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Non-linear reincarnation is one of the ways I have found to delve into the concept of exchanging self and other. This is part of my effort to expand upon my attempts at understanding the nature of my brothers and sisters in this world. While one may take this concept literally, I think of it conceptually, taking from it the idea that one might pass on and return in the form of someone they have known or encountered during their current life and become them in the next life.

Considering this on the conceptual basis, one must come to think of everyone they encounter in this life as someone they may have already been or may become in another life. This makes the key concept of do unto others and give everything you can to everyone you know more real. If you look at it literally, you can see the relative importance of applying these concepts to people you may one day become. On a conceptual level you understand the overall value of treating each and every human being as not only worthwhile, but as your equal, no matter their standing or situation.

What can you do for each and every person you come into contact with in this life? If it is judgment and condemnation, then one is merely judging and condemning themselves. If we can see what is possible for us to do for others we encounter, no matter what our circumstances and no matter what theirs, we benefit the overall picture. It is easy to be a coward and hate, drive away and even condemn to death those who do not meet our standards. It is harder to confront them on their own terms and work with them to understand what is needed for them to negotiate an understanding that not only allows them to function within our realm, but to want to function in our realm. All too often we aggressively posture ourselves to a point of view of "my way or the highway" and that is a losing card.

We are not all the same. We are not all on the same page, but with work we can manage to have the same book on our coffee table.


There are several faith-based premises I work from. These premises are important in understanding what I mean by the difference between the literal and the conceptual. All faith-based premises are, in my mind, conceptual. To make them literal is to engage in dogma. You lose all flexibility, and you lose the ability to understand and interact with those who do not share your faith.

When I say "conceptual," I mean that which you perceive as part of your reality but do not ascribe to being the collective understanding of a larger body of people. When I say "literal," I mean something you perceive as part of your reality that you believe all others must come to believe in as a truth that applies to all.

So, coming from the conceptual level, the premises I work from are as follows:

  • The external soul/Frames: I believe we are basically puppets of external souls that operate from outside this world. These souls are incapable of interaction with each other directly and create "frames," which are basically worlds like the one we are sharing right now in order to interact with each other.
  • Frame rationalism: Each frame works within its own definition. What we see as rationalism, that which works to assign literal meaning to that frame applies to that frame and that frame alone. One can find rational and scientific ways of explaining how an individual frame operates, but that does not include all that exists outside the frame, which is not literal but conceptual and therefore does not follow the same rules.
  • Personal spiritualism/Experience based religion: I believe spirituality and religion is something experienced on an individual basis. It can be helped by or assisted by groups who share similar beliefs, but only the individuals within those groups can define their own spiritual experience. Dictated experiences from organized groups, from organized religion, that do not allow for individual variations in the experience and interpretation invalidate themselves by making the spiritual experience literal instead of conceptual.

So, if you take all that and wash it down with a double shot of tequila, you may find yourself able to piece the rest of this puzzle together. Conceptually.

My consideration mostly takes into account reincarnation into the life of someone with whom you have had some sort of meaningful and memorable interaction with in your life, from their point of view rather than yours. By this I mean the people you are most likely to return as in "the next life" are those for whom you have held strong meaning for. Your meaning in their life might be very positive or very negative. They might love you beyond words or they might hate you beyond reason. You are burned into their memory. Not just their long-term or short-term memory but their soul memory. For one reason or another you have become unforgettable to them. And there are many reasons why people become unforgettable. Writers know this better than most people. We end up writing about them.

And it is important to remember the difference between someone being important to you in this life and you being important in their life. You cannot make someone recognize you, love you, or remember you. That is something they do on their own and you have no control over it...

That isn't completely true. The value of empathy is to understand what another person needs, wants and seeks and to try to deliver some small slice of that to them. Anyone that knows me well knows I have an ability to burn myself into the memory of others. I do it for a reason.

So, consider the people you have the most meaningful interactions and relationships with. Consider how you treat them and how you feel about them. Think about all the things you have done and thought about them. Think about all the things they have done with and to you. Think about all the things they may have thought and felt about you.

Now imagine you died tomorrow and came back as them. Once you have that image in your mind, imagine what would happen when they encountered you for the first time.

And work it from there.


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