another book, one about the near-death experiences of Jamaicans, which would be less theoretical and more personal.
“I would, however, like to write a book on near-death experience in Jamaica to see whether the people who have had it, [if their experience] is the same as North America, Australia or England, or would we have a different sort of near-death experience. Would our culture affect the sort of things we would see when we get into this ‘other world’? Would there be any African retentions,” he said. According to the lecturer, overseas and general feedback to his book has been favourable.
“In fact,” Dr. Harding told JIS News, “Professor George Graham, who is an expert in the field, is writing a review for The Jamaica Journal”.
Plans are afoot by the publishers to expand the audience for the book at an European book fair in March, and the author revealed that there would be an American launch for the book in the near future.
The book is currently available at several bookstores in the island.