Marilyn Schlitz and Deepak Chopra Movie – DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE

11 Jun

When I spoke at the Bioethics Forum inMadison,Wisconsin I had the opportunity to watch the trailer for the forthcoming movie DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE which is a Science and Education documentary.

It is a production of The Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Chopra Foundation 

 Director: Marilyn Schlitz

 Producer: Deepak Chopra and Marilyn Schlitz

Marilyn Schlitz                                               




The movie is a journey into the meaning of death and features people who are actually being confronted with their own death. It considers various cultural perspectives on death and contains much wisdom from great thinkers and academics. The innocence of the children who were interviewed for the movie also leave us with great insights.

One of the lines from the trailer that I found particularly poignant was one from Author and Yoruba Chief – Luisah Teish who says:

 I personally have more fear of an unfulfilled life than death itself.

 This perspective correlates well with what many NDErs have to say.

 I hope this movie is very successful and I look forward to its release.

 To view the trailer click the link below:


45 Responses to “Marilyn Schlitz and Deepak Chopra Movie – DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE”

  1. Robert June 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I really appreciate you posting this. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the trailer looked and how professionally done the film appeared to be. I look forward to seeing it.

    • Dr Penny Sartori June 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      Hi Robert, thanks for your comment. Yes, I think the movie looks great – lots of wisdom in the words of the people interviewed. I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole movie too.

      • Lee July 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

        Hi Dr. Sartori,

        This question is not related to the movie but I was wondering whether you have ever heard Dr. Moody claim that NDEs provide some good “evidence” of the possibility of an afterlife. It seems that in every interview (that I have heard), he never says that he believes in the possibility of life after death, nor does he ever claim that NDEs provide any evidence for the possibility of life after death.
        Dr. Moody did an interview with Skeptiko a few weeks back and here he said the same things and also noted that he does not believe in God (not that one would need a to presuppose the existence of a God (whatever that is) in any argument being made in favor of the possibility of consciousness surviving death). He went so far as to dismiss parapsychology as being nonsense (paraphrasing here).

        It seems like Dr. Moody wasted decades on NDE research if he still cannot come out and say that NDE’s provide some evidence for the possibility of consciousness surviving death. Not sure what the point of him writing so many books on the subject was either if he he feels that the NDEs that he studied don’t tell you anything about the potential for there being an afterlife, but only make for interesting stories.
        You may wish to listen to his interview (which I found to be extremely disappointing and even convoluted):

        Funny how Dr. Moody usually ends up focusing on philosophy as being the key to figuring out the question of life after death (he clearly does not think science can answer this question), even
        though there is no chance for philosophy to answer such a question (if philosophical argumentation could have answered this question someone would have done so hundreds or thousands of years ago as I do not believe that our current logic is any stronger than it was thousands of years ago).

        Keep up the good work with your NDE studies.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

        Hi Lee, thanks for your comment and thanks for the link to the Skeptico interview with Dr Raymond Moody – I’ll listen to it when I get a chance.

        I’ve never heard Dr Moody publicly say that NDEs provide evidence for the afterlife. I know he does have a particular interest in philosophy and thats the angle he has pursued in recent years in trying to explain NDEs. I think Dr Moody remains passionate about NDEs and is just looking at them from a philosophical point of view at the moment.

  2. tim June 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    The comments from Simon Lewis looked particularly interesting. I understand he was in coma (Glasgow 3) and yet felt his consciousness to be actively exploring different vistas as he puts it. Penny, do you know if he’s more fully described his experience anywhere ?

    • Dr Penny Sartori June 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Tim, yes Simon’s comments were very interesting. It highlights again how little we understand consciousness. I’m not sure that his experience has been described in full anywhere else – maybe the movie is the first time for him to speak publicly about what he experienced. To be honest I haven’t had chance to check out if he has reported it elsewhere.

  3. Tony June 23, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    It looks terrific. Curious where and when would this film would be available?

    • Dr Penny Sartori June 23, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      Hi Tony, yes this looks fascinating. I’m not sure when it will be released but at the conference in April, Marilyn said that it was near completion. I would estimate it will be released sometime early next year. I’m looking forward to watching the whole movie.

  4. Robert July 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Lee (I can’t see how to reply to your comment in particular), I heard that same Skeptiko interview, and yeah, it was weird! However, as a balancing point, Moody’s talk at the Bioethics forum (where Dr. Sartori also spoke) gave a more balanced point of view. There, he says some of the same things as in the Skeptiko interview, but also reveals that he has recently been leaning strongly in the direction of belief in an afterlife. So if you’re trying to unravel the strange case of Dr. Moody’s beliefs, that would be a good place to go next:

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      Hi Robert, thank you for your very helpful comment.

