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Reincarnation
Posted: Posted February 16th by linguistcat

I won't get into whether reincarnation in any form occurs in our universe, because I think that if it does occur, it's in a form that cannot be definitively proven by science as it currently stands.

However! Lets assume there is a universe where reincarnation exists and it happens in a way that IS definitively provable. Lets assume that if not all, then most people remember past lives that they've had, with varying accuracy/clarity, but they can make claims about the past that can be verified, even obscure things that most people outside of specific groups would know. If there are newer souls also created they would obviously have no memories, but would also learn that people are reborn and would expect that after death. People might even recognize someone who has reincarnated as their old friend through various ways.

The physical body you find yourself in, in any given life, would still affect you. People who are physically mature would still think differently than people in immature bodies, and if there were cross gender or cross species reincarnation, people might even be expected to need help adjusting or there might be more leeway with social norms.

I'd expect that if someone could be born into any culture from any other, that cultures across the world might be much more similar than in our own universe, aside from necessary adaptions for climate and small changes just for people being people.

If however, someone would have to reincarnate in the same culture or at least the same bloodline (so mixing of cultures wouldn't be an issue for being reincarnated, as long as one has descendants, or a close relative does), then things might look more similar to Earth here, but reincarnation would be a universal concept in all cultures. There might be some cults or smaller cultures that would say it didn't exist and have other explanations for people's memories, but they'd be in the minority.

Does anyone have any other thoughts on the subject? How reincarnation would affect morals, culture, traditions? Would it depend on how people are reincarnated?

There are 9 Replies

because I think that if it does occur, it's in a form that cannot be definitively proven by science as it currently stands.


How would you even go about proving or disproving such a thing? There's no phenomena to measure and quantify.

Lets assume there is a universe where reincarnation exists


This sounds like the prelude to a new collaborative conworld :)

and if there were cross gender or cross species reincarnation, people might even be expected to need help adjusting or there might be more leeway with social norms.


I don't think that would be a problem. There's a big difference between "remembering past lives" and "having an unbroken chain of one lifetime to the next". The first way you're not going to have issues adjusting to your new body, and you'd be as mature as your physical body lets you be. Having an unbroken chain of lifetimes, meanwhile, would do some pretty drastic things to the social structure, the economy, everything. It's basically the same scenario as if everyone was immortal and invulnerable.

If however, someone would have to reincarnate in the same culture or at least the same bloodline


A lot of historical ruling classes had this exact mythology backing their claim to power. I don't think it being actually verifiably real would change much, unless we're in an "unbroken chain of lifetimes" reality.


Posted February 16th by Xhin
Xhin
Nature is beautiful

I like your ideas.

But I just can’t see how cross-species reincarnation could work.
Or at least not cross-genus reincarnation.

If you were reincarnated as an earthworm I think your brain would have no room to hold any memories of any past lives.
And the next time you reincarnate the only past life you could remember might be the earthworm.

Hey! I just thought of something horribly insulting;
What if a past life as an earthworm explains people who gender-identify as hermaphrodites, or whose sexual orientation is bi?
Of course nobody with any sense would consider that in prime reality; but would you do it in a conworld?


Edited February 16th by chiarizio

If you were reincarnated as an earthworm I think your brain would have no room to hold any memories of any past lives.
And the next time you reincarnate the only past life you could remember might be the earthworm.


In some version of a universe like this, that could be a legitimate reason one does not have memories from farther than a certain point. There also aren't many ways in which a worm can show a personality or the like, so unless there's also the ability to "sense energy" or something - which is not at all warranted by the initial premise - it might be impossible to tell if a certain animal is carrying the soul of someone you care about. But for more complex creatures like most mammals or or birds or cephalopods or some more intelligent reptiles etc. you might have a good chance of retaining some past memories from being a human and show enough personality that someone who knew you as a human would have a good guess it was you. And then you could remember being a cat or the like when you reincarnate as human again.

Hey! I just thought of something horribly insulting;
What if a past life as an earthworm explains people who gender-identify as hermaphrodites, or whose sexual orientation is bi?
Of course nobody with any sense would consider that in prime reality; but would you do it in a conworld?


Considering there are animals in the prime universe who show homosexual behaviors, either exclusively or along with expected heterosexual behaviors in sexually reproducing creatures, I don't think it would "cause" someone to be non-binary or bi or any other orientation. It might be a factor that goes into how someone identifies and interacts with the world, especially if they were more comfortable with being one species than another, due to incarnating often as that species.



On another site where I posted a similar thought, someone did bring up that if we knew, for certain, that we would return to Earth in another body, especially if you might go from very very rich in a developed country, to very very poor in a place that is easily affected by other countries actions, or from human to a member of an endangered species, that things like climate change would be a greater concern for the folks in power, since it's not a matter of "I'll be dead before anything dire happens." It's not even a matter of taking care of their descendants who would be alive then. They, in a very literal sense, would be there and have to deal with whatever bad decisions were made.

I then also pointed out that people might put provisions in their will that if their reincarnated self could be located, that some money or belongings from their past self should be passed on to them. It would be normal for wills to specify, maybe, how long the search would be conducted or how to know it was them. In the universes where one might reincarnate into a non-human, there might even be provisions for that too!

Posted February 17th by linguistcat

Several good points, especially in your last two paragraphs.

Posted February 17th by chiarizio

I think I mentioned on another site that I could go for a religion that taught reincarnation as long as it was random what the class and gender and race and location you might be reincarnated as. If we might be reincarnated as practically any mammal —— not just a primate —— it might also prompt more responsibility to the environment, at least as regards things like habitat-destruction; and also, humane and ethical treatment of animals

Posted February 19th by chiarizio

Is there such a thing as reintarnation? If so, what is it?

Posted February 19th by chiarizio

Is there such a thing as reintarnation? If so, what is it?



Maybe putting someone back into tar once they have escaped?

I did think of some things that might be immoral when viewed from our universe, that might be seen as perfectly fine by people in a "Provable Reincarnation Universe".

If a married couple or pair of lovers died and got reincarnated as relatives, would people still view it as immoral if they decided to continue the relationship in their new life? Or would they be expected to act as relatives and encouraged to find new partners in that life, regardless of how they feel?

Or if a married couple/lovers reincarnated at different times but both still remembered when they met up again. That might be fine if they're both adults when they meet again, but if one is an adult physically and the other is a teen, or a child, that could be awkward at best. Would people see it as predatory by the older member of the couple to continue the relationship? Or would they see it as two people deciding to continue a relationship after a change of circumstances? Would the new parents of the younger have any say.

For that matter, people who reincarnate together a lot might have various different relationships in their new lives. Maybe it would be expected to just forget the past relationships, and try to adjust to your current situation.

Posted February 22nd by linguistcat

Good questions. Answers IMO would be different, for different cultures.

Posted February 22nd by chiarizio

> Is there such a thing as reintarnation? If so, what is it?

=Maybe putting someone back into tar once they have escaped?

Maybe it’s an entire nation that re-intars (some) people.

Posted February 24th by chiarizio
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