Incarnation, Discarnation, and Reincarnation
To back up a bit, we've been spending some of our free time in a first approach at organizing the Knowa's Arkive.
No, we are not making much progress. Plus, most of 2005-2006 is pretty dispensable, in our esatimation. Sometimes we wish the blog were better known, or at least unKnown by more souls. But whenever we review what we have written, we always say to oursoph: "glad the blog wasn't better known back then!"
This one is in response to a question about reincarnation, asked in the course of an interview conducted by the improprietor of the blog Sigmund, Carl and Alfred.
Q: Do you believe in reincarnation? Do we really get another chance to “get it right?” Why?
A: Hmm... Why do I get the feeling that I have begged this question before?
Oh, wait. That's deja vu. This question is about reincarnation.
It is interesting that the Eastern, “right hemisphere” of the world regards reincarnation as a banal matter of faith, while it is a stumbling block for the Western, left hemisphere of the worldbrain. Is there a corpus colossum that can join the two hermetispheres and make sense of the concept?
As always, words are problematic and potentially misleading in discussing spiritual matters. In short, words are words, not the reality to which they point, nor the experience which they memorialize.
To start before the beginning, there is a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern approaches to philosophy, in the sense that the former generally begins and ends with knowledge by analysis and discernment, while the latter rests upon knowledge by experience and identification. (As we will see, this is more a matter of emphasis, for in reality, we cannot have the one without the other.)
For example, the touchstone of Vedanta is the Upanishads, which were written (actually, remumbled by others) by ancient rishis, or seers. As such, the Upanishads do not contain ideas that are argued but visions that were seen and experienced. Not only is this truth “seen,” but the seer comes to embody the truth so perceived.
In other words, this is transformative truth -- in knowing it, one is not the same. Naturally words must be used to convey the experience, but they mustn’t be confused with the thing in itself. This is a very different from Western philosophy, which mostly consists of ideas -- however wooly or trite -- that can be passed like an object from mind to mind.
The horizontal aspect of language is mostly reducible to a purely Darwinian explanation. But there is an irreducibly 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. Hence, college.
It has been remarked that poets are metaphysicians in the raw, mediators between the essence of being and the miracle of knowing.
More generally, in its sacred, mythological, or poetic modes, 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 unambiguous variety. Just like everyday language, it reveals and discloses an "object." But it is not a three-dimensional object. Rather, it is a hyperdimensional subject-object.
Or one may think of profane language as dealing with horizontal recollection, while the type of language we are discussing involves vertical recollection, or anamnesis.
It is said that “that which is Night to all beings, that is Day to the Seer.” The typical soul is blinded by the bright and shiny objects of the waking world, while the seer is able to detect hidden connections in the night womb where events incubate before undergoing the formality of becoming in the external world. This we call the seer's catalogue.
There is a Bigstream of Life into which the particular stream of your playful lila life enters upon conception. Your life is a little eddy, so to speak, in the stream of Life, and partakes of that larger Life.
Once here, we see through a glass darkly: “on earth the broken arcs, in heaven the perfect round.” We float atop this mortality-go-round, but the stream below is full of information that links us to the whole.
Down below is a storehouse of collective memory to which we have access, and which can definitely give us the feeling that we have been here before, in particular, because spiritual growth always involves recollection -- not horizontal recollection but vertical recollection. We have a memoir of a future samething-or-Other that is already "inside" us, in our deepest, most inward being (or "beyond" us in our "highest" being. Whatever.).
Reincarnation is a way of talking about the two very different kinds of heredity that clearly operate in us: a horizontal heredity that is encoded in our genes and our culture, and a vertical heredity that seems to shape us from "above" rather than "behind."
In our 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 which not only has distinct inclinations and attitudes -- even perhaps a terrestrial mission -- but is also able to tap into a sort of knowledge base of which it has had no personal experience.
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 spacetime matrix, AKA family, given the indifference and mutual incomprehension. I incarnated with very specific inclinations -- a bicosmic orientation -- that I can find in none of my relatives, either living or dead (at least until my son).
But I certainly see these connections in non-blood relations with whom I share vertical DNA.
So, we apparently have a terrestrial heredity that extends back through higher primates, lower mammals, fish, plants, single cells, and across the dark abyss to insentient matter.
On the other invisible hand, we have a vertical heredity that extends through various degrees of being, all the way up until we reach Brahman, the Absolute, the One, The Father in Heaven, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs and the Uncreated Slack.
Our "frontal self" comes into the world the usual way, while another part of us is imaginately conceived, or, one might say, "word made flesh."
Unlike the horizontal word of DNA and natural selection, this is the vertical word of transnatural election.
There was a time, not too long ago, when human beings were not aware of their vertical descent from above, any more than animals are. Again, if you think of our humanness as situated at the innersection of the horizontal and vertical, it took some time for Homo sapiens to realize their place in the vertical.
In fact, one cannot even know of the horizontal until consciousness has lifted us above it. Otherwise we are simply immersed in our perceptions and engulfed by the senses. But as consciousness ascends, one begins to realize that the vertical is also a world in its own right.
After all, Homo sapiens was genetically complete as long ago as 200,000 (or as recently as 100,000) years. And yet, either way, we don't see much evidence in the archeological record of "vertical liftoff" until about 35-40,000 years ago, with the sudden appearance of beautifully realized cave paintings, body decoration, musical instruments, statuary, widespread burial of the dead, etc.
Clearly, vertical liftoff had begun by then, into a nonsensuous dimension of transcendental Love, Truth and Beauty that was anterior to our arrival there. For what would motivate an erstwhile ape not just to paint, but to do so with such refined delicacy of line, shade, and contour? Why bother?
But vertical progress for humans is frequently stalled, both collectively and individually. Human beings have reached many historical impasses, or crossroads (frankly, we are in a somewhat nasty one right now).
In reality, these are not horizontal impasses. Rather, they are vertical impasses. Overcoming these world-historical obstacles is not a matter of additional horizontal evolution. That process is basically over, although recent research seems to demonstrate that some additional evolution has been going on at the margins.
But even if certain brains have been getting a little bigger or smarter, it is not our hardizontalware, but our vertical software -- or aloftware -- that counts. You can have a gifted IQ but still languish below on the vertical launch pad, a point that is obvious if you consider the sorry state of contemporary academia. Plenty of big-brained primates there, all messed up with no place to grow.
As such, past historical impasses have been broken through in one of two ways: either a vertical ascent by some great hero from this side of manifestation, or a descent of the divine energy into time or into a particular person.
The vehicle of both ascent and descent is our perfected self, unencumbered by the accidents and distortions of horizontality. It is actually already there calling you, just waiting for you to catch up.
One of the main purposes of a religious luxicon is to provide memes of talking about an otherwise immaterial and nonsensuous dimension. Light, transparent, bright, freely coursing energy... these are all gladjectives that apply.
In the gospels, it says that Jesus gave a few disciples the privilege of seeing his vertical body of light. What must that have been like? First, of course, the disciples had to "ascend" vertically, "high upon a mountain." There, within the orbit of their highest aspiration, Jesus' face "shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." Then Jesus held a summit conference with two other luminous bodies, Moses and his shadowy double, Elijah.
Our physical body is on loan from nature, whom we must repay at the end of our days. "Thou owest nature a death."
But looked at vertically, the body is descended from the spirit, not vice versa; or, one might say that the spirit is the form of the body. Death, or disincarnation, involves an apparent separation of the vertical from the horizontal. Reincarnation is one way to talk about their mysterious union down here in 4D, but the realincarnation is above and ahead, not behind or below.