My guest this week is Gregory Shushan, a researcher in the area of Near Death Experiences who is currently based in Portugal. Gregory went to Lampeter to do a PhD in 2004 on a cross cultural study of afterlife beliefs under the supervision of Paul Badham.
We talk extensively about Near Death Experiences and how Gregory was interested in looking at the impact of NDEs on culture.
Gregory was born in San Diego and grew up in an environment where his parents had very different approaches to life. He talks about the role of travel in his life, and we learn that he studied at UCL before going to Lampeter. We learn too about Gregory’s tendency to the outsider way of thinking.
He once contemplated being a musician and Gregory discusses his musical influences, and the resonances of Matt Dillon’s debut 1979 film Over the Edge. British music and culture also influenced him, and we discover that Gregory listens to it today though not so much in the case of punk.
Gregory talks about his work on indigenous religions and NDEs and is looking at Victorian and Edwardian work on mediumship and reincarnation memories for his next book. He calls out the racist elements in some of that spiritualist literature, and we talk about the way NDEs are overlaid with our cultural conditioning and symbols.
We then discuss H.H. Price’s work on mind-dependent worlds which, Gregory believes, comes closest to explaining the similarities and differences in afterlife and NDE experiences.
Gregory talks about what people who have had an NDE make of his research, and he talks about how people who have had an NDE may look to his work to corroborate their experiences. The materialist sceptics also want him to corroborate their ‘it’s all in the brain’ position. He explains why he isn’t interested in proving whether or not NDEs are true or not.
At the end of the interview we learn that Gregory’s memories are fairly mixed. He talks about finding journals from when he was a teenager and he talks about ‘nostalgicising’ certain periods of his life and how he is inclined to look back and forward more than be in the present.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Gregory Shushan and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.