Posts Tagged ‘reincarnation’

Ihsan, this post is mostly for you!

For those who are curious as to who Ihsan is, he is the awesome person that inspired the nickname with which I conclude each and every one of my blog posts: the “Sandman”. He is also a frequent reader and that makes him even awesomer in my eyes.

So, Mr. Awesome, let’s see what you had to say:

“Well, personally, “random person” and I were having this pretty interesting debate online not too long ago, about the existence of right and wrong and how “random person” thinks that they’re just barriers put up by societies to keep humanity in check. Where as I think that they’re pretty reasonable boundaries that we would have set up whether society had already put them there or not.”

Hmm, I’m not too sure if this can be related to reincarnation but I suppose it does strike up one compelling question, and that is if it’s in people’s nature to do “wrong” — as though it is almost expected of them — then how does that justify their punishment in the next life?
Obviously, the response to this would vary based on perspective. If you’re into religious laws of incarnation then you would adhere to Ihsan’s point of view; that rules regarding what is “right” and what is “wrong” have existed even before society emphasized them a great deal more. People who believe this are often fans of Libertarianism which states that every individual is governed solely by his/her free will and this ideology would justify any kind of after-death punishment for wrong-doing.
The opposing opinion would usually take on a less religious viewpoint, arguing in favor of Determinism:”…the philosophical view that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is casually determined by the environment. It is, in essence, the view that one’s life is predetermined before one is even born.”
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_determinism

This is where religion and free will clash. Now, determinism shouldn’t be associated with God’s Plan because it isn’t a constituent but let me give you a little example of the clash I’m talking about:
Okay, a car accident has just struck. You were an acquaintance of the person who was run over by a drunk driver (hopefully that will never happen to any of you). In order to console you, your relatives/friends will tell you that “it was God’s plan that he/she dies; there was nothing you could do to stop it.” Okay, familiar so far, right? Wrong. The thing they don’t explain is this: if it were God’s plan for your friend to die then what gives us the right to punish the “offender”? He was just a tool in the plan which means that it wasn’t his free decision to have one too many beers! Heh, take a while to chew on that one, all of you God’s Plan fans.

Okay, keeping up? So far we have libertarianism and determinism…

Then there’s the Human Nature argument (Random Person’s argument). As just another species of animals, maybe in it’s just in our nature to kill those who invade our territory or have sexual desires or steal from others when we are hungry or desperate for survival. It’s sort of like we are doing things based on our free will but we can’t really be punished for actions that take place for basic instinctual reasons, you know? It wouldn’t make sense. Religion puts us on a high pedestal, telling us that we are better than other animals because of our vast mental capabilities but if you take a minute to think about it, you’ll see that we really do act like animals and if society and religion hadn’t created all of these rules and regulations, we would have definitely succumbed to our animalistic tendencies in order to achieve comfortable survival and continuity of the species.

So do I agree with Ihsan or Random Person? I have to say I definitely lean more towards Random Person’s point of view but only because I have some understanding of the sociological aspect of life. If a child lives alone for years without anyone teaching him “right” from “wrong”, he would do as his nature dictates and resort to any measure to ensure his survival, no matter how “wrong” we think it is.
Society’s and most of religion’s rules are just a way to preserve moral consensus so that the human race can coexist peacefully but is that working AT ALL?! They are essential only because we have survived for this long withing their establishment. Punishment for crimes is just a way to keep others in their place; to continue preserving the moral consensus. It is not necessarily fair to do so as I believe that some people are forced into a particular way of living regardless of their “free will” but we justify their punishment because we are full of emotions and revenge is a human concept applied everyday to thousands of “criminals” who violate the moral consensus and threaten to destroy our familiar way of life. We are a change-fearing species, no doubt about that.

This, in my opinion, is the logical argument. That is why I argue in favor of practical reincarnation and not religious reincarnation. There are too many obstacles in the way of the latter, too many gaps that seem almost impossible to fill. God’s plan and free will simply cannot mix and yet somehow we found a way to make it work…which really terrifies me of my own species. =S

Ihsan, Random Person, if you have any questions just let me know! I’d be happy to answer them any time! =]

Readers, let me know: which argument are you in favor of? Libertarianism, Determinism, or just plain human nature?

Leave your reply!

– The Sandman

Advertisements

It’s actually interesting to take aliens into account when discussing reincarnation. We don’t know and/or cannot prove they exist but I’ll ask you all to humor me anyway.

