Reincarnation or Past Lives

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elengil
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Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

I didn't see another thread that specifically was dealing with this (if there is one, I apologize, please merge?)

I have heard/seen a number of stories on young children who claim to remember past lives, or say things like 'I used to have another mommy' or whatnot. I was wondering what people's thoughts were on that.

I admit to having few concrete thoughts on the subject. I am skeptical because children can be influenced by things they didn't understand at the time, either a dream that felt too real or a movie that got blended with memories, whatnot. But it seems that at least some of the stories are reported to be verifiable, at least to a degree? But then they are almost always "verified" in documentaries that are put forth as proof of such things, so it seems there may be no small amount of bias in that endeavor.

Has anyone ever heard of anyone who seemed to possess unexplained memories or knowledge of other people's lives, other places, etc., that has been verified through scientific rigor? Even if the explanation was not exactly reincarnation, have the experiences or memories been shown to have some basis in reality?

It's a very interesting subject verging on un-provable, but reading (or watch) about the experiences are fascinating nonetheless.
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"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Thanks for starting this thread; I don't recall having a discussion about this subject here before. I will have some thoughts at some point, but I'm not ready to say anything intelligible at this point.
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Alatar »

I guess to believe in reincarnation one would have to believe in a soul that survives death, which I really don't. However, I could get behind the idea of genetic memories. Just as migratory birds "remember" to fly south for the summer, or many other instinctual behaviours that aren't learned from parent or society. Given humans have more complex brains than most other mammals, and that 90% of the brain is still not (AFAIK) mapped I could certainly believe that certain brain patterns are passed on in the womb and these might contain memory structures that occasionally surface? But I'm not a neurologist. :)
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

Alatar, me and Sweetie were talking about it on the way home and that was one idea he had in terms of explanation that doesn't require any kind of spiritual belief. I remember watching some "documentary" (I use the term loosely, not sure if it properly applies here) on collective or global consciousness that (and this will be exceptionally badly worded so please don't nitpick) somehow subtly informs everyone of something that a large number or majority of people have known or experienced or something like that.

The experiment ran something along the lines of they showed a picture with hidden images to groups in the UK and recorded how many could see or find the hidden images. Then they broadcast the image on public Australian TV and specifically pointed out all the hidden images. Then reran the experiment in the UK and there was a marked increase in the number of people who could see the images. Now, half of my brain said "well yes but do shows in Australia ever run on UK tv? And Sweetie pointed out "was this before or after the internt?" and I couldn't answer that. But it was an interesting idea. I suppose if some people get a greater than average 'dose' of it that might let them remember a specific person's life, though that seems a stretch.

I did look up any actual scientific papers and found one through... I think it was pubmed, not attempting to explain the phenomena but just document it. It mentioned that one common theme is that it often involves memory of a traumatic death rather than just any random life or event. Several anecdotal stories did involve people who claim to be past relations which would lend credence to the genetic memory idea.

None of these would necessarily explain why it usually affects children, though I suppose if it did have something to do with brain patterns it could just be that they "remember" it best before other life events crowd it out? Or rewrite that part of their memory, or whatever - yes I know that's not how the brain actually works...

Man, I really lack the vocabulary to discuss my thoughts on this properly.
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Man, I really lack the vocabulary to discuss my thoughts on this properly.
I hear that. I'm still trying to organize my thoughts.
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Maria »

I went through a phase a while back where I was very interested in all sorts of metaphysical topics. I don't think any of it can be proved scientifically (or it would be called "physics" instead of "metaphysics". :P The person who comes closest is Rupert Sheldrake. He's written several books about the non-local nature of consciousness. Here's a couple
Oh..wow! Amazon says I purchased those in 2003! :shock: (edit: and I didn't know they'd put a "buy this" link!)

Anyway, lots of other stuff I read included reincarnation as part and parcel of what they were claiming to be reality. One such insisted that you could access memories of past lives through a specific sort of meditation. I tried it. I had a daydream of being a small brown boy street urchin somewhere. Starving and abused. Then I got sick and died in a ditch.

