Thursday, August 30, 2018


© 2018, Edward R. Close

Conservation of the Substance of Reality
A basic law of science, discovered by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1756, is the conservation of mass in physical processes. Around 1850, James Clerk Maxwell intuited that mass and energy must be equivalent. Other scientists, like Max Von Laue, James Prescott Joule and Lord Kelvin agreed that this must be the case, and in 1905, Albert Einstein provided mathematical proof that mass and energy are two forms of the same thing. The equivalence of mass and energy is expressed by the simple equation E = mc2. With proof that mass and energy are interchangeable, the law of conservation can be generalized to become the law of conservation of the substance of reality.

In 1900, Max Planck intuited that “there is no matter as such”, and with the discovery of gimmel, the third form of reality in 2011, conservation of the substance of reality becomes conservation of mass, energy and consciousness, the three interchangeable forms of reality, and the mathematical logic of the Calculus of Dimensional Distinctions applied to quantum physics, reveals that the existence of a universe as stable as the one we experience is possible only if consciousness is primary and the essence of mass, energy and consciousness is conserved in all processes. What does this mean for human consciousness?


Conservation of Consciousness
If the essence of reality manifested as mass, energy and consciousness, is conserved, then the essence of your consciousness and whatever you may have achieved in your lifetime may not be lost. The question becomes: Is your individual consciousness conserved, and if so, how? Could it be that the physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects of consciousness are all preserved in the DNA in which your being is encoded? The answer is yes. It is no accident that the organic compounds that make up DNA have high levels of gimmel.

I’m not asking you to believe in reincarnation; I am asking you to look at the question of survival with an open mind. Independent studies show that about 51% of the world’s population believe in some form of survival of consciousness after the death of the physical body, and about 24% of  Christians in the US believe in reincarnation. But belief and knowing are two different things.

What does science have to say about this? For scientists who believe in the doctrine of materialism, the answer is that no form of survival is possible. But to be scientific, we must recognize that materialism is a belief, not a science. Belief in materialism does not rise to the level of a scientific hypothesis because a scientific hypothesis must be subject to proof or disproof. The belief that the universe could exist as it does without consciousness cannot be tested because scientific proof depends upon repeatable evidence and no reality can be observed, measured or thought about without the existence of a consciousness.

Quantum experiments reveal that consciousness is actively involved in the way reality manifests. As Nobel physicist John Wheeler put it: “No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.”  Furthermore, the discovery of gimmel has proved that no reality could have issued out of a big-bang explosion without the involvement of the non-physical component we call gimmel stabilizing atomic structure.

On the other hand, the question of survival is a valid scientific hypothesis because it can be tested against evidence. Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia, and others, have documented thousands of cases of children who remember past lives, not just in families in places like India, where virtually everyone believes in reincarnation, but also here in the US and other countries, in families with no belief in reincarnation. But reincarnation, if it occurs, is not the simplistic thing that most people take it to be, and in this article, we will see that most arguments against it are based in subjective belief, not science.

An unbiased review of the history of organized religious and political institutions reveals how and why knowledge of the survival has been distorted and obscured in the West. The roots of Christianity are found in the spiritual practices of the Judeans over 2,000 years ago, and today’s Christian churches claim to embrace the teachings of Jesus, who was a Judean born in the Holy Land, and their teachings have affected the world we inhabit today in many ways. But it is a closely kept secret that reincarnation was widely accepted at the time of Jesus,  and there is no evidence that Jesus rejected the idea. In fact, in scriptures quoting Jesus, we find references to the reincarnation of Elijah, Elisha and others. The scriptures we have today have been heavily edited and redacted by people in powerful positions in the political and religious institutions to suit their own beliefs and political agendas. They have distorted the teachings of Jesus and deleted certain parts of his teachings from the Bible we have today.

