Alternative explanations - why bother ?

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by Steven, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    3 - Seeing as "Reincarnation Happens", this indicates that the existence of the perennial Soul is probable if not certain. :thumbsup:
     
  2. MoonDansyr

    MoonDansyr Senior Registered

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    Don't forget bumper stickers!

    Actually ... I kind of like "lather, rinse, repeat" :D
     
  3. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Reincarnation happens alright

    There are certainly many millions of people who report past life memories even in our culture which tends to frown upon such things as being superstitious. Sometimes people are accused of making it up, trying to get attention, or similar by those who do not share their experience. However, it would seem to me that there are at least as many who have troubling memories which come unbidden and in many cases unwanted. Many of these people have stumbled into this forum in a state of confusion and anxiety, thinking they might be going insane - not trying to aggrandize themselves in any way.

    It would seem to me that reincarnation is the simplest explanation for these widely-reported experiences and attempts to hypothesise some sort of telepathic / universal subconscious / psychosis /what-not are not only more outlandish, but just trying to wiggle out of the simple explanation which is blindingly obvious to most of us who are experiencers. Reincarnation is certainly well and truly accepted by many of the earth's cultures, and indeed was once part of early Christianity until it was deleted about 300 AD (because it would have messed up some other theological orthodoxies). I understand that if you have not experienced it yourself it is more difficult to believe. But it is self-evident for those who have many and detailed memories, as many of us do.

    This was the same problem when people began to realise, by very careful observation of some fairly subtle phenomena, that the earth was not flat. It was just too hard for people to 'get' at first, when they could see with their own eyes that it appeared to be flat and they did not understand the calculations of those who had been observing the movement of the planets and so forth. A flat earth just seemed like common sense and a round earth seemed like arrent nonsense, not to mention somewhat frightening. There were attempts to quash the theory, because it challenged the church and its dogma and therefore its power.

    Perhaps the difficulty that some 'scientific' minded people have is not just the lack of objective proof that past-life memories happen (of which there seems to be no shortage by the way although there are many bogus cases as well to be sure), but the implications which they don't want to enter into.

    If the soul is immortal, what does that do to 'thou shalt not kill'. (Obviously we should aim not to harm each other because that would be unpleasant for everyone, but there are those who will ask these sorts of questions)

    This messes up many theological dogmas such as heaven, hell, judgement day, original sin, etc. It also messes up many people's outright, categorical, aetheism which can be a belief no less dearly held. If reincarnation exists there is 'something' outside of this material world that we cannot see or touch or weigh or explain fully. That is a frightening concept to many people (whether they admit it or not).
     
  4. zetascair20086

    zetascair20086 New Member

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    I have a friend like that. He'd rather not think about the possibility. He's convinced there is nothing. He figures we can't know for sure so it's best not to worry about it because it just complicates things. Oddly enough though he's interested in Buddhism, even though doesn't believe in it.
     
  5. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    Bingo! That's why I call the good people around here who tell me my belief in reincarnation is against their religion or that I'm going to burn in the infernal fires of hell with my lord and master Ssssatan for all eternity 'Flat Earthers'. It's the same kind of mindset as back then.

    Phoenix
     
  6. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hello everyone,

    Let's just be careful not to go into "religious bashing" here so the moderation doesn't have to delete any posts, ok? :) : angel

    If the soul is immortal, what does that do to 'thou shalt not kill'.

    One of my main concerns. I personally do not like the belief system of "we are, or will be, "gods"". My own learning has shown me this is not so. To me, based on my own experience, it is "karma" that works all processes out, including the negative ones such as "killing" or inflicting pains upon others... :rolleyes:
     
  7. Hendrina Grove

    Hendrina Grove New Member

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    Can somebody then explain to me why the interpretations of Michael Newton regarding life after death is not acceptable on this forum?

    I started off by reading his book "Destiny of souls" first --and can't help feeling that perhaps some time in the future this knowledge would be perceived as adding "knew knowledge" to the reincarnation topic. Interesting also to find that the book has no bibliography at the back!

    Hendrina Grove

    Hendrina Grove
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    Nothing.

