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Meditation 357
Thoughts on Reincarnation (2)

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As I wrote in the previous Meditation, I do not believe in reincarnation.

But let's suppose...

Hypothesize that reincarnation is real in some way. Perhaps there really is a spark of undying life (or s.o.u.l. as a convenient acronym) that passes from those on the point of death to those embarking on new life, somewhere between conception and toddlerhood.

What would this mean?

What do we get from this s.o.u.l.?

Do we inherit memories? Except for a very small minority who claim some fragmentary palimpsests, there is no scientifically validated evidence that any memory of previous lives is available to us.

Do we inherit personality? As we do not know who we were in a previous life, this personality transference cannot be validated.

Do we inherit life lessons? Without memory of past lives, we cannot learn lessons from past experiences.

In our present life, are we being punished or rewarded for what we did in a previous life? We cannot possibly know. Whatever our circumstances, it is possible to imagine better ones or worse ones in a previous life. We do not know whether we are on an elevator going up or down. Given that we don't know what type of behaviour got us to our present life, we have no objective way of determining what type of behaviour in this life would ensure we take a step up in the next.

It is said that with every breath we take, we inhale hundreds of molecules once breathed by Caesar. Likewise, with every drink we take, we consume hundreds of molecules that passed through Caesar when he was alive. This has about as much significance as the concept that one of us might possess the s.o.u.l. that was once in Caesar.

Reincarnation? I don't believe in it. Perhaps it is possible, but it has no relevance in how I live my life.

It is just one of those metaphysical issues on which I'm content to say; "I don't know and I don't care."