I'm fascinated by the question: Is reincarnation possible? Keep in mind that I do not "believe in" reincarnation, and I imagine most members of this website agree with me. But, is it POSSIBLE? Can there be some non-physical mechanism for passing knowledge and memory from a dying person to a not-yet-born person? Very unlikely, you say? Well, I agree with that. BUT...I have an open mind.
My so-called mind is SO open, in fact, that I traveled all the way across this country to take a one-week course (and became certified) as a Past Life Regressionist. Since then, I have regressed, and I have BEEN regressed, to uncover a few astounding, inexplicable stories that come out of the deeper reaches of peoples' mind. I still don't "believe" it, of course. But I have heard & seen some stories that I can't explain. Is there ANY hard evidence?
The only true answer is we don't know.
Is it possible? Can't see why not. There are obvious examples of form and matter undergoing sublimation. Complete discorporation of one form of matter only to appear as another. Before science advanced liquid turning to vapor was the stuff of Gods. Just because we are speaking of the Psyche doesn't make it less plausible that a similar change of states can occur.
What we see and experience as a body passing into the stages of death and decay, while further ahead with the understanding of anatomy and physiology, we are still very much superficial in our understanding of a next possible transition for consciousness, memory or experience.
Is it really all just.. lights out? I believe , for me, yes. I have zero expectation of returning as.. anything.
But I am also quite certain there are a number of natural processes that effect the human species on a core energy level that we are unaware of and if nothing else we are incredibly different in our sameness. There will be those who are exceptions to every rule. Keeping with the liquid to vapor example. In order for water to vaporize certain conditions need to be met. So too , possibly, with whether an individual reincarnates or not. Maybe ya gotta' be the right kind of crazy!
The way I see it is this. To be reincarnated you have to believe in a soul. A soul doesn't exist. So therefore reincarnation does not exist
Why is reincarnation dependent on belief in a soul.? What if it turned out to be a natural process but we just haven't had the insight to see it's existence yet?
A white person in South Africa received an organ from an Indian. The recipient of the organ started craving for spicy food. Previous to this we heard he had an intolerance for anything spicy.
As the universe is physical, the mechanism or process by which reincarnation were to occur would also be physical.
Re-incarnation or Species memory passed down through generation after generations?
How do turtles who live most of their lives from hatchlings to adults manage to find their way back after so many years at sea to the EXACT same beach where their mothers laid them as just eggs?
How do migratory birds KNOW the exact flight path that their ancestors flew many, many generations before them to get from point A to point B every YEAR?
Or, for example, the sense of DeJaVu, loosely translated meaning " I've seen/experienced/been here/heard this before.?"
In actual fact WE know far, far less about the workings of the Human Mind and Brain than we do about the Universe that surrounds us, imo, Space is NOT the Final Frontier, the Human Mind and Brain is the Final Frontier that has to 'explored' in its entirety.
Although, imo, the mind is truly wondrous thing, it can and does play tricks upon us and does them so well that we so often tend to actually believe those tricks.
As to the very REMOTE possibility of Re-incarnation AFTER DEATH, well when the body dies, it decays/rots away to become just the elements from which it was made from, the 'energies' that once 'powered' that body dissipate/vanish and become spread out through other creatures, etc, as nutrients, etc, for them just as does, for example, the stored Electrical Energy in a battery over time.
Genetic resemblances may well re-cur through generation after generations BUT they are caused by the combining of the various elements that make up our genetic codes, not by some inexplicable, magical, supernatural effect/happening, etc, etc.
They are, imo, just random chance occurrences, nothing more, nothing less.
@NHjulie and this puzzles me too. If humanity started out that much less than now, and if "souls" recycled, surely there must an "allowance" for "new souls" lol for there's zillions more of us now.
I do however believe in genetic memory, since we know how to find that milk from birth and the same with animals. We are evolved animals anyways
90% of the modern western obsession with reincarnation originated with the "Bloxham Tapes" made by Arnall Bloxham the father of regression therapy.
ALL of Bloxham's work has been thoroughly debunked as subconscious recounting of films, novels, historical texts etc while under deep hypnosis.
However Bloxham inspired several famous works of fiction such as the Audrey Rose case, the Bridey Murphy case, the Peter Proud case and others, that established the idea in the public imagination of reincarnation of tortured souls returning to seek justice or vengeance in a new body.