    The Ten Commandments, a set of rules which are central to both Judaism and Christianity, originated with Judaism-a religious system that takes into account that the soul is immortal, and that it returns to life again.

    Phoenix
     
  9. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi all,

    I had better clarify my remarks of yesterday. I am not by any stretch of the imagination suggesting that there is anything intrinsicly wrong with the 10 commandments (which are perfectly sound suggestions by which to live a good life on the whole).

    I am certainly not saying that if you believe in reincarnation it is cool to go around killing people. Heavens no!

    What I am saying is that accepting a belief in reincarnation (as opposed to alternative explanations such as ESP, etc. etc) is unsettling and confusing to some people who hold some fairly rigid, dogmatic, and sometimes literal, belief structures to be 'sacred' (as in 'cows' and not to be challenged or contradicted - as opposed to 'holy' which is another thing entirely and in my view not challenged by a belief in reincarnation).

    I think Phoenix understood my intention and was agreeing. I believe his response was meant to be lighthearted and humourous, not disrespectful of other people's beliefs. (I thought it was funny Phoenix - I like a good giggle :D )
     
  10. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi Hendrina,

    Not familiar with Michael Newton's work so can't comment. If I have time during the day I will try to find out more.

    I know that anything to do with other planets, aliens and so on is off-limits, so as not to get the forum all muddled up and keep it focussed.
     
  11. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Hendrina, do a search for his name on this forum. You will find 43 posts about his work. I am not sure where you are coming up with the above perception? Did I miss something? Running between classes.

    Then back on topic please........
     
  12. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    That's right, tanguerra. It was intended to be humorous, in spite of the fact that it was taken from things that people around home have actually said to me (although not in the tv preacher voice, that's the joke part) in order to convince me to be Saved.

    Not surprising, considering I was raised by a secular humanist (otherwise known as an atheist), I find religious proselytizing deeply offensive. Especially when it includes threats of eternal damnation. That disrespects my personal beliefs and thus disrespects me.

    It's just part of what makes life fun in the Bible Belt for anyone who checks the "spiritual, not "religious" box.

    Phoenix
     
  13. star rover

    star rover Senior Registered

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    Could I get an Amen to that, Phoenix???

    As a person with a mixed weak atheist/agnosticist background myself, that have been exposed to sulphur-oozing "Hellfire and Brimstone" preachings I know **** well what you talk about!!!

    Panzer-greetings, Star Rover :thumbsup:
     
  14. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Open mind and open heart

    I believe it is ideal to try to keep an open mind and not become too limited by any rigid belief structure, whether it is a 'new age' philosophy of some sort, or Christianity, or Voodoo, or Hinduism, or Cartesian Rationalism, Buddhism, Theosophy, Taosim, or worship of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster from Outer Space.

    I try to read as widely as I can and find all sorts of useful and interesting ideas from as many sources as possible. To my mind it is not a competition about whose belief system is 'better' than whose. All are of interest and well worth exploration. People who criticise, or even berate, others for their beliefs are simply blustering pointlessly and should be politely ignored.

    I have found over the years that the more I read, the more I find that the fundamentals of all belief systems tend to come back to some basic premises (perhaps with the exception of the spaghetti monster). The details and cultural embellishments may be different but they are all saying more or less - seek harmony at all levels of your being, love one another, treat each other with as much care as we would wish to be treated, try to live a good life and be happy. Pretty simple really.

    Anyway, to tie all this back into our topic, it is wise to try not to narrow down ones belief system to the point where we paint ourselves into a corner trying to find explanations for things that simply can't be explained within the rules of our chosen doctrine.

    Reincarnation is the 'elephant in the room' in my opinion however inconvenient this elephant may be to some people. By the sheer volume of reported cases, it obviously "happens", as Phoenix says. I don't think alternative explanations really stack up, although I am willing to listen to them and examine them with interest. To me they sound much more cumbersome and unneccessarily complex when reincarnation is a simpler, and more elegant explanation, although as we have said, it potentially opens a whole other can of worms and contradicts many dearly held beliefs of some.

