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Melania returns. Trump says, “She went through a little rough patch, but she’s doing great,” patting his wife on the hand, “The people love you. Thank you, honey.”

SERIOUSLY? Replay that. And again. Two words – SUICIDE ATTEMPT.

Of course, Trump would call this fake news, but hear me out…

In April, Melania formed a warm bond with Manny Macron’s wife – a woman who clearly LOVES her husband (she HOLDS his hand).

Brigitte reported that Melania was warm too – and surprised at the FREEDOM Brigitte had, to wander around the City Of Light (Paris).

Three weeks later, Melania was hospitalised; then effectively VANISHED for a month.

“She went through a little rough patch…” – does that describe a routine minor op, plus recovery?

It is clear now that unless he is impeached, Trump’s presidency will last another three years. The question is – will MELANIA?

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During the last few months I have written a NUMBER of pieces on the Afterlife – both in this column (see below) and its brothers. And this one will (HOPEFULLY) be the LAST.

In the absence of scientific and reliable empirical evidence, one can only apply LOGIC (mostly) and intuition to find an answer to What Happens Next. And mine have revealed the following…

There really are only TWO main options.

(1) When our hearts stop pumping oxygenated blood to our brains, our neurons cease firing, our synapses whither and our engrams decay. We are DEAD. Our consciousness does not survive our demise and we experience nothing but eternal OBLIVION.

However, the LOGIC of that state is flimsy. I mean, if it is the case, then what the hell was this life all ABOUT?

(2) Only our “lower” brains – containing our operating system, memory and programmes – that which can be duplicated in a computer – perish.

Our “middle” brains – intelligence, emotions, personality, empathy, ego, instincts, art, music, humour and suchlike – along with our “upper” brains – consciousness, the id, the psyche, the SOUL if you like – are OUTSIDE the Continuum and released from our lower brain, SURVIVE.

In what I call the Exocontinuum. Limbo, if you like.

But the big question is – what happens next?

For that, we need to examine SEVERAL options.

The first is that we REMAIN in the Exocontinuum – complete with all the middle and upper brain functions – our IDENTITY – intact. For ever. Uurgh.

A better option is that we find ourselves in ANOTHER continuum – where our existence is… what?

Since no-one has reliably BEEN there and returned to this continuum to report on it, your guess is as good as mine. It is probably beyond our understanding, given our limited experiences in this continuum.

Next is a return to this continuum – on a RANDOM planet.

And given the likely number of examples in the Universe, the chances of it being Earth are as likely as the chances of winning the Lottery with a single random ticket.

So given our brains would only contain the wisdom from our existence HERE, this particular reboot would leave us as fish-out-of-water. Again, uurgh.

Which brings us to THIS planet. And even MORE options.

We might return as a member of the opposite sex. Perhaps given nature is an inexact science, gay people were of the opposite sex in their last lifetime?

Probably not.

Then again, we might return as an animal.

Again, probably not.

No, the FAMILIAR is comforting – the notion that we will return as a human of the same sex to SOMEWHERE on this planet, at some time in the future, with our higher brain functions – including our wisdom (but none of the memories) from our previous lifetimes – intact.

The current population boom is not problematic – over one hundred milliard (short-scale billion) people are estimated to have lived In This Place thus far.

And since evolution takes care of this continuum, there is no reason it cannot also account for the Exocontinuum – and indeed, any other continua.

However, before we get TOO cosy, this option is the one reported by those who CLAIM to have lived before – usually after a dream, vision or session with a regressive hypnotist. Thus it has to be viewed WARILY.

The other options cannot be RULED OUT.

So live THIS life to the max. Then HOLD ON TIGHT…

I originally posted this in 2015…

Jonathan PryceJonathan Pryce to Pope Francis

UPDATE! It took three years, but Jonathan is now finally PLAYING his doppelgänger – in a Netflix movie!

The TRUTH is – NOBODY KNOWS. Oh sure, a lot of folks will try to kid you they do – but they’re just trying to sell you a RELIGION. However, I have NOTHING to sell – so gather around and I will attempt to negotiate a safe passage through the quagmire of BULLSH*T I have encountered during MONTHS of reflecting upon this very question – and hopefully give you cause to BELIEVE that your Final Breath In This Place will NOT spell your END. Okay? Here goes…

First, why DOES no-one know? Well, because no-one has “passed over” and then returned to This Place to tell us of their experiences. NO-ONE.

