This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Metempsychosis and heredity

Heredity itself involves the transference of psychic elements from parent to child. That which is received in the form of the psychic seed from one’s parents goes to form much of what is called the unconscious. The psychic and the corporeal (bodily) orders are in fact inseparable, being but two modalities of a single state of existence. This psychic seed should be imagined as analogous to the physiological seed provided by parents to all of their children, as all individual beings have both a psychic and a physiological aspect. Under normal circumstances, this does not result in any conscious experience of ancestral memory since the psychic material broken down before it is passed to new being in the womb of the mother, just as food is broken down before it can nourish a growing fetus. This explains much of what psychoanalysis has attributed to the ‘unconscious,’ and insofar as the unconscious is a valid concept we can say that it refers precisely to this ‘hereditary psychic storehouse,’ which might be compared to a computer hard drive that, having been used previously, contains remnants of old data from all previous deployments, and this data is retained even if it remains for the most part inaccessible.[1] This does away with the idea of memories of ‘previous lives,’ despite the sincerity of those who experience these illusions. Such memories may truly belong to previous lives, but this does not imply that the individual who ‘recalls’ them is the same being who experienced them originally. He simply came into possession of them, which is something very different.

[1] This imagery is of course over-simplistic. It serves well to illustrate the point, but it does not do justice to the unconscious itself and the psychic material it maintains, which is ‘effective’ in ways that would not be helpful to explain in this section.

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