Friday, May 9, 2008

The Soul Genome ~ by Paul Von Ward, 2008

Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
The Soul Genome: Science and Reincarnation ~ by Paul Von Ward, 2008, speculative science

Summarize the book
Paul Von Ward attempts to show that reincarnation can and should be studied scientifically and not as an offshoot of New Age spirituality or religion. Right off the bat I have a problem trying to categorize this book. offers these category strings:

1. Religion and Spirituality > New Age > Reincarnation
2. Science > History and Philosophy
Interesting. How many books have you read that are categorized as both Religion and Science?

Share some quotes from the book

"This book's hypothesis posits that an infant begins life with its past-life legacy. With it as a foundation, the infant interacts with its new environment and social network to create its own unique contribution to the ongoing process of evolution" (p. 78).

"[T]he complete set of physical patterns existing at the moment of death would comprise the legacy genotype that reappears the moment of the next conception" (p. 84).

"I believe the evidence suggests that ... the learning from previous lives provides each of us with an innate legacy to build upon. It does not matter who or what we might have been in a previous life. We cannot change that. What really matters is to consciously develop in this one the legacy each of us would like for his or her soul genome ... to energetically transfer into a new-human form" (p. 205).
What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
Von Ward pulled together a number of cases where people living today seem to have many attributes of people who lived in the past. Not only were their interests the same or similar, but even physical features had imprinted on the current incarnation of a soul. The author argues that we have a soul genome by which we inherit traits from our former lives, as well as the chromosomes that transmit physical traits from our biological parents. His argument is interesting, for the most part, but I still haven't figured out why it matters.

Would you recommend it?
Mentioning every example in his experiment every time he delved into another aspect of his theory began to get tedious, especially since I was having a hard time remembering all the details of each case that I'd read in bits and pieces throughout the book. I think The Soul Genome would have been more readable if he had followed all angles of the theory through one case at a time. I enjoyed reading his book Our Solarian Legacy (2001) more, but if you are interested in reincarnation, you should take a look at this one.

How would you rate this book?
Rates 8/10, a very good book.


Anonymous said...

Interesting theory...I've long believed it quite logical to think that we've had other aspects of our being, especially when watching child prodigies playing Mozart at age 2! But yes, what does it matter if you can't remember them? And if you could (a la regression), then what would you do with the information other than perhaps confirming belief in life after death.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

June, maybe I'll find out this morning. I plan to hear Paul Von Ward speak at 10:30 this morning, and maybe I'll ask why he considers it important. The reason, as I see it in the book, is that we'll have a legacy to build on (see the last of the three bits I quoted), so that we ... and thus our self-learning universe ... continue to evolve.

The sub-title of Our Solarian Legacy is "Multidimensional Humans in a Self-Learning Universe." More on this later.

Teddy Rose said...

This does sound like a very interesting book! I hope you enjoyed his talk as well.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

What fun! Yes, Teddy, I enjoyed his talk, bought another of his books, and went to lunch with him and his wife and several others who were there.

Paul Von Ward has agreed to answer my question via email; though he talked about it over lunch, I was eating and not taking notes. He will probably talk more about the implications of reincarnation rather than why accepting the premise of reincarnation matters. I'm looking forward to what he adds to this discussion.

And I did get a photo with him after he signed my books, which I'll include in my next post. I already had The Soul Genome and Our Solarian Legacy, and today I got Gods, Genes, and Consciousness: Nonhuman intervention in human history. I've already read the preface and am telling myself I must finish other books for review before I jump into this new one.

I'm not succeeding!

Susan Tidwell said...

Hi Bonnie! Happy Mother's Day!

Always fun to see what you are reading, and to hear your thoughts. Hope you have a great day.

Linda Jacobs said...

Hi, Science and me don't mix, I'm afraid, but I enjoyed reading your well-written review.

I see you are now reading Stephen King's book about writing. That one I read and loved.

Happy Mom's Day!

Unknown said...

Bonnie, this sounds like a very interesting book. It sounds like, if I read this right, that perhaps Von Ward's position challenges the typical scientific position in that he asks science to look at differently. Something which I think is all too important. I think we end up being so limited by a narrow scientific view when the reality is there is so much out there that we don't know and many won't explore because it goes "outside the box". Hope you'll be sharing more with us on this subject - I find it fascinating and certainly plan to look for the books on Amazon.
Hope you have a great Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

If reincarnation is real, what are its implications for the way humans live?


Thought-provoking evidence evaluated by my research suggests that your physical appearance, the way you think, how you react emotionally to life events, the way you interact with other people, and the creative activities and vocations you choose may be predisposed by the experiences of one or more humans who lived in the past.

The evidence collected so far (while not absolute proof of the reincarnation hypothesis) raises the possibility that whom you marry, or not, what you study in school or college, where you live and work, how you spend your free time, who your friends are, and what you feel about it reflect the influence of events in centuries past. How you interpret global, national, neighborhood, and family affairs may be based on more than what you have learned since birth.

Why do I suggest these radical possibilities? Credible researchers have hundreds of cases where people recall or intuitively act on knowledge and traits that seem to come directly from the private lives of individuals who lived before they were born. Individual life histories seem to be better explained by something like reincarnation than by present psychological development theories.

As you read the life cases in the book, you are likely to think of "footprints" of a "soul genome" in your own life.

If society in general only began to to consider reincarnation worth serious consideration (as scientists do the theory of black holes), psychologists and the rest of us would change the way we think about parenting, schools and education, mental problems, physical predispositions, and the ways we relate to everyone else.

Kailana said...

I have noticed theories like this seem to be getting a lot of coverage lately. Even Oprah did a show sort of related. I do know I like the cover of this book, but I am not sure if it is an idea that I want to explore further. Maybe someday.

Ruth said...

This looks like a seriously cool book to check out. I think that the fact that Amazon lists it in both science and religion categories is part of a growing trend to recognize that there is some kind of link between science and spirituality. Leo Kim does a good job of pointing out and explaining it in Healing the Rift, and also makes some really good points about it on his blog.