Thinking about the question of a hereafter in the works of Poul Anderson and SM Stirling led to reflection on a relevant poem by Kipling which led to thinking about how often Kipling has been referenced on this blog. See here.
Kipling's poem concludes:
"He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think He would squander souls?"
Leafs and trees are not wasted but they do not return as individual leafs or trees either. They go into the earth from which new life grows. Human knowledge goes into language and literature. Each new generation learns to speak and hopefully to read.
If, like the ancient Greeks, we regard poets as inspired authorities on such matters, then Shakespeare is a greater poet than Kipling:
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (See here)