The Scientific Method and Theories about Reincarnation

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by fiziwig, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Dr.K.S.Rawat

    Dr.K.S.Rawat Senior Registered

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    Scientists

    I read all the postings in one sitting,very interesting!
    Science is useful but it has limitations.Unfortunately, all so called scientists themselves don't have "scientific attitude" towards things they don't believe in.
     
  2. Wulfie

    Wulfie Dreamer

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    Hi,
    I read through this thread because it fits in with other threads on science. I appreciated learning about the scientific method. At least that one got cleared up for me! lol But I absolutely busted a gut reading Lone Wolf's posts, probably because I understood everything he said and agreed with him.

    I still don't see much difference between science and religion. A belief system is a belief system and whether it's conscious or subconscious, most, if not all, our questions will be based from that. A person believes something, or doesn't, and from that fall the ideas, questions, biases, and fears. That's all fine. It's an individual journey and what works for me might not work for another. I don't see a problem with people believing lots of different things. If someone needs to use science to verify things. Fine. Same for those who need a religion to do it. It's also fine for those of us who are fine not knowing or needing to know how to explain everything.

    What I wonder in all these threads is why do we need to prove anything to anyone for any reason? Are we seeking validation of our 'truth'? Do we actually need everyone to believe and experience and interpret life in the same way? Do all the rules of all the theories need to be applicable to everyone everywhere? Are we seeking the truth for ourselves or for everyone? Is it related to the need to be right or to prove others wrong? In ANY chosen form of investigation the expectations influence the results, right? Doesn't that mean that we're more likely to prove what we already think or surmise...even if we have to use the scientific method to rearrange things a few times?

    Wulfie
     
  3. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    Dr.K.S.Rawat, I thank you and admire you for your honesty and candor about there being a problem with scientific attitude.

    John
     
  4. DavidW

    DavidW Probationary

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    Rhyme or Reason

    As I understand it by all that I've read about reincarnation, the idea is this: A soul has to live many lifetimes in the physical, learning from mistakes and so forth and growing spiritually until the soul is one day perfect enough to be with God. Okay, I can understand that. But if God is so omnipotent and can do anything, then why doesn't he make us perfect in the first place so that we don't have to go through all this rigmarole of endless reincarnation? It seems to me that we are dealing here with a completely impersonal God who acts totally illogically.

    Personally (maybe because I'm a new soul who has never been here before this present lifetime...who knows?), I don't believe in God. Now, that's not the same thing as saying I don't believe God exists, but just that I have an extremely low opinion of him. In fact, you could say that for many, many years now, God and I have had a kind of unwritten understanding about each other...to wit, I don't give a fig about him and he doesn't give a fig about me.

    In fact, his whole show seems to be based on the idea of continual personal suffering...he even let his own son in Judea be executed by the occupying Roman army and die in agony on the cross totally perplexed because he knew that his own father had abandoned him. Is this the kind of God you can look up to and worship? Not in my book. The whole system is so terribly unfair. And if anyone cares to shoot me down on this one, well, feel free to do so. But you have to admit, I made some valid points.
     
  5. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    David, while I think your post is interesting, I think you have made a number of incorrect assumptions. First off, recreation isn't about learning from our mistakes, but simply learning. It just so happens that we use so little of our brain power that we most often learn from our mistakes. But I have also learned a lot from beautiful days, from the trusting nature of children, from a peaceful and relaxing moment, and much more.

    We also have problems when we clothe God, whomever or whatever he/she/it is, in a human persona. If God is merely the energy that formed the universe, I doubt if that God pays any attention to us and our petty problems. I don't for a minute think of a God sitting on a throne watching us, although if he/she did he/she would do little else but laugh at us.

    As for the Religion aspects you discuss, that in itself is a problem, since religion is man made, and so is all religious doctrine, in my opinion. I see the bible as an anecdotal blend of mythology and religious symbolism, and nothing more. And since over time books, some of them forgeries, have been added or removed from the bible, and it has been mistranslated and purposely edited, there is no way of knowing what any one book, much less its entire contents, may have been originally.

    It's my belief that reincarnation is part of nature's renewal and regenerating process, and that religion and religious doctrine play no role in that. God as a religion was created as a way for man to better grasp the unknown, and has become a way for religious leaders to collect money and exert a powerful influence over their faithful.

