TED Conversations

Morris Bates

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What if...reincarnation is possible.

If reincarnation was proven as a fact, how many lives have, or can we, live? We don't know who have our past lives been or how can we discover them, so what measures could we take? Who knows who our past lives could have been and the process of discovering how they are all connected, if they even are. The types of science that could result from such a discovery can be innumerable, but what kinds of science would develop?

This is a fictitious idea, but please keep an open mind and responses in-depth and interesting.

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    Sep 26 2013: If it was proven as a fact there would be information about it. It would no longer be ficticious. We would take what has been proven to be true and base further studies and experiments upon those facts in order to further our knowledge. Eventually someone would exploit it for profit and find a military application for it. Sound familiar?
    • Sep 28 2013: Over a billion people believe it, it hast to be wrong.
      • Sep 28 2013: Over a billion people believe in Christianity, another billion in Islam, a similar number in Hinduism, another fair number is atheist, and more still believe in all manner of different and often contradictory religions. Some of the different sects of each religion even contradict its other sects concerning certain matters both mundane and fundamental.

        They can't possibly all be right.
        • Sep 28 2013: The topic is reincarnation at the moment, religion is whole other story and a no-win battle I prefer not to get involved with, but I believe your last line is perfectly logical.
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    Sep 28 2013: my faith taught me that i am eternal by my soul ,i can't prove it like truth and i can't change it for almost nothing is true.
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    Oct 8 2013: Morris,
    I'm wondering.....what if...reincarnation IS possible? Would it change the way you live your life here and now? For me, it does not change how I live the human life experience, because I am here....now:>)

    I believe in a form of reincarnation, and it does not "look" like what many people describe. I believe that the energy that flows through our body when we are living, is recycled, over and over again. That energy can be considered the collective energy or universal energy, and it may carry information from another time. I also believe what is called instinct and intuition is connected with the collective/universal energy. Well, I believe EVERYTHING is interconnected with energy:>)

    There is a little research on this topic....whether or not one is willing and able to accept that information, and recognize it as valid "research" is another story. I don't think it is a "fictitious" idea to some people. Here is one link:>)

    There is also quite a bit of research regarding Near Death Experiences (NDE), which is very common, and has been recorded for a very long time. I experienced a NDE, and with that event, perceived myself as simply energy. I saw the body, which was close to death clinically, on the bed in ICU, the energy felt almost disconnected from the body, and very connected with everything else. The body, appeared to me, to be a vehicle, which carried me through this life adventure.
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    Sep 28 2013: I think it's a very interesting topic. And I have thought of it many times.
    I guess according to my assumed reincarnation, I will possibly have three kinds of new lives.

    1. Plants. I'd like to be a tree very much(I always say that). In that case I can always see the world changing and watch human beings' performances from generation to generation with a low-profile.

    2. Animals. I think I have eaten a lot of pork ,beef ,and other meat in my life. To some extent,I'm involved in killing other lives. So if I am unfortunately reincarnated to these animals, I think it's also reasonable and acceptable. I hope I could die without much pain and continue to be reincarnated.

    3.Human. I'd like to be a kind and happy person.I hope I could be born in a scientist's family because I'm not very good at science this life. :)

    Thank you.
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    Sep 27 2013: Hello Morris,
    If you see yourself as an eternal spirit being, that an incarnation is just another semester in the Earth-school, that one can incarnate in other dimensions to grow in consciousness in different ways, and that life is an eternal adventure in learning and growing and experiencing ever-deeper truths - how does that sound?
    In this scenario, in your current incarnation you are free to explore life in the knowledge that you can never really "get it wrong", and that you can do much to speed up your own evolution of consciousness. Your mind-body connection is the teaching feed-back loop on how you are doing. No gurus, no religion, but just some people who are a few steps ahead of you to help you on The Way.
    Set this as a kind of framework for your life, and - ... the possibility of re-incarnation does not need to be proven; but you can have the benefits anyway.
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    Sep 27 2013: All unsolved homicides will be solved and all killers will be prosecuted. Perhaps nobody will kill.
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    Sep 27 2013: Morris,your question begin with"What if..."

    I personally think that live 1 time is perfect.How can you realize the importance of everything if you never have the chance to lose it?The time cherished,the love shared,the glory manifested...these things look even more precious since life is limited rather than forever.
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    Oct 9 2013: Reincarnation, rebirth was an absolute fact of life as per Hinduism, oldest and foremost of all religions existing on mother earth. As per BhagavadGita of Hinduism... evolution was inherent in all living beings. Life in cosmic system evolved in stages. All life on mother earth initially started journey as an amoeba... single cell formation (first manifestation in cosmic life cycle). It further evolved into multi-cell formation... then insect life, plant life, animal life and finally form of human beings!

    A senior professor of Delhi University, India recently confirmed to me that they had absolute evidence that life on mother earth initially started as an amoeba! We human beings passed through different phases of insect, plant and animal life... totaling 7.3 million manifestations on the whole! In human form we had 1.1 million manifestations to reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana in Hinduism). In absence of doctrine of reincarnation, rebirth... life simply could not move ahead in cosmos. All would become stagnant... decay and die!

