Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Why I'm Skeptical of Reincarnation

  1. #1
    jason_m's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,027
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Why I'm Skeptical of Reincarnation

    Aside from a few exceptional possibilities, I have big issues with reincarnation. In fact, Paul Davies summarized my issues nicely (https://books.google.ca/books?id=1V2...ge&q&f=false):

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Davies from 'God and the New Physics'
    It is thus largely through memory that we achieve a sense of personal identity, and recognize ourselves as the same individual from day to day. Throughout life, we inhabit one body, but the body can undergo considerable changes. Its atoms are systematically replaced as a result of metabolic activity; it grows, matures, ages and eventually dies. Our personalities also undergo major changes. Yet through this continuous metamorphosis, we believe that we are one and the same person. If we had no memory of earlier phases of our life, how could the concept 'same person' have any meaning, save in the sense of bodily continuity?

    Suppose a man claimed to be a reincarnation of Napoleon. If he did not look like Napoleon the only criterion by which you could judge his claim would be that of memory. What was Napoleon's favourite colour? How did he feel before the battle of Waterloo? You would expect him to relate some specific (and preferably verifiable) information about Napoleon before taking the claim seriously. Suppose, however, that the man declared that he had lost all memory of his previous life, save only that he was Napoleon, what should you make of it? What would it mean for him to say 'I was Napoleon'?

    'What I mean,' he would perhaps counter, 'is that, although my body and my memory, and indeed my entire personality, are now those of John Smith, the soul of John Smith is none other than that of the late Napoleon Bonaparte. I was Napoleon, now I am Smith, but it is the same me. Only my characteristics have changed.' But is this not jibberish? For what is to identify one person's mind for another other than their personality or their memory? To claim that there is some sort of transferable label - the soul - which is otherwise quite devoid of properties save to display some mystical registration mark, is a totally meaningless conjecture. What would we say to someone who denied its existence? Could we not invent souls for everything in this way - for plants and clouds, rocks and airplanes? 'This looks like an ordinary diesel locomotive,' one might declare, 'but in fact it contains the essence, the soul, of Stevenson's original Rocket! The design is different, the materials are different, the performance bears no resemblance to the Rocket, but it is actually the same locomotive with a totally new structure, appearnce and design.' What isthe use of such an empty assertion?
    Last edited by jason_m; 06-05-2019 at 01:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Uncle Ave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,547
    Mentioned
    118 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    Plato seemed to have a different conception of what memory means.

    What was it again?


  3. #3
    FreelancePoliceman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Maizistan
    TIM
    LII
    Posts
    522
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Well, obviously reincarnation presupposes the existence of a soul, and obviously if a soul doesn't exist then reincarnation doesn't make sense. That isn't really new.
    As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.

  4. #4
    LemurianLo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Eagleland
    TIM
    SLI-Si 6w5 sp
    Posts
    83
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Of course if you pass off the idea of the soul instantly as meaningless conjecture as the quote does then reincarnation as well as all ideas of the afterlife will seem ludicrous. The argument shouldn't be centered on reincarnation but rather on the soul firstly, which would be the means to allow reincarnation to be plausible. Otherwise if you from the gate simply reject the concept of the soul then of course you get no further in a consideration of the concept of reincarnation and the afterlife as the quote does and the conclusion is simply none other than immediate rejection.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    MI
    TIM
    IEI-Ni
    Posts
    10,741
    Mentioned
    268 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    You do not get reincarnated into another body, but your presence lingers in the air and a part of you gets reincarnated in many other bodies. And lots of times you are just 'gone for good' until you decide to show up for whatever reason, you are dead- not alive, after all.

    Most people do not understand reincarnation, because they have a childish, puerile or overly simplified version of it. This does not mean that it's not true though. Reincarnation is really real, just not in the way people hope- where they wave their hands and cast Full-Life and then blam, their dead loved one is back in full glowing form after a campy CGI effect.

    But they are actually more powerful now in the real reincarnation way, the way it truly is- they are more powerful as they are both non-form and multi-forms all at once, instead of the more limited version you knew of them previously; the one form where they were more contained and trapped- but better able to know and love you. I think it's a way to celebrate them even more, not be sad. Of course a part of you will be sad, because how you knew them is in fact, lost forever and cannot be reconstituted. If death didn't have a permanence of finale to it - it would lose all of its power.

  6. #6
    Haikus Subteigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    TIM
    Enlightened
    Posts
    16,352
    Mentioned
    299 Post(s)
    Tagged
    4 Thread(s)

    Default

    The memories you have are lost at death at the latest. I do not know if death is inevitable however.

    People have false memories, but that cannot be said to be reincarnation in any meaningful sense.

  7. #7
    ooo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    the bootie
    Posts
    3,301
    Mentioned
    228 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I believe it's possible 'cause "in nature, nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, but everything is transformed"

  8. #8
    strrrng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    TIM
    Ni-IEI 4w3 sx/so
    Posts
    8,886
    Mentioned
    44 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    It's real. And you don't need to have a memory of a past life to validate it. No one is going to remember being Napoleon, that's absurd; the point is that birth and death are transition points for consciousness, so a kind of forgetting occurs precisely so that the present reincarnation can be lived out "naturally," and whatever memory that occurs through that, is what it is (virtually no one will ever have a "pure" memory in the way the quote presupposes they need to; it's more so that it's possible to condense the past and future into the present through certain states, such that it's not about what one was or wasn't in this or that life, but simply the archetypal forms that are passing through them at this point). Some call it collective memory.
    Last edited by strrrng; 06-08-2019 at 06:01 PM.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

  9. #9
    Impermanence para's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    979
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think that the principal idea points to something i generally perceive as true of existence - constant flux, lack of boundary between separate things etc. So i agree with @ooo.

