Maybe Reincarnation isn't so far fetched

SamSexton
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Maybe Reincarnation isn't so far fetched

I've been thinking about it, and if the universe is infinite then my body will be created as it is now an infinite number of times in the future, therfore also i have existed an infinite number of times in the past.

I wonder though, if it would actually be me or someone else who is exactly the same in every way. It's weird, i can't really define "me", i know every aspect of me exists within my brain but even devoid of any intelligence it's still my experience of life if you see what i mean.

if every life in the universe no matter how similar has it's own experience that is unique to it. then that "self" must be immaterial.

it's all so confusing 


Tarpan
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Eh... We are our

Eh...

We are our memories.  Once we die and our brain stops working we are nothing but static material waiting to be decomposed.  Our material selves goes on to do other things, but I don't think that is what defines us.  If it was we'd be more upset when we lost a tooth or lost some skin.


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Right. Think of if you take

Right. Think of if you take a computer and smash it up with a sledgehammer - the indivdual pieces of the computer still exist, but it isn't going to work as a computer ever again.

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Iruka Naminori
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I thought this one through

I thought this one through when I was going through an intense "fear of death" stage. Unfortunately, it didn't make sense then and it doesn't make sense now. The matter that composes our bodies does live on, but not our consciousness.

I thought about traditional ideas of reincarnation and realized there just weren't enough bodies to go around. Does bacteria reincarnate? How about viruses that are sort of on the border of living and non-living? Amoebas? Mold? It just didn't make sense.

No one can define what a "soul" is or show how it is linked to our physical bodies. So until someone can prove there is life after death (not likely), I shall continue to function as if there is no continuation of my consciousness beyond this body.

My Zen Buddhist voice teacher believes in reincarnation.  I just don't understand how anyone could believe in something so obviously without proof. 

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Tilberian
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It's confusing because

It's confusing because you're trying to apply the concept of infinity to the natural universe. That doesn't work because infinity is an abstract that can't exist in any concrete sense. Nothing is infinite.

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ABx
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Iruka Naminori wrote: My

Iruka Naminori wrote:
My Zen Buddhist voice teacher believes in reincarnation. I just don't understand how anyone could believe in something so obviously without proof.
Hrm.. last I knew, Zen (in particular) didn't really entertain such notions; anything nearing "supernatural" generally being considered a distraction of the "ego":

Quote:
"I'm a Zen Buddhist," I said, a little surprised by the question, "Reincarnation is not part of the Mahayana mystical path. It's very much a part of the Vajrayana or Theravadin paths, but in Zen, questions about reincarnation just don't arise..."

...

"...if we don't know how many times we've already failed, what difference does it make? Why not just assume that we've got this one precious chance - so we ought to make it count?"

...

"...Reality exists now and only now and the idea of looking for it in the future doesn't make sense in Zen."

http://www.hsuyun.org/Dharma/zbohy/Literature/essays/czs/reincarnation.html

http://www.zen-deshimaru.com/EN/sangha/deshimaru/q-r/0704.htm
(from: http://www.zen-deshimaru.com/EN/sangha/deshimaru/QR.htm)

Doing a search reveals mostly the same. I think perhaps some believe in it, but it's ultimately considered irrelevant, and doesn't carry the baggage of what is usually thought of.

I might be willing to consider the idea of a form of reincarnation that does not include any kind of preservation, continuation, transition, connection, karma, or anything else that would identify or connect the two existences in any way, or imply any kind of "soul". It would ultimately be completely irrelevant and have no bearing on one's present life, but it's not inconcievable to me.


person132
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If there is no connection

If there is no connection between the two lives, how is it reincarnation? As far as I know, reincarnation generally takes the form of "The x of person Y becomes the x of person Z after person Y dies", where x can be anything from "soul" to "consciousness".

If I am wrong on any point (including, but not limited to, spelling, grammar, and the question of God's existence), please correct me as quickly as possible.


Jacob Cordingley
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Even if all the atoms from

Even if all the atoms from my body end up in the body of another human being at some point (very unlikely 'all' or even a large minority) it wouldn't make it me. Although our consciousness is in our material bodies, it is the precise formations of our brains. Atoms might circulate around ecosystems, between individuals etc, but they'll never suddenly reassemble in an identical brain structure with identical DNA etc.

I do like the idea of reincarnation, it even feels sometimes quite a natural thing to believe in, more natural than a deity, but rationally I cannot accept it.  


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Actually I very much dislike

Actually I very much dislike the idea of reincarnation. Who wants to exist over and over again having to start from scratch every time, never remembering what happened before, and forever clueless as to what happens next? The idea is quite unappealing to me. I don't like having to repeat myself as it is. An infinate chain of repitition on such a scale......*shudder*

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Jacob Cordingley
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Vastet wrote: Actually I

Vastet wrote:
Actually I very much dislike the idea of reincarnation. Who wants to exist over and over again having to start from scratch every time, never remembering what happened before, and forever clueless as to what happens next? The idea is quite unappealing to me. I don't like having to repeat myself as it is. An infinate chain of repitition on such a scale......*shudder*

I've never thought about it like that. I still don't.


