The other day I was talking to a gringo neighbor and at one point, though I don’t recall what elicited the subject, he asked me if I believed in the concept of reincarnation.
My answer was that all things in the universe are composed of essentially two elements, matter and energy. The human body is, thus, composed of matter and energy. Relative to our energy component, the first law of thermodynamics holds that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but may change form (i.e. heat to electrical energy).
It seems plausible to me, I continued in my metaphysical rumination, that the material body is the generator of the energy necessary to fuel the mind; that is, to provide the electricity, through the metabolic process, that fires through the synapses from neuron to neuron in a process that enables mental functions. Without the body the mind could not be; likewise, without the mind to instruct fuel intake the body would cease to be.
It also seems plausible that what is called the mind consists of all the information received over a life time (such as thoughts, memories, and emotions) encoded, judiciously edited, stored in or on, and retrieved from, subatomic particles somewhere in the brain, or within the electromagnetic pulses resulting from particle interactions. For if our thoughts, memories, and emotions were material entities, wouldn’t a brain continually increase in size over a lifetime as it incorporates more and more information?
When we die, I continued, the matter component of us composts while our energy is released in the form of heat to float about the atmosphere changing form, perhaps repeatedly for millennia upon millennia, and some is perhaps incorporated into a new life.
It seems to me that with the energy released upon a death goes all of the information amassed over the erstwhile lifetime and when the energy possessed by a former life is incorporated into a new life a portion of that information is included.
Thus, I speculate, explains the concept of collective memory and the feelings that some folks have that they have lived a former life.