View Full Version : The Ethics of Reincarnation

11-09-2009, 10:55 PM
At the end of tGS we see Rand make the crucial realization that Ilyena has been reborn, and thus he doesn't need to feel so bad about killing her.

I'd like to explore in this thread how such reincarnation affects ethics.

Obviously, as Rand realized, death or killing is not nearly so bad if a person is reborn again and again.

Euthanasia becomes more worthwhile.

Fighting and dying for a good cause, to make the world a better place is a much more attractive proposition, knowing you'll get to enjoy the fruits of your accomplishment in another life. (Though this is countered slightly by RJ's pointing out in an interview that circular time means that ultimately your actions to make the world a better place will be fruitless)

The mass suicide of the Amayar rather than a horrific event becomes an 'easy way out', avoiding the pain and suffering that will be present during the times of the Last Battle. If they as a people can contribute nothing useful to the fight, then their decision seems rational.

11-09-2009, 11:07 PM
Unless your soul is that of the Dragon, you will not remember anything of your past life, essentially making you a new being, which you would protect with the same vigilance as you would in a universe where souls weren't reborn. With assurances that such barriers are in place, I don't see any major changes to the prevailing ethics, euthanasia included. "You" really don't get to enjoy the fruits of the labor your previous incarnation struggled for. How is suicide "the easy way out" when your next life will not know the pain of your current life to begin with? How do the Amayar know that they as a people have nothing to contribute? Maybe, years from now, their progeny will change from the ways of peace to a warrior society, eventually giving birth to the next savior of the world...

After all, the love of your life in your next reincarnation could be Mesaana's soul. I for one would want to hold on to my current life as tightly as possible.