    People saying 'I don't believe in reincarnation' is fine if it makes them happy. It is difficult for those who have not experienced having a memory to believe sometimes, particularly when they have been instructed by their cultural belief system that certain things just don't happen.

    I would really like to see some work done on the whole process of 'memory' - what it is exactly, how it works, how it is possible to recall past life memories, how to distinguish a 'real' memory from a flight of fantasy, and obviously, the therapeutic uses for this knowledge.

    I am very interested in questions like 'what is the immortal soul' and 'why does this happen' but I would also like to see some basic groundwork done first. Perhaps this is all being done? I know there are many therapists working with regression already and reporting good results.
     
  15. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    Hi Tanguerra,

    Another thought-provoking post. I think I'll leave the Flying Spaghetti Monster concept right where I found it, on my lunch menu. I feel the problem is that many people who have religious beliefs see reincarnation as a threat, because they feel it's an either/or situation. Which is understandable if this is what their church tells them. If instead, they were to see reincarnation as an additional reality to their beliefs, maybe it would expand their faith. How this might happen, I have no idea.

    John
     
  16. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Quite so John! Reincarnation need not threaten anyone's belief in God (however you conceive her), spaghetti or Descartes for that matter!

    A belief in reincarnation need not have any religious implications at all in fact, although those who report these experiences also tend to report a strong stirring of emotion and sometimes (though of course not always) glimpses of the sublime.

    Of course, one of the main territories of religion has always been trying to answer the 'big' and mysterious questions - why are we here, what happens after we die, what constitutes living a 'good' life. Believers in reincarnation tend to feel they have the answers to these questions, but we may not have a monopoly all the answers, just part of the puzzle!
     
  17. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    Tanguerra, thank you for sharing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster link. :thumbsup: (Important safety tip: don't click on that link if you have a mouth full of any sort of liquid-it just might come out of your nose).

    I would too, because PL memories are memories, and should be studied as such.

    Something I would like to see is a study comparing brain function via various types of imaging systems to see whether there are any differences in brain activity while experiencing a conscious memory of a current life, a conscious memory of a PL, and during regression experiencing memories of current and PL.

    I'm curious to see what differences and what similarities there are.

    I would agree with that, tanguerra. Based on what I've seen in my own experiences with people, religion and reincarnation are more connected in the minds of people who don't believe in reincarnation, than in the minds of people who do.

    Reincarnation may be a part of our religious belief system (if we have one) or it may not. But if it isn't, that doesn't stop us from believing that it is 'real'.

    I have believed in reincarnation for all of this life, but it's never been tied to religion for me. I see it simply as a natural process we don't yet understand, just as I see the 'spiritual world' as another dimension (for lack of a better term) that we don't yet understand.

    Phoenix
     
  18. Wulfie

    Wulfie Dreamer

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    Hi everyone,

    I do wish I'd seen this safety tip before I clicked the link. Ah well, the screen needed a cleaning anyways. :D

    I would love to see studies such as those mentioned here on memory. It seems to me that that would open up more doors in our understanding.

    It has no ties to religion for me in my experience of it either. I agree that it's a natural process as well, but I can see why some people, especially those without memories, tend to view the ability to recall past lives as if it is unusual and 'unnatural' and therefore not true or real. When we view something from that perspective it's already begging for explanations. But when it's viewed as natural to us that line of separation vanishes.

    Memory is something we all have to greater or lesser degrees. Just because someone doesn't remember another life doesn't mean that there's no such thing or that that person hasn't lived before. It only means he or she doesn't remember...the way I sometimes don't remember exactly what I had for dinner two weeks ago Sunday. And there are tricks and techniques I can use to get better at remembering things. Why couldn't these tricks also be used to induce or improve past/other life memory?

    Wulfie
     
  19. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Great posts, guys... :thumbsup: :)

    I'm also glad I didn't have water in my mouth when I read Wulfie's post about her screen needing cleaning... :D :laugh: :thumbsup:
     
  20. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Googled memory reincarnation brain research

    Google does not really come up with anything. Just the usual stuff, saying that reincarnation is a figment of the imagination and de ja vu is a brain malfunction.