    John
     
  6. DavidW

    DavidW Probationary

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    I have to agree with you, John, concerning organised religion (of whatever persuasion). For instance, I have a sister who is a priest in the Church of England and so you couldn't have a more contrasting brother and sister than that. I think she's totally bonkers with her bowing and scraping and praying and hymn singing and no doubt she has an equally low opinion of me for never going to church. In fact, I am, no doubt, an embarrassment to her and a threat to her future in the church... not because I've ever done anyone any harm, but because she has a brother who doesn't attend church. After all, this is a poor advert for her religion, when her own brother won't attend church. But I won't be a hypocrite and sing the praises of a God I don't believe in and who has let me down a stinker in this life. So she has cut herself off from me and no doubt finds it easier to pretend I don't exist. Less embarrassing for her that way, I suppose.

    On the other hand, something or someone...who or what I don't know...must have designed all this in the first place...for us to have a spirit body and a physical body and I think that it really would have been much easier if we had been designed with only one body like the spirit body that never died and then there would be no need for reincarnation. We would simply just go on and on.
     
  7. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hi David,

    "But if God is so omnipotent and can do anything, then why doesn't he make us perfect in the first place so that we don't have to go through all this rigmarole of endless reincarnation?"

    What fun would there be in that??? :) ;) : angel

    No, seriously, I do try to understand, but at the same time I can't presume to do so either... :rolleyes:
     
  8. DavidW

    DavidW Probationary

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    Well, Charles it would simply mean that we wouldn't have to go through all the trauma and suffering of continually coming back to live on this plane of existence. It's quite obvious that whoever or whatever designed all this, designed it with a lot of suffering on our part in mind. Somewhat sadistic to say the least and not a very nice person or spirit to know, really, are they? There is an intelligence behind all this, but in my opinion, it's not a very nice intelligence.
     
  9. Wulfie

    Wulfie Dreamer

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    Hi David,
    For someone who doesn't believe in God you sure sound ticked off at HIM. Is this past life or present life related? I've often seen such strong feelings turn out to be related to particularly violent and/traumatic lives; particularly lives that were religious like monks, nuns, priests, etc.. So I just wondered if this was the case for you?

    Wulfie

     
  10. DavidW

    DavidW Probationary

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    Hi, Wulfie,
    No, I didn't say I don't believe God exists...he exists, alright...but only that I don't believe in him in respect of him not being on my side or being in any way my friend.

    I have no idea who I was or what kind of life I lived in a previous life, if any, because I just don't remember. Which kind of lets me out of any obligation to carry out certain tasks that, before I was born into this life, I may have have promised to do before I was born this time around. After all, if I can't remember making any such pledges to some higher spiritual authority, then no one can blame me if I don't carry them out.

    However, there may be one small clue to a promise I may have made long before I was born into this world, but we have to go back 55 years in time to discover it. When I was a child, I was an inoffensive little boy who wouldn't harm anyone. When I was bullied, for instance, I just would not fight back, no matter how provoked I was or how much I was hit or punched by other boys. I would just roll up in a ball and take the beating without retaliating. Even as a little boy of five or six, I believed it was wrong to fight and to hit people and hurt them.

    One day, I ran into the house crying to my father that this boy had been hitting me. My father strode out of the house and grabbed the boy and pinned him against him securely by his arms, so that the boy could not move out of my father's very strong grasp. "He can't harm you now", said my father. "Go on, hit him! Hit him as hard as you can and keep hitting him!" Well, I just stood there, looking at this strange scene. But I could not hit the boy, even though he was totally defenceless and it would have been easy for me to do so. My father just looked at me kind of disgusted and eventually let the boy go, who ran off, laughing. That was what I was like back then. These days, I would have killed the little swine. So my ideas in this respect have changed a great deal since I was little. What drove it out of me? Well, maybe life has dealt me just one blow too many since those days.
     
  11. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    DavidW, I don't think it's a matter of us making promises from one life to another, Instead I think we have lessons to learn. Very possibly your lack of action as a boy was a lesson you needed to learn. And you're feelings about the way you were then might well be another lesson. Maybe if you adjust your thought process from one looking for promises made to where you consider what lessons you've learned in your life, you'll discover that you life has had more meaning and purpose that you think.

    John
     
  12. DavidW

    DavidW Probationary

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    That's a very profound thought, John and one for me to think about.
     
  13. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    If you'd care to PM me to discuss it further David, be my guest.

    John
     
  14. hedpe9999

    hedpe9999 New Member

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    That's how some groups view reincarnation. In Eastern religions it varies. In the Vedas, reincarnation was viewed in a positive light; by the time of Upanishads it was considered to be completely meaningless. Buddhists and Jains (both non-theistic religions) have always viewed it as a meaningless cause-effect process.
     
  15. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Hmmmmm. The eternal question - "Why am I here?".

    I don't think too many people participating in this forum doubt that there is such a thing as reincarnation, as most of us have first hand experience with it (whether we could prove that in a laboratory sufficiently to convince a hardened sceptic or not).

