Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


Some people believe in reincarnation. I do not. In my view, it’s mathematically impossible in case of a growing population. Things get complicated when you start adding restrictions on which births are reincarnations and which births are not. In such a case, the mathematics of reincarnation might work.

According to Wikipedia the definition is as follows: “Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the philosophical or religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death.” Note: all markings in quote by Wikipedia.

Hence, reincarnation might – conceptually – work in a stable or even a declining population. In a growing population, many births (up to 50%) cannot be reincarnations.

The Wikipedia graph to the left is an illustration of my assertion that reincarnation is mathematically impossible.

Rest assured, the top estimate of almost 16 billion people will not be reached. Most likely, the curve will indeed bend downwards to some 7 billion people by 2100.

There’s some discussion about the size of the Chinese population in 2021 (eg, FT 27 April 2021) but there’s little doubt that it will soon be declining – or already is.

Other countries will follow this decline. The African continent is likely to be the last to follow that decline.

Recently, the Dutch Statistics Agency CBS published the 2021 excess mortality (eg, CBS, NOS). This excerpt caught my attention: In 2021, almost 171,000 people died. That number implies an overall fatality rate of slightly less than 1% compared to a total Dutch population of 17,591,194 at the end of November 2021.

Obviously, the Dutch average age is not a 100 years. Else, the almost 1% fatality rate would have been feasible. An average age of 80 would imply a fatality rate of 1,25%. Hence, the demographics (eg, average ageing) of a growing population causes the almost 1% mortality rate.

The Sumerian religious views (c. 4000 BC) on the afterlife do not include reincarnation (eg, World History Encyclopedia, Wikipedia). It does give a very different direction for the earthly spirit or eṭemmu, and the divine soul or zaqiqu. The earthly spirit or eṭemmu could, however, wander and haunt the living in its afterlife (source).

The Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology (eg, The Dreaming or Dreamtime) of some 65,000 years ago does recognise unlimited reincarnation to animals, humans, plants and rocks (eg, source).

Despite my rational reservations, I’m (emotionally) open-minded to the idea of reincarnation and just await your (rational) counter-arguments. Also see the quote by Carl Jung below.

“I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.”

Carl Jung addressing the Society for Psychical Research in England in 1920

Dream Within a Dream (1985) by Propaganda
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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