Saturday night I watched one of the most delightfully quirky, funny and moving films I have ever seen: Dean Spanley. Sam Neill plays a priest who, under the influence of rare and expensive Imperial Tokay, recounts his former reincarnation as a dog. In the process, he unlocks the heart of a crusty old curmudgeon played brilliantly by Peter O’ Toole. At one point in the story, O’Toole’s son played by Jeremy Northam asks O’Neill if he believes in reincarnation, to which he replies; “Only the closed mind is certain.”
I could not thing of a better creed for someone who seriously investigates reality and paranormalities. Since I began asking pointy questions about what is, it seems par for the course is to actually embrace uncertainty. Mundane facts, like what color my coffee is, elicit comforting certainties, but larger and deeper questions rarely do.
My posterior is planted firmly on the fence for a lot of subjects, and my feet can dangle either way, depending on the evidence and argument. I am reading B Allan Wallace’s “Mind in the Balance,” and his argument about the independence of consciousness on brain function and its significance for reincarnation has my feet swinging towards the positive side.
I have always felt that Ian Stephenson’s amazing research on the subject was convincing evidence, despite the attempts of the hardcore skeptics to shred it.
It’s okay not to be certain; it’s also okay to change what you believe from time to time.
Discovering just exactly what you can be certain about is an exciting journey in itself.