Dandy brings us the issue of reincarnation vs recurrence. The distinction is best studied in the works of Bennett.
Let me say that the Ouspensky issue complicated the discussion, and I think that is a mistake. Reincarantion thinking is confused, but the recurrence discussion is even more so, even though the issue raised is significant. I see no reason to agree with Ouspensky that we are frozen forever in a particular life that recurs over and over. But, as Bennett notes, it is a question of getting past primitive reincarnation notions, to see the ‘eternal’ dimension and what it implies.
OK, but the Ouspensky ‘quibble’ confused the entire movement, and I think that reincarnation is the real issue. We can’t answer these questions, so let’s twiddle our thumbs further.
update: two comments on the issue
02.11.10 at 2:26 am ·“Q. What is the difference between the theory of reincarnation and the theory of recurrence?
A. The idea of reincarnation is a kind of adaptation of the idea of recurrence to our ordinary understanding, because, as a theory, the idea of recurrence is much more difficult for us—it needs quite a new understanding of time. Even educated people need a certain amount of mathematical knowledge to understand the idea of return. Recurrence is in eternity, but reincarnation is in time. It supposes that time exists apart from us and that we continue to exist in this time after death. For instance, in Buddhism they take it that a man dies and is immediately born again, so that one life follows another, because this is easier to understand for ordinary people. But we have no evidence of the existence of time beyond our life. Time is life for each person, and it includes in itself all time, so that when life ends, time ends. So reincarnation is a less scientific theory than recurrence—too much is taken for granted.”
– Ouspensky from the fourth way
Ouespensky says that we create time, that is, time is not universal as a kind of independent system that beats everywhere on its own and in its own pace for all of reality – as people tend to think about it. Time is singular for each person and each and every person creates and lives in its own time. That’s more or less what I meant. Could you say something more about this subject of time?
05.11.10 at 10:04 am ·
“For instance, in Buddhism they take it that a man dies and is immediately born again, so that one life follows another, because this is easier to understand for ordinary people. ”
Such a claim is never made. Even eternity in Buddhism is considered a dimension of time (time gets more refined if one isn’t born in the sensual realm). Only the “Unconditioned” (beyond samsara) is considered to be truly beyond time and space.