Funny thing is the human mind. Or at least, mine is.
I remember, four or five years ago, I was walking home one day. It was just an ordinary day; I’d finished work, had stopped off at the supermarket and was walking home with a couple of bags of shopping. An ordinary middle-aged mum walking through an ordinary Lancashire town.
And I started thinking about souls. Don’t know why. (Stop at the pedestrian crossing outside the library) What is a soul? (Cross over the junction by the fire station) Do all creatures have one? (Start walking down my road) What about rats? (Turn in at my gate) Do rats have souls? (Go through my door)
I don’t remember if I came to any conclusions. But for around ten minutes, I was walking along on autopilot, totally engrossed in working through this particular train of thought. A friend, passing in a car, bipped and waved at me and I never registered her. Just too busy thinking about the possibility that rats might contain the same quintessence of being that humans do.
Something similar came upon me last night. I was reading When Life Nearly Died, an examination of mass extinctions throughout Earth’s history.
Reading it is putting the current global warming crisis into context, for me at least; life on Earth has gone through several global catastrophes before, and has always recovered – eventually. Anyway, I was reading about how the tectonic plates are moving at about the same rate that human hair grows (5cm a year, if you’re interested) and that the Himalayas are being pushed upward at nearly the same rate.
And I started thinking. Here’s the train of thought:
“Maybe I’ll be reincarnated a couple of million years in the future and see Mount Everest sticking above the stratosphere.”
“There’s no such thing as reincarnation. And anyway, humans won’t be around that long.”
“But who’s to say there won’t be some kind of sentient being around then?”
“What is sentience?”
“Isn’t it self-awareness, that feeling of Me-ness?”
“So what is this feeling of Me-ness, what does it consist of?”
“It’s not memories, memories are a construct, a layer upon the essential Self. Same with feelings, thoughts, emotions. All are constructed.”
“It’s just… ME. That’s all it is.”
“And everybody has it.”
“Yet it’s unique to everyone.”
“Maybe that’s what get’s reincarnated. Not memories, thoughts or anything. Just this feeling of Me-ness.” It gets reincarnated with every birth of every sentient being. ‘Cos every sentient being possesses it. And without memories or any of that other baggage, it’s exactly the same Me-ness every time.”
“So, if there’s anything sentient around on Earth and looking at Mount Everest two million years in the future – it will have this exact same sense of Me-ness that you now possess. And you, along with everybody else, WILL be reincarnated to look upon the future Mount Everest!”
“‘Course, I, as I exist now, won’t know anything about it. But it will be the exact same Me. ‘Cos Me-ness is always exactly the same.”
And there it ended (B had switched on the TV – Spooks was coming on.)
Reincarnation? I’ve got it sorted!