Early Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church claims St. Peter as their first Bishop, or even the first Pope. The name Peter means rock, and Jesus said: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”, but Peter was never part of the Catholic Church. He died before there was a Catholic church. He was a Jew like Jesus, and was crucified by the Romans in 67AD, during the reign of the Emperor Nero. He was crucified in a horrific manner in the public square in Rome because he was a known leader of people following the anti-Roman Jewish teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

There was no such entity as the Catholic Church at the time of Peter’s execution. The term “Catholic” comes from the Greek word καθολικός, meaning universal, or “of the whole”. It was coined by the Greek theologian Origen around 200 AD , some 130 years after Peter’s death. From the time of Peter’s execution, the leaders of the Holy Roman Church were appointed or elected by Rome, and until the end of the Roman Empire, Catholic Popes were Roman or Greek, not Jewish, and they were controlled by Rome.

Because the teachings of Jesus challenged the Olympian religion of the Roman state, the Emperor had Peter crucified, and replaced him with Linus, a Roman. The early Christian Church was renamed the Holy Roman Church, and was controlled by, and part of the unholy Roman Empire. This was a political move by the Emperor to ensure that Rome could control the followers of Jesus, a growing branch of Judaism that was seen at the time by both Romans and orthodox Jews, as a radical cult.

Origen, a Greek, born in Alexandria, was the most prolific Christian writer of the third century AD, producing more than 6,000 treatises on Christian philosophy and theology, including commentaries on the Hebrew scriptures and the teachings of Jesus recorded in scriptures that became known as the New Testament. He wrote about reincarnation in two of his major treatises as follows:
"Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings."    
- From Origen’s “De Principalis
"Is it not more in accordance with common sense that every soul for reasons unknown - I speak in accordance with the opinions of Pythagoras, Plato and Empedokles -  enters the body influenced by its past deeds? The soul has a body at its disposal for a certain period of time which, due to its changeable condition, eventually is no longer suitable for the soul, whereupon it changes that body for another."  - Origen: “Contra Celsum

Origen was, and still is, regarded as one of the most important Christian theologians of all time, and a founding father of the Catholic Church, yet few modern Christians have even heard his name. Why were some of his documentation of  the teachings of Jesus eliminated from Church doctrine? The answer is simple: It was not a Pope nor a member of the priesthood who banned the doctrine of reincarnation from Church dogma, it was the Emperor Justinian, about 500 years after the crucifixion of Jesus and Peter.

By the year 500, the power of the Roman Empire was beginning to fade. The Roman Emperors, like the rulers of civilizations before, had gained their power and maintained it by brute force, and they claimed that the line of emperors were direct descendants of the gods. They used the wealth gained by killing, conquering and enslaving the peoples around them to glorify their gods and their emperors as sons of gods. But, the Roman emperors were human, and their absolute power quickly became absolute corruption.

The Emperor Justinian was a well-educated, ego-driven, evil man, known as Justinian the Great, and he even became known as Saint Justinian in the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church. But, his clearly stated goal was to “revive the Roman Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire” . He knew the decline of Rome’s influence was due in part to Christian teachings in anti-Roman groups, mostly descendants of Jews who had been dispersed from Judea around 600 BC, and coalesced under the teachings of Jesus. They claimed that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in ancient Jewish scriptures. Jesus was becoming a mythical character challenging the authority of the Roman Empire.

When Justinian became Emperor, the decadence and debauchery of the rulers of Rome was well known, and the ranks of the Judeo-Christians were steadily growing. Justinian studied the writings of Origen, the most influential of Christian theologians, and identified ideas that he could use to control the followers of Jesus in the western provinces and integrate them into the Roman theocracy that became the Catholic Church.

Justinian’s Anathemas Against Origen
The followers of Jesus constituted a serious threat to Justinian’s power. Origen quoted Jesus, who had said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's”. And “All are sons of the most-high God”. Origen also articulated the anti-Roman Christian belief that "Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings." If people were allowed to believe that by being virtuous, they could rise to the status of sons of God, a distinction claimed by the Emperor, his power to control them would be threatened. Justinian knew he must stamp out this heresy. The anathemas, a list that he prepared for this purpose, read in part:

"Whosoever teaches the doctrine of a supposed pre-birth existence of the soul, and speaks of a monstrous restoration of this, is cursed. Such heretics will be executed, their writings burned, and their property will become the property of the Emperor."

