Reincarnation: The Population Problem

This will become part of a series on “Reincarnation” — see more links below.

The word “soul” works for Hindus and Christians but most Buddhists would object.  But for Buddhists who believe in reincarnation, please indulge me and just generously translate “soul” as “that which reincarnates” (or let me know your favorite word).

Here is the obvious problem for all of you who believe in reincarnation:

With the explosions of populations, of not only humans but other life forms, where are all the new souls coming from?

In re-incarnation circles, here are some of the [weak] answers I’ve heard:

  1. from other worlds or dimensions
  2. from a soul repository
  3. from heaven and/or hells
  4. from De novo: the universe/God/the-sea-of-consciousness is constantly making/generating new souls
  5. from inanimate objects (a river, a mountain)

Questions for Readers:

  • What answers have you heard to this dilemma?
  • Do any of those work for you?
  • What do you think is a good name for this problem?

My related posts:


Filed under Consciousness, Philosophy & Religion

47 responses to “Reincarnation: The Population Problem

  1. DaCheese

    Seems like this one would be easy for Hindus: the “new” souls are graduating up from lower forms of life. Perhaps the overall spiritual progression of the world is enabling more and more to reach our exalted level. Or maybe the natural process of human expansion opens up more slots, so souls that wouldn’t have made the cut before now do (which could also neatly explain the perceived degradation of society that every older generation seems to complain about).

    Plus, our population growth is displacing other creatures, thus reducing their numbers. So you don’t even have to wonder about total populations of living creatures in general, just assume that the numbers balance out somehow.

  2. @ DaCheese:
    I guess that is the point, it is clear that there are more sentient beings now than previous times and so I think the problem works. But your also said,
    “maybe the natural process of human expansion opens up more slots”
    Which is my answer number 4, no?

  3. “Karmic stream.” Think of it as a chain of actions and consequences, where each action conditions a consequence.

    Buddhism isn’t really concerned about how karmic streams originate. The traditional cosmology has them always existing in one form or another. You could think of a windy sea, with the wind throwing spray from the waves. Each droplet of spray is an individual karmic stream. If the weather’s stormy, there will be more droplets in the air than if the weather’s calm. So the question “where do the droplets come from” would just be answered “the sea.” This is close to your ‘de novo’ solution, although the sea isn’t “making new droplets,” because the droplets aren’t really different from the sea to start with. They’re just being constantly separated from and then returning to the sea.

    FWIW, views on rebirth vary a great deal. Tibetan Buddhists tend to have take very literal view of it; others less so. Personally, I believe that my actions will have consequences and these consequences will condition other actions, and some of these consequences will carry on after I’m dead.

    Whether that counts as “belief in rebirth,” and in what sense, is a matter of opinion. I don’t think that after I die I’ll suddenly wake up as a bug, or a monk, depending; I do believe that monks and bugs are constantly being born, and these births are, to a tiny or great degree, conditioned by my actions. (The Sanskrit for ‘action’ is ‘karma.’)

    But then I’m not much of a Buddhist.

  4. Ed

    Not being a believer in personal reincarnation I will play with one potential answer: There is only one soul… it eternally peals off seemingly separate souls, which always are anyway the One Thing/Soul. Like the Ocean/Wave analogy, each wave is distinct but not separate… it arises, sustains for a while and returns. I view reincarnation as another human wish to live forever as the little ego-trick learned since birth… very much like the concept of a christian soul. And it should be noted that in actual Hinduism, one can reincarnate up or down the scale… ie. higher or lower life form. Westerners think we go on as people and sometimes glamorous ones at that. The real teaching is that we can go up or down reincarnating in over 850,000 species of life, most in hells and very unpleasant.

  5. Ed

    PS… by “real teaching” in my last comment i was referring to what I know as the most ancient Hindu teaching. Not real (true) as opposed to false.

  6. @ Petteri :
    Welcome ! Yes, Ed repeated your Sea issue below. It is what I had in mind with the De Novo. I will add it to the post so it is clearer.
    I agree with the rest of your statement, and like you, I am “not much of a Buddhist” either. 😉
    Your blog looks fun, btw — I shall be following.

    @ Ed:
    (1) Yes, I know the up & down issue, thus in my question I wrote: “of not only humans but other life forms”
    (2) When you said, “it eternally peals off seemingly separate souls”, that is my answer number 4.

