A more precise title for my post would be: Why I do not believe in reincarnation. Of course, one might ask: So, what? Well, if you read the rest of my post, I will hopefully state my case successfully.
The first thing that comes to mind is that it is an immoral process. The second is that it is also useless. It does not seem to lead anywhere. Its theory is not carved in stone and there is not a logical reference system behind it to support such an extreme interpretation of life.
I have written again about this topic and in fact, this post is an updated version of that article.
First, let’s see what we are talking about. Which word expresses exactly its meaning? Are you sure you chose the right word? Did you mean reincarnation or metempsychosis? Is it Incarnation or is it something else? I ask you because I, personally, believe that all this is a hotchpotch, and I do not know who or when it was created.
I do not imply that there is any God behind this entanglement. The Divine Power, which is what one should imply when talking about God, is not a person with passions, so we better not baffle him with our own emotional instabilities. We are the ones that mix things up.
What exactly do we want to say?
If we mean that we have a soul which when it completes what it is currently doing, will take a break and return to another body, then we are talking about Metempsychosis. If we refer to a higher force that “descends” and borrows a body, then perhaps we are talking about Incarnation. If at last this something higher goes up and down for its own reasons, then we are probably referring to the term reincarnation.
One thing is for sure, the body after our death becomes dust and we better not believe that it will be recomposed from dust to become a body again. Also recorded, from the thousands of testimonies of those who remember their past lives, is the selection of great historical figures as ancestors in this process. John, Nikos, etc., who believe once were Alexander the Great, must decide. One Alexander the Great, dozens of his current incarnations, does not exactly match any theory trying to explain these good indented memories.
I just mentioned a bad word. Memories. If man is his memories, we have a problem. Do we remember all the events of our present life? I doubt it. So which memories will I be able to carry and use in any following process?
We should look closely at some points because whatever is going on, it cannot be immoral. First, let’s look at what I at least characterize as immoral. Children who, for illogical reasons, suffer and die at a very young age. What’s this? Please answer without mentioning the absurd theory that someone else needed to take a lesson. This whole thing about the lessons to be taught bothers me a lot. The drunk driver who came from the opposite direction, and killed a child, does not give a lesson to his family and himself will not somehow be reborn to atone. Lord have mercy!
Some claim that the one who takes the lesson is initially the victim himself. Lord have mercy once again. What could have possibly children done in their previous lives to suffer like that? This compensatory view is for the naïve. And unfortunately, almost all theories, i.e., metempsychosis, reincarnation, etc., like to use it.
Let us first look at Metempsychosis. Somewhere there are souls waiting. Do they exist out of time or are they born somewhere and in order to become something they have to come down to Earth? The second view is not so strong. What can a single Earth do in a creation full of stars? Unless this is the reason, they do not really care about the body that they will undertake. It only takes for one poor male to fertilize an equally poor female so that a pure and immaculate soul can… what? Souls cannot be born, because what is born dies. And the believers of that theory claim that if the soul fucks that opportunity up, it will come down again.
From this theory, we should only keep as a scenario that the so-called souls are on a higher level of creation, created since the birth of the world, and take part in a process that is very difficult to understand.
So, if we reject the ascent and descent of souls, we go straight to the second theory, that of reincarnation.
Same as ever! Again, something from above comes down again and again. By simply removing the word Soul (psyche) from the term, we allow more freedom in choosing what comes down. Most people here use the term Ego or Divine Spark, but without explaining why. And the why goes to the repetition of the act. What is the reason for that? The immoral and the unjust remain the same.
As the rational people we are, we must rule out the process of going up and down. This is a pointless waste of energy and trusts me, waste is not a characteristic of creation.
The only thesis remaining is that of Incarnation. Here things are a little better if we can understand what is embodied. What resides in a human while he is alive is a divine spark, which for difficult to understand reasons chose this process. It experiences the individuality of the reality here and turns it into a ‘Lesson’. Up there, it is a personality, part of a multifaceted whole. Here it becomes an individuality. Therefore it learns what it means to be a person.
And when the person dies, the spark will return to the ocean of sparks and become a persona, a face, again. The same spark is unlikely to go anywhere again. It is even more difficult than getting a drop from the ocean and after throwing it back in, reclaiming it. The one who wins the lesson is the ocean of sparks.
The question that remains is, do we need that restart, or did we invent it to avoid the seriousness of our lives? And of course, what is the purpose of such a process is perhaps the most serious question that should concern us.
I cannot tell you much since I have already stated from the title that I have no answers. But I can say with relative certainty that the ultimate lesson of life cannot have the character of a micro-political strategy. To be clear, if the purpose of life is the deification of the man, then what he takes with him cannot be experiences of how a car works, nor how you can deceive someone and so much other info that have to do with the daily life experiences.
Eventually, man has to focus on this question in his life. If anyone has found the answer, I would really like to know since I’m still looking for it myself.
Many years ago, I started translating a book by Sri Aurobindo [check out his biography] and the following excerpt is the introduction to his book.
… The theory of rebirth is almost as ancient as the thought itself and its origin is unknown. We may according to our prepossessions accept it as the fruit of ancient psychological experience always renewable and verifiable and therefore true or dismiss it as a philosophical dogma and ingenious speculation; in either case, the tenet, even if it is presented like that, is likely to last as long as the humans continue to think. As far as its appearances they go way back, as long as the human thinking.
In older times the tenet used to pass in Europe under the bizarre name of transmigration which brought with it to the Western mind the humorous image of the soul of Pythagoras migrating, as a haphazard passing bird, from the divine human form into the body of a pig or a donkey. The philosophical appreciation of the theory expressed itself in the admirable but rather unmanageable Greek word metempsychosis, which means the embodiment of a soul in a new carrier by the same psychic individual. The Greek language is always to the point in its marriage of thought and word and a better expression could not be found; but forced into English speech the word becomes merely long and pedantic without any memory of its subtle Greek sense and has to be abandoned. Reincarnation is the now popular term, but the idea in the word leans to the total or external view of the fact and creates many questions. Ι prefer “rebirth”, for it renders the sense of the wide, colorless, but sufficient Sanskrit term, punarjanma, “again-birth”, and commits us to nothing but the fundamental idea which is the essence and life of the tenet…
What could the conclusion be? A life that we must spend wisely so that when the time comes, we will be recorded on the list of those who did not waste it unnecessarily.
One last thing, the icing on the cake. We must reject the dualism that characterizes us and identify ourselves as beings with the spark that dwells within us. Man is not the whole of matter, soul, and spirit. That is the carrier. Man is the Divine Spark.
Let’s start therefore not only think like that but also act like that.
Good luck with whatever you are doing.
PS. An approach to what the word ‘soul’ (ΨΥΧΗ) means for the Ancient Greeks can be found in the writings of E. Tsatsomiros. Using the interpretation of the letters, as at least I have understood it, we could say: The minimum that moves (ΦΣ = Ψ) which is contained in a material container (Υ) comes from an act of division (Χ) of the Deity (H). [Those bloody Ancient Greeks again!]