In 553 AD, the Emperor called for an assembly of the Council of the Church Fathers to ratify the decree, but it was opposed by the Pope. So, Justinian lured the Eastern Bishops into a secret meeting and presented his ‘Anathemata’ condemning Origen’s writings. He prevailed upon them, under threat of death, to sign the decree. This was a bold ploy to undermine the Pope’s power and ban the offending writings of Origen. The scheme worked. An official meeting of the Ecumenical Council was held on the fifth of May 553, and the Pope was forced to accept the decree, allowing the Emperor to issue it as if it were a cannon of the Church.

Throughout Europe and the Middle East, monks educated as scribes were put to work expunging references to the transmigration of the soul from the existing scriptures, so that Christian dioceses throughout the land would not risk the wrath of Justinian, which they knew was very real. Where references to reincarnation could not be eliminated without destroying passages vital to the teachings of the Church, they were re-worded to imply spiritual, not physical rebirth. No attempt was made to rectify Justinian’s repressive edict until after the participants in the Council had passed away and even the memory of the fact that reincarnation had once been part of Church doctrine had faded from Christian thought.

If the Soul Survives, Are We Reincarnations of Persons Who Lived in the Past?
You will have to determine the answer to this question for yourself. Many people are positive that they have had previous lives, and I personally have memories that seem to come from lives lived in the past. The person I am today appears to be a composite of past experiences, with minor personality traits from past lives faded into the subconscious. I am the sum total of the experiences of numerous lives, with a current personality overlay fashioned by my experiences in this life. It also appears that new souls emerge from the process underlying physical reality as older souls graduate this life and move on to higher dimensional domains.
Arguments Against Reincarnation:
Belief in the impossibility of reincarnation is a difficult position to defend. You may have many reasons to believe that reincarnation cannot happen, and you may be able to explain them very articulately, but it only takes one counter-example to prove you wrong. As William James famously said: “If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, you mustn't seek to show that no crows are white; it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white.”

There are Christians, Jews and Atheists who do believe in reincarnation, but devout Muslims that I’ve known tell me that the Koran only allows one resurrection, and that is on Judgement Day. However, some Muslim holy men teach that multiple reincarnations do occur. One Sufi holy man explained to me that Judgement Day is not just one day for all souls, but occurs for each soul at the time of each death.

Interestingly, atheism and belief in reincarnation are not mutually exclusive. An atheist can believe in reincarnation as a natural process that occurs physically without requiring the existence of God. So even within groups that generally do not believe in reincarnation, there are people who believe it happens.

Faith-Based Arguments
Faith-based arguments are not scientific arguments because they do not consider reincarnation as a hypothesis; they start with the assumption of superior knowledge. Arguments presented in this manner are circular because they assume the negative conclusion they seek to prove. Such arguments are in defense of belief, and are only acceptable if you share belief in the presenter’s faith. It is not my intent to belittle anyone’s faith, or dismiss their arguments because of it, but such arguments must be considered in their proper context.

Because I am writing in English, and live in a place and time where Christianity is the most prevalent faith, I’ll focus on the Bible in its historical context, and explain how the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible and its many modern interpretations came to be.

The Origin and Evolution of English Versions of the Bible
Justinian’s redactions of the writings of Origen, who was arguably the most knowledgeable of early Christian theologians, have changed the Christian Bible substantially. And, after Justinian, the Christian Bible has been re-interpreted several times by less than perfect human beings. The King James Version of the Bible, revered by the fundamental Protestants of the US Bible Belt where I grew up, as the infallible word of God, was authorized by King James as the head of the Church of England in 1604. But, the King James Version was not the first translation of the Bible into English from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It was, in fact, the fourth.

