Define the soul

I think in order to formulate new ideas, we need a basis of thought. What exactly is the soul? Does it exist at all? These are the true fundamental questions of religon, instead of the overused “where did we come from” and “what is the meaning of life.” Such questions are limited by our beliefs, but perhaps we can extrapollate beyond individual ideas and come up with something new… for once. So, take god/s out of the picture, what is the basis of the human mind and body?

It is theoretically safer to purposely burn yourself than to turn on a light.

Soul is from mind, mind is from body. Body is partical ensamble, partical is energy in concentration. What else you wana know.

Darksword wrote:

I believe that if a soul does exist, it is a collective soul. The force behind our existence. That which controls nature, the revolutions of the planet, everything. The “something” that connects us all. That is our soul, that is our basis. I have reason to believe this question has roots in the uncertainties of death. Perhaps not. Either way it makes me think about it. I mean if there really is no individual soul(how most individuals define it as that part of us that is everlasting) then when we die and thats it. Our body systems cease to function. We didnt survive. So then we go back to the earth. And indeed we will continue to live, but as the force. No recollections of all this bullshit that only is a minuscule yet equally important division of the bigger picture, the force and the laws that govern it. This is all of course still coming from a subjective mind, but much more independent of modern religious thinking.

As I understand it, the soul exists within us as a seed, a potential. From Meister Eckhart:

It is this soul that is said to be in the image of God but differing of course in relativity and scale. Somehow, the idea became popular that we already have this ready made soul but I believe it is the final result of re-birth as described in the gospels. It seems like nothing but egotism to assume that our inner chaotic state is indicative of a completed soul.

Man is dual natured and differs in this way from the rest of organic life. We not only can serve the purposes of the earth as does the rest of organic life but at the same time become open to receiving conscious influences. So Man is in a unique position on earth of not only transforming substances during his birth, life, and death, but also becoming conscious of his earthly existence from the reception of higher conscious influences.

Out difficulty now is that the conscious world above and the mechanical world below are separate. It is the soul of man if it is allowed to grow into existence that unites these two different levels within our common presence. In this way and through this connection “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The soul becomes open or passive to receive from the conscious and active in relation to our life on earth by reconciling our attachment to its level of duality so that it is experienced as one. Our attachments struggle against building on this revelation which is where the “woe” comes in.

The soul in this way is access to the Kingdom in contrast to salvation from being asleep with potential in the body of Christ.

From the Gospel of Thomas:

I believe Jesus is speaking of the creation of the soul through the reconciliation of duality on the earthly level or re-birth. In this way the higher becomes connected with the lower and at this level, access to the kingdom is possible.

#1 - I draw the line at reading the bible, sorry.
#2 - “differs from the rest of orgnic life” thus animals (of which humans are calssified as) do not have souls in your opinion…yes?
#3 - nice point illativemindindeed, the soul is life which is nature which is in essence a perfect circle. Is there any way to break that circle?
#4 -Pureasonist - Uniqor “Soul is from mind, mind is from body. Body is partical ensamble, partical is energy in concentration. What else you wana know.” I want to know what the hell you are talking about. (i think i get it - soul = energy… but what importance does it hold in the big scheme of things?)
#5 - Ok, my science experiment which will be completed somewhere in some reomote area once i gain the monetary means and befriend a few good scientists: Take 2 clones (same body, same person, same age… etc.) enclose them in identical environments (their own house, minimal ocntact with others, etc.) observe their behavior for like 10 years, and put them through tests to see if they will react the same. This may prove if a true soul exists (which i think a soul is a collection of neutrons that dissapate after death = no spiritual afterlife, basically entirely natural in the conventional sense.). A relativly good experiment if i may say so myself.

What! you draw a line at reading the Bible?? Actually, nothing I posted is quoted from the Bible though the ideas can be found within it as can most ideas.

An animal does not have a soul simply because it has no potential for individuality apart from nature and is just part of what illativeminded suggests as nature. The Buddhists refer to this as dukkha or the continual becoming or incarnating and its associated suffering.

The soul in Man connects levels of existence while animals are restricted to the earthly level. The animal’s evolution is complete. It is what it is. Man, in contrast, has the potential through conscious evolution of becoming more than animal and the actualization of this process is IMO related to the life and quality of the gradually actualizing soul.