    I think most of us agree that there is 'something' that is carrying on from one life to the next which seems to be able to recall incidents from the past, whether you call it the 'soul' or the personality or the mind or the spirit or the etheric body or Fred is of little consequence as far as I am concerned.

    There are many theories as to why this happens. Is it a cosmic joke? Is life on earth a 'school' to teach us to evolve? Is it an accident? Is it 'just for fun'? Is it all a product of the intricate and inscrutable dreaming mind of God (however you conceive her)? Is it all of the above?

    I certainly don't have the answer.
     
  16. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    So true Tanguerra. No one has the answer, in spite of what some folks might claim. I figure I'm here, I'm going to keep reincarnating, so why not enjoy myself and hopefully learn a few lessons along the way. Why isn't important, doing is.

    John
     
  17. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Being and doing

    I was pondering this weighty question last night, as you do. My thoughts as yet are somewhat nebulous, but this is where I am up to...

    I thought, well, if the life of the Spirit (however you conceive her) is disincarnate, outside of space, time and matter, it's essential nature is simply to 'be'. When you come down to it, in the end 'just is' is the answer that is usually given to those who have toiled up the mountain to find a holy man to explain the meaning of life, or have sat in meditation or undertaken various other arduous means looking for 'the answer'....

    The nature of life in the material world, on the other hand, is all about 'doing' - living, dying, breathing, eating, falling in and out of love, getting upset, running around doing things, getting into various scrapes. Perhaps life, with all its turmoil and excitement is just 'something to do'? Perhaps it is simply one expression of the experience of the Spirit (however you conceive her)?

    The key to solving the riddle is to see through the illusion of matter (as many Eastern philosophies continually exhort us to do) and realise that it is really all about 'being' and reaching a state of some detachment from the adventures of the world of matter - ridding the self of 'desire' as they say. Certainly various mystics seem to be able to conquer matter; go without food, water, shelter and so forth, materialise objects and many other 'impossible' reality bending feats. Perhaps those of us who recall past lives, sometimes simultaneous ones and otherwise strange combinations, are in a 'box seat' to view the illusion. It certainly does odd things to one's perception of time and self.

    Once having reached 'enlightenment', no longer distracted by the illusion, one gets to run around 'doing' and 'being' things at a more spiritual level - like going to the next level in a video game. Perhaps this is what our friends the 'spirit guides' and angels and so forth are up to? They still seem to take a very active interest in the affairs of humans, and may even, in fact be our very own higher selves.

    At its highest level everything just 'is' without purpose, beginning or end or a need for one?
     
  18. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I agree with most of what you said Tanguerra. But I do think there is always a purpose. I also have an idea that some of us might just happen to be spiritual guides, and maybe even angels, but not be aware of the fact. Then again, maybe we become spiritual guides and angels simply by setting an example.

    John
     
  19. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hi Tanguerra,

    They still seem to take a very active interest in the affairs of humans, and may even, in fact be our very own higher selves.

    At its highest level everything just 'is' without purpose, beginning or end or a need for one?


    My view is that the mission of Spiritual Guides is to assist those who are incarnated in their spiritual progress and development. It is a mission conceeded to all spirits ("us") who have attained a certain degree of development. And certainly, in my view, EVERYTHING in the universe has a purpose. There are no "coincidences". As Einstein said: I don't believe that God rolls dice... :) ;)
     
  20. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes John and Charles that would be pretty much what I am saying.

    It is not neccessary that there is a linear-time progression from 'human' to 'spirit guide' (as per the video game levels, or school or evolution metaphors). But this might all be happening at once, so to speak. I have wondered about this elsewhere, but what exactly are we up to when we are asleep? What are dreams for? Surely there would be an evolutionary advantage to not needing to sleep, but yet all animals do it, despite the way that it places the organism in a vulnerable state. Why is it so important? Why do we spend a third of our lives doing it? I wonder what adventures our spirit is getting up to at night?

    As to purpose - it would not surprise me if there is one - I just don't pretend to know what it is! If you accept the notion that there is no time, and therefore no beginning or end at these metaphysical levels, it tends to take the 'narrative' out of the equation. If there is no 'destination'...what then does this do to the concept of a 'goal' or 'purpose'?
     
  21. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hi Tanguerra,

    Well, this is the whole point... :) As you know, I cannot see the process as non-linear. To me, our "destination" is to evolve and progress. THIS is the purpose. To become a spiritual guide, we have to have reached a certain degree of spiritual advancement. The counterpart are entities who, due to their lesser advancement, work as "obsessor entities" rather than guides (and which have often, throughout the years, been confused with "devils" or interpreted as "demonic possession"). I have personally encountered the such in my years of involvement with spiritism.

