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Posted on Sunday, December 18 - 2005

" In the Western world, the afterlife belief of reincarnation has been steadily on the rise and gaining ground. Many assume this growing belief in reincarnation is primarily based on an Eastern religion influence. This assumption is due, in part, to much of the Eastern world having long ad..."

Plato

In the Western world, the afterlife belief of reincarnation has been steadily on the rise and gaining ground. Many assume this growing belief in reincarnation is primarily based on an Eastern religion influence. This assumption is due, in part, to much of the Eastern world having long adhered to a belief in reincarnation.However, notwithstanding recurring allusions to the Eastern concept of karma and reincarnation – our extraverted Western attitude toward death and the afterlife typically experiences great angst when encountering the Eastern concept of the annihilation of the ego and/or individual personality after death.Therefore, the current “rebirth” of reincarnation(pun intended) in the Western world owes as much (and probably more) credit to the ancient Greeks and their views on the afterlife and reincarnation. In particular, we owe many of our ideas to the musings and writings of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato and The Republic The fact is that we, in the Western world, tend to feel more at home and comfortable with the metaphysical philosophies of the ancient Greeks and especially with Plato.

One of the best peeks into the cosmological views of Plato and reincarnation is contained in the final chapter of The Republic. Believe it or not, if you’re a Westerner who believes in reincarnation, then much of what Plato had to say on the matter will resonate as being more than a wee bit familiar. Greatlyoversimplifying, ancient Greek views of the afterlife were a hazy amalgamation of “heaven and hell” combined with reincarnation. Keeping things simple, I’ll be sticking with Plato’s views on reincarnation and leaving out the “heaven and hell” part.

What Does Plato Say? According to Plato’s account in The Republic, in preparation for reincarnation, each person chooses a daemon or deity that will guide him or her through life. According to ancient Greek thought, this guiding daemon accompanies most people through life as an unconscious guiding force. It was generally thought that only a select few advanced souls, such as the philosopher Socrates, were capable of conversing and/or interacting with their guiding daemon. Upon choosing a daemon or deity, each person is then led tothe spinning wh......


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