The reason is, when the human body expires, its heart stops pumping oxygenated blood to the brain – at which point your neurons stop firing, your synapses whither, your engrams begin decaying and your physical body is DEAD, baby. You ain’t coming back into THIS world.

Spiritualism – first popularised during the late Victorian Age – involved various con-artists using a battery of tricks based on then-new tech, to separate grieving rich people from their money. These days, Science has largely reduced their crap to second-rate entertainment (Google “cold reading” for more).

But what of Near Death Experiences, I hear you say? Sorry, that’s just an illusion the brain conjures up when it believes itself to be in crisis. Those who have described the experience were only able to do so because they HADN’T DIED.

This is SCIENCE. And my travels through this field are based on THAT ALONE. Philosophy is a PSEUDO-science. And religion is Man-made-up nonsense, evolved to answer unanswerable questions, give people a father-substitute and the promise of an Afterlife – but which became a tool to pacify and control the masses, in the absence of effective policing.

Don’t get me started. If Man had outgrown religion a hundred years ago, by now we would have a cure for cancer and permanent bases on Mars.

But even Science REACHES when we need answers to this question. The reason? Science is based on DATA – of which there’s precious little, when discussing The Afterlife. So let us instead concentrate on LIKELYHOODS.

After going down many well-travelled rabbit-holes, my first ORIGINAL thought (well, original to ME) on this subject was inevitably OBSCURE.

And just for you, here it IS; Science declares that our Consciousness Does Not Survive Death. Full stop. From which one can extrapolate that LOGIC says when one’s Physical Brain pegs out, all becomes Silence and Darkness. Right? The idea that there is ANOTHER Continuum out there is ILLOGICAL. Except that when one examines THIS continuum – logically, IT should be Darkness and Silence TOO.

But it isn’t. Here we ARE. I’m typing this and you’re reading it. Even if all of this is some kind of cosmic illusion – it’s still a THING. And that, my friend, is a Scientific FACT.

So Science isn’t exactly an exact science.

And from that blinding piece of logic, we can carry on – to the Brain.

This organ has a number of levels. At the bottom, we have the ones that can be aped by computers – operating system, memory and programmes. Then in the middle – intelligence, emotions, personality, empathy, ego, instincts and abstract concepts like art, music and humour. And up top, the psyche, the mind, the consciousness. In short, the centre of our self-awareness – the SOUL.

And all of this works as ONE. HERE – in this Continuum. But what about the OTHER Continuum? This is where the above-mentioned LIKELYHOODS come in.

I believe (that’s BELIEF – not FAITH – which is blind) that when our Physical Brain conks out, our Spiritual Brain will take over and we will find ourselves in Another Place. The Exocontinuum. A parallel/alternate existence/dimension/whatever. Nirvana, even. Call it what you will – it’s just words.

Now I realize this is a lot to unpack, but let’s try.

Science has managed to mimic the lower reaches of our brains – but NOTHING ELSE. It can detect activity all over the organ, when it is working or stimulated. It knows how damage to different areas can affect behaviour. And it can alter various functions with drugs. But overall, it knows as much about the human brain as Victor Frankenstein.

Neuroscientists have been trudging a treadmill for DECADES now – always moving forward, but never getting anywhere. Of course, this has not stopped them claiming all SORTS of advances – they need those GRANTS to keep getting paid, in order to fund their gigs.

Fact is, their theories are no better than MINE – and here it is.

I believe that the upper reaches of our brains ALREADY reside in that Exocontinuum. And that they are TETHERED to the lower reaches, for as long as our physical body lives. And that when that ceases, said upper reaches – and a good slice of the rest – will retire to said Exocontinuum.

Thus we will be in The Next Place with our consciousness and personality intact. As for our memories, I suspect they will not be joining us (who wants to spend the next Existence mithering about the last?) What will happen there, f*** knows. But we will still be HERE, baby.

Too fantastic for you? Well, consider the alternatives. OBLIVION. Darkness and silence. Really? Then what the hell was THIS all about?

Or perhaps you would prefer only the survival of our Minds. A blob of thought, floating in a void of sensory deprivation. Alone, blind, deaf – not knowing who, what or where we are. Brrr. Intelligence without identity. Not logical. Not reasonable.