    ''You cannot step in the same river once.''
    @strrrng
    Your idea of reincarnation sounds like that the transfiguration of souls or essences ''reflect'' principles ala. gnosticism, the knower is the knowledge? And that the consciousness is vaguely aware of their current state, that is stretched beyond the corporeal but manifested in it?
    “Not to understand is profound; to understand is shallow. Not to understand is to be on the inside; to understand is to be on the outside.”

  10. #10
    strrrng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    TIM
    Ni-IEI 4w3 sx/so
    Posts
    8,886
    Mentioned
    44 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by para View Post
    @strrrng
    Your idea of reincarnation sounds like that the transfiguration of souls or essences ''reflect'' principles ala. gnosticism, the knower is the knowledge
    Somewhat. If the knower is the knowledge, it's in a slightly disjointed sense, i.e. the way the part finds the whole is different than the way the whole relates to the part. And I haven't really studied gnosticism. But I would say the transfiguration reflects not so much principles as states; I don't believe in a noumenal essence or whatever, just reflections of qualities that pertain to choices.

    And that the consciousness is vaguely aware of their current state, that is stretched beyond the corporeal but manifested in it?
    More or less. The current state I take to be a composite reflection of all the states that could happen...this is why you get people expressing themselves so purely during the first five minutes of their first acid trip. What I was getting at was essentially that consciousness does always know itself in this way, and that if it's vague it's just because of where we're at now...so it's not so much that your infinite consciousness is trapped within a body as that the multiple needs a vehicle. Somehow the particular always vindicates what the universal was supposed to be about.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

  11. #11
    Impermanence para's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    979
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    @strrrng
    With ''finding'' you seem to indicate that there is a teleology connected to the existence of consciousness - that the part is *supposed* to find the whole, whereas the holistic image never was separated from the parts, a non-symmetrical relationship?
    By the way, this belief in a interconnectivity between action, thought etc. and physical/spiritual state is a definite part of many religions views of the noumenal essence.


    The teleology of it may well be arbitrary in your view, of course. You're really just stating that there is this transfiguration/eternal knowing, not the purpose.

    Somehow the particular always vindicates what the universal was supposed to be about.
    ''vindicates''? In that the particular removes what could potentially be illusory in relation to the whole? Again related to the particular cleansing itself of the view of the part as all there is.
    “Not to understand is profound; to understand is shallow. Not to understand is to be on the inside; to understand is to be on the outside.”

  12. #12
    strrrng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    TIM
    Ni-IEI 4w3 sx/so
    Posts
    8,886
    Mentioned
    44 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by para View Post
    @strrrng
    With ''finding'' you seem to indicate that there is a teleology connected to the existence of consciousness - that the part is *supposed* to find the whole, whereas the holistic image never was separated from the parts, a non-symmetrical relationship?
    I wouldn't call it strictly teleological. By "finding" I just meant that the part always ends up establishing a somewhat more fundamental relationship to its context than may or may not have been assumed at the beginning. It's not some pseudo-spiritual "I was on a path, and here I am again" notion, just that nothing exists in "pure isolation."

    By the way, this belief in a interconnectivity between action, thought etc. and physical/spiritual state is a definite part of many religions views of the noumenal essence.
    Yeah, my problem with positing an "essence" that exists beyond/behind the phenomenal world, is that it ends up being a kind of recursive negation. Again, I don't particularly study religion, but when I talk of this interconnectivity, I'm simply saying that things are self-contained, and follow their paths in relation to each other accordingly; to me a noumenon in the strict sense is a notion that goes beyond this dynamic.

    The teleology of it may well be arbitrary in your view, of course. You're really just stating that there is this transfiguration/eternal knowing, not the purpose.
    It's not that I don't think there's any purpose, nor that the purpose is just some self-created point of input that is just there for context; rather, I have a hard time committing to teleology in this sense, because it just seems like a nice recourse, or something.

    ''vindicates''? In that the particular removes what could potentially be illusory in relation to the whole? Again related to the particular cleansing itself of the view of the part as all there is.
    Yes, the particular is always somehow an expression of the meaning of the whole—in the sense that, while it in and of itself is never quite "complete," it still at every turn reflects the whole in a necessary way. So it's not so much that it's cleansing it of illusions—as the whole isn't always exactly the most "real" thing—as just that a reference point does always seem in some way to emerge. It's a Hegelian notion I find rather agreeable.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

  13. #13
    xerxe xerxe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ministry of Love
    Posts
    6,257
    Mentioned
    87 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thought this was relevant.



    ^ great youtube channel, by the way.
    I never realized how many idiots there were until I logged on to the Internet. -- Edsger Dijkstra, Dutch Computer Scientist and pioneer in network communication (possibly apocryphal)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •