ピム・ヴァン・ロンメル (71歳)
聞き手: Lilou Mace (2013/05/15 に公開)

ピム・ヴァン・ロンメル (69歳)
聞き手: Mel Van Dusen (2011/11/01 に公開)
     インタビュー 前編

ピム・ヴァン・ロンメル (71歳)
聞き手: Iain McNay (2013/05/23 に公開)

ピム・ヴァン・ロンメル (71歳)
講演 『臨死体験における知覚の謎』
(2013/07/05 に公開)

Tijn & Kris Touber タイン&クリス・タウバー
聞き手: Lilou Mace (2012/06/08 に公開)

   ◇ 下記の英文は こちら のページをコピーしたもので、
    個々の単語の意味を手っ取り早く知りたい場合は こちら をクリックしてください。

Life goes on (Tijn Touber)
www.odemagazine.com, december 2005 issue

<<< 生命は存続する >>> 
      (オード・マガジン 2005年12月号)       (和訳: ゆうこ)

When the The Lancet published his study of near-death experiences, Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel couldn’t have known it would make him into one of the world’s most-talked-about scientists. It seems everyone wants to know about the man who managed to get his study of this controversial topic published in one of the leading journals of medical research.

オランダの心臓専門医ピム・ヴァン・ロンメルは、臨死体験についての論文が医学専門雑誌 『 The Lancet 』 に載ったことで、世界で最も話題にされる科学者の一人になるなどとは予想もしていなかった。おそらく人々は皆、こんな問題になりそうなテーマについての研究を権威ある医学雑誌に取り上げてもらえるとは一体どんな人物なのか、と思ったのだろう。

Yet it’s not really surprising that its publication in 2001 created a stir. Never before had such a systematic study been conducted; into the experiences of people who were declared dead and then came back to life. And never before have we seen such a clear illustration of how these people’s stories could affect our way of thinking about life and death.


Van Lommel, 63, isn’t one to seek name and fame. On this lovely summer day in his garden near the Dutch city of Arnhem, he displays more interest in what’s going on at Ode magazine than in his own story.


That same deep curiosity was at work 35 years ago when Van Lommel, working as a physician’s assistant in a hospital, listened intently to a patient talk about her near-death experience. He was immediately fascinated. But it wasn’t until years later, as he read the book Return from Tomorrow in which the American doctor George Ritchie describes his own near-death experience in detail, that Van Lommel wondered if there were many other people who had undergone similar experiences.

この知識欲の強さは、35年前、医師の助手をしていた頃も同じで、彼は一人の患者から臨死体験を聞かされて、すぐに魅了されたのだった。だが、その患者のような体験をした人がまだ他にも大勢いるのではないかと思い始めたのはそれから何年も後のことで、米国人医師ジョージ・リッチーによる本人の臨死体験記 『 Return from Tomorrow 』 を読んだ時だった。

Van Lommel decided from then on to ask all his patients whether they remembered anything that had happened during their cardiac arrests. “The answer was usually ‘no’ but sometimes ‘why?’ When I heard the latter, I extended the office visit.”
Over two years he heard stories from 12 patients and his scientific curiosity was piqued. Those stories were the beginning of a years-long study.

それ以来ヴァン・ロンメルは、自分の患者一人一人に、心停止していた間のできごとで何か思い出せることはあるか、尋ねてみることにした。「ほとんどの患者は 『いいえ』 と答えるんですがね、たまに 『どうしてですか?』 と聞き返されることもあって、その時はいつも診察時間を延長したんですよ」。

I was looking down at my own body from up above and saw doctors and nurses fighting for my life. I could hear what they were saying. Then I got a warm feeling and I was in a tunnel. At the end of that tunnel was a bright, warm, white, vibrating light. It was beautiful. It gave me a feeling of peace and confidence. I floated towards it. The warm feeling became stronger and stronger. I felt at home, loved, nearly ecstatic. I saw my life flash before me. Suddenly I felt the pain of the accident once again and shot back into my body. I was furious that the doctors had brought me back.

