On the surface the ‘Near Death Experience’ sounds like a wonderfully heightened state that the under-utilised human brain experiences as we hit the wall for the last time, only to come out the other side to describe the ‘bright lights’ and ‘out of body sensations’.
The idea that we only use a small fraction of our brain is a little daft, as evolution dictates that the brain wouldn’t unnecessarily develop as an un-tuned engine, unless it had previously been used to a fuller extent, and we have lost the ability to utilise this extra horse power somehow.
The reality of it is more likely to be that we can’t simultaneously utilise our full brain, firing connections between all the neurons at the same and harnessing its full power, but each constituent part on the whole will get utilised at some point of ‘Normal’ function.
It does make you stop and think that if the human mind was able to make use of all our grey matter in a conscious waking state that we could potentially exceed our current potential pretty dramatically.
But what does this actually mean? Well, with it being observed that the gamma oscillations significantly increase in the brain with a (near) death experience, as the brain attempts to make a last fight to decode what is happening to it (presumably because its experiencing something that hasn’t happened before.. Death), it stands to reason that if we could boost the gamma oscillations within the brain in a natural awake state, without the inconvenient hurdle of ‘near death’ then we could further utilise the brain.
What would this give us though?! It’s all start to sound like Bruce Banners field of experience when you start talking about Gamma, and while we’re on the subject of split personalities, it’s worth pointing out that a decrease of gamma oscillations are also associated with schizophrenia.
So before you go trying to boost your ERB4 receptors with Neuregulin-1 its worth contemplating whether we’ve just hit a balance over the millennia where any more or less gamma oscillations result in humans going crackers, or whether we’re destined for further greatness with our minds running at a bright 60watts instead of the slightly dim 24watts of today!