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Reincarnation: Views Of Scientists and Philosophers
Through the centuries, a surprising number of intelligent, non-fanatical thinkers have believed in reincarnation. "I am confident," said Socrates, "that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence."Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed. "The soul," he wrote, "comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew.. .it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal."
Moving on to the 20th century, 'The San Francisco Examiner' of August 26, 1928 quoted: "I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was twenty-six." This surprising announcement by Henry Ford put him in the ranks of a select group of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th- century Americans - Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Tom Paine, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman, among others - who believed that the soul, the energy that animates the body, goes on to a new body when the present body dies.In his classic novel of the search for spiritual truth, Siddhartha, Nobel laureate Herman Hesse wrote, "He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other....None of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another".
Numerous scientists and psychologists have believed in reincarnation as well. One of the greatest modern psychologists, Carl Jung, used the concept of an eternal self that undergoes many births as a tool in his attempts to understand the deepest mysteries of the self and consciousness. "I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me," said Carl Jung.Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often spoke of past lives, rebirth, and the immortality of the soul. He said, "There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead?The soul never dies and the body is never really alive."
one of the most celebrated scientists, Benjamin Franklin, note, "Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, "»some shape or other, always exist." Harvard biophysicist D. P. Dupey writes, "We may lead ourselves down a blind alley by adhering dogmatically to the assumption that life can be explained entirely by what we know of the laws of nature. By remaining open to the ideas embodied in the Vedic tradition of India, modern scientists can see their own disciplines from a new perspective and further the aim of all scientific endeavor: the search for truth".
In 1814, former U. S. President John Adams, wrote to another ex-president, "the sage of Monticello", Thomas Jefferson about the doctrine of reincarnation, "After revolting against the Supreme Being, some souls were hurled down to the regions of total darkness. They were then released from prison, permitted to ascend to earth and migrate into all sorts of animals, reptiles, birds, beasts, and men, according to their rank and character and even into vegetables, and minerals, there to serve on probation. If they passed without reproach their several graduations, they were permitted to become cows and men. If as men they behaved well.... they were restored to their original rank and bliss in Heaven." (Letter to Thomas Jefferson, March 1814, Correspondence of John Adams)
One of the West's most influential artists, Paul Gauguin, wrote during his final years in Tahiti that when the physical organism breaks up, "the soul survives". It then takes another body, "degrading or elevating according to merit or demerit."Thus reincarnation is attracting the minds of intellectuals and the general public in the West. Films, novels, popular songs and periodicals now treat reincarnation with ever-increasing frequency.