According to me, soul is properly defined in one word as an experiencer, that which experiences some events (feeling, thinking, perceiving, etc.) All events experienced are ultimately inner (within the body), but some of them seems to be external (outside the body). To speak as a Cartesian, experiencing could be his whole essence.

Therefore reality can be divided into experienceables (things that can be experienced) and unexperienceables.

Unexperienceables can be divided into experiencer itself (experiencer cannot know itself directly, but only by inference) and immaterial things (others’ thoughts and supernatural beings).

Thanks to this conceptual framework, I escape the drawbacks of Cartesian Dualism while not giving in to materialism.


ask sam and dave…


Darksword, you only got half what I was talking about. Yes, I say soul is energy like everything else, actualy, I think the human soul is the highest form of energy - it is the product of the latest evolutionary development. What you don’t get is how this is significant and how it relates to the big picture, so let me rant about that now.

This is the most significant explaination about soul, and it relates to the big picture more than anything else. This sloves any question you can ever ask about “soul”. Defining soul as something spiritual, humane or mysteries is the inferior approach. One needs to have a scientific approach to even the most “out” philosophical issues, otherwise, you’ll end up in square one, unless you grow into deep intellectual denial of course. What is the big picture you are talking about anyway? I agree that we need to sort out the fundamental things, so I anwser you: there is soul, it’s just not what most people think it is, it’s nothing special, just a top nod at the infinite chain of evolution.

“What! you draw a line at reading the Bible??”
Yes, deal with it (and anything that says “jesus” I happen to consider the bible). I don’t study philosophy, so technically this is just a brain exercise I find interesting, even though I get rather lost when I am forced to go RESEARCH philosophers mentioned to comprehend concepts… I don’t have time to research (at least I know what “Cartesian Dualist” means now). So, sorry to be so below everyone in knowledge and experience, I am merley curious.
Sâmkhya- I am impressed with your ability to make up words. But I have no idea what you mean by “unexperianceables”… here’s what I got so far: Reality can be divided into physical and nonphysical experiences (nonphysical is further divided into the mind itself??? and the minds/thoughts of others??? (leaving out religion). I’m afraid this is most likely not even remotely close to what you were going for.
I want to know why life (even continual reincarnations) is “suffering.”
“Man, in contrast, has the potential through conscious evolution of becoming more than animal and the actualization of this process is [In My Opinion] related to the life and quality of the gradually actualizing soul.” What defines said “life and quality”? Could it have been chance that we evolved with a more complex brain capacity than other creatures?
Pureasonist - Uniqor - Ah thank you for clarifying…I guess you could call that clarifying…big picture = taking out any form of religion to describe religion (just about as clear as your post, lol. ). Highest form of energy… so energy can evolve now can it? And please rant, just in some sort of cohesive fashion. Odd name by the way.

Who’s name is not odd here?

I’ll try to be crystal clear now: no, energy does not evolve. Energy concentrated and formed matters as particals, because these particals interact with each other, matters evolve. The human brain is at the latest stage of this evolution. The soul is the latest product of the human brain. Soul, like everything else, has its root in energy. My entire point.

Darksword: things which can be perceived or feeled, I call them «experienceables». This includes feelings and external perceptions.

Things that cannot be perceived or feeled, I call them «unexperienceables» (non-experienceables). This includes the soul itself (whose existence is known by inference), thoughts of others, and supernatural entities.

Hello Darksword

I see that the name “Jesus” hits a nerve with you. I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I respect your feelings. I would like to understand this sore spot better if you are willing to share. Is there anything about the name “Jesus” or something in particular that he said that makes the name so repusive, or is it only what you’ve experienced as church politics and attitudes that is the real turn-off?

In order to really begin to understand the soul IMO, it means beginning to be open to comprehend beyond the secular or scientific. To do so means intentional impartiality. Such impartiality means being free of the control of these sore spots on our psych or at least, an intellectual unwillingness to defend them.

Nick :
I’m a fighter, not a lover (hence the really COOL name… [I enjoy weapons fighting and martial arts]). Umm, basically church and people who are “churchy” and what I have heard from the bible(refrencing above)… both Catholic and Christian. Other main religions are basically the same. Those who write history in essence control the past. How do you know jesus even existed, was really as great as the words claim him to be, or that the bible isn’t a bunch of faiere tales? But, you have a point, I’ll try to be more open to generic religions… I have extremly deep hates though.

