10 July 2010

Day 105: A Dog's Purpose

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.  ISBN: 9780765326263 (advanced reader copy).

First of all, let me say that I love the word purpose because it inevitably makes me think of the word porpoise, which usually makes me giggle when I exchange the first for the second.  I'm sorry, I am just that immature.  You know you like it.

A Dog's Porpoise (see, it's funny) involves several reincarnations of Toby/Bailey/Ellie/Buddy while he (or she depending on the incarnation) tries to figure out what his real purpose might be (Oh! It's a Huge Manatee).*  I really, really like the idea of reincarnation, not just for dogs, but for everyone.  I find comfort in the idea that we get to come back if we completely screwed up our lives and/or the lives of those around us the first time.

I very much believe in reincarnation.  To me it's the only thing that really makes sense if you think of souls as a kind of energy.  If energy is merely transmuted, doesn't it make more sense for them to be recycled into someone else instead of going up into the sky and collecting dust?  Why make more souls when you have some perfectly good ones floating around here on earth already?  Of course, I believe in the composting method of reincarnation, where our souls all collect together, turn into a kind of karmic sludge, and out of the sludge grows a new soul.  Hmm, soil = soul, even my metaphors are puns.

I think it's a better explanation than the traditional moving up or down the ladder depending on whether you were Good or not in a previous life.  It also explains why people make the same damn mistakes over and over again: if your essence starts of as sludge, how much are you really going to remember?  There have been times where I swear I've had flashbacks to a previous life, things I could in no way explain: dreams, feelings, snatches of memory.  I know it probably sounds crazy, but maybe the composting process isn't perfect and sometimes bits of soul are more intact than others, and that is why some people can remember past lives.

Do I take this seriously?  Yes and no.  It's fun to think I might have been a Spanish bull fighter in the 1700's (actually I was a drunk, syphilitic Russian living in France, at least in the latter 1700's), but I'm not going to rely on incomplete information and tell everyone I was a Spanish bull fighter... unless it's on the internet... where everyone can see.  Oops.

*I know that Manatees are not actually porpoises, but it makes for a funnier joke.  It's not my fault they're actually sea cows instead of sea swine.

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