Free Will And Reincarnation: Who Ever Said Anything About Earth?
When the idea of reincarnation versus free will is addressed, nonbelievers often ask, “Why would anyone want to come back to this miserable dirtball of a planet, with all the wars and famine and violence here?” or variations of the question along those lines. I counter this question with yet another question: who says we must return to Earth?
Consider for a moment, if you will, the immensity of the universe. In our galaxy alone there are over two hundred billion stars, and Sol, our beloved sun, is only one little star in this relatively dense clump of cosmic matter. Scientists also estimate that there are one hundred billion galaxies in the entire universe. If one assumes that the Milky Way is an average-sized galaxy, as most astronomers do, that means that there are about 2 x 1022 stars in the entire universe. That is a two with twenty-two zeroes after it. I don’t even know what to call a number that big! How can anyone honestly believe that, of all those stars and all the planets orbiting those stars, Earth is the only one with life on it? The chances of such a thing are just too slim. In my opinion, it is the epitome of arrogance, ignorance, or both to claim that we have the sole privilege of life in this vast universe.
I think it is a general consensus that the spiritual realm is not bound by physical ideas like “distance,” so it is just as easy for a spirit to be on one side of the universe as the other. If that is the case, then when a soul is ready to return for another foray into the physical world, it is just as likely to end up on Earth as it is on Xar*** VII or some equally alien planet – assuming, of course, that a soul does not have a particularly strong attachment to one planet or another and chooses to return to that same planet again and again.
And even then, no one ever said we must be reincarnated in the same dimension. There is a relatively new way of thinking called the quantum theory. One aspect of this theory is called the multiverse theory, which states that every time there is a variable, the universe splits so that each possibility is realized in a different dimension. Now considering that there are variables all the way down to the atomic level, such as where an electron will be at any given point in an electron cloud; that means there are essentially an infinite number of parallel universes coexisting side by side.
Since this division of realities has gone on since the beginning of time, this means that there are universes completely different from our own. There is a universe where Hitler won World War II. There is a universe where the Aztecs are the dominant culture on the planet. There is a universe where dinosaurs never went extinct. There is a universe where Earth was never formed – this can go on and on ad infinitum. In the same way that psychic beings are not bound by distance, I believe that they are not constrained by the concept of reality as we know it. After all, if they have no bodies, why should they be stuck to move in four dimensions – back and forth, left and right, up and down, and forward (and possibly backward) in time – like the rest of us?
Of course, this is assuming that the multiverse theory is true. This, unfortunately, has not quite been determined yet. However, the fact still remains that the number of possibly inhabited planets is huge, and the number of life forms in the universe is even bigger.
Now, I will freely admit that I am a neophyte – I have known about quantum physics longer than I have known about Paganism. I would not be surprised if I made some glaring mistakes on the whole concept of reincarnation, free will, the gods and the spirit world, et cetera. If I have, I apologize for any offence right now. However, from what I know and what I have experienced, it makes sense when one thinks about it.
If one were to be reincarnated as all the types creatures on Earth, one would still get a rather limited experience. After all, all living things that we know of are carbon-based, oxygen-breathing (or carbon dioxide-breathing, in the case of plants), with only five or so senses of varying degrees of sharpness. Our mental capacities are also somewhat limited, regardless of what form we assume. Imagine how different a perspective one would get as, say, a creature made of pure energy that glided serenely through space, a species that had mastered time travel, or even a super-intelligent shade of blue! The lives of these creatures must be completely different than anything that we can possibly experience on Earth; I doubt anyone could even imagine it with any sort of accuracy.
The purpose of reincarnation, if I understand correctly, is to allow a soul to gain wisdom from its physical experiences. The only way to gain true wisdom, in my opinion, is to come in contact with as many different ideas, sensations, etc. as possible. Only then can one develop a truly informed philosophy. Considering the vastness of the universe, and considering that Earth and what we experience here is just a tiny speck of all the possibilities, then the only possible way for the soul to gain true wisdom is to traverse the expanse of the universe and experience all different possible forms of life there are to be had.
With that in mind, free will takes on another level of significance. When one dies, one has the entire universe at one’s metaphysical fingertips. One can literally become anything in one’s wildest dreams. Ever wondered what it’s like to be a velociraptor? To travel through space at the speed of light? To have twelve arms? All the curiosities, all the musings that one has ever had can be answered – if one chooses to find out.