Which recycle bin does my soul go into?
It’s Saturday at the shop and I have nothing to do, so I’m gonna write. I used to do this sort of stuff all the time, but I feared for a while that my job may have bled all the wit and creativity out of me. But after some recent events in my life, I figure my soul needs as much attention as my body, so here we go.
Reincarnation, simply put, is a return visit to the land of the mortals. And somewhere, recently, somebody asked me if I believe in its theory. Well, let me explain. From a purely scientific point of view, reincarnation is solid fact. Since matter and energy are interchangeable, and the laws of conservation of energy state very clearly that energy can not be created nor destroyed, only transferred, I can deduce that when a person dies they merely take on other forms of energy/matter. But I think that the proponents of this reconstitution idea focus on more than just the physical science of the whole process. The main question, I think, is more of a spiritual one than that of a scientific one. Does the human soul recombine to inhabit the body of another person/organism?
For some religions in this world, it is a staple of their customs and traditions. General Hinduism holds that a person goes on a sort of 12 step program to eventual celestial bliss, moving up (or down if I’m not mistaken) until they reach the top and get to hang out with Genish and Shiva, eat poptarts, and watch soccer games. And I think for a number of religions that teach reincarnation, this is the general consensus (except for the soccer). But for us, who grew up in America learning from a rich Puritanical heritage, the whole concept of reincarnation seems to be decidedly difficult to grasp. General Christianity has come up with the idea that you get one shot at life and if you can hack it - being nice to everybody; tipping the waitress, and not coveting your neighbor’s stuff (my neighbor has a Trans-Am, so I’m going to Hell already) - then you get to go to heaven. Heaven being, in the loosest sense of the word, a place filled with eternal happiness and joy. Pretty neat deal, right? Well, while you get to the party faster than the Hindus, you also apparently have more at risk. Should you screw up enough then you go to the anti-afterlife, and suffer eternal damnation. With respect to reincarnation, Christianity seems to have shunned and even spoken out against it. But their point of view never seems to have been adequately explained. I think it’s more of an old tradition that has simply been propagated through the years. Back when Christianity was in it’s infancy, they were in desperate need of man power to fight off the Roman’s attempts to squash this new upstart religion (did ya hear about this new cult the "Christians"? They are soooo poor that can only afford one god!). So a philosophy that stated if you didn’t side with the Christians then you were going to eternal flame and torture because you had only one shot, was very good PR at the time. This may provide decent reason enough for the Church’s long standing policy of no reincarnation back to the mortal world.
So now comes the bit where I simply hash out my feelings toward the whole theory of reincarnation. And before I say anything else, I want you to know that I consider it a theory because no matter how much faith I could put into it, I can neither prove nor provide tangible evidence in favor of it. So here it is.
I believe in reincarnation. I figure that existence, as an immortal soul, is a bit like a carnival. You wander the grounds looking for fun, munching on hot dogs, ignoring the Carnies and generally having a swell time. And from time to time you decide to ride the roller coaster of human life. So you step up, hand God your ticket (or whoever, let’s not be picky), and climb aboard. You get flung around and generally get the living crap scared out of you, you stumble off and you wander the fair grounds looking for other amusement. Such is life. You’re born, you have moments of happiness, moments of terror, moments of nausea (hence the roller-coaster analogy) and then you die. Some of the rides are fun, some are scary, and some you never want to ride of again. If you get reincarnated as a butterfly think of it as riding the Tilt-A-Whirl (hey it’s a valid comparison, have you ever really looked at the way a butterfly moves?). But eventually it all comes back to just hanging out and having fun (boy, am I from Southern California or what?). Each ride represents a different existence in tangible form, and each time it’s a new experience. So I feel that reincarnation is probable. After all, what fun would eternity be without times of unhappiness to balance it out? You gotta take the good with the bad. Besides, the bad will invariably make the good seem even better when you get back to roaming the fair grounds. And, yes, I realize that this is a very human statement to make. Hey, I’m human and I make human comparisons, can ya blame me?
As for Hell… well, as much as I’d like to say there’s no such thing, most of me resents the fact that people can get away with evil and die unpunished. But in all truthfulness the business of punishing souls is not a task fit for an entity so weak minded as man, nor is the understanding of the Almighty’s methods and reasons.