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In this article, Author and Neurologist Oliver Sacks, contrasts two other author/neurologist’s out-of-body and near-death experiences.  Sacks reduces the interpretations of their experiences to a question of consciousness.  If there was no brain stem activity, then it was an experience of transcendence, or consciousness happening outside the realm of the body.  But according to Sacks, a euphoric or transcendent experience coupled with brain function is simply a hallucination.

But at what point are we conscious?

Ask an anesthesiologist and even they find it hard to dry the line. 

This second article begins with patients who regain consciousness while under anesthesia and touches on pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about anesthesia, but couldn’t remember to ask.