Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Reincarnation and Karma

Reincarnation and Karma: Two Fundamental Truths of Human Existence Reincarnation and Karma: Two Fundamental Truths of Human Existence by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reincarnation as a karmic correction mechanism - the deficits of one life are healed by the unique circumstances of the next. Moreover, what is inner in this life, freely chosen and willingly developed, becomes the "background" of the next life. For instance, the mathematician will have good vision in her next life, and the male (the inside-out of the woman) will generally become female in his next incarnation. The faithful become intelligent and vice versa, while the skeptical become stupid and vice versa. The innerlife is generally a correspondential match (in Swedenborg's sense) of the outer circumstances or "facticity" of the next.

Moreover, you can get a sense for your past life by imagining everything that you instinctually turn away from in this life and willing it as if you loved it, entering into it with your will and feelings. This is alien, but it will give a good sense of what "willed" your life.

As a man who grew up in a theater who has poor eyesight and autism, who hates anything physical but who is very intelligent, I can paint a picture of my "past life" just for fun: a down-to-earth, very concrete woman who loves life and has a simple faith, who happened to be an actress or a dancer.

As a Latter-day Saint, I don't believe in reincarnation, but I believe in work for the dead. A la Jung's Red Book, the dead seek compensation for the deficits of their life in the actions of the living. Indeed, that's the only way you *can* change after death - Joseph Smith says in the King Follett Discourse that knowledge can only be gained in this world, and Swedenborg says that this world forms the "jello mold" that makes our spirit in the spiritual world. You can only change by going to where "the rubber meets the road" - this life.

As such, I take my "past life" in this book to refer to my Jungian "shadow," which in the context of his Red Book actually *is* the dead that claim me for compensation.

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