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How do you think it would impact people to know, with dead certainty, they will reincarnate?


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If reincarnation was certain then people would commit mass suicides to eventually be born in a wealthy family and good life...wouldn't you?

 

If it was all random, then certainly. Crappy life -> try again.

 

But if there's a moral code by which things work, like suicide = sin -> you're downgraded in next life,

patient sufferin = valued -> upgraded in next life, things would work out all different.

Sure, but few things come in to play.

 

Do we remember our previous lives?

1. If yes then we can expect a "Dalai Lama" effect. No matter where you were born you will still be the same person to some people.

That means once a king = always a king, because if the previous king died his loyal subordinates will try to find his reincarnation and reinstate on the throne. And this apply to tyrants, cult leaders, rebels etc. 

That means revenge can be taken to the whole new level of extreme.

That means no war, feud or rivalry can ever stop.

 

2. If not then there is no way to say for certain that our previous lives had any impact on where we are born after reincarnation.

That means there will be those who say good in this life -> reward in the next, but also some would say the opposite, some would say do whatever you want if they kill you you will reincarnate.

 

Also on the whole reincarnation thing where do the souls come from? Is there a limited or unlimited number of souls? The whole concept is really tricky.

 

 

Another note on 1. Even if reincarnation works in the essence of no memories or experiences are passed on - all that is lost upon rebirth let's say. Some might still look for the king's/cult leaders reincarnation regardless. Quite interesting - the possible affects that would have. Like if cult leader killed- swears he/she will return. This leads to the possibility of pretenders or even someone to claim they used magic to ensure they come back in a certain vessel. Man that could lead to a man made god - aberration deity or Undead horror type deal.

 

Even a character seeking revenge might never feel sated. By that killing the focus of his/her rage didn't make the pain go away - so it must be because the soul of the perpetrator is still out there. Furthering revenge on unknowing reincarnated character.

 

Never really thought about this fact of Pillars. Could lead to some cool plot developments for sure.

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If the guiding principle is that reincarnation just happens without any particular purpose then I'd imagine it would be a lot like our world just with reincarnation.

I believe that the stage for our guiding principle has already been set:

Whatever the fundamental nature of mortal souls is, the people of the world accept the reality of what they have observed: that all mortal bodies contain perceptible energy bound to the individual, and that once they die, their energy will move forward in the eternal cycle that they are all a part of -- that as far as they know, they have always been a part of.

Should an individual without a connection to a specific deity (such individuals are known as the Faithless) die, it is believed that their souls enter the "lottery of souls". Some religions also believe that lack of devotion to a deity, or even lack of devotion to the right deities can cause soul-splintering.

http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Soul Edited by Mor
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It changes nothing. If a soul is just someones essence then they can go through life living in bliss not caring about it. I can see some people not wanting to die if they find out a lot useful things from their soul power.

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A truly repellant notion might be be that a broken body equals a broken soul, and that a mentally or physically disabled individual might be killed at birth because of this. That would be an obvious, tragic and disturbing effect of the knowledge of the souls immortality.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Well, the first question you would have to ask yourself if you lived in this world is: is my reincarnation truly me?  And I don't mean "Is it all a big con?"  Even with real reincarnation, is it really you coming out the other end if you have absolutely no memories of your past life?  

 

Let's say you erased someone's memories, and by erased I mean obliterated, destroyed them utterly so they will never come back, and then gave that person completely new memories and a completely new personality, is that the same person as before or is it a completely new person?  If the previous personality was a serial killer who murdered babies after having sex with them, would the new personality be guilty of those crimes despite having no memory of them, no desire to perform them, and is even a saint?  What about if you erased those memories but they sometimes did manage to come back, but only scraps, would that make a difference and would it matter how the person perceives them?

 

Is the soul truly us or is a part of us the same way our arms or lungs or even our whole bodies are a part of us?  Maybe we can't exist without our souls but maybe our souls can exist without us?  If it's just spiritual energy that happens to jump from person to person then where do memories figure into all of this?  They say memories define who we are, so if you take our memories do you take us?  Could it be that we as ourselves only exist as long as there is a continuance of conciousness?  If so, do we retain that continuance from one incarnation to the next or is there an interruption?

 

Rambling thoughts of a tired Jazz.

Edited by FlintlockJazz
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To know it and know it with the same certainty a modern person knows of the existence of gravity. Plenty of people believe in reincarnation in the real world, but it's just that: a belief, subject to the same doubts and skepticism as any other religious belief. For the people of the world of PoE, it appears to be proven fact.