Can’t people just tell you honestly what they are thinking, and if you have experienced similar feelings, can you not also experience their experiences? (Although this would never be prefectly exact.) And how were supernatural entities created other than supposed perception of his/their actions? They are merely extrapolations.

Pureasonist - Uniqor:
OK, thank you. Sorry, my 17 year old brain isn’t that perceptive. Reminds me of string theory… I like it. Now with this basic idea, what can we say about different religions?

So that raises a very intriguing question for me. Speaking in purely utilitarian terms- what the hell are you doing here? There’s plenty of other topics here on ILP, besides religion, where you won’t be constantly running abreast of those things you hate.
Or perhaps that’s the point?

The mind is not separate from your body, it is the inner part of the body.
You are separate from the body and the mind, both. You are an entity,
transcendental, you are a witness to the mind and the body, both.
But your mind and your body are both one and the same energy.
The body is visible mind, the mind is invisible body.
The body is the exterior mind, and the mind is the interior body.


I came accross this verse today and thought of your post. The Soul very crudly put, is the part of you that animates you, whether you believe in God or not, there is a part of you that is only part of you while you are alive.


Darksword, glad you like my idea, but don’t take it to far, it’s an nineteenish idea afterall.

If you wana know what I wana say about all religion, just read Nietzsche. I’m not being lazy, it’s just that I wouldn’t say it any better than the man. the Antichrist is a cute little book, it’d be a good start.

Soul = energy. Energy, like matter, cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. I cannot imagine energy existing in one form for an infinite duration of time (even stars “die”) . Thus, a heaven with some type of supreme being/s “living” for eternity seems entirely indefensible. What does this say about various religions?

I come here to straighten out my ideas, get new ones, and see any flaws in my theories. Hence I went to church a number of times, so I can accurately judge them. But I have found many people on ILP do not follow MAIN religions (i.e. the religion average Joe has that he follows only because his parents treated it as fact when he was young and goes to church only because it is expected of him). Point made.
liquidangel: Can’t argue with that.

Pureasonist – Uniqor:
Ah, but a good idea from a five year old does not mean it is a bad idea. Thank you for the insight. I liked your confidence in your ideas. “Don’t take it too far” – I rarely (there are no absolutes) take anything too far. Besides, it really wouldn’t matter. Reading The Antichrist after AP exams… Friday the 13, best day of the year. :slight_smile:

Hi there DarkSword

I can see that you enjoy the fight but what is your goal? Do you fight to win or to understand? If you want to win just keep devloping your fighting skills both physically and in debate. If you fight to understand then all I can say is what has been said from the beginning which is to fight to be brutally sincere with yourself so that you can begin to “Know Thyself.” If you are sincere, good things will happen. The quality of the answer will match the sincerity of your questions

The following is from a man who IMO truly understood. Take from it what you will.

As trite as it sounds, the essential meaningful struggle is with ourselves.

Nick :
Ummm… I fight to analyze different ideas and see if they are worthwhile. I suppose you could call that understanding. Winning isn’t really that important (even in fighting… lose the match, yet gain some pretty cool scars…), but I have difficulty getting around my perception of things, and ideas I have previously dismissed as foolish.
Honestly, do you really care what “sore spots” I have? Can anyone be an absolutly just and unbiased person while still maintaining an opinion? Just tell me to be more impartial. (Besides, you can always trick me into reading your quotes by not putting where it was from, if I don’t already recognize it)… queries to what you first stated:
What of the people who are not “worthy” to acces the “kingdom of heaven”? I agree, males and females aren’t really different… but how can you “make the outside (physical body) like the inside (soul)”? They are the same unit but different parts. Do you imply that this “connection” does not affect you until death? Maybe brings you peace from inner torment (whoever has inner torment needs to seek help…)? And why is heaven heavenly?
[ I am being brutally sincere with myself in stating that the last religion I would ever believe in is Catholocism/Christianity, which I consider near identical. :wink: ]

It is in our enemies that we see our true selves, and I apparntley I quite like my true self.