..when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?’
Roughly translated, Shakespeare was asking through the mouthpiece of his tormented prince, ‘when we die, where do our thoughts go?’
Implicit in the question is the proposition that thoughts live on after the death of their creator and beyond there, that life itself is not merely an experience for our bodies.
Modern neuroscience explains dreams as a by-product of the brain’s housekeeping function. As we sleep, it tidies up the debris of the day’s mental journey ready for it all to begin again as we wake.
But beyond that highly plausible explanation lies the reality of the experience we have all enjoyed, those dreams, so vivid, so real.
In the novel Infinite Dream the central character Jack Hallis experiences the most extreme form of dream, a near death experience (NDE).
What he experiences haunts him, running contrary to everything he understands from his beloved science.
He knows about grief and understands how his brain synthesises ideas and feelings to help him heal. Yet he is convinced what he experienced in his NDE was real, exposing a truth almost too disturbing to contemplate: the boundary between life and death is itself an illusion.
The more he learns, the more Jack is convinced that dreams in general and NDEs in particular hold the key to understanding our chaotic universe and more importantly for him, the journey back to his lover Corrine.