If a collectivity holds a view of an after death, which is believed in, any alternative view of death will find this an obstruction. Reincarnation seems to clash with the western view of after death, although in fact the two are such that they could be contrasted. Instead, reincarnation is looked upon as denying an after death. What is said to happen after death is supposed to influence deeply what one does in life. This indirect effect is reached through the mind which holds explicitly that view in order to decide whether to act in this way or that. If we forget that we have been told that, we might end eternally in hell, we may act very differently than when we remember it. In some civilizations it is assumed that, somehow, people will not forget. By contrast, an awareness of how one feels about one's thoughts and actions, of how one comes on one's own to consider what one has done or is doing, joins with the awareness of oneself as the doer, motivated from within and in direct contact with the power of modifying one's behavior. Looking at the life of one self as the testing ground in which to prepare oneself to bring oneself â€” through experiences and conscious experiencing â€” to a knowledge of the meaning of that life, restores to oneself the individual responsibility for one's action and thoughts. Reincarnation squarely sets on oneself the responsibility for one's actions, not to be judged by someone else who rewards and punishes. Reincarnation demands a higher ethical responsibility than the threat of eternal bliss or torture.
"Is there any hope that we may ever know what death is? Since it is a problem of knowing, we need to find the epistemological devices that w...