The first English translation of the Bible, called “The Great Bible”, was commissioned by King Henry VIII, hardly a model of Christian virtue. After his first wife, Catherine, proved unable to bear him a son, Henry requested that the Pope allow him to divorce Catherine and marry his mistress. The Pope refused. In response, Henry renounced the Catholic Church, married his mistress, and closed all of the Catholic monasteries in England, seizing the Church's assets and establishing the Church of England with himself as its head. In 1536, literally thumbing his nose at the Pope, he authorized the translation of the Bible into English as the official Word of God, an action strictly forbidden by Rome. Henry continued to do whatever he pleased, producing children by various wives and mistresses, and he imprisoned and tortured anyone who opposed him, executing many, including two of his six wives.
The second English translation of the Bible was the Geneva Bible, produced in1560. This came about when Henry VIII’s only legitimate son, Edward VI, died after only six years on the Throne, and his older sister Mary became Queen. Mary was Catholic, and in order to re-instate the Catholic Church, she persecuted and executed many English Protestants, earning the title "Bloody Mary”. More than 800 English scholars fled to Europe to escape her wrath. They gathered in Geneva Switzerland and produced a new Protestant version of the Bible. 
The Geneva Bible reflected the thinking of a movement of the time known as Calvinism, one of several emerging protestant sects. The Geneva Bible was a threat to the Church of England because it replaced control of the Church by Bishops appointed by the Monarch, with government by lay elders.
After Bloody Mary’s death, her half-sister Elizabeth, a Protestant, became Queen. As Queen, she was the head of the Church of England. With her blessings, the Bishops of the Church of England denounced the Roman Catholic Bible and the Geneva Bible, as heretical and produced their own version, which became known as the Bishops' Bible. Produced under the authority of the Church of England in 1568, the Bishop's Bible succeeded Henry the Eighth’s “Great Bible” as the official Bible of the Church of England. The Bishop’s Bible was substantially revised in 1572, and with changes in the spelling of Hebrew names in 1602, it became the base text for the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, completed in 1611.
If this were anything but the Bible, no one would imagine that it could possibly be the unaltered word of God as given in the Torah, and the unaltered Gospel as spoken by Jesus. The KJV was another revision of the scholarly works of Origen, already heavily redacted for political purposes and ego-based agendas.

The KJV’s tortured past is unknown to most Christians in the USA of my childhood, and probably to most Christians today. I remember some of the good people of the hill country where I grew up when asked how the KJV Bible could be the original word of God, given its history, said something like: “Priests, Kings and scholars may be less than perfect, but the changes were guided by God, because God would not allow his word to be distorted! One pastor I talked with said that the KJV was “the only true word of God.” I thought: Why would God choose power-hungry politicians, murders, ego-maniacs, atheists, and adulterers to shape the Bible, instead of spiritual people and scholars? But, I didn’t ask, because I knew the answer would be: “God works in mysterious ways!” There is no arguing with that kind of logic!

The Koran, the Holy Book of Islam
A brief review of the history of the Bible has shown that arguments for or against reincarnation based upon the Latin or English versions are questionable, and the same can be said for arguments based on verses of the Koran. The root word of Koran (in Arabic القران) is either ‘Q’ar’, meaning to collect, or ‘Q’ara’, meaning to recite. The Sacred Scriptures of Islam were not written by Mohamed, they were recited. Several years after the Prophet died, his followers began jotting their memories of the recitations on camel bones and scraps of paper, which were at some point collected, hand-copied and bound into the form of the book now known as the Holy Koran.

The revelation of the Koran (also spelled ‘Quran’ to approximate the guttural sound of the Arabic consonant) began in 610 AD, when the angel Gabriel (Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل, Jibrāʾīl) appeared to Muhammad in Hira Cave near Mecca, and recited verses of the Sura Iqra (al-`Alaq). Throughout his life, Muhammad continued to receive revelations until his death in 632. The Quran as it exists today was compiled into a book format by Zayd ibn-Thabit under Uthman, the third Caliph, political leader of the Islamic Caliphate, a theocratic government, sometime between 644 and 656.

Faith-based arguments are accepted as true by the faithful. But, a scientist must remain skeptical of such arguments. Belief is not proof, and science must provide proof before accepting a hypothesis as truth. Scientific truth cannot be based on subjective experience or belief. Without proof, an idea, however appealing, is just a hypothesis, a theory to be tested. So, we will leave faith-based “proofs” and move on to non-sectarian arguments.

Non-Sectarian Arguments
The most convincing non-sectarian arguments against reincarnation come from materialists, atheists and agnostics. Materialists can accept that a higher intelligence might emerge from an evolving physical universe, and an agnostic, by definition, accepts the possibility of the existence of a higher intelligence, but remains skeptical until he or she sees proof. Atheism, on the other hand, is the negative position that there never was a god, is no god, and never can be a god. Obviously, atheism is a belief, not a scientific hypothesis, because it cannot be proved or disproved.

