The 58-minute video from BBC was very interesting because it caused several questions to arise from me. A more specific question I had was how Rene Descartes's theory of the mind and body being separate could explain out of body experiences people often experience. Descartes came up with the dualism theory, which means a state of two parts. The mind-body problem can be defined as the problem, which dualists attempt to explain the casual relation between our mental and physical parts. Rene Descartes simply explained that our mind (or soul some might call it) is completely separate from our physical body.
Out-of-body experiences or astral projection can be defined as the sensation of one's consciousness floating or traveling outside of one's physical body. Several people have shared stories about nearly dying or being in so much pain that they experience an out-of-body-experience. A story that stuck out in particular to me was Dr. Dianne Morrisey's story of being electrocuted.
"I bent over to pick up the plastic tubing. As I began to straighten up, I accidentally bumped the tubing on the edge of the tank. The water suddenly squirted across my face - the pain was so sharp, it felt as if a knife where slitting my cheek! I screamed from the shock and pain, then felt a moment of temporary relief as the water crossed over my molars. My reprieve was short-lived, however, as the electrified water rushed into my mouth. As my body bent over in shock, I had the most uncanny knowledge that death was ahead of me. I began to mourn the loss of everything I'd known: the Earth, my home, my friends - all that I'd been aware of, all that I loved. Everything I'd believed to be true and lasting was slipping away from me. I was face to face with death, face to face with the unknown. My body was thrown backwards and to one side by the current. My body crashed to the floor, thrown with such force that my head went right through the drywall, about a foot above the floor. I never felt the injuries, however, because I was no longer in my body. I was actually watching my electrocution from above! How could I be out of my body and still be alive? I wondered, astonished"
While others might explain Dianne's out of body experience as a hallucination, a dualist might simply say that the mind (or soul) left the physical body at this time to escape the pain because the mental consciousness is separate from the physical being. Of course, we know that dualism is just a theory and not a fact. Yes, it's an easy way to explain such a sensation but we can't interpret this as a valid explanation since there isn't a way to test if a person can actually experience an out-of-body experience. A question of mine still remains though, if our mind (or soul) actually leaves our physical bodies during these moments, or if we are just experiencing a hallucination or a lucid dream?
If you want to read more about Dianne's out-of-body experience or about other out-of-body experiences you can catch out the following website below.