  7. 1minionsopinion

    No word of a lie — I worked with a woman once who insisted all souls came from the lost people of Atlantis — or maybe it was only certain souls of special intelligent people. It’s been a while since we had that conversation so I’m a bit hazy on the details.

    Either way, it was malarky.

  8. NFQ

    I like “the population problem.” Maybe “the problem of new souls”, if you are looking for a different option.

    Most of these answers “work” for me in the sense that, when you’ve already posited a strange, supernatural system by which things allegedly work but which we have no means of testing and no real evidence to suppose in the first place, almost anything could seem to “work” with that. I mean, if there’s an invisible, undetectable, ill-defined deity or life force in the universe doing magical things all the time, why couldn’t it create new souls, or have some sort of a bank of souls all stored up, or split old souls into multiples in the future? Meh, why not?

  9. I think there’s heavy traffic inbetween different realms, samsara itself is infinite, it is (as i understand it) the infinite space within which manifold life exists. It’s subdivided into realms of existance – i like to think the paradox of Hilbert Hotel as describing how ‘souls” move, in such a scheme of things there always has been an infinite number of souls, no new ones generated, they ‘just’ transmigrate.

    The other answer to the question, beyond fruitless speculation such as i have given is that it’s one of those avyakata questions. What i get from the Avyakata Sutta is this:

    “Sometimes the answer to the question is to forget about the question”

    …close to cultivated agnosticism but not quite.

  10. Interesting thoughts so far.

  11. DaCheese

    @Sabio, I wasn’t thinking about “new” souls going into those slots, so much as former bug & animal souls moving up into human slots now that more have opened up.

    That’s why I mentioned the coincident loss of habitat for other species; if you squint real hard and wave your hands enough, you might convince yourself that the number of humans being gained is neatly offset by the number of bugs, gorillas, etc., being lost.

  12. @DaCheese – I’ve heard the same before. I wonder if it means we can accelerate the process by systematically wiping out all lower life forms? Or, at least, if we eradicate dogs, then we can be as lustful as we want in this life without fear of coming back as a dog.

  13. @JS Allen Good question. I wonder how extinction weighs into all this.

  14. Fun discussion.

    According to the wiki, 99.9% of all species that ever lived are now extinct. Not all populations reach 6-10 billion, like us humans, but the world’s ant population is estimated to be around one quadrillion (150 000 ants to each person, rough). Do single-cell life forms count in this as well?

    If we have, according to Sab, many selves within us, then each of us is (or has been) a potential soul repository, just waiting to divide and become one.

    A friend of mine years ago wanted to write a novel with the split-soul idea as the basis for the story. Once the right people that all shared parts of the original soul got together and reunited the original soul some era-changing events would occur.

    Last I heard he abandoned the idea because someone else had used it first. It might have been in some anime movie, I think…

  15. Sam

    Karmic stream as mentioned before. “Rebirth” is a better term than “reincarnate” I think.

    Your chain of causes and effects don’t end when you die but continue on.

  16. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    [Comment deleted – Comment policy violation]
    This was a cut and past spam with no interaction to post. @ Anirudh: Link to your site or other material if you wish. Do not flood and be sure to interact with post.

  17. Some things I’ve come across in answer to the questions posed:

    What answers have you heard to this dilemma?
    The Buddha never denied the existance of a self, nor did he ever flat out acknowledge what one is, if there is any. He did however, tell us all kinds of things that the self wasn’t. (see the Zennist for more on this – it’s a bit of an obsession of his). I have faith that he DID know the answer to this, but that the teaching would ultimately be incredibly distracting to the path of liberation. Thus he skirted around the issue when directly asked, and only told us what self wasn’t. If we could figure out what self is, then we might be able to proceed with further discussion. For now, it seems like we’re left with “whatever the self is, it becomes reborn”.

    I’ve heard that the “what” that “self” is is some form of mind, or universal conciousness, in which case the idea of an individual soul is no longer needed, as each person would simply be an individual expression of said universal conciousness. I don’t totally buy that but I don’t completely disregard it either. I have an inkling that there is some form of rebirth taking place, but I beyond that gut feeling, I’ve got nothing. I really try not to spend much time on this issue, as I feel like it distracts from more pressing matters in regard to my practice.

    Do any of those work for you?
    I dunno. Maybe.