Rational arguments put forth by many non-sectarian skeptics boil down to:
1.     Reincarnation produces an unreconcilable paradox of numbers
2.     There is no credible evidence

Is There a Paradox of Numbers?
The fact that there are more people alive today than at any time in the known past, is given by some skeptics as an argument against reincarnation, but on closer examination, it does not eliminate reincarnation as a logical possibility because, even if there were only a finite number of souls, the assumption that all of them were incarnated at the same time is unwarranted. Many more people have died during the recorded past than live on Earth today, so it is possible that everyone alive today may have lived before. There is no paradox of numbers.

Science, by definition, is a search for truth. To determine whether an idea is true, false, meaningless, or beyond our ability to determine, a scientist must first frame it in the form of a hypothesis that may be falsified, like William James’ statement “all crows are black”. We can do that with the following hypothesis:

The consciousness of an individual sentient being is produced by that individual’s physical body and brain, and does not exist without them.

If this hypothesis is true, then when the body and brain of an individual cease to function, the consciousness of that individual is simply gone. It no longer exists. But, as professor James pointed out, there is no need to look at all of the arguments that may be made supporting a hypothesis. If there is even one counter-example, the hypothesis is invalid.

Evidence for Reincarnation
As suggested in the first section of this article, a rational argument for reincarnation can be based on the logic of the laws of cause and effect and conservation of the stuff of reality. But the final verdict about reincarnation depends on real evidence.

Scientific Evidence
The largest body of scientific evidence of the survival and reincarnation of consciousness is found in the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2007). Dr. Stevenson was a professor and research psychiatrist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 50 years. He was Chair of the Department of Psychiatry from 1957 to 1967, the Carlson Professor of Psychiatry from 1967 to 2001, and a Research Professor of Psychiatry from 2002 until his death. He was also the founder and Director of the University’s Division of Perceptual Studies.
Dr. Stevenson is internationally recognized for documenting evidence that memories and even physical characteristics are sometimes transferred from one lifetime to another. He traveled extensively over a period of 40 years, investigating approximately 3,000 cases of children who recall past lives. His meticulous research revealed evidence that children who recall past lives often have unusual abilities, illnesses, phobias and knowledge which could not be explained by the experiences of their current lives. The following summarizes a case investigated by Dr. Stevenson.
The Case of Swarnlata Mishra
Swarnlata was born in Pradesh India in 1948. When she was just three years old, she said she remembered a previous life in Katni, a town more than 100 miles from her home. Her memories contained details that enabled Dr. Stevenson to locate the family of the deceased person she remembered being, and in the course of the investigation, she articulated more than 50 specific facts that could be verified.  She said her name had been Biya Pathak, and that she had two sons. She recalled that their home in Katni was white with black doors fitted with iron bars; four rooms were stuccoed, but other parts were less finished; the floor was of stone slabs. The house was in the Zhurkutia, District of Katni; a girl's school was located behind the house, in front was a railway line, and lime furnaces were visible from the house. She said the family had a motor car (a rarity in India in the 1940’s). Swarnlata said that as Biya, she was treated in Jabalpur by Dr. S. C. Bhabrat for a pain in her throat, and she died. All of these details, written down when Swarnlata was three, were verified when she traveled to Katni. Until then, the two families were unaware of each other’s existence.
Biya’s husband, son and eldest brother traveled to the town where the Mishras lived to see if she really was a reincarnation of Biya. They enlisted nine strangers to pose as family members. Swarnlata quickly picked the real family members from the imposters and stopped in front of Biya’s husband, lowering her eyes as Indian wives do in the presence of their husbands. Many other verified facts are documented in the case file, and in Dr. Stevenson’s book, “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation” University Press of Virginia.

