Reincarnation

Reincarnation is believed to occur when the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, comes back to life in a newborn body. This phenomenon is also known as transmigration of the soul or metempsychosis.

This doctrine is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism; the Buddhist concept of rebirth is also often referred to as reincarnation. The idea was also fundamental to some Greek philosophers and religions as well as other religions, such as Druidism and later on, Spiritism, and Eckankar. It is also found in many small-scale societies around the world, in places such as Siberia, West Africa, North America, and Australia.

Although the majority of sects within Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Kabbalah, the Cathars, the Druze and the Rosicrucians. The historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of the Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, Manicheanism and Gnosticism of the Roman era, as well as the Indian religions, is unclear.

Conceptual Definitions

The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”. The Greek equivalent metempsychosis (μετεμψύχωσις) roughly corresponds to the common English phrase “transmigration of the soul” and also usually connotes reincarnation after death, as either human, animal, though emphasising the continuity of the soul, not the flesh. The term has been used by modern philosophers such as Kurt Gödel and has entered the English language. Another Greek term sometimes used synonymously is palingenesis, “being born again”.

There is no word corresponding exactly to the English terms “rebirth”, “metempsychosis”, “transmigration” or “reincarnation” in the traditional languages of Pāli and Sanskrit. The entire universal process that gives rise to the cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as Samsara while the state one is born into, the individual process of being born or coming into the world in any way, is referred to simply as “birth” (jāti). Devas (gods) may also die and live again. Here the term “reincarnation” is not strictly applicable, yet Hindu gods are said to have reincarnated: Lord Vishnu is known for His ten incarnations, the Dashavatars. Celtic religion seems to have had reincarnating gods also. Many Christians regard Jesus as a divine incarnation and they and many Muslims believe he and some prophets may incarnate again. Some ghulat Shi’a Muslim sects also regard their founders as in some special sense divine incarnations (hulul).

Philosophical and religious beliefs regarding the existence or non-existence of an unchanging ‘self’ have a direct bearing on how reincarnation is viewed within a given tradition. The Buddha lived at a time of great philosophical creativity in India when many conceptions of the nature of life and death were proposed. Some were materialist, holding that there was no existence that the self is annihilated upon death. Others believed in a form of cyclic existence, where a being is born, lives, dies and then is re-born, but in the context of a type of determinism or fatalism in which karma played no role. Others were “eternalists”, postulating an eternally existent self or soul comparable to that in Judaic monotheism: the ātman survives death and reincarnates as another living being, based on its karmic inheritance. This is the idea that has become dominant (with certain modifications) in modern Hinduism.

The Buddhist concept of reincarnation differs from others in that there is no eternal “soul”, “spirit’ or self” but only a “stream of consciousness” that links life with life. The actual process of change from one life to the next is called punarbhava (Sanskrit) or punabbhava (Pāli), literally “becoming again”, or more briefly bhava, “becoming”, and some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term “rebirth” or “re-becoming” to render this term as they take “reincarnation” to imply a fixed entity that is reborn. Popular Jain cosmology and Buddhist cosmology as well as a number of schools of Hinduism posit rebirth in many worlds and in varied forms. In Buddhist tradition the process occurs across five or six realms of existence, iincluding the human, any kind of animal and several types of supernatural being. It is said in Tibetan Buddhism that it is very rare for a person to be reborn in the immediate next life as a human.