ABx
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person132 wrote:

person132 wrote:
If there is no connection between the two lives, how is it reincarnation? As far as I know, reincarnation generally takes the form of "The x of person Y becomes the x of person Z after person Y dies", where x can be anything from "soul" to "consciousness".
You're right, it's probably not reincarnation, although I think this is closer to what Zen buddhists believe (if anything) - you try again, but you don't accumulate karma points or anything.

Don't get me wrong - like I say, I don't put any stock in it and I hold no particular belief in it. I just probably wouldn't argue someone saying that they might start subjective experience of life again in another form, so long as they didn't try to include baggage such as karma, a soul (which they usually equate with many "lifetimes" of experience leading to "enlightenment" in a continuous and accumulated effort), past-life memories, etc., and so long as they didn't hold it as unequivocal truth. There's no evidence for it, but it's not something I would classify as delusional either. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for Zen.

Personally I just don't know. Most likely we just cease to exist, but I figure physics and neuroscience will probably eventually (although perhaps not in my lifetime) come up with some wild information that will probably not match previous notions Smiling Perhaps then religion can be put down for good.

I like to ponder wild ideas sometimes, but that doesn't mean I would hold any of them as actually being true without evidence. My mind abhors a vacuum as much as anyone else's, but I don't deny it's probably all there is. The only thing that I really believe is that it doesn't really matter.


ShaunPhilly
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Reincarnation is

Reincarnation is absurd.

What make sus us is not the parts, but the very specific pattern of processes that occur in our structure. If you have some files on a disc, then erase the disc and put new files on it, is that the same information?

What I find more interesting than reincarnation is the concept of the eternal recurrence. Here's Nietzsche;

Nietzsche wrote:
This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything immeasurably small or great in your life must return to you-all in the same succession and sequence-even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over and over, and you with it, a grain of dust.

Would you choose to live the life you've had again, exactly as it was lived before? What kind of person would?

What does the answer say about our desire to live forever, whether through reincarnation, heaven, etc?

Shaun

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Quote:  Actually I very

Quote:

 Actually I very much dislike the idea of reincarnation. Who wants to exist over and over again having to start from scratch every time, never remembering what happened before, and forever clueless as to what happens next? The idea is quite unappealing to me. I don't like having to repeat myself as it is. An infinate chain of repitition on such a scale......*shudder*

 

Is there any afterlife concept that actually sounds good? When you put it that way reincarnation does sound not only pointless but nightmarish - being stuck in a loop, making the same mistakes for eternity, but the christian concept seems worse to me. Eternal torture if you didn't live up to some arbitary standard that was never made clear to us in the first place or eternity with no reason to do anything, no challenges to overcome. Heaven sounds boring, I'd almost prefer hell.  

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Vastet wrote: Actually I

Vastet wrote:
Actually I very much dislike the idea of reincarnation. Who wants to exist over and over again having to start from scratch every time, never remembering what happened before, and forever clueless as to what happens next? The idea is quite unappealing to me. I don't like having to repeat myself as it is. An infinate chain of repitition on such a scale......*shudder*

But you would have no knowledge. Maybe this is your one millionth live?

ShaunPhilly wrote:
What I find more interesting than reincarnation is the concept of the eternal recurrence. Here's Nietzsche;

Nietzsche wrote:
This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything immeasurably small or great in your life must return to you-all in the same succession and sequence-even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over and over, and you with it, a grain of dust.

Would you choose to live the life you've had again, exactly as it was lived before? What kind of person would?

What does the answer say about our desire to live forever, whether through reincarnation, heaven, etc?

Shaun

I don’t think reincarnation is about living the exact same life over and over; rather you keep being reincarnated until you become enlightened, escape the cycle and enter nirvana. So clearly your 'lives' cannot be an exact repeat of themselves. There's also 'karma', which as far as I know, dictates the nature of your next life.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Brian37
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Let the original post serve

Let the original post serve as notice to Christians especially who think we solely pick on them. A hokie claim is a hokie claim weither it is Loc Ness, ouiji boards, "disimboidied beings", and this.

We do know what atoms are and the atoms that make up our bodies do transfer to various forms from heat loss at death, fuel for bacteria, and the bacteral waste the atoms become after being processed by the bacteria. But that is natural, NOT MAGICAL.

Our brains die and that is it. People who outlive us will remember us. but we do not "come back" and we were not "someone else" or "another animal".

This is just another example of someone saying to themselves, "I like this claim" because they dont want to face the finality of their mortality.

I find it quite comforting that my atoms will be utilized by the environment as part of a natural process. But I dont believe in supertitious claims that somehow my "spirit" or "essense" or "me" will be alive after my bodie dies. I will be dead and that will be it. No need to incert magic when nature is the most logical and reasonable answer.

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