Could this case be one “white crow” disproving the hypothesis that the consciousness of an individual is produced by one physical body and brain? If you accept the work of Dr. Stevenson, with the same level of skepticism of a particle physicist reviewing evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson, then you would have to say that it is. Critics of such investigations like to use the phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” made popular by Carl Sagan; but just how extraordinary does the evidence have to be? For some critics, no amount of evidence of reincarnation will ever be enough, because, their objections are not scientific, they are belief-based. Dr. Stevenson documented some 3,000 cases, most of which are difficult, if not impossible to explain in any other way. Reincarnation is a fundamental belief of 1.4 billion people (Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Taoists, Sikhs, etc.) and according to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life from a 2009 survey, 24 percent of American Christians believe in reincarnation. Maybe it’s not so extraordinary as we think.

Credible Evidence from Adults
Dr. Stevenson’s investigations focused on children for a very good reason: As a scientist in a society that rejects the idea of reincarnation, in order to undertake a serious investigation of the hypothesis, he had to approach the hypothesis as a true skeptic, assuming that the hypothesis might be either true or false. As a medical doctor and psychiatrist, he knew that the clarity of the memory of an event usually fades with the passage of time, and therefore, if it is possible that some people live more than one life, and some memories of the deceased can carry over into the brain of a newly born body, then it is most likely to surface shortly after birth, and to be expressed as soon as the child begins to talk.

When memories of a past life occur to an adult, he or she may suppress or exaggerate them, depending on societal conditioning and personal beliefs. Dr. Stevenson was breaking new ground for western science, so he could not allow preconceived beliefs or opinions about why, or how reincarnation might occur, affect the investigations. But we can ask: Are there adults who remember past lives?

Famous People Who Remember Past Lives
The list below is only a partial list, consisting of  quotes that are readily available from public statements and published writings.

Benjamin Franklin
When I see nothing annihilated (in the works of God) and not a drop of water wasted, I cannot suspect the annihilation of souls, or believe that He will suffer the daily waste of millions of minds ready-made that now exist, and put Himself to the continual trouble of making new ones. Thus, finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other, always exist; and, with all the inconveniences human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine, hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected.” -, Wind and Fly LTD, 2018., accessed August 29, 2018.

Henry Ford
I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty-six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation, it was as if I had found a universal plan. I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.
- The San Francisco Examiner, 1928

General George S. Patton
This American World War II general spoke of memories of a number of past lives There are numerous reports of General Patton talking about reincarnation. He believed that he had always been a warrior in one form or another. During World War I, he told his mother that he had been reincarnated.  Later in life, he said: “So as through a glass and darkly, the age long strife I see, Where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me.” – From the poem Through a Glass Darkly by General Patton, 1922.

Paramahansa Yogananda
The founder of Self-Realization Fellowship wrote in his Autobiography of a Yogi”:
“I find my earliest memories covering the anachronistic features of a previous incarnation. Clear recollections came to me of a distant life in which I had been a yogi amid the Himalayan snows. These glimpses of the past, by some dimensionless link, also afforded me a glimpse of the future.” – Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 1, page 3, 12th edition, 1987.

Salvador Dali
The famous Spanish artist remembered several of his previous lives. He spoke of being St. John of the Cross in a previous life: “as for me, … I am also the reincarnation of one of the greatest of all Spanish mystics, Saint John of the Cross. I can vividly remember my life as Saint John . . . of experiencing divine union, of undergoing the dark night of the soul . . . I can remember many of Saint John’s fellow monks. – The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, an Autobiography, 1942.

Shirley MacLaine
“When I walked across Spain on the pilgrimage called the Santiago de Compostela Camino, I encountered myself in a former life. I discovered a part of me that lead to a greater understanding of myself. I also realized the karmic importance of some of the people that have been close to me in this existence. These realizations, and numerous others, have helped, inspired and added to my whole being. They have assisted in my better understanding myself and those around me. It doesn't matter if this type of realization is imagination or if it is memory. It is a truth that I have experienced on some level, in some form of reality and I embrace it as a gift from the Divine.

“Three quarters of the Earth's people believe they have lived before and will live again; thereby enabling their Soul's journey a continuous learning experience. Stories abound regarding how people find each other again - for good or otherwise.” – Shirley MacLaine’s website:

Sylvester Stallone
Sly Stallone is sure he had at least four past lives, and he experienced a gruesome end in one of them. In an interview early in his career, he said, “I’m quite sure I lost my head in the French Revolution.” His success with his screen persona Rocky Balboa  may have something to do with Stallone’s claim that he was actually once a boxer who was killed by a knockout punch in the 1930s. – People Magazine interview, June 21, 1982

John Lennon
“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.” 

