I am intrigued. What happens to human memory on rebirth? This is an issue only for those of us who believe (for good reason) in reincarnation. In this context, I remember a fellow-blogger on WordPress who offered to prove that reincarnation does not happen; but he was no different from those (like Prof. Dawkins, an eminent scientist) who believe that that they can prove the negative; that is, that something is not there.
Within my system of beliefs – initially acquired through childhood, added to by learning, and enhanced by experience (eg. my exposure to the spirit of my uncle) – after death, those who are followers of the ‘forest religions’ of Asia will go Home (for R&R – rest and recreation), while Christians should go to Heaven, right? I have no idea where the others go, or if they go anywhere at all.
My experience with the spirit of my uncle is clear. After Earthly death, the soul which defines him – which is really (and at all times) him – retains its memories. No physical brain is needed. This contradicts the claim (that is all that is) by certain scientists (without any evidence of any kind) that the human mind needs a brain. How would they know that?
My view is that my mind (with its memories) may be ‘located’ within my brain while I am alive. However, as evidenced by some heart-transplant recipients, some memories (as well as some personality traits) are transferred from the donor to the recipient of the donated heart. That is, are some memories actually ‘stored’ in the heart? (Dear, oh, dear! How little we know about ourselves.)
It is, of course, known that injuries to the brain may result in an apparently impaired memory. That would suggest that, while the injured person is alive, the neural pathways in the brain which facilitate access to the stored memories may be blocked. However, the blockage may not be permanent. When I had a heart attack, I lost my memory for some faces. Yet, this memory returned over the years. In the meantime, I searched my mind. Who then am ‘I’? Am ‘I’ separate from my mind and my brain?
There can be no scientific answer for such questions. Why? Because the scientific method is based upon a mechanical materialist paradigm. This requires verifiability based on repeatability of observations and experiences of causal connections to provide that ‘proof’ which we normally seek. In the realm of the ethereal, when what is perceived may need to overcome Maya (that is, the perception may not be ‘real’ in either the Platonic or Hindu sense), the scientific method cannot provide any reliable explanations, or even display causal connections. How can it? What would the movements of (material) particles display in the ‘cloud-land’ of the ethereal?
Take the example of ‘punctuated equilibrium,’ intended to explain the appearance of new fully-coherent species, rather than accept a more probable explanation – that about 71 generations or 1,500 years after a major cosmic catastrophe, natural selection could (would?) produce viable genetically-mutated survivors.
Leaving aside the issue of a reliable path to an understanding of reality, if (since?) souls or spirits in the ‘Hereafter’ (Home or Heaven) continue to possess their Earth minds and memories (as my uncle obviously did), what happens to these when they are re-born into a new Earth body with its own brain? Obviously, some of it is transferred to the new human – but perhaps only in some cases. I refer to the proven past-life memories of some young children all over the world, as identified by academic researchers of renown. (No amount of scepticism can deny their research methods and findings.)
Is the rest deeply buried within the new person? Would this explain some strange intimations I have had throughout my life (confirmed late in life under auto-hypnosis) of geographical areas I have never seen in this life (There was no National Geographic magazine where I grew up and matured). Under stress, I have felt certain ‘instincts’ – relatable to cultures not my own – to achieving justice.
To ponder is to wonder!