James F. Tims
I hope no one will mind my posting of the following letter to
_Free Inquiry_ from Bob Silberg of West Hills, CA. No study of
reincarnation can possibly be complete without having read:
[The letter begins with a reference to a series of 4 articles
on reincarnation, written by Paul Edwards and published in _Free
Inquiry_ (approx.) Winter '86 - Summer '87]...
As Paul Edwards has related, the purpose of karmic reincarnation
is to process a soul (or self or spirit or ego or whatever) until
it is fit for Nirvana. With each succeeding life, the soul is
supposed to gain purity and moral strength, growing ever closer
to the ideal.
The traditional route leads from the lowest life-form (or
lifestle) to the highest, with a life of luxury as the last stop
before eternal bliss. If one leads an exemplary life as a street
urchin, for example, one is likely to reappear as a United States
I believe this concept is backward!
Consider: If one wants to strengthen one's body by lifting
weights, one doesn't begin with the heaviest weights and
gradually reduce the load as strength increases. On the
contrary, one starts light and easy, and steps up the challenge
as the muscles grow more powerful.
Similarly, if life is the soul's gym, the newer or weaker souls
surely would not be given the monumental challenge of living with
poverty, disease, and despair. No, they would be given lives of
ease to begin with; and, if they did good jobs at those, then the
load could be increased with the next go-round.
The preference of reincarnating souls for lives of squalor, which
Edwards noted in his fourth essay, is thus revealed as the
equivalent of top athletes flocking to an advanced workout class.
Logically, it follows that Shirley MacLaine, the rich, famous,
talented, beautiful movie star, must have realy screwed up in her
multitude of previous lives. Otherwise, she would surely be
suffering a life of misery in the back alleys of Bombay or Beirut
by now, pumping karma until she was fit for Paradise.
Billy Joel, the rich, famous, successful rock star married to
Christie Brinkley, must have a soul that is brand new. No one
could have made such a mess of previous lives that he would be so
coddled in his re-incarnation.
Ironically, many people may be pursuing lives of kindness,
tolerance, and generosity out of the mistaken notion that they
will be rewarded by coming back as potentates or Club Med
managers. We can now see that such behavior is likely instead to
earn them tours as crack addicts, the better to build up their
In view of Mr. Edwards's scholarly treatment of the issue, I can
only assume that he omitted mention of this concept because of
concern that some of our more short-sighted citizens might forgo
the path to Glory in favor of temporary material comfort in the
next life. Such misguided souls would lie, cheat, steal, or
worse in an attempt to be sent to "remedial gym" next time, where
they could sip pinia coladas with Morgan Brittany.
In view of the numbers of people we have performing such
activities already (lying, cheating, etc., I mean, not the
imbibing with Ms. Brittany), it may indeed be best not to offer
an incentive for more miscreants. However, I believe that we
can trust this journal's readers to be discreet.
In any case, I doubt that a bunch of self-confessed secular
humanists would gain much of an audience among those who would
put such knowledge to perverse ends.
West Hills, Calif.
[end of letter]
This, now most certainly the definitive work on reincarnation,
should have our every ear, and both Mr. Silberg and _Free
Inquiry_ our gratitude for clearing all this business up, once
and for all. I pray that I have faithfully transcribed the text,
and that I may unmend my ways (as slowly as possible) to,
say...Monaco. Munich?! No more mister nice guy! 8^)
"And if you're a miner, when you're too tired and old and sick and stupid
to do your job properly, you have to go, whereas just the opposite applies
with the judges." Beyond the Fringe