    As for sleep, my understanding is that when we are asleep our Soul/Spirit goes out-of-body and wanders to different places, hence our dreams (though not all dreams are OBE. Some are symbolic or "mental").

    To me, the purpose of life and reincarnation is precisely for our spiritual evolution, which necessarily implies in linearity. To me, the Soul/Spirit is individual and unique, indestructible and eternal. And no Soul/Spirit is ever at rest, but constantly active, even after having reached higher levels of spiritual development, for then it becomes responsible for aiding and assisting in the development of others...
     
  22. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Ok Charles.

    I understand and agree that there are so-called 'higher' and 'lower' levels of existence to this human one. I understand that one possible purpose in life would be to 'evolve' from a lower level to a higher one. But then what happens?
     
  23. Green26

    Green26 Senior Registered

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    Hi Charles and Tanguerra,

    Charles, I can see where you are coming from regarding your belief about non-linear time because I have been pondering it for a few years myself before I started to get my head around it.

    I have read in many different sources that time does not exist or that time is an illusion, however this is not how I see it. Instead of there being no time I think of it as ALL TIME existing simultaneously. However if everything is happening right now how can we have free will? If everything was preordained by a higher being there would be very little meaning to our earthly existence but I do not think that this is the case.

    An analogy for non-linear time would be some very entertaining books I read when I was a kid called "Choose Your Own Adventure Books" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure)

    In these books you as the main character get to choose what to do every couple of pages, by going to different pages in the book depending on your decision. For each different decision you make the story will have a different ending. However all pages and different possibilities in the book exist SIMULTANIOUSLY. Therefore all possibilities from the past present and future exist simultaneously on higher dimensions which is consistent with the holographic theory. Depending on our own choices the good or the not so good possibilities will manifest in our own level of reality.

    So in my humble opinion, I see all of our lives existing simultaneously as an entire bookshelf of Choose Your Own Adventure books with many many different possibilities and outcomes which are dependant on our choices. I am not 100% certain but we may learn lessons and progress through our many books in a linear fashion.:thumbsup:
     
  24. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    That's the best metaphor to explain it yet Green26.

    Even though 'time' just is, our minds experience it in a linear fashion, because that is just how we are 'wired'/otherwise we would be overwhelmed/that is the essential nature of existence in the material world.

    Still does not answer the 'why' question, but greater minds than ours have been stumped by that one! :laugh:
     
  25. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hi Tanguerra,

    "Still does not answer the 'why' question..."

    Well, I have been trying... :rolleyes: ;) What then? I believe we move onto more advanced worlds. The universe is infinite. So is our process of progress and learning.

    Hi Green,

    Yes, it is said that there is no time in the spiritual realms, but "time" is just a concept to explain sequences of events. Are there no "sequences of events" in the spiritual realm? Of course there must be... I have no doubt that "time" is perceived differently, but nevertheless there is linearity.

    In my view, we, as Souls, are indivisible and unique. Simultaneous lives and time don't fit into the equation. As you said, where would free will be? What would be the purpose of reincarnation? To me, the answer is quite simple...
     
  26. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    How can they, when faced with the question of proving how something works (not 'why', science doesn't know 'why' gravity works, either) without any method of obtaining hard data, a coherent hypothesis, or test subjects that can give them case studies with enough information in them?

    And, how can any scientist have a 'scientific attitude' when they see the sorts of books clinicians are writing to showcase their past lives case studies, which are written in a tone filled with either awe and wonder or grave mystery, and utilize a variety of different, but not concise or clear theories.

    The clinicians are the scientists, but they don't have sufficient case studies required to provide proof. A few memories from a single life does not give you enough datapoints for statistical purposes, and if you can't generalize or calculate probabilities and trends, and predict outcomes based on your scientific data, it's not sufficient.

    All these psychological clinicians know that. It's how that field measures it's hard data, regardless of which aspect of the human mind we are dealing with. Although their personal experiences with their clients has caused them to believe in reincarnation, unless they can provide charts, graphs, and statistical probabilities, it's not proven.

    Their personal experiences have also caused these previously skeptical scientists to have spiritual epiphanies and become true believers. That's what happens when you convert a skeptic, you get a 'true believer'. This is a good thing on the whole, but it's caused them to lose touch with the scientists who are still skeptics.

    It does explain why when they write books about their work like other psychological clinicians: filled with case studies, and chapters of statistical analysis of the theory under discussion; theirs are filled with case studies, and chapters of spiritual theorizing and speculation of the particular reincarnation theory that is theirs.

    Science needs statistics that show how reincarnation works, not speculation about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and whether or not they are dancing the Lindy, the Virginia reel, or the Nutcracker suite.

    Personal experience is enough to convince yourself that something is real, but you can't convince someone else, unless you've got numbers and graphs.

    It's no different than trying to convince the boss to fund a marketing project-unless you can show him how that project is going to benefit the company-in money, or increased market share, or increased customer loyalty and referrals-and give him your predictions on how much of a benefit that will be-you are not going to get him to sign off on it.

    As long as the scientists involved haven't come back down to earth yet, and taken a scientific attitude towards something that has given them spiritual fulfillment, it will never be proven. They would need to focus on getting more lifetimes worth of memories for their case studies. And then start crunching the numbers.

    Phoenix
     
  27. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    I agree with you on this Phoenix. We are never going to get anywhere with the current approach, although some advancements have been made in gathering data in recent years nonetheless (compared with 100 years ago).

    This subjective, internal experience of past life recall does not lend itself to hard and fast experimental, repeatable predictions which are the stock in trade of the usual 'hard' scientific method. This is always going to fall within the sphere of psychology which is a 'softer' science and still relatively young to boot. There will always be the suspicion of trickery or self-delusion and the whole area is easily misunderstood by those who do not share the personal experience of it.

    I believe there are a lot of uneccessarily superstitious layers of belief which have built up around the whole area over a long period of time. It is not unusual for us to put things don't fully understand into the 'magic' basket, then it is quite difficult to get them out again. The sooner we can put a lid on the 'awe' and 'mystery' and look at this process with a clear eye the sooner we will get somewhere in understanding it.

    We don't have to answer all the questions at once either. The difficult 'why' question (which is after all where the 'awe and wonder' bit comes in) can be put to one side for a moment, while we take a look at the 'what' and 'how' questions. 'Why' is an important question, but perhaps baby-steps? We don't have to understand 'why' gravity exists in order to describe it and examine its results, after all. 'Just is' might have to satisfy us at least for the moment.

    Perhaps what we need is a gadget so that the internal 'movie show' could be projected on a wall for everyone to see? That would still not get around the 'self-delusion' accusation though. Anyone can 'just imagine' stuff, and there would probably still be accusations or trickery, so I don't know how it can ever be proven sufficiently to convince a thorough skeptic?
     
  28. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I don't think it's possible to convince a truly staunch skeptic. From my experience here and elsewhere, a real skeptic might read your replies, but seldom will discuss them, instead they have more questions to ask. And that isn't meant as a negative, just the reality of things. I'll always answer a skeptic's question, but I'd rather spend my time helping members who have just discovered the truth of reincarnation better understand it all.

    I think to many hard line skeptics’ reincarnation is seen as heresy, which needs to be destroyed. They see their mission in life as one of saving us from ourselves and eternal damnation. Hopefully I'm wrong and a few of our resident skeptic's will be swayed in time, but helping those new to the forums understand the many facets of PL recall seems a lot more rewarding and productive.

    John
     
  29. Phoenix

    Phoenix Forgot to play nice

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    A skeptic is someone who refuses to be convinced of anything, regardless of how much evidence is placed in front of them. Christopher Columbus knew about that-he could not get people to believe that the world wasn't flat. Everyone knew it was flat.

    So he sailed off to the new world and although he didn't prove that the world was round, as he didn't make it to India by going west, he did discover the new world, and make it available to the Conquistadores.

    You can't convince anyone of anything, unless you work in marketing. Then it becomes your job to do so. You change their perceptions about your product indirectly, confronting them directly and saying 'buy this' or 'this is better' does't work. That's selling the steak. In marketing, you "sell the sizzle, not the steak". And when they come for the sizzle, you sell them a steak.

    That's why all of the clinicians like Brian Weiss and Michael Newton start out by saying that they were skeptics before their clients started having past life experiences while they were doing hypnosis.

    Nobody came to them and said 'reincarnation is real, believe it', seeing it in their offices, in their patients shifted their perceptions of it. Instead of being 'out there, somewhere' it was right there in front of them. It wasn't a nebulous spiritual concept anymore. It was really happening.

    It took personal experience, not of having the memories themselves, but of having people consistently have memories in front of them, for them to be able to convince themselves it's something more than 'silly' or 'non-clinical'.

    I guess that's one way to convince a skeptic, have him do enough past life regressions until the "reincarnation happens" lightbulb goes on. :)

    Phoenix
     
  30. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I don't know if I have THAT many eons left in this life time. And I doubt I have the patience.

    John
     

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