Threshold Terminal lucidity and the border of life and death

Alexander Batthyany

Book - 2023

"Dr. Alexander Batthyány's Threshold is the first major account of terminal lucidity: the remarkable return of clarity and cognition at the end of life. Terminal lucidity is a relatively common but poorly understood phenomenon. Near the end of life, many people--including those who are comatose, or have suffered brain injuries or strokes, or have been silenced by mental illness or deep dementia--experience what seems a miraculous return. They regain their clarity and energy, are able to talk with families and caregivers, recall their lives, and in some cases report conversations and details that occurred while they were unconscious or seemingly unaware of their surroundings. In this remarkable book, cognitive scientist and Direct...or of the Viktor Frankl Institute and Viktor Frankl Archives Dr. Alexander Batthyány offers the first major account of terminal lucidity, utilizing hundreds of case studies to explore the mind, the body, the nature of consciousness, and what the living can learn from those who are crossing the border from life to death. Astonishing, authoritative, and deeply moving, Threshold opens a doorway into one of life's--and death's--most provocative mysteries"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor New Shelf Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 155.937/Batthyany (NEW SHELF) Checked In
New York : St. Martin's Essentials 2023.
Main Author
Alexander Batthyany (author)
First edition
Physical Description
x, 242 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Part I. On Being Someone
  • 1. On Being Someone, and Yet to Die
  • A Look Behind the Obvious
  • Stories and Data: Finding Light in Unlikely Places
  • Life Stories, Life Meanings, Life Endings
  • Life, Death, and Dignity
  • Being a Self
  • 2. Death, Disease, and the Question of Who We Are
  • Dementia and the Self
  • Questions of Life and of Death
  • Socrates in the Givers Hand
  • Biology and the Self: "And What About the Soul?"
  • The Enchanted Loom
  • Mind and Materialism
  • "First You Take Away the Soul"
  • Seeing What the Eye Can't See
  • 3. The Return of the Self
  • "And Then, Something Unexpected Happened"
  • Lessons of Surprise: A Research Workshop at the National Institute on Aging
  • The Laurenz Case
  • The Case of Anna Katharina Ehmer, Known as Käthe
  • Contemporary Cases
  • A Gift Wrapped in Pain
  • 4. Setting the Scene
  • Studying, but Above All: Listening
  • Encounters
  • Hearing the Call
  • Part II. Terminal Lucidity
  • 5. Approaching Terminal Lucidity: The Pilot Study and Its Aftermath
  • Searching for a Phenomenon
  • 6. "We Need to Talk": The Loneliness of Witnessing the Unexpected
  • Lifting the Veil
  • "Can This Be Real?"
  • "Is It Time to Say Farewell?"
  • 7. Casting Out the Nets
  • Going Deeper
  • A Caveat
  • 8. Witnesses
  • Who Experiences TL?
  • Age and Gender
  • Length of Episode
  • Cognitive State During Lucid Episode
  • Not Alone in Death
  • "But Can't You Hear This Beautiful Music?"
  • Holding Their Hands
  • The Last Conversation
  • Proximity to Patient's Death
  • Triggers and Causes
  • "A Lot of Peace and Acceptance": Reactions
  • Hope in Hopeless Places
  • Part III. Mind at Death, Mind at Large
  • 9. White Crows
  • What Is TL Trying to Tell Us?
  • Squaring a Circle
  • 10. Mind and Brain in Extreme States
  • Mind and Brain near Death
  • At the Limits: Boundary Conditions
  • Greyson's Proposal
  • 11. Mind at Death
  • Mindsight
  • NDEs
  • 12. Perception at the End of Life
  • When Do NDEs Take Place?
  • Are Perceptions near Death Accurate?
  • "A Genius When I Was Dead"
  • 13. Mind, Memory, and Vision near Death
  • Thinking and Seeing near Death
  • Study Results
  • Seeing near Death
  • Thinking near Death
  • 14. Relating the NDE and TL
  • Overlaps and Differences Between TL and the NDE
  • "What's a Mistake but a Kind of Take?": William James, Intoxicated
  • Memory and Vision and the NDE
  • Bridging the Gap
  • 15. Making Sense of It
  • After the Eclipse
  • The Soul, Mind at Large
  • Part IV. Person, Death, and Meaning
  • 16. A Sheltered Self
  • Incomprehensible Beauty, Unconditional Dignity
  • Care for the Soul
  • 17. Why It Matters
  • Honoring a Legacy
  • Rehabilitating Hope
  • Acknowledgments
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Batthyány (editor of Foundations of Near-Death Research), a professor of existential psychotherapy at the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, argues in this thought-provoking account that his research team is on its way to proving the existence of the "soul." He posits that the evidence lies in the phenomenon of terminal lucidity: the deathbed "return of cognitive function and communication ability in patients whose diagnosis renders such a return unlikely." If mind and self are merely a brain function, he asks, how could they resurface in the face of irreversible neurological impairment, including dementia? Batthyány's argument comprises three strands: a research report on terminal lucidity, gathered from such data as questionnaires completed by the recently deceased's family or caretakers; eyewitness statements and anecdotes; and discussion of related themes and tangential phenomena, including near-death experiences. While the author's meditations on the soul's existence can sometimes read as sentimental ("our life is a meaningful adventure that is wonderfully protected and preserved. Just by having become a self, we are... enormously gifted"), his in-depth, thoughtful investigation of a perennially fascinating phenomenon will garner interest, especially in the eyewitness accounts he spotlights, including of a woman with an "utterly destroyed" cerebral cortex who began singing "her own death songs" shortly before she died. Though Batthyány might raise some eyebrows, he has more than enough to keep the curious captivated. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved