Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Life before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Jim Tucker

Dr. Tucker examines in “Life before Life” in a rational manner the possibility of reincarnationCompare with Theosophy under Philosophy and with Initiation under Spiritual Development, explored through children’s accounts of past lives, which are usually between the ages of 4 and 7. Dr. Tucker has documented over 2,500 cases in countries all around the globe and attempts to address the various explanations for each.

He opens with the story of William, born five years after his policeman grandfather, John, was killed, with birth defects similar to John’s fatal wounds. William was able, at three, to report John’s last moments, of which he couldn’t possibly have had any knowledge.

One of the many stories he tells is about a Turkish child who insisted on being called by the name of a man who had lived 50 miles away. Taken to the man’s town, the child proceeded to the man’s home and identified the man’s parents in a roomful of people. All the stories were checked by scientist-interviewers, and all potential deception was eliminated; hence, Tucker introduces powerful grounds for credulous speculation.

Dr. Tucker acknowledges that mainstream science is by nature conservative, provides examples on how mainstream science turned its back on large amounts of evidence that challenged conventional wisdom, but also admits that mainstream science has rightly rejected many kooky ideas. He carefully explains what the alternative interpretations, the extent to which they are plausible, and the extent to which they probably are not. The cases he describes are in his words not about “proof”, but they are about evidence. He also explains that no criteria are perfect in all situations and addresses the issue of extrasensory perceptions.

He explains the concept of karmaCompare with Theosophy under Philosophy and Reincarnation and Karma under Metaphysics in the connection of birthmarks because in most cases the victims of a crime bear the birthmarks and in only three cases did children think their birth defects were retribution for acts they remembered in prior life.

Some of the children described in the book talk about the interval between the death of the previous personality and this birthCompare with Journey of Souls and Your Soul's Plan under Metaphysics, including events that took place in the mother’s womb. In 1,100 cases 69 cases reported memories of the previous personality’s funeral or the handling of the remains; 91 described other events happening on Earth, 112 reported memories of being in another realm; and 45 reported memories either of conception or being reborn. One boy names Lee said that he remembered deciding to be reborn. He said that other beings helped him with his decision to come down to EarthCompare with Your Soul's Plan and Journey of Souls under Metaphysics. Cases in which the previous personality died by natural means are slightly but significantly more likely to include statements about an existence in another realm than ones involving unnatural means – 19% of the natural means versus 13% of the unnatural means ones. The author also discovered that the more that the previous personality meditated, the more likely the child was to describe memories from another realm.

In chapter 9, in which Dr. Tucker addresses opposing views to reincarnation, he states, that “the idea that consciousness can be considered separately from the brain is in many ways at the crux of the question of reincarnation” and delves into quantum physicsCompare with Quantum Enigma and Quantum Physics under Science. He shares with us, that John Wheeler, an important physicist, thinks that on a quantum level the universe is a work in progress in which not only the future is still undetermined but the past as well.  He describe other ideas of well respected scientists and states that we should consider consciousness separate from the brain, that modern physics can be used to explain paranormal phenomena, and that consciousness is an essential part of the universe. This way we get a view of consciousness that is very different from the materialist dismissal of it. He goes on to say, that researchers in several areas have produced evidence that consciousness is not confined to an individual brain.

He reminds us, that in Judaism, the Kabbalah includes reincarnation; that some early Christians, particularly the Gnostic Christians, believed in reincarnation, and that some ChristiansCompare with the Gnostic Gospels under Religion in southern Europe believed in it until the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 c.e. He also quotes some bible passages that imply reincarnation. He adds that some Shiite Muslim groups believe that an ultimate Judgment Day comes after a series of lives.