    What do you think is a good name for this problem?

    Matchbox 20.

  18. @ 1minion
    To tell you the truth, I don’t find that any more amazing than that people literally believe the Hebrew Bible Stories or the Jataka tales.

    @ KrisB :
    “The Hilbert Hotel Paradox” — laughing. It has been a while since I heard that one. Infinity solves lots of puzzles, or confounds them, eh?

    @ DaChees :
    “Squint real hard and wave your hands” <– cracked me up !!

    @ JS Allen :
    But as bizzare as reincarnation may sound, the various Heaven-Hell schemes of all the different Christianities can be equally fictitiously humorous.
    Concerning Mass Extinctions: The must work perfectly — the refill the Soul Repository.

    @ Andrew :
    Thanx for the playful comment on the many selves –> loved it. One of my central themes is that happiness must be tied with an ability to not take ones’ self seriously!

    @ Sam :
    Why not “recarnate” –> why the “in”? I think even many atheists take solice in the FACT that our “chain of causes and effects don’t end when you die”. You are absolutely right.

    @ Adam :
    One of my other unkosher thoughts is that Siddartha was not all knowing. He would have probably made a terrible economist, a floundering scientist, a miserable farmer and on and on. Nor, do I think, he could miraculously see back to past lives or the nature of the afterlife. Most Buddhist have him must more idealized than I even begin to venture. But then, that is why I am a secular Buddhist — if even a Buddhist at all. I don’t have your faith, nor do I feel a need for it. But I do not begrudge you that type of Buddhist faith.

    Indeed, it can be distracting from doing the right thing to spend too much time pondering the useless. I agree.

  19. I do think it deserves some proper mathematical modeling to see what conditions would need to hold for the idea of transmigration to be plausible.

    The whole transmigration thing seems to me to be *very* similar to “desirism” or even standard economics’ focus on maximizing “utility”. So the comment about “kill off the lower species” was like asking, “Would we raise per-capita GDP by sterilizing the poorest people?”. It was a play on Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal“, where he suggested that the Irish could solve their economic problems by selling the children as food.

    Of course, we do very sophisticated modeling for “utility” in economics. And Judeo-Christian religion was obsessed with demographics instead of reincarnation, so we have fantastic capabilities to model gene flow and demographic patterns. But it seems that people who become good at math are not so interested to test out reincarnation with the same methods.

    I was able to find only one research paper attempting this sort of mathematical modeling on reincarnation. From the abstract, it seems pretty relevant to your original post:

    “A leading example of these attempts is the common refutation of the
    hypothesis of reincarnation as being inconsistent with human population
    growth. This paper demonstrates that the demographic refutation of reincarnation
    only holds if supplemented by substantial metaphysical assumptions.
    A simple Markov model of circular migration can account for population
    growth and remain consistent with a reincarnation hypothesis.”

    So he concludes that human population growth is no problem for reincarnation, and he might even be right, but I think it needs way more investigation than that. What are the important parameters for the model? (e.g. time between reincarnations [and is this constant over the ages?], average moral “climate” in each species, any sort of composability or fractionality, etc.) Once we have the parameters, what are the upper and lower bounds of each parameter that roughly fits observed data? And then we have to account for *intentional* distortions model — my example was satirical, but undoubtedly there are plausible ways that people could try to influence the model if we understood it. So the model needs to take that into account. I don’t doubt that it’s possible; but I think nobody has really attempted it yet.

  20. So if the true nature of self wasn’t something that he awakened to, what did he awaken to, in your opinion?

    I also don’t think that he was all knowing. I think that would be silly. I believe he even said that he wasn’t.

    And any that tread the path have faith. Ultimately the dharma must be experience, not simply pondered over. Until we can touch that experience, we allow faith tempered with doubt to help guide us.

  21. I watched an episode of BBC’s Tribe (titled Going Tribal in the US) relatively recently. In Tribe, the host, Bruce Parry, immerses himself as best he can into the daily life of the various tribal communities of the world. You may have seen it.

    Anyway, in one particular show, Bruce joins a Bhutanese people and visits some Buddhist monks to have his fortune read. The Buddhist monks give Bruce some bad news when they tell him that in his next life he will be reborn as a monkey.

    Putting aside the silliness of fortune telling (and Bruce’s sad, credulous face), what fired my cynicism was that the monks predicted a monkey rebirth. Why a monkey? Why not an Aardvark? Or a Platypus? Or a Collared Peccary?