George Harrison
"Friends are all souls that we've known in other lives. We're drawn to each other. Even if I have only known them a day, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to wait till I have known them for two years, because anyway, we must have met somewhere before, you know."

Edgar Cayce
According to those who knew the ‘Sleeping Prophet’ and studied his readings, “Edgar Cayce found that the concept of reincarnation was not incompatible with any religion, and actually merged perfectly with his own beliefs of what it meant to be a Christian. Eventually the subject of reincarnation was examined in extensive detail in over 1,900 Life Readings.”- Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation,

Mark Twain
“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.” – Charles Neider, The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1958.

Carl Jung
"This concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, at least potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences, and that these existences were one's own, i.e., that they had the same ego form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body.
"What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and our feelings do not suffice to form even an appropriate conception of it... The dissolution of our time-bound form in eternity brings no loss of meaning."

William James
Renowned American psychologist and philosopher, William James delivered a significant science-based lecture, called "Human Immortality", at Harvard, in 1893. He later expanded his concepts to specifically include reincarnation. On this he wrote:
"... I am the same personal being who in old times upon the earth had those experiences." -

Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal. It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from site and afterward return again... Jesus is not dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go."

Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau wrote in "Letters":
"I lived in Judea eighteen hundred years ago, but I never knew that there was such a one as Christ among my contemporaries."

Jack London
London, author, best known for book “Call of the Wild”, wrote:
"I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born."

Walt Whitman
In "Song of Myself", the famous poet wrote:
"And as to you, Life, I reckon you are the leaving of many deaths, (No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.)"

Albert Schweitzer
"Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe."

Thomas H. Huxley wrote in "Essays Upon Some Controverted Questions":
"I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before, and I hope to return a thousand times."

"It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection."

Arthur Schopenhauer
"Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life."

Napoleon Bonaparte
The “Little” Emperor believed that he had been born many times. He is reported to have discussed who he had been in previous lives with many people. Napoleon died in 1821. Twenty-eight years later, Adolf Hitler was born. Both men were Catholic, both tried to take over Europe using the same methods, fought Russia to a loss, and were defeated in nearly the same way. Both were also considered to be the anti-Christ during and after their lives by many people. Could it be Hitler was Napoleon reincarnated?

A Roman Nobleman (106 B.C. - 43 B.C.) who is considered one of the great philosophers of that time. In his composition, "On Old Age", he wrote:
"The soul is of heavenly origin, forced down from its home in the highest, and, so to speak, buried in earth, a place quite opposed to its divine nature and its immortality... It is again a strong proof of men knowing most things before birth, that when mere children they grasp innumerable facts with such speed as to show that they are not then taking them in for the first time, but remembering or recalling them."

 (Well-known Jewish historian from the time of Jesus)
"All pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies."

Jesus of Nazareth
Perhaps most shocking for Christians, is evidence that Jesus accepted reincarnation and discussed it with his disciples. Under the edict of Justinian, monastic scribes expunged overt references to reincarnation from the New Testament, but some references that could be explained as special circumstances remain. For example, from Luke 9:18 – 21:

And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, whom say the people that I am?
They, answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

This is a clear reflection that people in Jesus’ day believed in reincarnation.
And in Matthew 17:10-13:

And the disciples asked him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” But he answered them and said, “Elijah indeed is to come and will restore all things.  But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also shall the Son of Man suffer at their hand.” Then the disciples understood that he had spoken of John the Baptist.

This is a clear reference to the reincarnation of Elijah as John the Baptist.

In addition to the texts that became part of the Christian Bible, texts written around the time of Jesus by the Gnostics also recorded the teaching of Jesus; but because they contained references to reincarnation and other things the religious institutions did not want propagated, they were banned by Christian authorities as too Jewish, and by Jewish authorities as too Christian.

Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, gnostikos, "having knowledge", from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a name given to the ancient religious ideas of Judeo-Christian groups in the first and second century AD. The earliest Christian sects from the time of Jesus believed in the Gnostic doctrine of emanation from one eternal Source: the idea that all individuals have their origin in God, and all have, in their inmost being, an eternal spark of God. They taught that the material world is sustained by emanations from God, and that there exists within each human body a Divine spark that can be gradually liberated in the course of lifetimes by the attainment of gnosis, i.e., true knowledge.

Gnostic Christians taught that periodic saviors of the world were able to rekindle the divine spark in those in whom it had gone out. But organizers of the political doctrine that became the basis of the Catholic Church held that man was created as a physical being, not a spiritual one. Man, therefore, has no intrinsic connection to God, no divine spark through which he can reach God.

Rejecting the original Christian teachings that held that the soul is spiritual and immortal, an idea documented by Church Fathers Clement of Alexandria and Origen, later Church theologians developed the concept of creatio ex nihilo, or creation out of nothing. This belief in something from nothing is also reflected in science in the belief in the big-bang origin of all things as originally posited by physicalists.

Conclusions Regarding the Reincarnation Hypothesis

As a scientist, I am, by profession a skeptic. This means that I must consider the reincarnation of any conscious being, including myself, from past living bodies into current living bodies, as a hypothesis, something to be proved or disproved. But, I believe the evidence is strongly suggestive that many of us have been here before, and may return again and again, until we have evolved spiritually to the point where we may transcend the limitations of  physical existence into ecstatic reunion with Cosmic Consciousness.

From memories of past lives, we can begin to piece together a picture of how reincarnation works. It appears there are ‘old’ souls, like Mark Twain; there are ‘younger’ souls, like Shirley McLaine, and many more ‘young’ souls who do not consciously remember past lives at all. The laws of cause and effect govern the physical aspects of reincarnation, including the when, where and how of birth, social and economic position in life and death, but have no effect on the essence of consciousness, which is the heart of each soul. Evidence strongly suggesting this is found in the case studies of Dr. Ian Stevenson, in the documented readings of Edgar Cayce, in the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda and others. Core aspects of an individual, including enlightenment attained, are carried over, but are not necessarily remembered or displayed for all to see in this lifetime. You may recognize friends and foes of the past incarnate in this life, which can be helpful in maintaining and improving your focus and awareness amid the challenges and struggles of this life.    

I have had a number of distinct personal memories and experiences that are suggestive of lives in specific past time periods, and some have been validated. I think it is possible that memories of past lives are recorded in the mass. energy and consciousness of DNA, and under certain circumstances, they may be accessed by the current conscious brain. None of the laws of nature discovered so far, tell us that anything is ever created from nothingness or destroyed absolutely, there is only change. Why should consciousness be an exception? I do not believe that my consciousness appeared from nothingness in 1936, and will cease to exist sometime in the future, because there is no evidence that the mass/energy substance of reality is created or destroyed. The discovery of gimmel strongly suggests that the same is true for consciousness.  Change occurs, but there is no basis to think reality will ever cease to exist. When the body I currently occupy dies, the essence of the I that I am will simply move on, hopefully to increasingly higher levels of consciousness.


  1. I love this essay, but I do wonder how you came to believe that memories of past lives may be encoded in our DNA. Did Dr. Stevenson find a connection based on heritability between a person and a remembered incarnation?

    1. Hi William. Thanks for your question. I thought about this when I had my DNA analyzed a couple of years ago and saw that my ancestry corresponded pretty well with with my memories of past lives. I suggested it as a possible research project for the Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences. I plan to post a discussion of TDEVP and DNA today or tommorow.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

    1. Thank you for letting me know. I realy appreciate your interest.

  3. Do you have a testable hypothesis as to how we could recover some of our past life memories within our dna sequence or is it more complicated than that? If some souls are on their first unique life on Earth, what differences might we find in their DNA? Finding any kind of past memory seems nigh impossible as genetic networks are far beyond the understanding of mere humans. But maybe it could be broken down into something simpler. This is extremely interesting, thanks for posting.

    1. I haven't developed a testable hypothesis for past life - DNA correlation yet, but I plan to post a brief discussion on the hypothesis today or tomorrow.