Reincarnation, Resurrection Bodies, and Vertical Heredity
That is the horizontal aspect of language. It is mostly reducible to a purely Darwinian explanation. But there is a very mysterious vertical aspect to language that cannot be so reduced, unless one wishes to be absurd. Most modern people don't mind being absurd, so long as they can imagine that they understand. Better to be absurd than to deal with the anxiety of not knowing.
It has been remarked that poets are metaphysicians in the raw, mediators between the essence of being and the miracle of knowing. In its sacred or mythological aspect, language is the nexus between the nighttime and daytime realms. It imparts a kind of knowing, but one must not confuse this knowing with profane knowing of the linear and unambigious variety. Just like everyday language, it reveals and discloses an "object." But it is not a three-dimensional object. Rather, it is a hyperdimensional object.
Or you may think of mundane language as dealing with horizontal recollection, while the type of language I am taking about involves vertical recollection, or anamnesis.
Whereas in the daytime there is more or less a one-to-one relationship between word and object (or concept), night language is far richer and polysemic, or holographic: a single word can be a vector through which multiple meanings of various levels pass, depending on one's point of view. One may crystalize a particular interpretation, but a single interpretation cannot exhaust the meaning. This is especially true of the special language called authentic scripture.
And yet, it is possible even for scripture to become so saturated with a particular meaning that it loses its capacity to shock, to vault us out of our habitual way of knowing the world. It can be reduced to a mere "daytime" story.
I think, for example, of the account of Jesus' resurrection. Most of us have heard about this story since we were children, to such an extent that when we think of it we probably conjure up a mental image of it. Furthermore, upon doing so, most of us probably say to ourselves, "impossible."
And yet, if you consider some of the details that we tend to overlook, the story is more odd than we realize. For example, it is emphasized--in particular, in Mark, Luke and John--that the risen Jesus is not recognized by those who were most familiar with him--who had just been with him a few days before. Some mistake him for the gardener, others actually take a walk with him and discuss recent news of the day, including the bad news about Jesus.
How bizarre is this? Imagine just losing a loved one. You are in a state of grief and shock. You look out the window, and there is your recently departed loved one, mowing the lawn. But you don't recognize them.
Obviously, the story was told in this particular way for a reason. The writers of the gospels could have just said that Jesus rose from the dead and everyone recognized him immediately. But they specifically emphasized that he wasn't recognized. Clearly, he must have looked different. The "resurrection body," whatever it is, must look different than the physical body.
What are we, anyway? Whatever else we are, we are energy, energy in different forms and patterns. Ah, but what is energy? If anyone gives you a "daytime" answer to that question, know that they are lying--mostly to themselves.
I have a conscious thought: I am going to make a fist. I do so. No one can tell you how I did so--how consciousness--whatever that is--exerts an effect on matter in this way.
On the one hand, we can look at the world horizontally and say that matter gave rise to life or that brains give rise to thought. However, such a view generates a multitude of insoluble paradoxes that can only be resolved if we supplement it with the vertical, top-down view, and say that the brain does not create consciousness, but rather, that the brain exists as a result of conscious will.
In order to understand our situation, you must imagine a cross with a horizontal and a vertical arrow. We live at the point of their intersection. The horizontal line has to do with heredity, with Darwinian evolution, with the transmission of culture, etc. If this were all we are, we would be no different than other animals. We would not live in a cognitive space of spiritual freedom, routinely exerting a top-down influence on our horizontal selves. We would not possess that inexplicable capacity called "free will."
But not everyone seems to have the same degree of top-down influence over themselves--of free will. In fact, it is a capacity that varies quite widely.
According to a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, "there are strong--i.e., creative--souls, and there are weak--i.e., imitative--souls. The stronger a soul is, the greater the independence from the semi-hypnotic influence of the model presented by the preceding generations of family chosen for the soul's incarnation."
As such, "a strong soul shows in his or her psycho-physical personality fewer features traceable from the parents, and is in general less representative of family, people and race than of itself; he or she is more an individual than a type. In contrast, a weak soul becomes an individual who seems to be only a pure and simple copy of the parents.... [T]here are some cases where heredity is reduced to a minimum and other cases where it manifests itself as almost all-powerful."
Thus, it seems as if there are two kinds of heredity operating in us: a "horizontal heredity" and a "vertical heredity" that seems to shape us from "above" rather than "behind." In my view, when we talk about "reincarnation," we are simply acknowledging the reality of vertical heredity. It is a way of talking about something real yet mysterious--about that part of ourselves that is immaculately conceived and born out of the voidgin.
Are we really the product of two heredities? I don't know about you, but genes or no genes, I have no idea how I dropped into my particular family. I am amazingly incompatible with most of my family members--not necessarily to the point of open conflict (though there is that with one particularly polarized member who despises me), but mostly indifference and mutual incomprehension. I was born with very specific, not to say unusual, inclinations that I can find in none of my relatives, either living or dead. But I certainly see them in non-blood relations with whom I share vertical DNA.
Interestingly, I have kept one of the birth announcements that were sent out upon my touchdown here in 4D. It has a drawing of a little space suit with a hole cut out in the helmet. There you see my face beaming through. I have a bottle in my right hand, an umbrella in the left. On top of my head is a little propeller, which is funny, because I have a little propeller on top of my head right now. The caption reads "From Out of This World."
Yes, dropped straight from the vertical into a very horizontal family. And yet, looked at from another angle, I can see how being raised in this particular family was perfect for the accomplishment of my, er, mission.
What? Wrap it up? I don't think I can do that. We'll have to continue with this resurrection-reincarnation-vertical heredity business tomorrow.
Dropped into a strange family from out of this world? Quite possibly. Thus far his temperament is quite specific and different than his horizontal parents. We will do our best to facilitate his mission and to decipher the signs he is throwin' down to his vertical homies. I think this one means, "All this kooky-talk is embarassing me. I wish my dad would zip it once in awhile."