I wonder just how certain and widespread that belief is in the world of PoE, and why. I'm sure at least some would come up with alternative hypothesis. I would find it unrealistic that there's only a single theory of the soul floating around.

 

Anyway, it's not exactly clear that this is the case in PoE, but an endless cycle of reincarnations would be abhorrent. In virtually all conceptions of human life, there is an end to our worldly existence; in materialism, it is annihilation in material death; in Islam, paradise; in Christianity and Judaism, Resurrection. In religions that do admit such a cycle, they also say the ultimate goal is to escape it, i.e. the notion of Nirvana. If there's no equivalent to Nirvana in PoE, then individuals are trapped forever in a world of endless suffering and it's certainly a dreadful thing to think of. I think some form of desparate hedonism would be the only philosophy that could work in this context.

Edited by Zeckul
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I'm calling it now: The big "problem" in the world (at the heart of the narrative) has something to do with the quantity of souls (either in existence, wholeness, or within the cycle) dwindling.

 

Really, though, that's very interesting. We know souls shatter sometimes, etc. So, either they eventually mend, or they eventually deteriorate and cease to exist and new ones are made, OR the soul "population" in the universe is finite and already dwindling, whether or not people know it.

 

That would be pretty interesting, though.

 

The main storyline of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow had to do with souls ceasing to leave the "mortal realm" and enter the afterlife. Even though the story bit was kinda overshadowed by sheer gameplay and combat (and terrible camera angles) in that game, it's still an interesting concept.

 

That, or what if someone's devised a way to control the process of rebirth, and is having all the people who die be reborn in precisely the manner he (the bad guy) wishes?

 

Hmmm...

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I predict we will have to deal with some Ungern-Sternberg style looniness, with your friendly neighbourhood villain happily massacring cripples and invalids because it will obviously send them onto a better life.

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For starters, I have to imagine it would change people's perception of death a great deal. A lot of the dread would be removed if you knew you would be coming back before long anyway. 

Everybody would become passive push-overs.

 

 

I'd think it'd be the opposite.

With a lot of fear of death removed, it'd be easier to stand up against oppression.

 

Of course, it depends on the other factors. Does the world value submission or bravery?

Will you get a better next life if you're a conquering hero in this? Does XP help you along towards "the goal".

 

Good point.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Another factor is what determines a good reincarnation? This could like be one of the largest differences from region to region in the game setting I would assume. I think Jarmo's on to something - by that some societies would likely favour bravery and sacrifice. Or not, if it's believed that the ruling family is descended from gods let's say(similar to Egyptian Pharoahs slightly) - and there souls always reincarnate within their own family. So it's obviously a bad thing to try to rebel against them. Slaves must be those who commited evil in their former incarnations and must atone with a life of servitude - so rebelling in that instance would be against the "holy" order of things. Truly this concept can lead to some really interesting complex and mature topics that most games just don't deal with. Is slavery right? wrong? What if the gods say it's alright? - especially if they are active like in faerun or tamrial settings. Even more interesting is if such a deity is evil and ensures all who oppose him/her come reincarnate as a lesser class. Keeping on that tangent such a deity may in fact not be evil as such - just morally wrong. The potential plot lines just with slavery are cool.

 

What if souls aren't just for sentient beings - like they can be reincarnated in a wolf or some other creature. Is it something like when you die the soul travels to the nearest vessel? Would this lead to religious zealot killers placing insect eggs or gestating worms etc nearby targets to ensure a terrible reincarnation? I hope that Pillars explores these aspects of the game setting. Lot's of interesting possible coronations of reincarnation however it ends up working.

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I'm calling it now: The big "problem" in the world (at the heart of the narrative) has something to do with the quantity of souls (either in existence, wholeness, or within the cycle) dwindling.

 

Really, though, that's very interesting. We know souls shatter sometimes, etc. So, either they eventually mend, or they eventually deteriorate and cease to exist and new ones are made, OR the soul "population" in the universe is finite and already dwindling, whether or not people know it.

 

That would be pretty interesting, though.

 

The main storyline of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow had to do with souls ceasing to leave the "mortal realm" and enter the afterlife. Even though the story bit was kinda overshadowed by sheer gameplay and combat (and terrible camera angles) in that game, it's still an interesting concept.

 

That, or what if someone's devised a way to control the process of rebirth, and is having all the people who die be reborn in precisely the manner he (the bad guy) wishes?

