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Reincarnation Registration

Looking for life after death
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A lot of money and effort is expended on the search for life in space, but none is spent identifying possible afterlife among us. Proving reincarnation is difficult: a butterfly, that chooses not to cause a tornado in Kansas, might not be noticed. Maybe a special key could be designated on all keyboards in case some animal like a lab chimp might wise up and want to inform of its former life. The key would initiate a prio one email to the UN and CNN. Those reincarnated as aliens would just have to stop being ashamed of their looks and make themselves known.
FarmerJohn, Apr 23 2002

Skeptic's Dictionary: Reincarnation http://skepdic.com/reincarn.html
[jutta, Apr 24 2002]


       The things that gets me about reincarnation is that no-one ever remembers from a past life how to play ancient board games and instead people tend to recall talents that look good on television like dancing and ritual magic. Maybe this means that gamers escape the cycle of reincarnation earlier than most people ...
Aristotle, Apr 23 2002

       Wrapping spookiness with the disguise of technology does not make it any less spooky. How would your "special key" differ in objective verifiability from an ouija board, psychic/medium behavior, automatic writing, etc.?
quarterbaker, Apr 23 2002

       Good question. Or maybe one monkey on a keyboard, in less than an infinite amount of time, could produce some quotes from the works of William Shakespeare.
FarmerJohn, Apr 23 2002

       Everyone who has ever told me that they have lived before has claimed to have been in the court of King Arthur. It must have been awfully crowded... how many people did he have in his court, anyway?   

       I propose that we create a database of past lives. List not only your own past lives, but the names of people you socialized with at the time. No-one is allowed to compare notes in the present. You add to the database without being allowed to see it. Once all the information is gathered, we analyze it for consistancy.   

       I would bet a million dollars that there is no consistancy whatsoever. I would bet that any two people claiming to live in the same town at the same time in the past would tell radically different stories, and the list of their acquaintences would have no names in common. I would bet that at least one historical figure would have two or more people claiming to be their present incarnation. In short, I am betting that such an investigation would finally reveal that the whole concept of reincarnation is nothing more than a load of hooey.
Morbius, Apr 23 2002

       Baloney. And not even interesting baloney.
waugsqueke, Apr 23 2002

       Feel sorry for the poor fool who keeps coming back as a mayfly.
dag, Apr 23 2002

       keeps coming back and keeps coming back. thats groundhog day for mayflies
po, Apr 23 2002

       Maybe we could put all of the people claiming to be one person, like everyone claiming to be Cleopatra in another life, and let them fight it out. Then, the person who wins is declared "Official Cleopatra Past-Life Person."
Goddessalien, Apr 23 2002

       My husband has a Corvette that he claims was Darth Vader in a former life. Obnoxious thing.
bristolz, Apr 23 2002

       At work I once made up a little sign, and posted it in my cubicle, for laughs.   

       "Don't try to take it with you!   

       Bequeath it all to your next incarnation!"
Vernon, Apr 24 2002

       He's just "car rich" :-)
bristolz, Apr 24 2002

       I hope to be reincarnated as Glenn Hoddle, if I've been good that is.
brewmaster, Apr 24 2002

       A "special key" that sends "a prio one email"? Obviously, there's something here I don't get.   

       How does this prove that the animal pushing the key is reincarnated?   

       Why should animals be involved in this to begin with? The standard models of reincarnation provide for plenty of people reincarnated as people; they can make themselves understood as well as the next lunatic on the block.
jutta, Apr 24 2002

       A while ago me and a friend were discussing a theological issue regarding reincarnation: what happens when there is a discrepancy between the number of creatures dying and the number of creatures being born?   

       There are more people alive every year but I would imagine fewer animals (due to extinction, concrete, etc.). Therefore, to ensure a steady flow, the standard imposed on an animal soul for becoming human must become more and more lax each year. This perhaps explains the steady decline in the nobility of the human race, as naughty frogs who would, if they died 2000 years ago, be demoted to wood-louse status today find themselves elevated to humanity.
pottedstu, Apr 24 2002

       I think it just means that more and more of us will be reborn as insects.
bristolz, Apr 24 2002

       pottedstu, some of the logical problems associated with reincarnation arise from lack of data. **IF** reincarnation is true, just how many human-level souls are involved, anyway? What if there are 12 billion in the vicinity of the Earth, with half of them still floating around, waiting for a turn to get bodies?   

