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Theories of Reincarnation

By Rami Abdo I was watching my baby nephew learning the other day and it got me thinking about the concept of reincarnation and the details of its consequences. If it were true, how would we explain it in terms of hidden memories of our past lives and unlocking them via techniques like hypnosis? Say hypothetically you do come back in the next life as a newborn baby. Although the neurons of a babys brain can theoretically still hold all the memories it had in its past life, can you imagine a baby trying to comprehend and retain all that information. It would be forgotten and lost in a matter of minutes. But what if instead, its stored somewhere deep in the recesses of our minds, not completely disappeared but hidden, ready to be tapped into when needed by those mysterious forces that encompass the subconscious ether. In addition, the physical capabilities of babies are very limited in their early days. By the end of their first year they are barely cooing out basic words like mama and papa. Even if they want to talk, they dont know how to yet. The muscles of infants are also not developed, so even if they want to walk, they cant. Basically we would have to learn all over again how to walk and talk each time we would be born. So there is a rational explanation if this theory were true. Perhaps we are reincarnated as babies with our consciousness, our memories and abilities intact, but we cannot use any of them yet during our early years, so they disappear, replaced by new ones. This also touches on the discipline of past life regression. This technique uses hypnosis to help people tap into memories of their past lives, giving them visions of their previous incarnations, and even granting them skills and knowledge they didnt have in their current lifetime. There are ample cases of these experiments that resulted in the test subjects suddenly speaking in another language (even dead ones!), or playing the piano perfectly when they could barely keep a tune. We could hypothesize that the memories of previous lives were thrown into the subconscious mind because its too much to handle as babies, and they are later tapped into via hypnosis, a medium for awakening hidden parts of our psyche. A question now pops up; if this form of reincarnation is true, what if we are born fully developed in body and mind? Will we be able to retain all our memories and talents, everything that happened in our last life, and use them in our new one? I have heard of a less supernatural explanation of almost exactly the same theory. So far I spoke of reincarnation which requires the help of the divine or at least a power beyond us, while this other notion is based on DNA, which would make it more acceptable in this day and age. Of course decades ago both theories would have been shunned.

The theory says that since every human has approximately the same life span then it would be very difficult if not impossible to advance as a species if every newborn baby has to start learning everything from scratch. So every baby has all the memories, skills, etc., that its forefathers ever developed stored in its own DNA. If I develop my skills for playing ping pong, then my children will take much less time to become good at it, hence giving them time to surpass my level, a trait that they will in turn transfer to their children. We can say the same thing with memory. Say that at the age of thirty I decided to move to England and start a family. Flash forward twenty years later, and my child all grown up, comes to Cyprus for the first time. Its very likely that some scenes will look familiar to him/her, because they are stored geographically in our DNA. Of course in twenty years time so many things will have changed in Cyprus that it wouldnt be as apparent as recalling a crystal clear memory. It would manifest itself more as a feeling of dj vu or a vision of a picture you may have seen a long time ago. I prefer the latter theory. Its more realistic and probable because it conforms to nature and evolution, and it also could shed some light on the phenomena of dj vu and other seemingly supernatural visions. Both are plausible in the mysteries of life, and the comprehension that they would mean we are virtually immortal is mind-boggling to say the least. Perhaps they have to limit their potential by giving us doses of this power over many generations. Can you imagine what would happen to us if we suddenly retained the memories and skills of all our forefathers from the beginning of time? In our current state we would be overwhelmed with the barrage of information, lose our minds and melt away in its insanity. But if you compare the amount of information we can now retain compared to our primeval ancestors, we can say we have already evolved in leaps and bounds. It is thus not too farfetched to envisage humanity many years from now with a brain transformed into an accessible super computer, able to hold copious volumes of memory and master intricate abilities with the ease of turning on a light switch. Perhaps then, with the past transgressions of our ancestors clearly formed in our minds, we could learn from the grievous mistakes of our troubled history and develop ourselves into a human race worthy of inheriting the Earth we so take for granted.