私は上方から自分の体を見下ろして、医師や看護師たちが必死に私の命と取り組んでいるのを見ていました。彼らが発している言葉も聞くことができました。すると暖かい気分が湧いてきて、私はトンネルの中にいました。トンネルの向こうには、明るく輝く暖かい白光が揺れていました。それはすばらしいものでした。私は安らかで自信に満ちた感じになり、その光に向かって漂っていきました。暖かい感覚はますます強くなってきました。ああ、本当の故郷に帰って来たんだ! 私はこんなにも愛されていたんだ! 私は恍惚感に浸されました。そして私の人生が目の前に展開していくのを見ました。

Just about every description of a near-death experience is this beautiful. People feel connected and supported. They grasp how the universe works. They experience unconditional love. They feel free of the pressing concerns of earthly existence. Who wouldn’t want such an experience?


“It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?” Van Lommel laughs. “But it’s not always easy to deal with. When people come back, they often have the feeling they’re being imprisoned. And it can take years before they are able or have the courage to integrate the insights they’ve gained into their everyday life.”

だがヴァン・ロンメルは笑って言う。「素晴らしいでしょう? しかし、そんな状態に対処していくのは、いつも簡単だとは限らないんですよ。地上の暮らしに戻って来ると、たいてい皆、牢獄に閉じ込められたような気持ちになります。そして、臨死体験で得た洞察力を日々の暮らしに生かせるようになるまでには、何年もかかることがあるんです」。

Still, a majority of people who have had a near-death experience describe it as magnificent and say it enriched their lives.
Van Lommel explains, “The most important thing people are left with is that they are no longer afraid of death. This is because they have experienced that their consciousness lives on, that there is continuity. Their life and their identity don’t end when the body dies. They simply have the feeling they’re taking off their coat.”


That may sound like it’s coming from someone who’s spent a little too much time hanging around New Age bookstores. But from what Van Lommel has seen, near-death experiences are not at all limited to members of the “spiritual” community. They are just as prevalent among people who were extremely skeptical about the topic beforehand.


I became “detached” from the body and hovered within and around it. It was possible to see the surrounding bedroom and my body even though my eyes were closed. I was suddenly able to ‘think’ hundreds or thousands of times faster—and with greater clarity—than is humanly normal or possible. At this point I realized and accepted that I had died. It was time to move on. It was a feeling of total peace—completely without fear or pain, and didn’t involve any emotions at all.


The most remarkable thing, Van Lommel says, is that his patients have such consciousness-expanding experiences while their brains register no activity. But that’s impossible, according to the current level of medical knowledge. Because most scientists believe that consciousness occurs in the brain, this creates a mystery: How can people experience consciousness while they are unconscious during a cardiac arrest (a clinical death)?


After all those years of intensive study, Van Lommel still speaks with reverence about the miracle of the near-death experience.
“At that moment these people are not only conscious; their consciousness is even more expansive than ever. They can think extremely clearly, have memories going back to their earliest childhood and experience an intense connection with everything and everyone around them. And yet the brain shows no activity at all!”


This has raised a number of large questions for Van Lommel:
“What is consciousness and where is it located? What is my identity? Who is doing the observing when I see my body down there on the operating table? What is life? What is death?”

「意識とは何か?」 「それはどこにあるのか?」 「自分とは何か?」 「手術台に横たわる自分の肉体を見ている、その見ている自分は何者なのか?」 「生命とは何か?」 「死とは何か?」

The body I observed laying in bed was mine, but I knew it wasn’t time to leave. My time on earth wasn’t up yet; there was still a purpose.


In order to convince his colleagues of the validity of these new insights, Van Lommel first had to demonstrate that this expansion of the consciousness occurred, in fact, during the period of brain death. It was not difficult to prove. Patients were often able to describe precisely what had happened during their cardiac arrest. They knew, for example, exactly where the nurse put their dentures or what doctors and family members had said. How would someone whose brain wasn’t active know these things?