    • Lee July 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for this Robert. This should hopefully help balance things out.

      The one thing I can never understand about Dr Moody is his continually bringing up philosophy (in particular logic) as if this will help unravel anything specific to the possibilities of the afterlife. One can often make strong arguments by way of clever manipulation of language to “prove” just about anything, so not sure why he continues down this path (having a PhD in philosophy I would think that he would know this and instead lean more towards science as being the better method (of the two) for potentially unraveling this mystery). Anyway, just my thoughts (perhaps I just simply misunderstand him as he tends to be difficult to understand when he speaks)…

      • Robert July 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        I said something similar over on Skeptiko: “I think he’s right that philosophy is undervalued these days. However, I believe that when the two seem to clash, the empirical should usually trump mere philosophical arguments. That’s what the last 400 years have taught us.”

  5. Stuart July 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Came across this link for Dr. Moody where he quotes the following:

    MISHLOVE: It seems to suggest that there’s a world beyond, which is a very pleasant world indeed.

    MOODY: Suggests — I’m glad you used that word, because it certainly doesn’t give us scientific evidence in a rigorous sense, or proof, that we live after we die. But I don’t mind saying that after talking with over a thousand people who have had these experiences, and having experienced many times some of the really baffling and unusual features of these experiences, it has given me great confidence that there is a life after death. As a matter of fact, I must confess to you in all honesty, I have absoutely no doubt, on the basis of what my patients have told me, that they did get a glimpse of the beyond.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Stuart, thank you for this.

    • Lee July 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Thanks for this post-wish he would get off the fence more in some of these other interviews.

  6. tim July 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I think we are already close to establishing that there is ‘life’ or experience beyond clinical death, Parnia has said so recently. Whether or not it continues indefinitely (which he will of course not comment on) is another matter but personally I am quite certain it does. Naturally I wouldn’t expect anyone to take my word for it, but Eben Alexander is rather well qualified I would say to make that call.

    • tim July 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      As regards Raymond Moody, I believe he was somewhat stung by criticism from materialist

      sceptics in the eighties and nineties and wanted to be seen as being objectively unbiased to get the

      dogs off him so to speak.

      It’s very hard to stand up and make such a controversial statement as …there is life after

      (physical ) death . It provokes incredible vitriol from materialist sceptics and even some

      religious groups who don’t want anyone interfering in their business. Jeff Long has been

      scoffed at and derided and Eben Alexander will very probably get the same treatment when his book comes out.

      Here is Dr Moody stating that he is convinced there is a life after death (but that it can’t be proved)

      Scroll down to the Phil Donahue show and it’s at 38.20

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

        Hi Tim, thanks for your comment and the link.

    • Lee July 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Tim, you say Parnia said recently that there is life after death (paraphrasing), but in his interview on skeptiko he seems to say the opposite:

      • Max_B July 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

        Tim said ‘Clinical Death’, which is hardly controversial, we regularly intervene to resuscitate people who are medically classed as clinically dead, and sometimes people auto-resuscitate on their own. In many cases their brain seems to have suffered little or no damage, therefore their brain must still have been functional.

        Where they do revive, and later recall a verifiable OBE during the period of clinical death, it seems logical to conclude that ‘clinical death’ is a useful medical definition, which is indicating that our neuron synapse theory of the brain is woefully incomplete. That for me is the important point. Stuart Hameroff, seems to be on the right track to me

        We have a mass of common human experiences, about which science has little to say, or ignores, or worse. Apparitions, Telepathy, OBE’s, NDE’s, dreaming, premonitions, feelings/emotions etc. I’m confident that these experiences will eventually be unified, as we begin to grasp our lack of understanding about space, time, and the nature of reality.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 9, 2012 at 11:18 am #

        Hi Max, defining death is a very difficult thing. I think what this kind of research is showing is that death is a process and finding the exact point of death is very difficult.

        As I found out through my job as an intensive care nurse, there are sometimes exceptions to what would be the expected outcome of people who have undergone cardiac arrest. You quite rightly pointed out that some people who have been classed as clinically dead have suffered little or no brain damage. I have nursed patients who have had cardiac arrests outside of hospital and have been resuscitated but left with severe brain damage but I have also (much more infrequently) come across patients resuscitated outside of hospital who, remarkably, have not had any brain damage.

        There is still a lot more for us to learn so it is very important to explore various different possibilities. Stuart Hameroff’s work is very interesting and important.

      • tim July 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

        Hi, Lee,
        No, What Parnia said is that…. the entity that makes us who we are seems to continue beyond the point of clinical death. I don’t think he says the opposite on Skeptiko, I think he says that OBE’s may turn out to be an illusion… this was a repeat of what he said at Goldsmiths college when he gave a talk on NDE’s.