 

Hmmm...

Perhaps like crystals the shards are 'seeded' to grow new ones? Imagine the confusion of meeting your soul's other pieces and what elements of yourself chose to do. Very Torment-like.

Edited by Greydragon
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Everybody would become passive push-overs.

I'd think it'd be the opposite.

With a lot of fear of death removed, it'd be easier to stand up against oppression.

 

I agree, more people will stand for what they believe in, as oppose to slumbering in passive apathy. Though while some might stand against "oppression" others are just as likely to be its instrument. Lets not assume that all deities are inherently good or even care about mundane human issues.

 

The only thing that is certain that the more deities there are the more stark contrast among different societies there will be.

Edited by Mor
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I'd imagine I'd fear death a little less, and loss a little more. I'd find something like a soulmate more likely, and I would always keep wondering who I was and who I will be.

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look to buddhist/hindu culture for the answer to this question.

 

:threadclosed:

 

That would be an example of how lots of people behave when they believe really, really strongly they will reincarnate. Beliefs are subject to doubt, whether openly acknowledged or not, and contradiction by other beliefs. Moreover, behavior very often defies stated belief.

 

To take a closer and more familiar example, there are billions of Christians in the world. According to their generally-accepted belief systems, the just/believers will go to heaven and the wicked/unbelievers to hell, for all eternity. This has been an enormous part of Western culture for millennia. 

 

Of those billions, how many do you suspect behave in a way that rationally reflects that belief? How many are fervent enough believers to treat the existence of Hell the same way they treat the existence of....say, Australia? Faced with an existence which is the equivalent of a drop of water next to an ocean....an infinitely vast ocean...how many nonetheless would be just as terrified of receiving a cancer diagnosis as any secularist? How many would spend just as much money and effort fighting it, trying to avoid that eternity of bliss they think they're going to for as long as they can? How many have told or laughed about jokes about Hell, where they presumably believe people are suffering endlessly at this very instant, when they would probably find jokes about a man who burned alive today tasteless? How many treat those they believe are probably going to Hell the same way they might treat someone who is standing on railroad tracks in the path of an incoming train; i.e. sparing no effort to convince them to stop doing what they're doing?

 

This is not to say that all but the most fervent believers are lying about their beliefs or that they're hypocrites. Its just to say that I think there's an element of unreality to an unproven belief for a whole lot of people, a kernel of doubt and uncertainty that causes vast numbers of people to behave in ways which don't accurately reflect their stated beliefs. I think that kernel of doubt would vanish pretty quickly and behavior would change subtly or radically if we could without the slightest trace of doubt identify the existence of Heaven and Hell.

 

And so would it change if they knew, with near absolute certainty, that this life won't be their last and they'll be back again and again and again in various forms.

 

(Oy, hope that didn't open up an enormous can of Real World religious argument....) 

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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people in this world believe or don't believe whatever they want, regardless of its external validity. take global warming, evolution, dinosaurs, etc etc and use the same reasoning as you did for those. natural phenomena are disputed just as easily as metaphysical ones in this world, even in this day and age. it is meaningless. people believe what they want to, regardless of the externality of it. it is as real for them as water or air is for you.

 

Unless the resurrection occurs immediately and in full view of everyone with 100% certainty (an impossibility), having a world with "omigosh REAL resurrection" is the same as this world where the people believe in resurrection.

 

the reality is that people in this world and in PoE have varying beliefs based on their cultural experiences regardless of the natural phenomena that exist. you can never change that.

Edited by Hormalakh
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Reincarnation or rebirth is a fairly meaningless concept without some detail on what, exactly, gets reincarnated or reborn. Psychological continuity is a bit of a hairy proposition to start with. For example, if you don't believe that any of your memories will carry over, then in what sense is the being that is reborn 'you' anymore? What relationship does it bear to 'you?' Where and in what form are 'you' going to be reincarnated? What determines that? Can you affect it in this life? How? 

 

I think it's the answers to these questions that would determine how a culture behaves if it 'knows' it reincarnates. There are a quite a few cultures around who believe in rebirth/reincarnation, but differ in the specifics, and I think it's those specifics that make all the difference. Tibetan Buddhists are not like Japanese Buddhists are not like Hindus, and none of these are much like traditional Mesoamericans. 

 

I.e., since the specifics of reincarnation are no better known in P:E's world than they are in ours, I don't think that the 'fact' that reincarnation/rebirth exists would make much difference.

