“In the West the idea has been propounded by various thinkers, above all by Pythagoras–who recognized the shield with which he had fought in the Trojan War, when he had another name.
In the tenth book of Plato’s Republic is the dream of Er, a soldier who watches the souls choose their fates before drinking in the river of Oblivion.
Agamemnon chooses to be an eagle, Orpheus a swan, and Odysseus–who once called himself Nobody–chooses to be the most modest, the most unknown of men.”
–Jorge Luis Borges, “Buddhism,” Seven Nights, 1984, pp. 55.