I see reincarnation as another fear of death facet. However, it gives me pause when young children have incredible talents in music.
I keep the phrase, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I don't know everything.
Asking the question is like does god exist, whatever that means? Please, Reincarnation? Regression? You have been regressed?? Really. Resurrection? Really? Sorry, can't be kind about it. Just preposterous!
I think some people have very creative story telling abilities.
Even in the very young.
I have had a snippet of a dream all my life of being inside the body of a little boy running home and inside and upstairs, kissing my mother. By my clothes and bare legs with shorts and lace up leather boot shoes I am guessing maybe about 1910 ish.
Anyway, I always run up and kiss my mother and she shoos me and I run up more stairs to the roof and throw my books down and I start to walk on the edge of the roof and a pigeon swoops at my head and I fall 3 floors to the street and die.
I think I have an active imagination. That is all.
Splitting: Mathmatically, there are more living souls on earth now than at any previous slice of time. So, are you suggesting that souls are split, to feed the increased numbers? If not all souls are from reincarnated stock, then new souls are necessary. Thus, there is no need for old reused souls, at all.
Combining: I'm satisfied that genetics from both parents, & their parents, will derive a unique but highly genetically influenced sentient being. Intuition or instinct is genetic coding for survival; and if any of this is lost (in a combination), then that individual won't survive long enough to procreate.
I wasn't raised by my father (I was kidnapped to another country), but my genetics were dominated by his, over my mother's. My looks, interests, personality, ways of thinking, values, etc. This all became apparent on meeting him twice, as an adult, and after his death (from documentary evidence and reportage of his friends of many decades). Was my father's genetics dominated by his father's genetics? Am I then very very similar to my one grandfather, who died before I was born? Are my instincts & intuitions, values & personality, a strong reflection of his?
As parents age, DNA can be modified by life, so is passed-on as 'different' to the DNA of the teenage self. So one inherits 'experienced' DNA. Each generation thus has DNA 'with experience' of past generations.
Isn't that enough logical 'reincarnation' of lives once lived?
I was once told that, in a past life, I was an American Indian woman, whose husband went hunting & never returned. I had waited for him, childless, from early 20s, until I was a very old woman. Romantic/traumatic nonsense! The intention of the author was to manipulate me (very unsuccessfully).
Very interesting post, Lizzy. Thank you. Yeah, I'm sure there are numerous opportunists and grifters doing all kinds of psychological work. Yee gods, there are scumbags in every profession.
If one adheres to physics, energy can not be destroyed. It can only change into another form. So where does the energy of life go upon our demise? The Mormons say spirits are flying around without a body to inhabit. Personally I have no idea & it is the one of the greatest questions still unanswered.
I know from personal experiences with past-life regression that "stories" from years ago exist in my brain. But I can't say how they got there. Maybe some of them passed by genetic material? But that doesn't answer the puzzle because of circumstances and racial differences.
This reincarnation story is most fascinating. A woman reincarnated goes in search of her children in a previous life.
For me, this is one is difficult to dismiss. Many years ago when I was still s Hindu I shrugged off the belief in reincarnation. From around 20 years old I came across many stories of people's experiences of reincarnation in "white culture". I thought it odd as I thought (then) it was only supposed to be happening to Hindus since it was their belief ...and then we grow up
Reincarnation is based on the idea of the transmigration of a soul and so presumes the existence of a soul, there is as little evidence for the existence of souls as there is for gods.
Reincarnation is a fun idea, but it is no more real than sparkling vampires, dragon's hoards or armored polar bears.
You question the existence of armored polar bears??? Stay where you are. Help is on the way!!
IMO regression involves hypnosis and a person who is hypnotized wants to please the hypnotist. If this is so, a game is started in which suggestion sets up questions and answers. Results will be obtained but it does not mean the results are a fact in any way.
I have experimented in the past with such things and found it fascinating. I cannot say I have any feelings of living a past life but I do have constant and strong feelings of deja vu. This happens with both people and movies. My standard joke about it is that I have that feeling when the phone rings.