    This was kind of interesting and at least a little bit serious, but it is about 'sixth sense' (which in my opinion is a related phenomenon to do with having a 'warped' experience of time).

    Surely someone must be working on it with some type of seriousness? Perhaps it would be viewed as a career killer for a serious scientist? Even if they themselves experience having memories, they probably just keep quiet about it for fear of being laughed at!

    If you are out there reading this with your white coat on and biros sticking out of your top pocket, drop us a line! We promise not to laugh. We will be very interested and might even help (I would make a good guinea pig - just no needles please!).

    I wonder what proportion of the population has past life memories? I would think, in our culture, it would be less than 10%? Or maybe that is just those willing to admit it, or who take any notice of these stray random thoughts that pop into their heads about people wearing period costume?
     
  21. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    Now that would be an interesting statistic. Usually what you see is the percentage of people who believe in reincarnation, not who have any actual experience with PL memories. It would be very interesting to see what demographic correlations there are.

    "That houppelande is cut all wrong"...

    Phoenix
     
  22. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    Great article, particularly this bit:

    That I find fascinating, not only that it came from Carl Sagan, but that he considered reincarnation memories part of ESP.

    Thanks for sharing the article, tanguerra.

    Phoenix
     
  23. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Hi Tanguerra,

    Me too. Are you familiar with the work of Karl Pribram? He presents some early but interesting theories. Karl Pribram is a neurophysiologist at Stanford University. He first started researching memories in the early 1940’s and it was not until he found the work of Bohm and the hologram, that his research regarding memories began to make sense.

    Karl Pribram arrived at his conclusions separate from Bohm, and although they were working in two very different directions, the concept of the hologram brought to light multiple meanings and implications scientifically regarding consciousness and matter. Their holographic studies showed that memories also effect consciousness. Memories are viable portions of the hologram!

    I will have to check out your link. :thumbsup:

    Also Roger Woolger in his new book brings up some interesting points about memory and the difference between a memory, fantasy and imagination.
     
  24. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    HI Phoenix,

    About Carl Sagan and his latest:
    I met his sister-in-law Judy the very first year that the Children's Past Lives forum was up and running. A fascinating lady. Yes, he was open to the possibility, and so was she. ;) She is a psychologist in New York, or was at the time (ten years ago). It's been a long time :cool .
     
  25. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    You crack me up Phoenix! :laugh:

    Sometimes, I know I will be watching a movie and I will think, no no no! They didn't have shovels like that back then!! That hat is totally from the wrong period!! You just would not wear that with that kind of coat to a wedding!! Those types of swords had not been invented yet! This kind of thing.

    How I know this :confused: ? I just 'reckon'.

    It annoys heck out of my kids if I make an outburst like this out loud (I never talk to them about reincarnation or any of this stuff!).

    They go "Oh how would you know!" [Insert: adolescent eye rolling look at possibly senile parent]
     
  26. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    "[Insert: adolescent eye rolling look at possibly senile parent]"

    Tanguerra, you crack me up sometimes too... :D :laugh: :cool
     
  27. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Hi Deborah

    I had a quick google of Roger Woolger. He certainly seems highly regarded and an expert. Which book are you referring to?

    I think the Jungians would certainly be the most sympatico with this sort of work, although I read somewhere about a Freudian psychiatrist who became interested in reincarnation when he would use regression techniques on his patients, trying to uncover what he assumed must be a childhood trauma, and suddenly they would start talking about being an old woman in the woods or something equally unexpected.
     
  28. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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  29. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    We have established that Reincarnation Happens, and that The Soul Is Eternal. So after a 2 month loll has anyone come up with any other concrete concepts about the subject?

    1, Reincarnation Happens

    2, The Soul Is Eternal

    3, Fill In The Blank

    John
     
  30. hedpe9999

    hedpe9999 New Member

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    I don't think it's possible. Science gains its currency through mathematical models and/or empirical investigation(material causes and effects). That is why physics only deals with the simplest of physical systems. Once it is cut loose from the empirical realm, it devolves into metaphysical speculation and loses its power. Take a look at the current crisis in physics with the speculations on string theory and multiverses. Nobody even knows how to test these "theories."
     

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