ヴァン・ロンメルは、その新しい命題の重要性を同僚たちに認識させるには、まず何よりも、その意識の拡大が、脳死の状態で起こったことを立証する必要があった。だがそれは簡単にできた。患者たちは、心停止中のできごとを正確に記述できる場合が多かったからだ。例えば 「看護師が義歯をどこにしまったか」 とか 「医師や家族はどんな話をしていたか」 といった事実を正確に知っていた。脳が機能していないはずの人間が、どうしてこんなことを知り得るのか?

Nevertheless, some scientists continue to assert that these experiences must happen at a time when there is still some brain function going on.
Van Lommel is crystal clear in his response:
“When the heart stops beating, blood flow stops within a second. Then, 6.5 seconds later, EEG activity starts to change due to the shortage of oxygen. After 15 seconds there is a straight, flat line and the electrical activity in the cerebral cortex has disappeared completely. We cannot measure the brain stem, but testing on animals has demonstrated that activity has ceased there as well. Moreover, you can prove that the brain stem is no longer functioning because it regulates our basic reflexes, such as the pupil response and swallowing reflex, which no longer respond. So you can easily stick a tube down someone’s throat. The respiratory centre also shuts down. If the individual is not reanimated within five to 10 minutes, their brain cells are irreversibly damaged.”


He is aware that his findings on consciousness fly in face of orthodox scientific thinking. It is remarkable that an authoritative science journal like The Lancet was willing to publish his article. But it wasn’t without a struggle.
Van Lommel recalls with a smile, “It took months before I got the green light. And then they suddenly wanted it finished, within a day.”

もちろん 『The Lancet』 のような権威ある科学雑誌が彼の論文を載せてくれたことは注目に値する。

Van Lommel’s work raises profound questions about what “death” actually means: “Up to now, ‘death’ simply meant the end of consciousness, of identity, of life,” he notes. But his study topples that concept, along with the prevailing medical myths about who has near-death experiences.
“In the past, these experiences were attributed to physiological, psychological, pharmacological or religious reasons. So to a shortage of oxygen, the release of endorphins, receptor blockages, fear of death, hallucinations, religious expectations or a combination of all these factors. But our research indicates that none of these factors determine whether or not someone has a near-death experience.”

「今までは単純に、死とは、意識と自我と生命が無くなることだと考えられていました」 と彼は言う。

This experience is a blessing for me, for now I know for sure that body and soul are separated, and that there is life after death. It has convinced me that consciousness lives on beyond the grave. Death is not death, but another form of life.


Van Lommel contends that the brain does not produce consciousness or store memories. He points out that American computer science expert Simon Berkovich and Dutch brain researcher Herms Romijn, working independently of one another, came to the same conclusion: that it is impossible for the brain to store everything you think and experience in your life. This would require a processing speed of 1024 bits per second. Simply watching an hour of television would already be too much for our brains.

またヴァン・ロンメルは、脳は意識の発生源ではなく、記憶の貯蔵庫でもないと主張する。彼の言うところによると、米国の情報科学者サイモン・バーコヴィッチと、オランダの脳研究者ヘルメス・ロメインは、互いに独立した研究を進めた結果、同一の結論に達した。それは、「人がその生涯に考えたり経験したりする全てのことを脳に保存しておくことは不可能」 ということだった。そんなことを可能にするためには毎秒1024ビットの処理能力が必要だからだ。たった1時間テレビを見るだけでも、すでにその情報量は、脳の処理能力を超えているのだ。

“If you want to store that amount of information—along with the associative thoughts produced—your brain would be pretty much full,” Van Lommel says. “Anatomically and functionally, it is simply impossible for the brain to have this level of speed.”So this would mean that the brain is actually a receiver and transmitter of information. “You could compare the brain to a television set that tunes into specific electromagnetic waves and converts them into image and sound.

「それだけの量の情報と、そこから生まれた思いを全て保存しておくとなると、脳は満杯になってしまうでしょうね」 とヴァン・ロンメルは言う。「解剖学的にも機能的にも、脳がそんな処理スピードを持つことは不可能なのです」。つまり脳は、単なる情報の送受信機でしかないということだ。「脳とは、特定の電磁波を取り込んで映像と音声に変換する、テレビ受像機のようなものだとも言えるでしょう」。

“Our waking consciousness, the consciousness we have during our daily activities,” Van Lommel continues, “reduces all the information there is to a single truth that we experience as ‘reality.’ During near-death experiences, however, people are not limited to their bodies or their waking consciousness, which means they experience many more realities.”

