A Question of Reincarnation

A Drawing of Reincarnation

In pursuit of further insights on life after death, I just read Children Who Remember Previous Lives by Ian Stevenson, M.D. In the book, a summary of fourteen typical cases are presented for various reasons. These were selected from a total of over one-hundred at the time of publication (2001.) Of these cases, many are confounded with problems. Nevertheless, the investigation involves the survival of personality after death. First, let us state that confirmation bias isn’t logically relevant to a question of existence. Dr. Stevenson explicitly states that it’s a rare phenomenon, not a common one.

It should be noted that to prove the existence of reincarnation, Dr. Stevenson only needs to demonstrate that one case definitively is reincarnation (see my previous post.) However, in order to do so is very tricky, since materially the old body is destroyed. It also should be mentioned that it is fundamentally impossible that all humans are reincarnated from other humans, since the human population of the world is growing, not shrinking. Thus, remembering being reincarnated is a paranormal phenomenon. In none of the reincarnation cases was it of any financial benefit to the family that the child remembered his past life. In most of the cases, regardless of beliefs, the mother dreamed that a spirit came to her prior to the birth saying that they wanted to stay with her.

The Reincarnation Cases

In many cases, the parents do not believe in reincarnation, but they’re converted into believers by their children’s stories. In those cases, the parents often failed to report about the child until the child was older, expressing regret over missing the opportunity. These cases were common in the United States, where religious or scientific beliefs led the parents to reprimand the child for talking nonsense at first.

Of particular interest is the great number of extremely rare birthmarks or deformities which lend support to the concept of Dr. Hans Driesch’s vitalism. That is, that embryology may have a paranormal component to a baby’s physical evolution. This conclusion comes from the deformities themselves not being genetic in nature; there’s even an identical twins case. In the case of Corliss Chotkin, Jr., an elderly Tlingit fisherman predicted his own reincarnation and stated two of his scars would be reborn as birthmarks in his niece’s son, which they were. In the case of Hanumant Saxena, there is also a prominent birthmark from a murder wound on the chest. And for Semih Tutusmus, he was born with a severe malformation of his right ear, which was externally missing, where his past self was shot in the ear.

In Conclusion

Full disclosure, I was not personally very convinced by most of the stories in the book. Where evidence was present, it was confounded by proximity to knowledge. The cases often involved families where the information was readily shared and likely forgotten. The most convincing evidence in the book was the birth defects. Nevertheless, I would never state that reincarnation is impossible, because that would be illogical.

If you are interested in watching a video which is directly apropos, consider the movie Survival After Death. This movie features Dr. Stevenson and his research. Do you have any reincarnation examples, books or movies which are more convincing than this? Please let me know.

Categorized as Musings

By Jason

Hi. I'm Jason. I like to start too many projects. I embrace the concept of failing fast and often, perhaps a little too naturally. With the help of my friends and family, I was able to become a leader in computational quantum physics AI and now I'm the Chief Technology Officer of a pharmaceutical company, Bound Therapeutics. Everyday I try to make the world a better place. In my blog, Simply Jason, my primary focus is on poetry, but I'll share with you my other musings, too. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

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