Occam’s Razor and the Theory of Rebirth

Occam’s razor, which essentially is the concept that when all other things are equal, the simplest explanation will tend to be the best, is a useful conceptual tool in many fields of life, and helps us avoid bogging down in needless complexity,–thereby helping us sort out theories that have “too many moving parts” to sustain serious scrutiny. This is especially helpful when it comes to practical matters in the material world, but it is not always the answer! Sri Aurobindo uses the example of the simple explanation of the “theory of the spheres” as an explanation of astronomical events. Today we have a much more detailed and complex understanding, as well as the ability to observe many more facts that need to be covered by any solution.

This becomes a question because the theory of rebirth and the corollary law of karma actually is a quite good example of “Occam’s razor”. Sri Aurobindo explains: “The theory of rebirth coupled with that of Karma gives us a simple, symmetrical, beautiful explanation of things…”

If we accepted Occam’s razor as a determining factor, we would have to admit that rebirth and karma are the best explanation we have for the facts of our existence. Sri Aurobindo cautions however, that while this may provide us “moral certitude”, it does not yet constitute certainty or absolute proof and thus, much more examination of the question is warranted.

Sri Aurobindo,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.