On Life Without a Body

Yesterday I wrote something about the Wicca tradition, Christopher Penczak, and a book he wrote on the foundations underlying certain beliefs, among other things. In his book, Penczak wrote:

Most mystical cultures recognize that consciousness goes beyond the physical realm, and mystics have learned to communicate with those spirits. Only in our modern scientific age have we doubted the possibility of consciousness without physicality. World religions recognize that consciousness survives after death, though there is much debate about what happens to the soul after death. Mystical lore tells us there are spirits that move beyond the human realm, including some that have never been human.

Penczak, Christopher (2013-03-01). The Mystic Foundation: Understanding and Exploring the Magical Universe (Kindle Locations 1193-1196).

It is true that only recently “have we doubted the possibility of consciousness without physicality.” That’s because only recently have we understood enough about the brain and the human body and the laws of our physical universe.

Reincarnation is, of course, a comforting and pleasant thought. Who doesn’t want to have more than one lifetime? Who doesn’t want to have more than one chance to get it right? (Albert Brooks made a whole movie on that topic.) Who doesn’t want to spend an eternity in heaven, or be transmogrified into some kind of spirit or angel? It’s all so comforting, and it’s all so completely without any foundation whatsoever.

When the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place just a little more than two years ago, people were comforting themselves with the thought that all these poor little souls would end up in heaven. But — aside from the fact that heaven itself is a child’s concept — ask yourself this:

  • Would they end in heaven with the cognition of an adult?
  • Or would they retain the cognition of a child forever and ever?

When one of our parents dies of Alzheimer’s, do they suddenly recover their cognition in the afterlife? Do they slip into the next world as stupid as an imbecile, or do they magically recover all of the cognition that they have lost.

In the afterlife, can deaf people suddenly hear?

In the afterlife, can blind people suddenly see?

Consciousness is truly a miracle. But it’s a miracle that is dependent on a vehicle, and that vehicle is our brains. Without a brain, no consciousness. And with a malfunctioning brain, maybe not so much consciousness.

Or ask yourself these questions:

  • If you are reincarnated, especially in some species of animal that you were not before, what is the essential “you” that has been retained?
  • Or if you are reincarnated as another human, but you have no memory of your former self, again, what is the essential “you” that has been retained?
  • Or, at the moment of death, what are our souls doing? Are they scouring nearby babies about to be borne so that they can be “impregnated” with the soul of the dying person?
  • When scouring for new vessels (i.e. bodies) to impregnate, are souls limited by location and geography?
  • How long can a soul last without having a vessel to host it? Does it put out an all points bulletin to find another host?

Back in 2008, there was a film that came out that was called the “Unmistaken Child.” It was about was about a monk named Geshe Lama Konchog, whose death leads one of his disciples, to search for his master’s reincarnation. The film follows his search to a particular valley where he finds a young boy of the right age who “uncannily” responds to Konchog’s possessions. After the boy passes several tests, the young monk takes him to meet the Dalai Lama, to make a determination as to whether the boy is, in fact, the reincarnation of the venerated monk.

So this is apparently the Buddhist conception of reincarnation. But why didn’t they search in New York City? How did they know that the reincarnated soul wouldn’t be found there?

People never want to stop and think about the mechanics of something like soul transfer, because the moment that they do, they start to realize how complicated — and often how far-fetched — these ideas become.

It’s all mysterious, and as we already know, the “Lord works in mysterious ways.” Mysterious? Far fetched is more like it.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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2 Responses to On Life Without a Body

  1. Bonnie K says:

    I don’t know if there’s an “essential me” that might be carried forth; the imagery that works best for me is that when we pass, our souls are poured, like a glass of water, back into a pool of (all) life, and that when it’s time to reincarnate, a fresh glass is drawn. It explains why so many believe they were Cleopatra or Napoleon or Dick Cheney (hasn’t he passed yet?!?) in a past life. All I got in that exercise was happy peasant; I guess I’ve never been a fancy girl, lol.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “God is Dog spelt backwards” Jack Kerouac

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