But how is this possible without Intelligent Design? – I hear any religious zealots who have followed me thus far ask.

Actually, I have an answer. This Existence works fine on EVOLUTION – so why not multiple Existences? Hmmm? Thank you.

So there it is. Logical AND reasonable. And whilst based on NO data whatsoever, as likely as anything the great philosophers have come up with – FAR more likely than the garbage spouted by clerics – and a lot more positive than the dreary predictions made by scientists.

I’ll take my Nobel award in cash…

Of late, I have given much consideration to the upper workings of the human brain – in particular, the Soul.

And the following will make little sense if you have not read my several musings on the subject, written over the last couple of months, across all three of my columns (The Worlds According to Morpheus, Damien and this one – the others to be found in the bogroll on this column’s top right). Therefore, if necessary, get up to speed. Okay? Now, onward…

As previously discussed, the brain can essentially be divided into three parts.

Operating system, memory and programmes are at the Bottom – and can be duplicated by computer technology.

While consciousness, self-awareness and so on – the afore-mentioned Soul – reside at the Top.

Thus the Bottom is clearly in the Physical brain, with the Top being ELSEWHERE.

But what of the MIDDLE?

This contains our intelligence, personality, tastes, emotions, artistic tendencies, ego, etc.

Now all of these things can be altered by DRUGS – proving that if they are not IN our Physical brains, they are certainly CONNECTED to them.

Yet our tech has been unable to REPLICATE them – and is even somewhat vague about where they ARE – let alone how they work.

And it has had FIFTY YEARS to do so.

Therefore, at this stage, it is not unreasonable to assume that they, along with all the upper reaches of our psyche, are inaccessible to Science.

However, while we live, they clearly work in tandem with both the Bottom AND Top of our brains – the Physical AND the Spiritual.

But if they are going to join our Spiritual brains (Souls) when our Physical brains turn to mush, they either need to be DUPLICATED – as I have theorised in my earlier ramblings – or at least DETACHABLE from the brain’s lower functions.

Otherwise we are faced with that prospect of eternal intelligence without identity.

So ARE we looking at duplication? Or some kind of sophisticated interface, that allows selected detachment of our brain’s higher functions at the moment of our demise in this Continuum?

On reflection, my money is on the latter.

You could be forgiven for thinking Donald John Trump has little in common with Alphonse Gabriel Capone – but think again.

Back in the Thirties, newspapers and magazines frequently referred – IN PRINT – to “famous gangster, Al Capone”. And yet he never sued for libel. Why? Because unlike in Britain, where the accuser has to prove their accusations – while the accused can just sit there in silence – in America, the onus is on the ACCUSED to prove their innocence of said accusations.

And Capone was hardly going to allow himself to be grilled in court – because he WAS a gangster.

So when reporters shouted questions like, “Hey Al – what do you think of (famous publication) calling you a gangster?” at him as he walked from his limo into one of his clubs, he would LAUGH THEM OFF, claiming he was just a businessman – and that the press MADE UP their little stories to sell their publications.

Sound FAMILIAR?

The only improvement Trump has made to this ploy is – by his OWN admission – inventing the terms FAKE NEWS, FAKE PRESS and FAKE MEDIA.

The Soul. Also Known as Consciousness, Self-Awareness, The Psyche, Sentience – and an aspect of Karma.

The human brain (and to a degree, those of high-functioning animals) has a number of levels; operating system, memory (most of which is compressed) and programmes.

Just like computers.

However, UNLIKE computers, the levels CONTINUE – to include diagnostics, the id, analysis, emotions, ego, humour, appreciation of beauty, love chemistry and The Big One – the afore-mentioned SOUL.

Now, exactly fifty years ago, a movie emerged that blew people’s minds – called “2001: A Space Odyssey” it featured (some would say starred) a computer named Hal 9000.

And whilst never specifically stated, it soon became obvious that said computer had Artificial Intelligence and arguably – SENTIENCE. A MACHINE with a soul.

Which led to HALF A CENTURY of organisations and corporations trying to make that actually HAPPEN.

But despite a TON of time, effort and huge amounts of money being spent – thus far, they have failed dismally.

Of course, this has not stopped salespersons using AI as a buzzword for their goods, CLAIMING machine intelligence for everything from the Roomba to Alexa.