    Was Bruce’s next life a monkey because he has monkey-like attributes (but what primate doesn’t?) or simply because the isolated Bhutanese monks’ knowledge of the animal kingdom is (understandably) limited and they would’ve never so much as heard of those other animals above let alone seen them? It’s a monkey or nothing! (But if a monkey, then what sort of monkey? There are 264 known extant species!)

    I guess this is the case for many, if not all, claims of rebirth in Buddhist scripture and belief:
    The animals of previous lives (likes tigers, monkeys and dogs) are always familiar, local animals in India. There is never any mention of Naked mole rats, Kangaroos, Narwhals, or Tapirs simply because there are none in India!

    Or then again, is rebirth localized? If I die in China might I be reborn as a Panda? If I die in New Zealand, a Pukeko? Australia, a Wombat? Brazil, a Sloth?

    Just thought that was kind of amusing, if not so relevant…

    Oh, and great blog Sabio! So much interesting stuff to read!

  22. “is rebirth localized?”

    In terms of body-material, it would have to be localized, I think. The environment of the dead body is going to provide the consumers.

    Decomposition times vary due to moisture/air/acidity levels and maybe how accessible the body is to insects/animals.

    It’s probably more likely that rebirth will take the form of fungus or plants or bacteria before complicated mammals. Reincarnation may be a very involved process after all.

    But, if your soul is housed in your teeth, then rebirth may take a long, long time.

    Hmm, maybe dentists are more helpful in achieving nirvana than I expected…

  23. @ Shantivadin :
    Good Batchelor talk — I totally agree.
    Keep in mind, my daughter probably got that from Anime we watch. But what is interesting is that she clung to that, but my son clung to heaven.

    @ Ed :
    Thank Ed. You sound like your daughters are very lucky — then and now.

    @ soe :
    Thank you for your kind words. It was meant like that.

    @ JS Allen :
    The modeling would be fascinating. But the assumption of what counts as the pool of sentient beings would be slippery. There are many different models — all trying very hard to make it happen.

    @ Adam :
    Good question but may be better for another post: “Was the Buddha Enlightened”? Ah, the heresy of thinking such a thought.
    I agree that experience is key — with it, probably dogma melts.

    @ Shantivadin :
    FANTASTIC point !!! Thanks. Parochialism permeats human thinking — Christian, Buddhist or otherwise.

    @ soe :
    But that needs to assume that populations are diminishing in those worlds. All in all, the gymnastics needed for reincarnation push me away and are a huge part of my disbelief. But as my next post says, I am not saying it can’t be a useful post.

  24. @Sabio
    Before you ask that question, you’ll need to define enlightenment.


  25. @ Adam
    But of course ! It is a word I never use except when talking about those who claim it. I don’t really “believe” in “it”. Very unBuddhist, of me, I know.

  26. Well, I don’t think the models are trying very hard at all. Bishai’s circular Markov model was able to fit the data with very little effort, for a fairly wide tolerance of what could be considered “sentient”. IMO, his model isn’t really a stretch at all.

    My point wasn’t to criticize his model; it was simply to say that we’re in no position to reject reincarnation based on “population size” unless we have done due diligence with widely accepted analytical tools. The only such due diligence I’m aware of ends up supporting reincarnation based on populations size.

    There is a danger in making judgments about things like this based on our extrapolations of “common sense” (i.e. “We’ll soon run out of souls”). IMO, the “population size” argument against reincarnation is very analogous to the recent capitulation over “kin selection”. “Kin selection” seemed like common sense, so obvious that it needn’t even be tested. But now that we’ve done the math, it looks like “kin selection” isn’t so common sense after all.

    So that’s all I’m saying. If we’re going to argue ‘we’ll run out of souls”, I need to see the math, using the accepted tools for economics, demographics, epidemiology, or whatever. I don’t think anyone arguing against reincarnation has done the math, so I don’t regard the conclusions as anything more than random guesses.

  27. soe

    @ sabio “I don’t really “believe” in “it”. Very unBuddhist, of me, I know.” Actually just believing what you heard or saw as true without investigation is not in line with what the Buddha advised too. So you are still “Buddhist” in the “don’t-believe-in-everything-the-books-say” sense.)

