John Scalzi took a moment from perusing the net for new references about "The Last Colony" to exclaim, "Hey! Welcome to the first of the reader-submitted Weekend Assignments, in which I've chosen topics suggested by you, the lovely and talented By The Way readers."
By the terms of the parameters of the question coupled with Hindu beliefsconcerning reincarnation and the return on the Wheel of Life, first I have to wonder that we are all coming back as animals. Surely one amongst us is sufficiently holy and enlightened enough to progress further along the wheel...
Besides, I don't WANT to be an animal.
Animals get eaten, run over, hunted, used and abused by humans, experimented upon, and often live short, brutish lives with no redeeming features whatsoever. The basic credo of animal life is do unto others because something bigger will be doing unto you. This
is not a fun way to spend your next trip through creation.
However, assuming I just had to come back as an animal, it would be my distinct pleasure to return as a Tursiops truncatus, the common Bottle-nosed Dolphin. I think I'd like to be one of the top predators in the ocean, roaming the seven seas in a pack, yet highly social with a
well-developed sense of joy, fun and wonder. Good thing I like raw fish, huh?
Before I end this, I must confess that I don't believe in karma as a motivating principle in this universe. However, if I did, I'd be screwed in terms of the Turn to come. Way too many negative events in and about my passage around the wheel this time to be good for karmic advancement. Hell, I'm an atheist – that'd be a sinker in the well of karmic beliefs, for sure.
As always, thinking good thoughts about you and your family. Those stanky feet running unfetterd in your hotel room are a whole 'nother matter entirely.