Monday, September 20, 2010

Reincarnation and Ghosts

Doesn't it seem strange how everyone's past lives are interesting? Or how ghosts were always warriors or queens or lost loves? John Hawks writes about a show which goes creeping around Angkor Wat at night with cameras ghostbuster-type-ectoplasm-recorders and expecting every creak and thump to reveal itself as an ancient king. How about the spirit of the hundreds or thousands of suffering workers who put all those stones in place? Or how about people who died peaceful natural deaths on the grounds? There are probably a few more of them than kings. Maybe I don't understand ghost kinetics.* (I do have a limited understanding of Nielsen kinetics, but I wouldn't want to be so cynical as to think that's what's motivating these folks.)

We skeptic/secular types don't spend too much time worrying about this kind of superstitious nonsense because (unless someone's collecting money) it tends to be more harmless than other brands. But still, just once I want some New Ager's past life to be an auto mechanic from Indianapolis. Or an infant who died in infancy in the Sahel from dysentery, or a sago farmer from New Guinea in the eighth century CE.

*Where are the parapsychologists who recognize this problem and try to develop a theory of kinetics to explain this apparent discrepancy between the living and deceased spirit populations? Again: when they take their own theories as seriously as the skeptics do, then they might be worth paying attention to.

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