ヴァン・ロンメルの説明は続く。「私たちの覚醒意識、つまり日常生活の中で働く意識は、全なる情報の中から我々が 『現実』 と呼ぶ一まとまりのものだけを抽出して認識します。しかし臨死体験の中では、人は肉体としての制限も、覚醒意識の束縛も受けないので、もっと色々なレベルの現実を体験することになるのです」。

This explains why people who have a near-death experience sometimes have great difficulty functioning in their daily lives afterwards. They retain the sensitivity that enables them to tune into different channels simultaneously, making a cocktail party or bus ride an overwhelming experience as all the information from people around them comes in on all channels.


I saw a man who looked at me lovingly, but whom I did not know. At my mother’s deathbed, she confessed to me that I had been born out of an extramarital relationship, my father being a Jewish man who had been deported and killed during the Second World War, and my mother showed me his picture. The unknown man that I had seen years before during my near-death experience turned out to be my biological father.


According to Van Lommel, near-death experiences can only be explained if you assume that consciousness, along with all our experiences and memories, is located outside the brain.
When asked where that consciousness is located, Van Lommel can only speculate. “I suspect there is a dimension where this information is stored—a kind of collective consciousness we tune into to gain access to our identity and our memories.”


By means of this collective information field, we are not only connected to our own information, but also that of others and even the information from the past and future.
“There are people who see the future during a near-death experience,” Van Lommel says.
“For example, there was a man who saw his future family. Years later, he found himself in a situation he had already seen during his near-death experience. I suspect this is also the way déjà vu works.”
According to Van Lommel’s research, during a near-death experience, people can also make contact with the dead, even if they don’t know them.

「臨死体験の中で未来が見えてしまう人がいるんですね」 とヴァン・ロンメルは言う。「たとえば、将来の家族が見えた男性がいるのですが、その人は数年後、自分がまさにその臨死体験で見たままの場面にいることに気がつきました。《デジャブー》 というのも、そういうものなんじゃないでしょうか」。

But how does the brain “know” what information to tune into? How can someone tune into his own memories and not those of other people?
Van Lommel’s answer is surprisingly short and simple: “DNA. And primarily the so-called ‘junk DNA,’ which accounts for around 95 percent of the total, whose function we don’t understand.”
He suspects that the DNA, unique to every person and every organism, works like a receptor mechanism, a kind of simultaneous translator between the information fields and the organism.

だが脳は、どの情報に波長を合わせるべきかをどうやって決めているのだろう? どうすれば他人の情報ではなく自分の情報に波長が合うことになるのだろうか? 
「DNAです。基本的には、いわゆる 《粗悪DNA》 と呼ばれるものです。DNAの 95% は、この 《粗悪DNA》 なのですが、その働きについてはまだよくわかっていません」。

The idea that DNA works as a receptor mechanism to attune people to their specific consciousness fields sheds new light on the discussion of organ transplantation. Imagine you get a new heart. The DNA of that heart will gear itself to the consciousness field of the donor, not the recipient. Does this mean you suddenly get different information?


Yes, Van Lommel says: “There are stories of people who developed radically different desires and lifestyles after an organ transplant. For example, there’s a story of a ballet dancer who suddenly wanted to drive a motorcycle and eat junk food.”

「そうなのです」 とヴァンロンメルは言う。「臓器移植を受けたら、それまでと全く違う欲求や生活態度が出てきたという話はたくさんあります。あるバレエ・ダンサーは、突然オートバイを乗りまわしたくなり、ジャンク・フードが食べたくなったのです」。

I perceived not only what I had done, but even in what way it had influenced others.

The cliché is true: People see their lives flash before them at the time of death. And people gain insight into the consequences of their actions. They might see themselves as at 4 years old, taking away their sister’s toys, and feel her pain.


