Oh God…

This documentary is the first I’ve come across that actually focuses on how life was for soldiers early in the war.  Then again, I’ve been avoidant about this kind of thing for months but I felt strongly that I needed to purge more bad memories because it seems to help me somehow.  I decided to deliberately trigger myself and I did it.

I’ve had to stop it momentarily because it had me crying hysterically when the reenactors read actual memoirs, even though the actors weren’t tremendous and the costumes were much too clean.  It hit extremely close to home because the conditions I remember were this bad and worse.  The one describing the rats in the Armentieres sector was the one that had me in tears but the one with the fellow telling his father he’d gone off to war had already caught me off guard with the emotions it stirred up for me.

I haven’t confirmed anything I didn’t already know, but it resonated with me because they focus on the minutiae of a Tommy’s life for once.  I was not prepared to find something like this.

EDIT: OK, the Brian Blessed dramatic reading was in poor taste (this isn’t fucking Henry IV, Mr. Blessed!)  That’s what I get for not posting this after I’d seen the whole thing.

The Influence of Belief

I’ve begun to wonder if believing in- or being exposed to the idea of- reincarnation in one life makes one more susceptible to remembering that life in another incarnation.

I’ve noticed that although there are few people who remember a life as a German soldier in the First World War, the few I’ve come across also have memory of a life in the Second World War.  Meanwhile, I’ve yet to come across a single reincarnated Doughboy or Poilu, but I’ve met a handful of fellow Tommies.

I have an idea that might explain this.

There is a heavy influence from Indian language and culture on the language and culture of First World War British soldiers.  Lots of British battlefield slang, such as “Char” for tea and “chit” for an official letter, come from Hindi words.  The song “Mademoiselle from Armentieres” is believed to have been derived from an Indian song called “Skiboo.”  And a good many Indian troops served alongside troops from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as well as the Canadians and ANZACs.  The likelihood that we would have been introduced to and familiar with the idea of reincarnation is fairly high since this idea is very much embedded in Indian culture.

Now, what does Germany in the Second World War have to do with this?

While the sources are scant (I know I’ve read it in good sources but can’t find any of them when I need them), I have seen some mention that Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was a firm believer in reincarnation, and that this belief was shared by members of the SS.

If this is true, then Dead Tommies and Dead Nazis have something unexpected in common: we kind of figured we might find ourselves in another life and what do you know, here we are.

The phenomenon is also common in societies where belief in reincarnation is the norm, but when it isn’t isolated to small sectors of the population, it becomes difficult to say whether it was the belief from the past or belief from the present that influenced the recollection.  Obviously, if you belong to a group that believes it in this life, it’s easy to come to that conclusion.

Still not sure what bearing my exposure to the idea in this life as opposed to my previous life had.  I was vaguely familiar with some of the inquiry into past lives done by Dr. Stephenson, but I hadn’t really delved deeply into it at all; in fact a lot of the documentaries I saw seemed to stack the deck in favor of reincarnation being a flight of fancy, and I was fairly convinced that most of the cases I saw were just that.

But having experienced it myself, and having noticed this pattern of people who may have believed in reincarnation in a past life recalling that life at a later time despite having no belief in it previously in this life, it really does hint that believing- or at least keeping an open mind about- reincarnation is a factor in remembering your current life in the next one.