  28. @ JS Allen :
    I agree with most of what you said and understood your main point earlier but you say it more succinctly here. They are excellent points. I love the link concerning the Nature article and E.O. Wilson’s recant. Wonderful points.
    However, I think you would agree that we do make decisions all the time without analytically testing information to a high level of certainty. We would be frozen and useless if this were needed. This is why cheap simple heuristic have evolved in our heads. But as you rightly point out, they can often be wrong. Thus for important issues, we can employ our analytic methods as huge aids.

    This brings me to a point I was hoping to make in a later post about “How I decide about Reincarnation” where I lay bare my simplicity. So you have just aided in that. Thank you.
    Great points again. Thanks.

    @ soe :
    Like you, I love the empirical emphasis in Buddhism –> “Believe not, but test.” But I think that many Buddhists who trust that Siddartha was “enlightened” and knew “Pure Mind” perfectly do so on faith. I highly doubt there is any way they could test it unless they did what he instructed and are clear they too were perfectly enlightened. But in that case, how do we test that they are enlightened? It doesn’t take much web browsing to find all kinds of folks calling themselves or their teachers “enlightened”.

    As Adam says, terms would have to be defined. But in Buddhist circles I see an over abundance of faith in ill-defined terms like “enlightenment”. But I haven’t thought about it too much. Maybe my posts and future readings will help me. Thanks for your thoughts.

  29. Steve Wiggins

    First we need to define a “soul” — it has never satisfactorily been accomplished.

    Perhaps the best name for the source of souls comes from a movie that I’ve despised for years, “The Seventh Sign.” The premise is that the well of souls is empty and that means the second coming is nigh. The writers dig back into Jewish lore for a name for this well of souls — the guf.

    It might have rung more true if they’d just added the second f.

  30. @ Steve

    Absolutely ! Loved the “guff” !

  31. soe

    @sabio “I highly doubt there is any way they could test it unless they did what he instructed and are clear they too were perfectly enlightened. But in that case, how do we test that they are enlightened?”

    i’m actually thinking the only worthwhile thing to do with “enlightenment” is to investigate it ourselves.

    The question of whether others are enlightened or not is not important unless we are deciding to follow their path(s). This reminds me about the early teachers siddartha seeked out in his quest. He could only weigh if what knowledge and experience he attained was enlightenment when he had attained what his former teachers had attained.

    So ya we’ve got to attain that “deathlessness”/freedom from samsara that is attainable by anyone who seeks it. The only faith we need i figure is the faith that if one is resolved enough, one will keep getting closer to one’s goal, in this case, enlightenment. I do believe, at this point, while we are on that journey, we should not pigeonhole it as seeking Buddha’s enlightenment or Maharshi’s enlightenment or any other spiritual master’s enlightenment or even look for something completely different from what we think we know. I think the attitude should be like in meditation where we open to the experience so we can observe, recognize true natures without habitual preconceptions.

    I’m not really sure if i wrote it in the best way that made sense. Words can be pretty limiting sometimes.)

  32. soe

    “even look for something completely different from what we think we know”

    or don’t know.)

  33. Bill

    The whole problem goes away if one assumes that transmigration can go forward OR backward in time. There’s nothing intrinsic in the concept of reincarnation which would prevent this.

  34. @ Bill,
    And ALL problems go away if we assume that 1 = -1

  35. Atheistic_Theist

    Well in reincarnation, and Hinduism, all things are part of God. Intelligent life having souls and nothing else isn’t part of the belief. All things have souls. All things reincarnate. The scientific explanation, would be energy can not be created nor destroyed merely changed, the essence of the world, and the energy required, goes from one thing to another. Even rocks are part of creation and existence and the energy that moves them, tectonic plates and such, are part of the world. Even the energy that moves the wind is part of God. When there is no energy there is no reincarnation. The essence of the world that builds up upon itself is in tact. Population is not a trouble, because you have insects, one of my favorite stories is of Indra being reborn millions of times as an ant, wind, kinetic energy, waves, storms, sex, trees, grass, all the world is part of God, and you reincarnated as part of it.