Regression (done properly) doesn't involve ANY suggestion on the therapist's part. The whole idea is to allow the client to discover what may be lurking in his own mind. (And of course, that might be total bullshit.) But when I let myself be regressed, some of the most unusual "scenes" played out that I could ever have imagined. And frankly, I have no fucking idea how or where they might have come from.
I, too, am intrigued by the concept of reincarnation. I find it preferable to the Xian notion of an all or nothing Heaven or Hell as it allows for ongoing opportunities to grow and improve one's self over multiple lifetimes but I have a lot of questions about it too. For instance would people reincarnate for a limited number of times or would they just reincarnate forever? Would they reincarnate as the same species or could a person come back as a dog, or even a cockroach, or, worse yet, a Republican?
I like the Indian concept of the Transmigration of Souls where a person reincarnates again and again (as a human being) for as many lifetimes as it takes for them to reach a state of divinity after which, then and only then, are they allowed into Heaven. I really like that idea.
I'm an atheist and I don't believe in souls or Heaven, or any of the supernatural nonsense this idea embraces so I can't believe it. There's also no evidence that reincarnation itself, in any form, is real or even possible so I can't believe in that either. no matter how appealing I may find it.
Sometimes being as practical and rational as I am comes with little reward.
There is NO HEAVEN OR HELL IN HINDUISM.
Heaven and Hell is the Abrahamic idea!
@Sgt_Spanky No version of any heaven in hinduism. There's no happy ever after or suffering ever after. If your next journey hasn't begun, then "it" only exists with no identity until it exists when "its" ready to embark on its journey again.
@TimeOutForMe I didn't suggest the Hindu heaven was a mirror of the Xian heaven. They have their own version with a different name for each but they still serve as heaven and hell. Look it up if you don't believe me. There is a heaven and hell in Hinduism and it's not the Xian version.
Here's an explanation -- [speakingtree.in]
@Sgt_Spanky there is no heaven and hell in hinduism. Writers write to suit themselves and go into explain their version of nonsense but THERE'S NO HEAVEN OR HELL IN HINDUISM. I grew up around priests and temples who read from the very books who taught no heaven or hell or no version of it. If writers are pretty-ing it up now, it's to compare their version of "a heaven" to xtianity. ...but there's no heaven or hell in hinduism. ...besides the book bhagavad gita, is a newer book, not totally based on ancient hinduism, even though it's based on some. The bhagavad Gita also condones the man-made caste system.
@Sgt_Spanky the bhagavad gita is like the new testament of the bible, all the ugly hidden inside and the west is responsible for popularising it's own version. Go look it up without being biased. If you are interested I'll help out with the links. ...but since I'm wasting your time, why should I even volunteer. The puranic version is the 5th washed version down the line!
If such coincidences as those referred to did not happen then statisticians around the world would be scratching their heads.
LOL, maybe, just maybe, Labrador Dogs are re-incarnated from Garbage bins in an earlier life, they sure eat like they are re-incarnated Garbage bins....LOL.
Were you a Pharaoh or a High Priest?
Since no one knows what is necessary to pass knowledge from one mind to another, no one could do more than guess.
I have a friend who is witch we used to work together she is a really nice person and very kind but she believes she as loved lots and lots of times before i think it is over a thousand she as a specific number she as worked out. Another thing i have noticed by claimants of reincarnation is how many Ceasars and Napoleons there are I think Patton claimed to be a reincarnation of some roman matybe Ceasar but i am not sure about that
If passing knowledge or memory down since the first humans was possible. One would think not much of original people is left, with how many people are alive today compared to all of human history. Just a deluded mess.
Well, we all know instinctively, for the most part that is, that moving/running water is FAR safer to drink than still/stagnant water, ergo, that knowledge has been passed down and become embed into our brains from generation to generation.
Also, a new born baby knows instinctively to seek out its mother breasts and nipples just as does every other species of Mammals.
As to why, then that is anyone's guess but I'd hazard to say that it comes from something learned by the very first off-spring of the very first Mammal to evolve.
Perhaps, just perhaps, somewhere encoded into our Genes there IS something that is, possibly, passed on from generation to generation to ensure the survival of the species.
@Triphid yes there has been much research into evolutionary psychology. We aren't born a blank slate.
The only true answer is there is no evidence. No point in believing in something until there is evidence.