However, the Roomba is merely a skutter – programmed to map out a floor, then clean it until it runs low on power – then return to its charging point.

And despite seeming like Hal’s sister, Alexa is merely a computer terminal equipped with voice recognition and a voice synthesizer. Ask “her” the current temperature in Ulan Bator and she will tell you.

But all of these devices run on simple computer algorithms. They are just number-crunchers. My CAT is more INTELLIGENT than Alexa.

So why have scientists been unable to duplicate the higher levels of the brain? Because they are not IN the brain.

We are talking about that SOUL.

And while experiments (including some quite horrible) have been performed to try to FIND it – and put it into a bottle – results have been negative.

Which is not surprising, given that now we have a much fuller idea of the brain’s workings, we STILL have not found that elusive soul.

It is like how the eyes are now known to be merely organs of sight – they have NO other properties – yet EYE-CONTACT enables “alpha” people to DOMINATE “beta” ones.

So where IS this essential part of us, if not in our physical brain? A Parallel Dimension? Our Final Destination? The centre of the Universe? It matters not. But its existence is of PARAMOUNT importance. Not only during our time here – but for there to be an AFTERLIFE.

The thing is, when our heart eventually conks out, it ceases pumping oxygenated blood to our PHYSICAL brains – then our neurons stop firing – our synapses wither – our engrams decay – and everything that is us DIES. Like pouring acid over a computer.

But since our soul is not IN our brain, the REAL us is elsewhere – probably along with a BACKUP of our memories. And thus we go on.

As for where, who knows?

Religions are merely Man-made-up stories, evolved into perceived truths, to answer unanswerable questions (The Secret/Purpose/Meaning Of Life) give people a father-figure and the promise of that vital afterlife.

And the concepts of Heaven and Hell were clearly designed to drive the plebs into behaving themselves (be God-fearing) in the absence of policing.

Near-Death Experiences (white lights, tunnels) have been scientifically explained as an illusion the brain creates when it finds itself in crisis.

And reincarnation is just nonsense.

Clearly there is no way BACK from the Next Level/World/Dimension whatever – no-one has ever reliably returned here to report on it.

It is likely to be as impossible as time-travel to the past, which cannot be done as that time no longer exists (if it WERE possible, the New York rooftops on 11/09/01 and Dealey Plaza on 22/11/63 would have had a BUNCH of people present who were clearly not contemporary).

So wherever the Exocontinuum/Next Place/Afterlife is – we had better just live THIS life to the max until we find ourselves there.

After all, while the prospect of All Of This being All There Is appears otiose (look it up) – I could be wrong. Maybe The Final Curtain WILL only be oblivion – darkness and silence.

But I somewhat doubt it…

ADDENDUM! Re-reading the above, it occurs I might have skated over an important aspect of this monograph – the CONNECTION between the Soul and the Physical Brain. Two words – interfacing and duplication.

Our brain has a number of LEVELS. In ascending order, they are (1) basic systems: operating system, memory and programmes (2) personality: diagnostics, the id, analysis, emotions, ego, humour, appreciation of beauty, love chemistry and (3) the soul: consciousness, self-awareness, etc.

And all of these constantly interact – form a matrix. For instance, when we sleep, the controlling areas rest and the memory, unfettered, goes walkabout. Pulling random feelings, visions and sounds out, it jumbles them together to form narratives – what we call DREAMS.

Clearly, some areas of our brain cannot sleep – for a start-off, we need respiration. And, like animals, without hearing, we would be open to attack. Giraffes spend twenty minutes each night on the ground – surrounded by their peers – in rotation. Dolphins sleep – but return to the surface every now and then, to take a breath.

Thus our Matrix serves to give continuity to all aspects of our brain – the physical AND the (non-religious) spiritual – the Soul – while we are in THIS Place. And the two parts of this whole INTERFACE, to do so.

But what happens when we peg out? That is where the DUPLICATION comes in.

Without duplication of our Physical Brain, when it died, our Soul would be cast adrift in an ocean of sensory deprivation – a prospect too awful to contemplate. Like suddenly becoming deaf, dumb and blind, with no awareness of who, what or where we were.

However, while the idea of becoming intelligence without identity is a terrible one – it is also illogical.

Therefore, it is a reasonable bet that when we exit This Place – we will drag a duplicate set of our mental baggage WITH us.

Hope that clears things up.