As individuals we do learn from the past, both consciously and unconsciously. Our parents and teachers do seek to instil learning about our collective past (while preparing us for the future). As individuals, most of us do fine-tune our thinking and behaviour, by reflecting upon our own past, and that of others. Some societies do learn from past collective mishaps. Nations can, however, continue to behave like rowdy, rampaging, testosterone-fuelled teenagers. Sectarian religious conflicts; wars to achieve ‘regime change,’ shift national boundaries, break up nations into ethnic enclaves, or teach another nation a lesson; and the exploitation of ethnic minorities, as well as their own people, remain: not much positive learning from the past here!
Occasionally, there is another form of learning from the past. Some young children, up to about age 6, remember a past life. Such a memory, however ephemeral, fleeting, or intuitive, if articulated, can be expected to be implanted in the absorbent mind of a very young child. Older children and adults can have ‘flashbacks’ about past lives; or have clairvoyants tell them about one or more past lives (they may not all be credible).
For example, a young boy examines his atlas from time to time, seeking a desert terrain of red sand dunes. He displays a liking for spirited horses, although he has never met a horse. When driven to his limits of tolerance by racist and tribal discrimination, he feels a strange need for a scimitar, although he has never seen one. Does this not suggest that he has been an Arab in a recent past life? On the contrary, a clairvoyant tells him (as advised by her spirit guide) about a past-life scene when he was a white man, bound and dragged across a desert by brown-skinned men.
When he sought past-life memories through auto-hypnosis, twice he saw himself in a desert, which he felt (from his map reading) was in Central Asia. Of course, feeling and ‘seeing’ do not represent learning. But does this explain why he had spent a significant part of his life working for justice in civil society in his adopted foreign land? That is, had the learning been subconscious? If so, had the learning been implanted in his soul, thereby crossing both time and space?
Since each brain dies with the body to which it is attached, how do memories transcend space and time? How, and why, are any such memories received and registered by humans? Perhaps, all memories somehow exist in the ether. If so, are some minds able to receive certain memories? What triggers the receipt of such memories? Is there (possibly) a despatcher?
Or, are memories stored only in the human mind? In the event, the mind needs to be attached to a soul. Reincarnation is then the (only?) means of possible transfer of memories, whether or not these memories have only indirect impact in a new Earthly life.