At that point, I decided that if reincarnation is a real thing, then I'm quite satisfied to NOT consciously remember past lives! Ack! I quit dabbling in that area of my mind and gradually accepted that whatever the nature of reality is, I'm happier not peeking behind the curtains.

Oh, and another instance of peeking behind the curtains: A different sort of meditation was supposed to bring my conscious and unconscious mind into sync and I'd be able to understand *more*. Well, it worked. I achieved a state of mind where suddenly my mind expanded and I understood EVERYTHING I'd ever wondered about. Why the world was the way it was, and how it worked and interconnected with ... stuff... After an eternity of that (OK, a few seconds) I started to come back to full consciousness level by level. At each phase, what I knew shrank. And I desperately tried to hold onto what I'd learned. But it shrank again, and I clung to what was left. And it shrank more, until all I had left was the idea that for a brief instant I understood it all! Everything. From religion to politics and down to cell biology and quantum physics. Everything.

Afterwards, I decided that if I'd managed to hang on to that huge amount of data, then it probably would have burned out my brain. And (light bulb moment!) maybe that's what caused the tiny dots of damage that show up in MRI images of my brain! Playing with fire and almost got seriously burned! I'm going with that as the explanation from now on! :P

Anyway, back to reincarnation. Yet another mind/consciousness exercise brought me a vision/daydream thing. I was in a waiting room of sorts with lots of other people/souls. And there was an announcement sort of service- explaining the circumstances of the next body to come available, with an estimate of its prospects. Some people/souls were so desperate to get back in the game that they'd take any character offered, as soon as they could. Others were waiting for just the right situation to come up and were willing to wait quite a while for it. I was waiting for something, and someone right next to me started jumping up and down and communicating that it would take the one being offered just then. Then the scene faded out. Not your average interpretation of reincarnation, maybe, but that's what showed up when I tried for an answer. *shrug* More of a waiting area for a ride in an amusement park than any sort of reward or punishment cycle.

I dunno. I've mellowed a lot since then. I know enough to know that I can't know what's really going on, and am willing to leave it there. But the peeks behind the curtain of reality were kinda cool. :)
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Maria »

Every time I mention those experiences online it kills the thread. Want me to spoilerize it so you can get back to the point of the original discussion?
For those scientifically minded- said experiences occurred before my treatment for Lyme disease, so maybe the spirochetes were driving me crazy and when they died they left little dots of damage in my brain? That's the alternate explanation. :P
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

LOL Maria, it's not as if this discussion was just zipping along. You didn't kill anything!

Your story did remind me of one I'd heard before but I can't remember any of the specifics like when or who, but I do remember the general gist of the story. It was almost certainly someone in the 1800's doing some kind of experiments on himself. He put himself under with ether and just before he 'went under' he had this epiphany of the deepest meanings of the universe, but when he woke up he couldn't remember what it was, so he did it again but got his assistant to sit beside him with a pad and pen and write down whatever he said.

When he woke up, the assistant had written, (best I can recall) "All the universe is permeated with the smell of ether." :rofl:


I don't at all mean to make light of or dismiss your experiences - this is just what it reminded me of, I think the similar kind of phrasing is why.

I do think there is that tricky aspect of perception is that we can have the most intense feelings, memories, or experiences, but we only ever experience them through our own senses. I think this can explain a lot of what people report as spiritual or religious experiences, or near-death experiences, or even memories that seem to belong to someone else - they may very well have had exactly the experience they say, they can be 100% telling the truth, but it doesn't always mean the experience was accurate.

I know there are a lot of experiments that have shown you can induce certain feelings in people with electrical pulses to the right part of the brain, or certain types of sleep paralysis problems can make you feel so intensely that there is someone there with you that you can't see... It really does call into question everything we perceive as reality to some degree, while also noting that just because it can be explained by some other phenomena doesn't mean that is actually the correct explanation, either. It's kind of that fine line between dismissing something just because there's another explanation, and dismissing any other possible explanation.

I admit I've never really had any kind of strongly intense kind of inexplicable experience myself. Like, even when I was religious I never had any kind of "unexplainable spiritual" experience. Maybe my brain isn't wired right, maybe my mindset isn't right, maybe I've just never managed to meditate "correctly" enough. I dunno. Maybe my life is just in matte finish where others have a high gloss shine?