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I really think the soul in Pillars would be considered a lot differently then real world religions. This is mostly due to the fantastical fact having a master pedigree of previous incarnations would lead to an extremely powerful soul magics. I think an interesting take might be how societies view soul splintering - how can it be known someone was previously person x. Is it that soul magics can determine previous incarnations, which would that lead to different classes(Highborn - lowborn)?

 

Could soul reincarnations lead to war? By that what if person Y is reincarnation of king of country X. Could taking over country X be just reassuming your duties from your past life? From my perspective if religion is interpreted as in reality - as in a fantastical fiction; it likely won't be as interesting. Sure real life Buddhist philosophies and other religions have interesting considerations - but at the same time having fantastic elements like magic >demons > undead and other monsters present there is a lot of potential for intriguing plots.

 

IF a race is like the Minbari in Babylon 5, that their souls appear in another race how would that effect them? What if on another extreme a race like the Drow or some other "evil" race's soul appear how are they dealt with. Can a supernatural monster through possession enter the karmic?/reincarnation wheel? Like can a powerful demon entity get a human body that way? How exactly does possession work?

 

Getting bogged down in real life philosophy is all well in good, but it stops being good if it lessens interesting adventure threads.

 

Edit: Another caveat is that in Pillars the realms gods are "active" in the setting. Meaning miracles/epoch's might actually occur regularly or irregularly(but do happen). Seeing is believing for many. Though even gods might be viewed by some as just empowered souls. For instance a school of wizards in Faerun(Toril) have that opinion. Interesting speculations regardless.

Edited by W.MacKinnon
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Miracles happen in this world all the time. People are just too blind to see them. There are plenty of phenomena that don't have explanations in this world that are considered thus.

 

I already know what I'm goign to role-play as my first character: a skeptic. He doesn't believe in magic - it just natural phenomena that hasn't had its mechanisms explained yet. He doesn't believe in the gods - they are just people who have tricked others into believing that they're divine, when in reality, they just have a better control and understanding of these natural phenomena - they are charlatans and liars. As for souls? Yeah, he believes souls exist. But that doesn't change anything really.

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I really think the soul in Pillars would be considered a lot differently then real world religions.

I agree. In many aspects our Religions are product of the time, we have the same religious text from thousands of years ago, but their interpretation change effected by social progress and many times hijacked by petty human squabbles. Here the major change is that deities has much more active role in things, I don't know if the end result will be the same, but it seem to me that the reason wont.
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Miracles happen in this world all the time. People are just too blind to see them. There are plenty of phenomena that don't have explanations in this world that are considered thus.

 

I already know what I'm goign to role-play as my first character: a skeptic. He doesn't believe in magic - it just natural phenomena that hasn't had its mechanisms explained yet. He doesn't believe in the gods - they are just people who have tricked others into believing that they're divine, when in reality, they just have a better control and understanding of these natural phenomena - they are charlatans and liars. As for souls? Yeah, he believes souls exist. But that doesn't change anything really.

 

When I said "active" gods, I meant more on the level of Greek Myth. (If forced to give a real world example) Take for instance Hera turning a woman(Arachne) who dared to challenge her skill in weaving, into an aberration half-woman/Spider hybrid. Being a DM for years has me using the term miracle or epoch for pretty much anything a god entity might do benign or not. Frankly if a god throws around wish granting power faith is pretty much moot. Since you don't have to have any to believe in a god cursing it's enemies or curing the illnesses of it's worshipers. It's as real as your neighbor across the street.

 

In Faerun(Abeir-Toril) the setting of Neverwinter Nights 2, shows why some people might become skeptics in that game setting. Basically Kelemvor is an ascended human who obtained godhood. Meaning in setting any creature could technically get a divine rank (spark of divinity). At the same time the gods are portrayed as petty and cruel due to gaining said energy from their worshipers - and if a being refuses to give that energy they go to the wall. This leads to a moral quandary of the setting - how can the good gods be good if they condemn those innocent of wrong doing to a fate worse then hell.

 

Truly speculations on the divine order in fiction is interesting to me. It also makes the stuff of great epic level adventures. I'm excited to see what obsidian pulls out of it's hat in that regards. Since they've done some of the more interesting/mature takes constructing and deconstructing of settings to date.

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They would pull braids and smooth silk riding skirts. A lot.

Everyone knows if you pull your braid enough, and never have any wrinkles in your riding skirts, you get a better next-life. :)

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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