        I don’t personally think he believes this…but he has to behave and speak in an unbiased way otherwise he will be accused of being unsuitable to head the Aware study.

      • Max_B July 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

        “There is still a lot more for us to learn so it is very important to explore various different possibilities.”

        I’m not sure what you are getting at here?

        In anycase, I’ll just restate, that it seems obvious to me, that the current theory about the brains workings must be incomplete, if – as it appears – the theory precludes the possibility of a patient recalling a verifiable OBE during a period of ‘clinical death’.

        We don’t need to invoke ‘disembodied eyes’ to attempt to explain what might be going on.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        I meant exactly what I said, there is still so much that we don’t understand about death and consciousness so it is imperative that we consider possibilities other than consciousness being a mere by-product of neurological processes. Rather than our brains creating consciousness it seems far more plausible, in light of what I have so far learned from my research, that the brain acts like some kind of filter which mediates consciousness. It seems far more the case that consciousness is primary and not the body. Hence at certain times in a person’s life, including when one comes close to death, the filter action of the brain becomes dysfunctional and allows what is usually screened out (this state of heightened awareness / consciousness) to be experienced fully rather than the reductionist view that the brains has created some sort of hallucination.

      • Max_B July 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

        I knew exactly what you meant… I was just questioning why you felt the need to say it in response to my post?

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

        Oh, I don’t know. I guess it was just something that popped into my mind amongst all the stuff I’ve been engaged in doing today.

  7. tim July 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    No problem, Penny,

    BTW here is a new book by Erika Hayasaki which might be of interest to you. I think it’s
    only available on kindle at the moment.

  8. tim July 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Max said,
    In many cases their brain seems to have suffered little or no damage, therefore their brain must still have been functional.

    Hi, Max, Got to say that’s not right. In cardiac arrest after 10 seconds the brain is not functional, that’s a fact, it’s not me saying it. Just because a brain recovers it’s function doesn’t mean it wasn’t non-functional during the heart stoppage.

    • tim July 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      We don’t need to invoke ‘disembodied eyes’ to attempt to explain what might be going on.
      I disagree, Max. I think that is exactly what we have to invoke. The the ‘eyes’ of a disembodied entity that is previously undiscovered but which can pop out of the top of your head.

    • Max_B July 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      Perhaps that is the current theory Tim, but it cannot be fully correct? Otherwise, how else can a patient can recall a verifiable OBE during a period of ‘clinical death’?

      • tim July 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

        Otherwise, how else can a patient can recall a verifiable OBE during a period of ‘clinical death’?

        What you’ve touched on there, Max, is the whole crux of the matter. How can they… with no brain working. Yet they can…therefore mind and brain cannot be the same, somthing is carrying on, persisting ..and that something is forming thoughts and laying down memories.

      • Max_B July 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        It’s a possibility, however I presently think it much more likely that we are glimpsing ongoing quantum processes in our warm wet brains. An incredibly energy efficiant process which could continue to operate whilst the brain remained viable, and which almost certainly means quantum interconnection across both space and most importantly time.

        Accepting quantum processes in the brain, leads one to inevitable spatial and temporal effects, and odd notions of time and space that are difficult to get your head round. However I can immediately see that it may provide potential explanations for much common human experience.

  9. tim July 11, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Let me see if I understand you correctly. Are you saying that a brain with no blood supply

    and therefore no electrical activity can somehow gather information about it’s

    surroundings, both visual and auditorial ?

    If that is is your theory, Max, I’ve never heard anyone else on either side of the debate

    propose it.

    The patients describe their point of observation as being away from their bodies, separate

    and free from the physical, always, but your theory confines them to the brain.

    I don’t know how you would begin to make a case for that if that is what you are proposing

    but it’s certainly a novel idea.

    • Max_B July 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      “Are you saying that a brain with no blood supply and therefore no electrical activity can somehow gather information about it’s
      surroundings, both visual and auditorial ?”

      For the short portion of a verifiable OBE, during an NDE with the conditions you describe above, basically yes.

      Because of quantum coherance, these processes are super energy efficiant, computationally powerful, and could be sustained beyond clinical death, whilst the MT’s remained intact.

      For the verifiable visual aspect of the OBE portion, my best guess at present is that the brain may pick up some type of field/s from one or more persons (or even other mammals).

      As the patient’s brain suddenly became quiet, losing it’s own field at the same moment, it might search to restablish the missing field input, sometimes accepting an external person/s fields as a temporary substitute for its own field, as the dying process got underway.

