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Congratulations, you're dead.

One potential metaphysical problem seems to exist in relation to the procedure of spiritual reincarnation: where do all the noble souls happen to end-up if the human species becomes extinct?

This hypothetical quandry seems to be particularly significant from the point-of-view of Hinduism and Buddhism, both of which posit a hierachical "gradiation" of potential future forms into which one may be reborn. Karma, in both systems of thought, is an important factor in determining one's outcomes in the next cycle of samsara or, in the Buddhist case, dependant origination. To put it simply, bad karma leads to a bad rebirth in a less desirable form - say, as a slug. On the other hand, good karma should lead to rebirth in a more desirable state - thus a cat may be reborn as a human, or a human reborn as a deva.

I'm somewhat uncertain however of the effects on the cycle should humanity be removed from the picture. In as far as I am aware, most schools of Buddhist thought (excluding those of the Mahayana, 'Pure Land' variety) consider it only possible to make true progress towards nirvana while inhabiting the middle-realm that consists of the familiar, material universe; other realms are considered either too degrading or too blissful to prove helpful in one's internal contemplations. If such is the case, an awful conundrum is presented if the world is made void of beings capable of reasoning; without the capacity to reason, the soul inhabiting a cat would have little chance of attaining the insight necessary for release. At best, a particularly noble feline may find itself in the deva-realms after living a particularly good life, but what then?

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