chapter  12
13 Pages

Unscientific but Widespread Human Beliefs

WithDavid E. H. Jones

In this chapter, the author approaches notions that have a strong human or emotional element, while retaining as much as he can of that detached and scientific stance. The author looks briefly at some 'theological' claims about the unknown world as a possible container of elements of humanity after death. Such claims are not implied in his musings, but they are widely asserted. In many traditional beliefs, death is not the end of everything. An alternative notion, common in religions such as Buddhism, is that a dying person may go neither to heaven nor to hell, or purgatory, but may be reborn in physical form, 'reincarnated'. Reincarnation implies the existence of a human soul which carries not only a unique 'identity' and a continuation of consciousness, but a great deal of information-memories of the world it recently inhabited. The notion of repeated reincarnation seems to imply access to an ever-growing number of memories of previous lives.