On the the WeLL, there’s pretty much a neverending debate about reincarnation, mainly in a Buddhist context. With as little patience as I have for “The Supernatural”, I find it surprisingly engaging. However, on the actual topic, I pretty much agree with Roger Ebert. This is actually surprisingly conformant to certain schools of Buddhism.

I’m drawn to this thinking by Clint Eastwood’s new film, “Hereafter.” You may have absorbed the idea that it’s about the afterlife. It would be fairer to say it’s about the common human need for there to be an afterlife.

When I write that I expect to experience no more after death than I experienced before birth, I receive comments from people who pity me. They wonder how I can possibly live with such a bleak prospect.

I find it more cheerful than most of the other possibilities that have been floated. I don’t want to come back as an insect, haunt unquiet places as a ghost, or gaze down benevolently on my loved ones below as they, and all their generations to the end of time, die from mayhem or disease. I am also offered the possibility that I will be absorbed in God’s love for all eternity, which is a better offer, but lacking in definition. If that means what it seems to mean, and if God is infinite (as he must be), then the role played by “me” can hardly be aware or conscious in any meaningful way. But I will become part of the universal, you say? I already am. You, too.

There is, however, one form of immortality that is guaranteed, if unrewarding. We certainly live on indefinitely in our constituent atoms, which will be recombined in dust, flowers, trees, the wind, other living beings, and eventually in cosmic stardust.

Roger Ebert on life after death
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22 October 2010