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I've heard it said that unfortunately we only use around ten percent of our brainpower in everyday life. However I've also heard of instances where our bodies allow us access to more brain power or essentially RAM, to put it in computing terms. One of these instances occurs when a particular chemical compound, namely Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is release within our brains. This doesn't happen often. Actually it only naturally occurs when we are either asleep or dying; times that you would think our brain activity is lowest.
I've heard that while our bodies sleep, our brains process the fresh memories from that day, as if backing them up like you'd do with your important electronic data, this is really what's happening while we're dreaming. So what about during death? There are plenty of theories on this, however one in particular came to my attention recently: That as our brains prepare to shut down during death, having released that chemical, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), our subconscious accesses our backed up memories. You might say this is where people who have suffered near-death experiences would claim "my life flashed before my eyes". If these claims are true then we can assume that our bodies do not need to have shut down entirely before DMT is released, so we might be clinically but not absolutely dead, perhaps just unconscious. But why? Why does the brain do this at such a precise time?
Well, again I've heard many theories on this, but certainly one stands out to me: If, when we sleep we are accessing more than our usual permit of brain power, our memories come to us in the form of "dreams" and usually we cannot interact with them, as if we had lost autonomy and were only observing our subconscious processing memories, which is usually a hazy experience and easily distinguishable from waking life. Sometimes however this is totally indistinguishable, possibly because our brains over-subscribed us by a small margin our daily DMT, thus we can gain unconscious autonomy but without accessing the full one-hundred percent of our brainpower.
Now say during death that perhaps we are automatically subscribed the full amount, letting our lives "flash before our eyes". What purpose would this serve? Well, one theory is that our brain is looking for something, a memory perhaps that might help us get out of that near-death experience. Say perhaps that you had been attacked by a shark, and were bobbing around in the water surrounded by a cloud of your own blood. Moments before you die you would experience, essentially, a dream. Using this dream your brain looks for a solution to your current predicament. You would have access to your maximum brainpower, so the memories would appear crystal clear but you'd lack subconscious autonomy, that is, the freedom to interact with you memories due to the high DMT dose, obviously this is because your subconscious doesn't want you getting lost in your own memories so it guides you until you yourself notice a detail, thought or piece of information that would help you "up above" as it were.
But what happens when you find it? Well obviously you'd wake up. But first you'd have to wait for the DMT to wear off, also bringing you so suddenly out of an such an intense dream state might be damaging, perhaps even cause major amnesia, which would nullify the whole process. Ever notice for instance how you can't fully remember a dream after you've woken up? Well in death, or near death, this effect might be heightened to a dangerous level.
So how would our brain search for these "survival tips"? Logically our subconscious should start from the beginning and run through our entire memory bank, essentially making us relive our lives in incredible detail but without the freedom to deviate from our original memories. How might it guide us then? Well, possibly by the phenomenon of déjà vu: As we are about to deviate and thus gain autonomy and become lost in our memories, we get a little nudge in the right direction, alternatively déjà vu would come from the DMT losing its effects, signaling that we're approaching our last memory and must pay closer attention. This would probably be the most direct way that our subconscious could communicate with us whilst we're semi-conscious, though I know of other ways.
Our more conscious selves would not be aware of course that we are being "guided" through life again, since we have essentially been detached from our original memories by our subconscious and brought back to the start again. Thus we wouldn't be aware of our current situation in the waking life nor how we even got there, nor even the life-choices we'd made in getting ourselves into that situation, which could span for years.
We'd only be aware of what our subconscious is choosing to show us: our lives in chronological order, until the day we find a relevant life-saving tip and are gently be pulled back to the waking life through some sort of reboot: Most likely a memory of falling asleep, except now with an extra chance of saving ourselves. You would imagine then that in this semi-conscious state we wouldn't experiences dreams, but perhaps memories of particularly prevalent dreams are also searched. For example those dreams in which you gained autonomy, so you would actually be remembering dreams and perhaps even searching among them for survival tips that you invented whilst experiencing a nightmare of a shark attack.
Now remember that this would all take place in the waking life in terms of mere seconds since DMT wears out very quickly, whereas subconsciously it might seem to last a lifetime since your brain would be functioning at its highest potential. So next time you fall asleep and find yourself bobbing around in your own blood, as if in the aftermath of a nightmare; remember to swim with every last fragment of energy in your body, swim to that shoreline and scream, scream for help and scream as loud as you can. Because you can never know whether you're really just dreaming... or dying.