Deep Philosophical Questions About Incarnate by @JodiMeadows
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Finally got around to reading Incarnate. Instead of adding to the many fantastic reviews out there this time, I’d thought I’d write about the thought-provoking questions the book brought up for me.
Incarnate‘s plotline is based on the idea of reincarnation. In Ana’s world, the same souls have been reincarnated over and over for 5,000 years, which leads to a lot of condiluted relationships. Your friend may become your mother who may become your lover in a span of a couple generations.
Each time a person is reborn they have a different body. Which means, you could be a different gender, fat, thin, tall, short—whatever. This makes me wonder how much our bodies are tied to our souls. How much does my gender influence my soul in real life?
And, if I was in Ana’s world, would I still love my husband (er…his soul) despite what his outside’s look like? Would a different outside change his soul? If he were taller, would he have a different type of soul? He would’ve never been teased for being short. He may have been more outgoing sooner and made different friends. He may have been a different person.
I know this touches on a deep philosophical question—what is the nature of the body and the soul and the mind?—and one both philosophers and theologians have been pondering for a long, long time, so I doubt I can figure it out in a blog post. Are they connected? If so, how much? Or not, like Incarnate seems to embody?
Either way, the soul/body conundrum makes me think of music. (And music is a very important element in Incarnate. I love how it’s used both as a story element and as a symbol.) Have you ever listened to the swelling of a phrase in a song and become swept away by it? You lose yourself in the melody.
I wonder if this is a moment of the soul. Not a moment when the soul breaks free of the body, (because I tend to think they’re tied and shaped by each other), but a moment when the soul becomes more fully itself.
Another side question: because of the condiluted relationships in Ana’s world, if I lived in it, could I be free of jealousy? Could anyone be free of jealousy? Especially since it’s a basic human emotion? I don’t think I could stand knowing my now-husband could be with somebody else in a new generation. Obviously, I hope we’d be one of those people who rededicate their souls to each other every time we’re reincarnated.
And five thousand years is a long time to live with jealousy.
Have any insights into the soul/body thing? or jealousy? Love to hear them.
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Fascinating premise! I may need to check it out!
I love how she uses music in it 🙂 I think I’ll read the rest of the series just to see where she takes the soul/reincarnation thing. Could get pretty interesting