      I think the brain would try to make sense of the external field information it was temporarily accepting as input, as best as possible.
      I imagine there could be a lack of (or conflicting) location and positional information and perhaps other sensory data etc., and in some cases more than one persons visual field might need to be consolidated into a single perception. All of which would lead to the classic verifiable out-of-body experience, which sometimes forms a portion of the NDE.

      I do find it fun discussing it…

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 16, 2012 at 10:50 am #

        Yes, I’m really enjoying this dialogue. You’re both making very interesting points.

      • tim July 20, 2012 at 11:23 am #

        In one way, Max, your ideas may be a little more acceptable to some people who scoff at the notion of spirit and sould etc, so thanks for the debate.

  10. tim July 20, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    sorry, spirit and soul.

    • Max_B July 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      I note that I didn’t say much about the broadcast of images…

      If you can get your head around Gerald Huth’s fasinating theory of vision ( ),

      “…the retina of the eye should be visualized, as “a logically spaced array of the wave-to-particle transition sites shown to exist in this work moving through a sea of electromagnetic energy and geometrically extracting three specific wavelengths from that sea to form what we perceive as the visual image and the sensation of the hues of color…”

      I have read his work, and he is clearly on to something. His theory seems to offer another potential way to get OBE visual information into the quantum regime for ‘broadcast’, as he suggests our retina acquires a very fast succession of completely formed images of the visual scene on a time scale of femtoseconds (that’s 10 to the power of 15 images per second) and that’s firmly in the realm of quantum coherance.

      His work, has naturally lead him on to ideas about consciousness too…

  11. tekotek January 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Hi Penny

    hope you are well, any chance for you to comment about this article please…you were probably asked about it many times already. I’ll ask Jeffrey as well

    thank you very much

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      Hi tekotek, I am very good thank you. I hope you are well. I think this research is very interesting and very well done. However, it can’t give definitive evidence that this electrical activity is the brain experiencing a vision. The study was performed on rats which are very different to humans. It is still important to study these things and in the future this kind of research can be developed further to give a deeper understanding of the dying process.

  12. tekotek January 10, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    oh I got this reply from him already

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      Thanks for this link. Yes, this is a very interesting response to the article.

  13. tekotek January 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Penny, I’ve got another question though please. In your presentation at Bioethics conference in 2012 in US here is what you actually said:

    “…I found that some NDEs lacked narrative quality. When you read about them in the literature very often they are story-like but what I found is that they are often fragmentary and the patient didn’t attach much significance to them at the time that I interviewed them…”

    Normally NDE has a profound, life-changing effect on a patient. Apparently this is one of the most compelling evidence for authenticity. But if some patients didn’t attach much significance to their NDE, (as you mentioned), then how could NDE be “profound, life changing” experience in the first place? And If NDE is not “profound, life-changing” experience then surely it is more like some sort of a dream or hallucination? Would you not agree? I am just really confused

    Also, our everyday experiences, say we go to a pub or a club or the interview – these experiences are kind of “whole” or “unbroken”. But you mentioned above that you found some NDEs to be fragmentary. I am just not sure how could NDE experience be “realer than real” if it is “fragmentary”. If experience is fragmentary then it is not really “REAL” is it? Hallucinations are normally fragmentary, are they not? If NDEs are fragmentary then they are more like hallucinations of some sort. Would you not agree?

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 10, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      Hi tekotek,

      This is a really great question, thank you for pointing this out so that I can clarify my point.

      Most of the NDEs that we read about are ones that have great significance to the person. These are usually profoundly life changing and incorporate many of the components of the NDE. Prior to undertaking my research in the hospital I was expecting to hear of similar experiences. However, I found that only 2 out of the 15 NDEs were of such significance that the patient voluntarily reported it. On follow-up both of these patients appeared to be changed in some way due to their experience and their lives were enriched by the actual NDE itself.

      The other NDEs were only reported after I had asked if the patient remembered anything abut the time that they were unconscious. (The experiences reported were to varying degrees of intensity, some had more components and more impact than the others.) When they thought about this the patients told me what they recalled and it was apparent that they were reporting components of the NDE but didn’t really understand it or attach significance because it didn’t have much of an impact on them. This has led me to one of the conclusions in my PhD that NDEs maybe far more common than we realise and that there may be a subset of NDEs that never ever get reported because they were of such little significance to the person that they were simply not recalled unless the person was asked to recall if they remembered anything about the time they were unconscious.

      Undertaking research in the clinical area is able to reveal aspects of NDEs that may not be so apparent in retrospective research. It was because I interviewed all cardiac arrest survivors (regardless of whether they reported an NDE) that all kinds of experiences were explored. I was therefore able to discover all of the kinds of experiences, not just the significant, profoundly life changing NDEs that we tend to hear about the most. I think the more research that is undertaken in the clinical area will provide us with even more data and a greater understanding of NDEs.

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