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Lifecycles. Reincarnation and the Web of Life

Christopher M. Bache

Average Review Rating Average Rating 10/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Paragon House Publishers

Published : 1994

Copyright : Christopher M. Bache 1994

ISBN-10 : PB 1-55778-645-3
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-55778-645-6

Publisher's Write-Up

Unique in scope, Lifecycles combines the best scientific testimonies about reincarnation with philosophically sound yet accessible arguments about its implications. Lifecycles is the first book to both describe the dynamics of rebirth and explore the ramifications of adopting a reincarnationist perspective. The book begins with a masterful synthesis of recent findings from consciousness research and near-death studies. It includes the work of such eminent therapists and scholars as Stanislav Grof and Dr. Ian Stevenson, and critically surveys the most compelling evidence for rebirth. Lifecycles emphasizes the lessons for self-awareness and spiritual growth inherent in a reincarnationist world view, showing us how we can reconnect with the order, intelligence, and beauty of the universe around us.

Christopher M. Bache, PhD., has degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Cambridge University, and Brown University, and teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. He has written articles for Dialectica and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and has received YSU’s Distinguished Professor Award for teaching and research. He lives in Poland, Ohio.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Alex (310706) Rating (10/10)

Review by Alex
Rating 10/10
Truly one of the most amazing philosophical books I’ve read so far and one of those that changed my outlook on life.

I have always believed that there is more to human life than just an accidental accumulation of cells with every mental process based on pure matter. I have always been sure that there is more to us than biology and biochemistry, that this reality is just part of something bigger we cannot perceive, that it’s not over with our physical death after a relatively few number of years and that it all makes sense in the end. On my search for some sort of confirmation for these intuitive beliefs I came – among others – across Christopher M. Bache’s Lifecycles. Reincarnation and the Web of Life.

Bache very much tells his own way towards a belief in reincarnation coming from a “one-timer’s perspective”. He got there by studying cases of children who happen to remember their earlier lives, cases of sudden memory of previous lives under therapeutical circumstances, and by studying different cultures and belief-systems in which reincarnation has played a role for centuries. This takes only a bit of space in the book, as mainly and most importantly Bache develops a theory of reincarnation and its meaning to the individual today. He tries to find answers to the question what it means if life is not a one-time-only but a repeated experience. Without any sensationalist tendencies he uses just a few case studies to flesh out the thesis. He does not go into lengthy historical and philosophical descriptions of Buddhism or the like but manages to explain the essentials in so far as they are necessary for the discussion at hand.

By following his own line of thought and experience Bache at no point makes the mistake of trying to evangelise or convince the reader of his ideas. Bache explicitly leaves it to the reader whether he wants to follow him or not, and where the author hasn’t found an answer for himself yet he clearly states that. This gives the book a very personal and open-minded, readable and enjoyable style.

It is very hard to compress a topic of such complexity into a few headlines, nevertheless I give it a try: The main points of Bache’s theory and the questions he raises include the idea that earth is a school we attend through many lifecycles. With every life lived here we learn a lesson and develop ourselves so that there’s a meaningful sequence to our lives. Relationships are not random but are developed through many lifecycles. Our personal identity as shown in this life is part of a bigger identity that incorporates all the lives we have lived so far and all the lives that lay ahead; above that it is the driving force that plans the outline of the coming lives on the basis of what we’ve done so far following our own personal curriculum.

Therefore we can be sure that everything in our life happens for a reason and makes sense. In the consequence we can feel absolutely safe in our existence.

Of course there’s much more to Lifecycles which I cannot even touch slightly here, e.g. the questions of linear time, human suffering, free will, etc. But I’m afraid at this point I only can refer you to the book itself.

Lifecycles hasn’t answered all my questions, and it definitely has raised a few more. What I have gained from the book though is a structure that helped me develop an approach to things I have beforehand only known intuitively and very vaguely. Also it is very comforting. It is just good to think that everything makes sense somehow, that this life is not the only chance we have and that afterwards we don’t either enter eternal bliss or damnation or dissolve into nothing.

If you decide that reincarnation is not your way of approaching the ultimate questions Lifecycles is still an extremely interesting, instructive and even entertaining philosophical read.
Alex (31st July 2006)

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