It's all fascinating.
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion-year-old carbon

- Joni Mitchell (but made most famous by CSN&Y)

We are, literally, made up of stardust, and billion year old carbon. All things are interconnected, and when our bodies die, the components simply return to that cosmic soup of interbeing, and constantly reform themselves. Consciousness simply follows the same pattern.

That is my belief of reincarnation in a nutshell.
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Maria »

elengil wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:43 pm He put himself under with ether and just before he 'went under' he had this epiphany of the deepest meanings of the universe, but when he woke up he couldn't remember what it was, so he did it again but got his assistant to sit beside him with a pad and pen and write down whatever he said.

When he woke up, the assistant had written, (best I can recall) "All the universe is permeated with the smell of ether." :rofl:
Well, yeah! You lose language in the deeper levels of unconsciousness. He wouldn't be able to say anything at all until he was almost out of it, at which point he'd be to the level where almost nothing was left.

All experiences like that have to be interpreted by the mindset of the person experiencing them, which- if they are even similar experiences- would lead to quite different interpretations.

V,
Your answer reminds me of what Delenn said on Babylon 5:
Sheridan:
I wish I had your…faith in the universe. I just don't see it sometimes.

Delenn:
Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. And as we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective.
I know... fictional character saying fictional things... but it feels like the same sort of idea.
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Fictional characters say the things that reflect the real beliefs of real people who wrote them.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Maria »

Or they can reflect the sayings of *other* people that the writer has heard about:
Trivia
Delenn tells Captain Sheridan that we are all made of "star stuff." This is actually a reference to Cosmos (1980), where Carl Sagan says "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff."
And a quick google shows Carl Sagan saying that in multiple ways,
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

"Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff."

I've never read anything by Carl Sagan before. I think I will now. :)
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by narya »

I vividly recall having a mind blowing moment out of the blue, while in a car, waiting for a green light. Unfortunately, the green arrow lit up, and I had to drive off. Now I can't remember anything but the envelope of the experience, and a profound sense of connection with EVERYTHING. The connection is still there, in the background, but I can't really put it in words or make much sense of it.

And yes, Maria, you should read something by Carl Sagan - a skeptic with a sense of wonder about the universe. HIs words might be a bit dated now, but at the time he wrote them, they were illuminating.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

I grew up on Carl Sagan! I got Sweetie one of his books, I'll need to steal it to read myself one of these days. :love:


While it doesn't talk about any kind of solid explanation (though throws out some ideas similar to what we've already said here), it does have two interesting stories
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... past-lives
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Maria »

That is interesting! I wonder what the time gap was between death and birth? Or would it be death and conception? Or would it be between death and the formation of the mother's eggs? :scratch:
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Carl Sagan was a major stoner.

https://organism.earth/library/document/mr-x
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

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If I had to pick one, I'd put money on conception. Not to attempt to say that's when "life starts", but in context of this discussion, if a child has memories of past generations on the father's side, it would make zero sense for that to be tied to the formation of the mother's eggs, but at the moment the egg was fertilized at the earliest. I have read at least a couple of stories (not about reincarnation) of children speaking about their own birth, so the birth itself seems like it would be too late in terms of consciousness, so sometime between those two events.
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was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

How would the concept of cellular memory or any kind of "consciousness" tied to the physical body or genetic instruction impact organ transplant recipients?

Edit: I went looking for 'genetic memory' - https://www.bbc.com/news/health-25156510
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Reincarnation or Past Lives

Post by elengil »

I realized this morning that I did have one experience I could draw on to liken to Maria's account of coming out of a meditation and slowly losing the thoughts that had been so clear there.

I've had that odd sort of sensation when coming out of a dream at times. Sometimes I can hang onto them clearly and recount them, sometimes I can only remember the general impression of the dream, but sometimes as I'm waking up I find that as I actively try to hang onto the dream and remember it, I can't. It just won't be held, it slips away no matter how much I try to remember it.

I wonder what it is about those particular dreams that makes them so hard to hold onto, but I also wonder what it was about them that made me desperately want to hold onto them as I was waking up.
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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