       Then there is the standard notion that comes from the anti-abortionists, to the effect that souls are created at conception. Well, suppose BOTH could be true, to some extent. Suppose instead of that 12 billion above, the number had only been 5 billion. So, until human population passed the 5 billion mark, already-existing souls simply claimed freshly-fertilized ova -- and after all the pool of pre-existing souls was incarnated, THEN new souls began to be created at conception. It's all speculation, so we might as well be free with the speculating, eh? (I recall reading one science fiction story about the idea that, NO, no new souls get created after the pool is exhausted, but soulless human bodies start to get born, instead....)
Vernon, Apr 25 2002

       I'd like to come back accessorized with the silver spoon in my mouth instead of the knife in my back.
thumbwax, Apr 25 2002

       No, you misheard. *He* has inhabited 2,000 assholes. (Allegedly.)
angel, Apr 25 2002

       Ahem. I'll take a quick risk at being chased out of the 'bakery on this one. My religious upbringing includes the belief in reincarnation. Animals are not, except in rare cases and with good reason, part of the cycle. Not everyone claims to have been Cleopatra, the maid of Orleans, or a knight of the round table. Most of us acknowledge that we were peasants and laborers, monks and soldiers, and commoners in general. Did you ever wonder why most people have an affinity for a certain time period or country? Or why the study of a foreign language comes more easily for some than others? I personally struggled with Spanish but picked Greek up like I had been speaking it forever.... Did you ever wonder why there are childhood prodigies or people who have *natural* talents outside of their upbringing? Why are some families close like they've been together forever and others seem to act like strangers to each other and members of such a family seek other people?   

       As for the problem of number of souls vs. number of people....we don't discount lives/existences on other planets....   

       <<ducks and runs for cover>>
runforrestrun, Apr 25 2002

       I might be a dog in my next incarnation. But that doesn't mean I must eat shit now.   

       [A free translation of old folk saying in my language - which aint dutch.]
neelandan, Apr 26 2002

       ..each to their own. I find this life quite interesting enough without analysing what I might have previously been or might yet become. My morality does not depend on what punishments or rewards I am setting myself up for.
sappho, Apr 26 2002

       Herr UB, not German either.
neelandan, Apr 26 2002

       One of the interesting consequences of reincarnation, should it happen to be True, is that we have to take a harsh look at the definition of "person". We ASSUME that all humans have souls, and that may or may not actually be true. How could we tell? If aliens happen to decide to make Contact, do we regard them as being people, regardless of whether or not they have souls? A soul-detecting gadget would be a very valuable tool! (Imagine that we poor Earthlings somehow get caught up in some kind of conflict between soulful and soulless aliens --and the soulless ones turn out to be the GOOD guys, because they aren't destroying everything in sight. Does the definition of "person" require a soul, or not?   

       Then there is the death penalty to think about. If we knew that souls exist and reincarnate, would we dish out death penalties more often, knowing the the essence of the guilty will have a chance to learn all-new behavior patterns, from birth? Will we invent technology to actually IDENTIFY souls, so that certain of them can be killed as soon as they are discovered (Genghis Kahn, Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper, maybe some others?) -- because we don't want to give them any chance at all to repeat their horrors?   

       And what about abortion? In terms of karma, committing an abortion merely means that YOUR soul will likely find some future body aborted before you had a chance to move into it. How much does that matter, when immortal souls can afford to wait for yet another body to become available (perhaps a baby that the parents actually want)?
Vernon, Apr 26 2002

       Ah, y'all are pups when it comes to reincarnation.
phoenix, Apr 26 2002

       Everybody run! It's Arthur Dent!
RayfordSteele, Apr 27 2002

       A belief in reincarnation is quite a worth religious view in my books and one as repectable as the current religion we know of as Christianity. In fact I get quite offended when the Hari Khrisna people claim their religion is the oldest inthe world when respectable religions such as Bhuddism and the Jaines clearly predate their modern, re-packaged faith.
Aristotle, Apr 27 2002


       Life: been there done that. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
Horus, Jul 07 2004

       If we convince people that reincarnation exists maybe they will care more about the world.
engineer1, Jul 08 2004

       I have a definitional problem with reincarnation.   

       You can identify another person as being one and the same person over time because of the continuous existence of their physical body.   

       In addition, though more problematically, you can identify yourself as being one and the same person over time because of the continuity of your consciousness. I think you need this for any kind of 'immortality of the soul' idea.   

       However, in reincarnation, as I understand it, neither the body nor the consciousness is continuous; even if you believe in conscious memories of previous lives, these are the exception, not the rule.   

       So, in what sense is the re-incarnation the same person?   

       Anyway, I'm going to leave a fishbone here for the sake of whoever has to write the spam filter for those high-priority emails. [-]
pertinax, Aug 10 2006


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