 

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Frozen Wheel Chamber (Symbolic Function)

4×14 – “There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 3

A large eight-spoked frozen wheel at one of the Island’s electromagnetic pockets harnessed the Heart of the Island to manipulate space and time. A well originally accessed its chamber, and the DHARMA Initiative later built the Orchid station on top of it. People who turned the wheel teleported to a site in Tunisia. When Benjamin Linus turned it in December 2004, the Island moved, the wheel slipped off its axis, and those on the island started shifting through time, seemingly randomly. A few days later for him, but at an indeterminate time in the Island’s/chamber’s past, a time-shifting John Locke turned the wheel to stabilize it again and end the time flashes. He too then teleported to the Tunisia site. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)  (“This Place Is Death”)

History

Construction

   

While living with Claudia’s people in an early unknown time on the Island, the Man in Black constructed an early prototype of the frozen wheel. He planned to install the wheel to harness the Island’s Source and transport himself into the outside world. When questioned by his mother on how he had learned such things, he answered that he was “special”. Before he could complete his project, his adopted mother knocked him unconscious. Upon awakening, he found the well filled, the village destroyed, and Claudia’s people slain. (“Across the Sea”)

Discovery and Experiments by DHARMA

   

In 1977, DHARMA Initiative construction workers excavated rock at the site to build the Orchid station, unaware of the wheel’s existence. (DVD commentary) They discovered an anomaly and melted six drill bits trying to reach it. The drill operator then became dazed and suffered a nosebleed. When Dr. Pierre Chang arrived at the site, the construction foreman showed him a sonar image of what lay beyond the wall – the frozen wheel’s outline. Dr. Chang ordered them to halt drilling, stating that they were close to a source of “almost limitless energy” which would let the Initiative manipulate time. He warned that continued drilling could release this energy with dangerous consequences. (“Because You Left”)  (“The Incident, Part 1”)

   

After the station was completed, Dr. Chang (using the alias “Edgar Halliwax”) recorded the Orchid Orientation video, explaining that the nearby “negatively charged exotic matter” let DHARMA experiments with space and time. He cautioned that this pocket of matter was associated with volatile electromagnetic energy. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”) DHARMA used polar bears to turn the wheel as part of their experiments. One such bear ended up in the Tunisian desert, where Charlotte later discovered its remains. (“The New Man in Charge”)  (“Confirmed Dead”)

Ben’s visit

   

Believing Jacob had ordered the island to be moved, Ben took it upon himself to do so. He claimed that whoever turned the wheel could never return to the island, and Jacob wanted Ben to suffer these repercussions. To reach the wheel, Ben deliberately blew a hole in Orchid vault’s back wall. He then crawled through into a rock tunnel, broke through a sheet of ice, and climbed down a wooden ladder into the wheel chamber.

Before turning the wheel, Ben looked upwards and uttered, “I hope you’re happy now, Jacob.” After much physical effort chipping away the ice around the wheel, he was finally able to turn it. As Ben turned the wheel, a loud humming and bright light surged outwards across the entire Island and for a considerable distance beyond. Ben was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia, the Island disappeared to the outside world, and the remaining survivors on the Island began moving through time. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)  (“Because You Left”)

Ben clearly showed foreknowledge of the wheel’s existence, location, and use. He also knew to wear a parka before entering the freezing wheel chamber and to bring a crowbar to aid in removing ice from the wheel.

Locke’s visit

   

At some unknown point, a time-shifting Locke descended into a well near the future location of the Orchid. During his descent, another time flash occurred, shifting his companions on the surface to a period before the Orchid well was even built, in or before 1867. Locke, meanwhile, may have shifted forward in time below the surface (possibly due to his proximity to the chamber’s pocket of electromagnetism) as he soon encountered The Man in Black (in the form of Christian Shephard), who appeared to Locke in the chamber and told him to re-align the wheel. In great pain, Locke, who had fallen during the time flash and experienced a compound leg fracture, approached the wheel. It vibrated and oscillated erratically, bathed in a pulsating green light emanating from beyond the wall. He pulled the wheel in a clockwise direction, resetting it. The light flashed brighter, and the final time flash occurred. The remaining time-shifting survivors on the surface were transported to 1974 and Locke himself was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia in late 2007. (“This Place Is Death”)  (“316”)  (“LaFleur”)

Exit (Tunisia)

   