This is a response to a question that Tofy had asked in “I Can’t Take it Anymore!”, which was the following:

“Does the presence of aliens affect re-incarnation? example: maybe the world is becoming more populated, and not all people are showing signs of past lives is because they were aliens in a past life!”
Hm. Well, Tofy there’s more than one way to answer that and because I’m willing to explore this issue as much as you, I’ll take each sensible possibility into account:

1) “Does the presence of aliens affect reincarnation?”
I guess so because, as physics would have it, all life-forms possess energy that is transfered from one body to the next (as explained two posts ago). If aliens exist, then surely they too must possess energy that is capable of traveling from one host to another, given the former host can no longer support the energy.
But if you’re looking at it from a more religious angle then I would say it would still affect reincarnation to an extent in the sense that aliens would still be considered life-forms with a capacity to do good or bad (provided they are advanced life-forms as high on the incarnation ladder as humans) or it’s possible they might be considered more of a punishment species for sinners on the highest point of said ladder.

2) “example: maybe the world is becoming more populated, and not all people are showing signs of past lives is because they were aliens in a past life!”
If aliens did not have souls/energy then that could be possible but it doesn’t really make sense, does it? It would make more sense to say that perhaps people who take extreme interest in UFO sightings have some reason to support their fixation; like maybe they were an alien in their past life but are afraid to suspect it. Society plays a major role in the suppression of one’s opinions regarding a controversial topic. For example, who would you think was “crazier”? A girl who claimed to be a man in her past life or a man who claimed he was not from Earth in his? We put so many limitations on things that we begin to believe everything is almost impossible. How do you think “God” and all these different religions have been established for so long? It’s because the majority people were raised around the notion that the existence of God is very possible while it’s ridiculous to believe in the existence of other alien life-forms. It sticks after a while, you know?

And let me just say one thing: if you see reincarnation in the physical light (IRRELIGIOUS VIEWPOINT)  and that it is not just limited to humans then the “increasing population” argument can be countered easily. We all know that trees/plants in general are now scarce in some parts of the world and that some animals are nearing extinction. We’re aware of the increase in our population but we can’t put 2 and 2 together and make that connection between a decrease in plants and animals and an increase in humans?
Energy from extinct animals/cut-down trees/dead plants = removed. More humans are being born = more vessels for that energy ==> people are born with that energy. Wouldn’t it explain why some people actually TALK to their flowers while gardening??? Apparently they believe that it would ensure their happiness and in turn, help them grow…

"I just had the most intellectual conversation with the botanist!"

Hope this helped you some, Miss Bitch (that’s Tofy, for those of you who aren’t familiar with his elegant nickname).

– The Sandman

So, we’ve established that my former self must have been a James in one of the following formats:
1) James Something Something
2) Something James Something
3) Something Something James

And to avoid calling my former self a “former self” mostly because I’m way too lazy to keep typing that, James will do for now.

So what’s next? Well, I thought it would be entirely selfish of me to lead you into the dark like this. Many of you probably don’t believe in reincarnation or find no reason to and that’s fine. I, myself, am having some difficulty solidifying my own views. Moderation with a topic as controversial as this is prudent, not only to preserve one’s own clear perspective but to avoid becoming an evangelist of reincarnation. I wouldn’t want to go about over-zealously preaching ideas I don’t fully comprehend myself at the moment.
But I have found one method to explain reincarnation and that is through physics, surprisingly, considering my powerful hatred towards all things physics/science/mathematics (hey, I never said James was a renaissance man). My old teacher and very good friend, Mr. Amin Abou-Ibrahim explained some aspects of reincarnation in terms of physics which at that point, I hadn’t thought was possible. He had this to say:

“Anyone who is fond of physics knows “The Law of Conservation of Energy”. Our soul is energy. It needs a material body to reside in. When this material body falls apart the soul leaves the body and since it is energy, it is bound to the Law of Conservation of Energy. So it is never lost; it passes from one form to another.”

Great. That explains the soul-hopping concept of reincarnation but what about morality? Why is being good/bad so very important if, when we are dead, we’re not to be ushered to the pearly gates of Heaven or suffer in the fiery depths of Hell? According to Mr. Amin and several others with similar beliefs, a person who is more acquainted with his/her soul possesses higher levels of energy than a person who does not even acknowledge the existence of his/her soul or spirit. In other words, those who meditate and focus more on matters of the mind rather than the body are therefore closer to and rewarded by God (an energy field, in scientific terms). Those who succumb to their physical desires (such as sex, clothes, et cetera) are at a greater disadvantage.
Please, keep in mind that these are extreme cases. Physical desires are perfectly natural and are not “evil” as the exaggerated message of some religions put it. Plato was one extreme case, claiming that in order to achieve higher knowledge of the Forms (Goodness), one must abandon all physical pleasures and focus solely on enhancing mind and soul. Frankly, that kind of lifestyle sounds effing boring. We live in the freakin’ physical world, the least we can do is enjoy the pleasures that come along with it. However, taken to an extreme, said desires and pleasures can be pretty harmful. Anything taken to a far extreme is unhealthy, including religion. Especially religion (watch Carrie and you’ll see what I mean). Moderation can be successfully applied to everything but if you manage to find some situation that justifies extremeness, then by all means leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

This discussion will continue in the next post. I would appreciate it if you shared an opinion. =]

– The Sandman/Possibly former-James