Van Lommel comments, “At that moment it’s as if you have the thoughts of someone else inside you. You are given insight into the impact of your thoughts, words and deeds on yourself and others. So it appears that every thought we have is a form of energy that continues to exist forever.”


People who have experienced such a “life review” say it’s not so much about what you do as the intention behind it.
“It is extremely intense to experience that everything that goes around comes around.” Van Lommel leans forward to be sure his words come across. “No one avoids the consequences of their thoughts. That’s very confrontational. Some people discover there’s something they can never put right. Others come back and immediately start calling people to apologize for something they did 20 years ago.”

その 《人生の見直し》 を経験した人たちが言うのは、「行為それ自体よりも、その行為の動機が重要」 ということだ。

So is there a Last Judgment after all?
Van Lommel is clear: “Absolutely not. No one is judged. It’s an insight experience. Most people go through this flashback in the presence of a being made of light. That being is entirely loving, absolutely accepting, without judgment, but has complete insight. The flashback changes people’s understanding of life. They adopt other values. They feel they are one with nature and the planet. There is no longer any difference between themselves and others. It’s not about power, appearance, nice cars, clothes, a young body. It’s about completely different things: love for yourself, for nature, for your fellow human beings. The message is as old as time, but now they’ve experienced it themselves and they have to live by it.”

そうなると、《最後の審判》 はあるのかということが問題になって来る。
「そんなものはありません。誰かに裁かれるのではありません。それは深い自己洞察の体験なのです。ほとんどの人は、光の存在の前でこの 《全生涯の見直し》 を行います。その存在は愛情に満ち、どんなことも咎めず、完全受容的でありながら、完璧な洞察力を持っています。この見直し体験で、人生に対する見方がすっかり変わります。価値観の転換が起こります。自然や地球との一体感を感じます。自分と他者との違いもなくなっています。大切なのは、力や、外見や、素敵な車や、服装や、若々しい肉体ではありません。それはまったく別なもの、自分と自然と人類への愛なのです。このことは、大昔から言われてきたことですが、臨死体験者たちはそれを自分自身の体験として分かり、それを人生の指標にしていこうとしているのです」

Then, after a short silence, he says, thoughtfully:
“It’s almost scary to realize that every thought has a consequence. If you let that sink in…every thought we have, positive or negative, has an impact on us, each other and nature.”

「一切の思いに結果が伴うということは、考えてみれば恐ろしいことです。深く考えてみると... 。
自分が抱く肯定的な思いも否定的思いも、 自分や人や自然に大きな影響を及ぼすのですからね」

Do you have to nearly die to learn these life lessons?
No, says Van Lommel, who has never had a near-death experience himself.
Thanks to his research, he learned so many valuable lessons that he decided to abandon his career in cardiology in 1992 and dedicate himself fully to further research, publishing and lecturing on the subject of near-death experiences. He founded the Merkawah Foundation in the Hague, the Dutch department for the International Association for Near-Death Studies, which offers information and guidance to Dutch people who have had near-death experiences.

「そんなことはありません」 とヴァン・ロンメルは言う。彼も臨死体験をしたことはないのだ。
彼は自分の研究を通じて、非常に価値ある数々の叡智を学んできた。そして1992年には、長年続けてきた心臓専門医の職を辞し、臨死体験についてのさらなる研究、出版、講演の仕事に専念するようになった。また、オランダの臨死体験者だちへの情報提供と相談の窓口として、国際臨死体験協会のオランダ支部 Merkawah 協会をハーグ市に設立した。

“Working with it and being open to it have changed my life,” Van Lommel says. “I now see that everything stems from consciousness. I better understand that you create your own reality based on the consciousness you have and the intention from which you live. I understand that consciousness is the basis of life, and that life is principally about compassion, empathy and love.”

「臨死体験に関わって、その現象に対して心を開いていたら、人生が変わりました」 とヴァン・ロンメルは言う。「今では私は一切のものが意識から生まれることがわかります。自分の現実世界は、自分自身の意識と方向性によって形成されるのだということもわかるようになりました。意識こそは人生の根本であり、人生でいちばん大事なものは、思いやりと、共感と、愛だということもわかっています」。

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