Individuals turning the wheel were transported to “the exit”: a location in the Tunisian desert. Upon turning the wheel, Ben was transported there sometime on October 24, 2005. He killed two Bedouins that confronted him, likely knowing that they were Charles Widmore’s men, and made his escape. (“The Shape of Things to Come”). At some point after Ben’s arrival, Charles Widmore had a CCTV camera installed to watch for others who might leave the Island in this way. After turning the wheel, Locke arrived at the exit point in 2007. He was picked up by Widmore’s people soon after his arrival. (“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”) Exactly how much time elapsed between turning the wheel and one’s arrival in the real world appeared to vary: Ben appeared at the exit about ten months after he turned the wheel, but Locke was transported across a much greater span of time. As he came from a time period before the Statue of Taweret was destroyed, he must have been transported more at least 140 years through time and possibly much longer.

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New identities of characters who left the Island

   

Keith Johnson (Michael Dawson)

Keith Johnson (Walt Lloyd)

Dean Moriarty (Benjamin Linus)

Jeremy Bentham (John Locke)




Richard Alpert’s Test

4×11 – “Cabin Fever

In 1961 or 1962, Richard Alpert presented six items to a five-year-old John Locke as a test. Alpert placed the items on a table and asked Locke to identify which ones “already belong to him”. (“Cabin Fever”)

   

Items

  • A brass compass (“Because You Left”) (“Jughead”) (“Follow the Leader”)
  • A baseball glove (“What Kate Does”)
  • An old book whose cover bears the title “Book of Laws” (“What Kate Did”)
  • A vial of granules
  • A comic book, Mystery Tales issue 40 from April 1956 (right before Locke’s birth), bearing the subtitle “What was the secret of the mysterious ‘HIDDEN LAND!'” (The question ended with an exclamation point.)
  • A wood-handled knife

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Ben moves the Island (Resurrected on the mainland)

The hieroglyphs found within the frozen wheel chamber indicate “Resurrection”.

4×14 – “There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 3

Believing Jacob had ordered the island to be moved, Ben took it upon himself to do so. He claimd that whoever turned the wheel could never return to the island, and Jacob wanted Ben to suffer these repercussions. To reach the wheel, Ben deliberately blew a hole in Orchid vault’s back wall. He then crawled through into a rock tunnel, broke through a sheet of ice and climbed down a wooden ladder into the wheel chamber.

   

Before turning the wheel, Ben looked upwards, and uttered, “I hope you’re happy now, Jacob.” After much physical effort and chipping away the ice around the wheel, he was finally able to turn it As Ben turned the wheel, a loud humming and bright light surged outwards across the entire Island and for a considerable distance beyond. Ben was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia, the Island disappeared to the outside world, and the remaining survivors on the Island began moving through time.

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Locke re-aligns the wheel (Resurrected on the mainland)

5×05 – “This Place Is Death

At some unknown point, a time-shifting Locke descended into a well near the future location of the Orchid. During his descent, another time flash occurred, shifting his companions on the surface to a period before the Orchid well was even built, in or before 1867. Locke, meanwhile, may have shifted forward in time below the surface (possibly due to his proximity to the chamber’s pocket of electromagnetism) as he soon encountered The Man in Black (in the form of Christian Shephard), who appeared to Locke in the chamber and told him to re-align the wheel.

   

In great pain, Locke, who had fallen during the time flash and experienced a compound leg fracture, approached the wheel. It vibrated and oscillated erratically, bathed in a pulsating green light emanating from beyond the wall. He pulled the wheel in a clockwise direction, resetting it. The light flashed brighter, and the final time flash occurred. The remaining time-shifting survivors on the surface were transported to 1974 and Locke himself was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia in late 2007. (“This Place Is Death”)  (“316”)  (“LaFleur”)

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Ben’s Van (Canton-Rainier)


Canton-Rainier is an anagram for “Reincarnation.”

5×05 – “This Place Is Death

Ben drove Jack and Sun in the Canton-Rainier (Reincarnation) Van to the church seeking Eloise Hawking.

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