He gave me a book he'd just read called Many Lives, Many Masters. It's by a psychiatrist who came to believe in and actively promote the concept of past life regression, reincarnation, and how important the acceptance of reincarnation is in curing people of phobias and chronic depression. What he doesn't blatantly say is that he really stopped believing in medical therapy for anything other than physiologically explained mental illnesses (and he didn't feel that anxiety and depression had physiological roots).
The book is small, circular, and sort of stretches my open mindedness here and there. But it's an interesting perspective that I'm happy Oscar shared with me because I would not have sought it out on my own. Something in the book caught me and started me thinking. The author said that the accumulated anxiety of all of these lessons we've never learned would eventually (according to the "Master spirits" that spoke through this particular patient) lead to the eventual destruction of man. And that this anxiety was very well exhibited through teenagers, most of whom believe they would not live beyond their 20s. He described this as a thoroughly modern phenomenon.
When I was a kid I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would die in a nuclear explosion. My only hope was that I was close enough to the blast that I died instantly instead of one of the unlucky bastards outside of the blast wave who drop off slowly from the poison of radiation. I knew that. Like... no doubt in my mind. The nuclear climate of the '80s, the military town, and knowing how many bases were around us all made it obvious to me. And when I crept out of the teens and into the 20s and kept living and didn't die I felt vaguely lost and confused by the whole thing. What the hell am I supposed to do now? My destiny was to die in a mushroom cloud just like Tears for Fears said I would.
I wonder if that was a universal thing for people in my age group (just after Gen X, just before Gen (wh)Y) or if I was just a weirdo cerebral kid who thought about things like that. But also - 5 years ago I couldn't picture myself at 30. And right now, I can't picture myself at 40. Is it really a symptom of our anxiety and cumulative impending doom or is it just our lack of foresight and the difficulty we have in picturing our place in the world?
I don't know how I feel about the whole past life thing. This book certainly didn't convince me of anything. But I also don't completely discount it (or anything else).