Come again?

Right. Now that I’ve got your attention, it’s time to look at the latest WordPress ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’:

“Karma chameleon: Reincarnation. Do you believe in it?”

Well, it’s a straight question and it deserves a straight answer.


Not reincarnation. Not vampires. Not werewolves. Not alien abduction. Not even the tooth fairy.

Now, I realize that reincarnation is a fundamental tenet of the religious beliefs of millions, if not billions, of people. And I give them all due respect, but they can’t all be right can they? True or not, it’s fair to say that there are more questions than answers.

Belief in reincarnation is not only based on religion, but is something that the person in question just ‘knows’ – or thinks they know. Although it’s always seemed a little odd to me that so many people  seem to believe that they are the reincarnation of Napoleon. They can’t all be right either, can they?

It’s a fair point to make that many – probably many more – others believe themselves to be the reincarnation of some less prominent historical figure: a medieval Italian washerwoman, say, or an archer from Agincourt. Well, show me incontrovertible evidence and I’ll believe it too.

…still waiting…

More questions: is it the case that there is a finite number of ‘souls’ from which the living are drawn? And if there is life on other worlds in other galaxies, are all those aliens drawn from their own finite gene pool, or is it shared with the one that operates on Planet Earth? Could someone on this planet be reincarnated as an IT consultant second class on the planet Tharg, or could I be the reincarnation of Darth Vader (you do know all that Star Wars stuff is true, right)?

Back on this particular terra firma, many believe that what you are reincarnated as is a function of how well you conduct yourself during your current tour of duty. Behave yourself and come back as a human again; turn out as something of a disappointment to your parents and it’s a dung-beetle next time round, my lad.

The thing with this, though, is that while it has some deterrent value, if you think about it in a longer-term perspective your lifespan on the next lap is probably considerably shorter than the time you can spend whooping it up in the here and now. Anyway, has anyone ever remembered having been a louse or a bluebottle in a previous life? Substitute butterfly for dung-beetle and it’s almost a no-brainer. Who knows, maybe Hugh Hefner decided to take that deal.

Reincarnation? The truth is I don’t know. All I do know is that I don’t believe. But here is the strongest argument against it that I can think of:

Who the hell could have been such a monstrosity in their previous existence that they were sent back as Justin Bieber?

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