  36. For 14 years, I was ordained a monk in an Eastern/Hindu/Christian monastic order, Self-Realization Fellowship. The Hindu philosophy or religion includes reincarnation in the sense of “spiritual evolution”. Snails, slugs, snakes…all matter, all beings are evolving or devolving. If you asked me, when I was a monk, I’d have argued that new “human” souls evolved from lower animal forms. Nowadays, I look at this hypothesis, with the unlikelihood souls are something actual, can survive death, the whole idea of reincarnation is undermined, where’d souls come from? where’d god come from? I could only entertain reincarnation when I didn’t really question too deeply the whole shaky supernatural foundation of beliefs that its built upon.

  37. @ Scott,
    My emersion was not as intense as yours, but the outcome similar. Thanx for sharing. I did not realize that the “Self-Realization Fellowship” labelled itself “Christian” — a label that >90% of Christians I am sure would object to. Not that I care, of course — except sociologically.

  38. @Sabio: Yes. Yogananda’s Hindu-Yoga Self-Realization Fellowship co-opted Christianity and Jesus. I will have to write and post on the SRFs (and other Vendanta-Based Yoga groups) who use Christianity and Jesus to repackage Hinduism and Yoga to Westerners.

    One staunch Christian’s take on Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. The article provides a fairly balance view of SRF from a fundamental Christian’s perspective, “Swami Yogananda and The Self-Realization Fellowship : A Successful Hindu Countermission to the West”, published by CRI (Christian Research Institute) can be found here at

    For disclosure, I’m not affiliated with CRI nor any other religious organization.

  39. Darlene

    When reading the Cayce files, the entity says as souls progress they need less “light” energy which animates our soul in the physical realm. Therefore one soul can reincarnate as many different bodies at once, in order to experience and overcome the addiction of the flesh. Once this happens they are once again reunited with the whole or God (the mansion Jesus alluded to), and as the bible puts it “will go out no more.” So in other words a soul in it’s infancy is only one, but as it progresses it can split into many, thus explaining the increase in population. It also explains the “spontaneous combustion” of physical human beings as well. If we carry too much soul energy in one body as we progress, our physical bodies can not handle it. Think the “bright light” people experience in NDE’s.

  40. Darlene

    One more addition! People tend to believe that the population will keep climbing, but actually it is slowing and will start to decline. Here is an excellent article about that:

    I think the issue here concerning reincarnation is that the human mind has a hard time with the concept of “infinity.”

  41. That is fascinating. I will give the article a look. Thanks for dropping in, Darlene.

    Good article, thanks for the link.

  42. ah, Dalene then I just read your Cayce Files comment above and realized we don’t look at things with nearly the same eyes, I imagine.

    Greedy souls regenerate into many bodies, then slowly humanity awakes and seeks union with the Divine and only one body or less and the population falls. <– not one of my going theories

  43. pappu

    i believe in reincarnation. till date reincarnation was one of the answers of “why good people suffer”. the answer was simple “they did something wrong in their past life”. simple as that.. but if you go in the deeper realm of it, you will catch some of the loopholes.

    for example, in my life, currently i am 28 years old. and mind you that all of these 28 years were full of terrible sufferings and deep deep sorrows. i never liked my own life. but yes till date i have never done anything wrong with anyone.

    i promise that i always remain at my best in terms of morality, no matter how much sever conditions are. infact i helped numerous persons in my life. including friends who at later proved to be worse than enemies.

    well today i cry before god. i do not know what wrong i have done in my past life, since i can not recall the memories of my past lives. and thus i can never get the answer that what was my terrible sin which is leading me to such a disastrous life. to be true now this “past life” issue has become such a pain for me. i have even cried before god, and each time i cry before god, the tears come in my eyes from deep deep down inside from my heart. i cry whole whole heartedly before god, that god if i have really done some sin in my past life, then please god please punish my physically. broke my legs or do something terribly, but please god please do not strip every single joy of my life.

    even after crying from whole heart, he never answered me. i am ready to suffer from the sin physically, and that too terribly so that every single sin gets wiped away from me. but i am not ready to give every single pleasure of my life and live a life which is full of misery and terrible pain.

  44. best wishes on your endeavours, pappu

  45. Kmac

    Who said the soul is a single consistent coherent unit? Maybe you only get soul material like you get water from a well. It is never the same water. It is just an am out of water. Pour any amount of water back into the well and try to scoop out the exact same water. You can’t. You will simply have a different mix of molecules. All soul material can mix. Then each creature just needs a measure of soul. It is exactly how air works. You may be breathing air from millions of different people with every breath.

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