If you look back on your life, or just one theme in it like work, human relationships or what you've produced, unless you're a great egotist or quite unreflective, there must be things that
you'd like to edit out. I guess that is done in obituaries, come to think of it. And Dubya's recent "book."
If you really believe in reincarnation, what is the mechanism whereby you remember what you need to improve on or fix in your behavior or character this time around? If you just return as a spider next time as a result of some really smelly karma, I don't see how that works. And returning without any instructions means we just bumble around again.
So we're propelled forward by the tsunami of time and events, hoping the weight of sin and stupidity won't drag us down as much as we suspect it will.
What would you leave out? A good composer, artist or writer has to master this to produce a good work, a classic. (Short story in six words by Ernest Hemingway: "Baby shoes for sale. Never used.")
If you were Woody Allen, you could eliminate all the noise in a long, checkered career and keep just Sleeper, Annie Hall, Interiors and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The author of Raintree County killed himself because he had nothing left to write after that. Wrong solution. If you just left behind your best, what's wrong with that?
What if you actually could, at important junctures in your personal time-line, bring out the editing pencil and remove the destructive, bad stuff? That seems to be a better sort of reincarnation: learn, fix it, and grow when it would do some good. That's the enduring appeal of "A Christmas Carol" -- fly and loop freely through time, with or without ghostly guides, and clean up your permanent record. Deep meditation, traditional religions and jails offer the only, modestly successful, attempts at it we actually have. But nothing's really deleted in these processes, it is just archived.
Physicists say time may not exist at the most fundamental level of reality; all the laws of physics would work equally well if time ran backwards. There's your entry point, I think! What we perceive as the relentless forward march of time is the expansion and growing disorder of the universe. Is all of that time still here and can we get into it and change things? It must be inherent in all the universe's matter and energy that cannot be added to or destroyed. Uh-oh. That means we can't edit anything out. Rats. Trapped in my own theoretical web.