    As detailed in Bhagavad Gita... we were primarily a spirit, a soul atman that in its lifetime manifested 8.4 million different life forms to cleanse itself of dross impurities within. Human form is the highest manifest stage on planet Earth. It was only in human form one finally reached stage of enlightenment and salvation moksha. To become a Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ or prophet Mohammed... one had to undertake spiritual journey. Becoming an enlightened one was not that easy.

    Indulgence in past life was meaningless. What if we came to know that our best friend in present life would be cause of our death in present manifestation! As our best friend in present life succumbed to death at our hand in last manifestation, law of karma demands that to nullify ills of last life, our death at his hands was inevitable! More on reincarnation - http://www.bhagavadgitasummary.com/Geeta-Chapter-14/Gita-Chapter-14-Verse-4.html
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    Oct 2 2013: This story really struck me. Here's an excerpt.

    You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
    “Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
    I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
    “You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
    “No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
    “Just me? What about everyone else?”
    “There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
    You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
    “All you. Different incarnations of you.”
    “Wait. I’m everyone!?”
    “Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
    “I’m every human being who ever lived?”
    “Or who will ever live, yes.”
    “I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
    “And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
    “I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
    “And you’re the millions he killed.”
    “I’m Jesus?”
    “And you’re everyone who followed him.”
    You fell silent.
    “Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

  • Oct 1 2013: large group of people believe reincarnation is possible, what different it make to world same or little different.
    You are thinking reincarnation is not possible and think what if reincarnation is possible.
    Think reincarnation is possible. so same or little different.
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    Sep 30 2013: No one can completely remember what is his past life This happens to facilitate certain encounters with our contemporaries of the past. If you hurt someone and need to redeem yourself (Karma), it is better for both not reminder exactly the fact.
    Anyway your spirit (or your soul) retains the memory and feel the remnants of that passage, in some cases this is one reason why we sympathize with someone or not with other right at first glance.

    We will reincarnate many times. The purpose of so many lives is to learn, evolve and acquire skills that do not have yet (like the unconditional love and forgiveness). When you already acquire those skill your reincarnation will end.

    According to Albert Einstein, "Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another" Hence our life is also may be one kind of energy and it keep transferring from one form to another and our life is also might be conserved. However I am not a believer of reincarnation if ever reincarnation will be proven as a fact and we can remember our past life and what happened to us before then it would be a great help to know more about our history.
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    Sep 29 2013: Knowing nothing about the religions that accept reincarnation, I looked this up. If I understand correctly the short synopsis I read of Hindu belief in this area, there is no limit to the number of lives one could live within that belief system. In fiction, though, you can assume whatever you like!

    We have several TED talks, including the recent presentation by Elizabeth Loftus, about how inaccurate and imprecise our memories are even of events in our lifetimes and how suggestion can place in our brains false memories. It would be reasonable to suggest, then, that if there were past lives, techniques that rely on recall from memory would yield very unreliable information about those identities and times.

    Taking your fictional scenario further to assume that one could identify the series of past lives- animal, plant, or object an individual lived, researchers would probably take interest in investigating whether characteristics of ones earlier identities or lives explain or predict later lives or whether the sequence, rather, appears randomly generated based on examinations of correlations in samples of large size.

    Of course if the researcher could access your past lives through you, he may also be interested in inquiring with you about some nagging historical questions.

    Are you writing a novel for which such hypotheticals can be useful?
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    Sep 29 2013: I've found another interesting news about reincarnation. It's said the 11-year-old American boy James remembers his former life as a renowned pilot in the US Air Force in the Word War 2. It's also said his story is going to be adopted by the Hollywood to make a movie.

    Sorry,I intented to add the link of the news onto here, but I failed many times.
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    Sep 29 2013: I still think there's always something current science can't explain. I've seen a report that people now have found the color of death is blue, so maybe in the future they can find out what happens to people's soul after their death. Maybe something similar to reincarnation.
  • Sep 29 2013: Life is similar to school. Most of what you learned the year before is forgotten after the temporary return to Wholeness/Summer Break. If YOU were made COMPLETELY Whole, would you not forget all that pulled on you in life? Would you not naturally forget all that kept you from being free. Would you not feel "Aaaaaaaahhhhhh, I feel so free I've forgotten all knowledge and merged into the Universe?"

    For the sake of God :-) inject doubt into your existing beliefs. All of them. If they are true, they will hold steady like a mountain.
  • Sep 28 2013: If it was proven true, it would have profound impact on human society, religion and behavior.

    The same thing could be said for a wide variety of other unprovables however. What if I could prove there is a god? What if I could prove there isn't one? What if I could prove that the whole world is really located inside a giant invisible tea pot?

    You can go on and on, but unless you have actual scientific evidence, its nothing but speculation. Might be handy if you enjoy a moral debate, or are looking to write a piece of fiction, but other than that...