The metaphysical purpose of the soul

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Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 09:45 am
@richrf,
richrf;88720 wrote:
I don't believe that people convince other people of anything. I think people convince themselves.
If you're not interested in trying to convince other people, then you can only have conversations with people who already believe what you do. People incorporate the ideas of others when coming to independent decisions. I'm looking for your ideas on the matter. To me it is not self-evident that a soul exists, nor is it self-evident that one does not. I'm interested in your point of view, but you won't even open the door to let me on the bus.

richrf;88720 wrote:
My paradigm is suitable for someone who is questioning their own paradigm and may be looking for something new to replace it with. Just like Copernicus used his observations of the universe to simplify the model of the solar system.
But the difference is that Copernicus showed the world why they should believe his model. He DID convince other people.
 
William
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 09:59 am
@richrf,
richrf;88720 wrote:
I would agree. I think that the tension between the two does create movement which itself creates something new.


What movement, if I might ask? Tension retards/alters/inhibits right movement, IMO. In that respect how can any good come from it?

richrf;88720 wrote:
So the male/female tension is inherent in our creative process.


Inherent? Pardon me if I absolutely "disagree" if history is any judge at all.
We man/mankind/ego-maniacal/autonomous brats created that retardation/alteration/inhibited real nature of those two natural paradigms; man and woman.

richrf;88720 wrote:
And there are ups and downs as there is with all movement in life (the wave).


Yes, in all that is 'not' human, I agree and those waves you speak of would be smooth sailing had it not been for that mighty half of that dual paradigm. Because of those mis-interpretations, rather than smooth sailing on those gentle waves, we/man created the tidal wave illustrated in the dominance that leads to the sinking of ships in those wars we fight as woman mourns the loss of her soldier forced to fight in those wars through pride or duress/coercion.

richrf;88720 wrote:
Thanks for your insights William. I like the idea of bringing polarity (male/female) into the thought process. It is part of the essence.


I might add "it is" the essense and thank you.

William
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 10:03 am
@richrf,
I guess I'm being a bit unfair to you, Rich, after all you did predicate this thread on the "metaphysical" purpose of the soul. But to be consistent that means all I can assume is that the soul has the same metaphysical valuation as any other metaphysical concept like "cause and effect". And to this end, I should not challenge you on any non-metaphysical purpose (or existence) of the soul -- but as I intimate above I cannot assume that they exist either.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 10:06 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;88734 wrote:
If you're not interested in trying to convince other people, then you can only have conversations with people who already believe what you do.


I think it is possible to present views for discussion without trying to convince anyone of anything. I do this with my friends all the time. I present an idea, let's say about playing the stock market. It is just an idea that I put out. If my friends want to understand the idea more, they ask questions. If they are not interested, then they move on. If they want to challenge it, then I am prepared to defend the idea - until I find an issues at which time I change my point of view, which often happens.

Aedes;88734 wrote:
People incorporate the ideas of others when coming to independent decisions. I'm looking for your ideas on the matter. To me it is not self-evident that a soul exists, nor is it self-evident that one does not. I'm interested in your point of view, but you won't even open the door to let me on the bus.


I agree that people incorporate ideas as an independent decision. My idea is a very simple idea to conceptualize. Very, very simple. That everything moves in a rhythmic cycle. Day to day, month to month, year to year, life to life. One can understand the macro (life to life) by observing the micro, e.g. your day to day life.

This particular idea may not resonate with you at this time in your life. Possibly you are comfortable with your current outlook on life at this time in your life, and by no means to I want to interfere. But, maybe in the future, you will develop a different perspective, and my ideas may have merit. Everyone is in a different place in their life (lives). For some, my ideas may resonate, for others not. But, I am always open to discussion.

Aedes;88734 wrote:
But the difference is that Copernicus showed the world why they should believe his model. He DID convince other people.


Yes, Copernicus gave evidence for his beliefs as do I. I think that people do seem to have purpose. They seem to explore, learn, create, and share from day to day in their lives. They also seem to have memory of what they are learning - day to day, and life to life. This is the paradigm. Just like not everyone adopted Copernicus' beliefs or even Galileo's when he presented greater evidence, I don't expect anyone to just adopt my own beliefs. However, maybe someone like William has similar thoughts and there is some discussion so that we can each learn a little bit more about life and the universe.

Thanks again.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-07-2009 at 11:14 AM ----------

William;88746 wrote:
What movement, if I might ask? Tension retards/alters/inhibits right movement, IMO. In that respect how can any good come from it?


I try not to look at things as good or bad, but practically speaking it is difficult to get away from in daily life.

Tension in a rubber band is what creates movement. First it is stretched and then it rebounds back. Similarly the pendulum. Forces pushing and pulling. There seems motion everywhere being created by forces tugging in opposite directions. Discussion of ideas, between two people, would be yet another example.

William;88746 wrote:
Inherent? Pardon me if I absolutely "disagree" if history is any judge at all. We man/mankind/ego-maniacal/autonomous brats created that retardation/alteration/inhibited real nature of those two natural paradigms; man and woman.


I understand your point of view. I look at it differently. I see everything evolving as it should though constant push and pull of opposites. So, a spiral is created, as the Taiji symbol symbolizes. The Taij symbol has both sides, creating movement, and within each side there exists the other side (the black within the white and the white within the black). This, I would call, they cycle of life.


William;88746 wrote:
Yes, in all that is 'not' human, I agree and those waves you speak of would be smooth sailing had it not been for that mighty half of that dual paradigm.


As strange as it may appear, I think smooth sailing is boring for Life, so it creates excitement. Smile Just an idea.

Thanks.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-07-2009 at 11:15 AM ----------

Aedes;88747 wrote:
I guess I'm being a bit unfair to you, Rich, after all you did predicate this thread on the "metaphysical" purpose of the soul. But to be consistent that means all I can assume is that the soul has the same metaphysical valuation as any other metaphysical concept like "cause and effect". And to this end, I should not challenge you on any non-metaphysical purpose (or existence) of the soul -- but as I intimate above I cannot assume that they exist either.


Hi Paul,

Yes, I did want to present this viewpoint in this way. Thanks for taking the time to recognize it. Appreciate it.

Rich
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 02:03 pm
@richrf,
Descartes split reality in two (mind and matter).
Mind or soul he attributed only to man.
All other creatures he considered part of the mechanistic deterministic material universe.
He used God to postualte the possible interaction between the two (mind and matter).
How does your notion of soul relate to your notion of mind?
What creatures or entities have a soul?
Does the soul have to be individual and immortal?
Could the soul be like energy transformed and altered but never created or destroyed?
Is personal immortality a non alterable part of your notion of soul?
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 02:24 pm
@prothero,
prothero;88801 wrote:
He used God to postualte the possible interaction between the two (mind and matter).


Yes. Descaretes knew what was good for him. No inquisition for him if he could avoid it. But, I still believe that his grand statement, I think therefore I am, is one of the great declarations of the unity of mind and body.

prothero;88801 wrote:
How does your notion of soul relate to your notion of mind?


My view draws on Chinese/Daoism: The Shen/Universal Consciousness guides everything. The thinking/mind part called the Yi, acts in conjunction with the Soul. Yi supports thinking, awareness, creativity. So, there is the Universal (Shen) governing the Soul (Hun), the Mind (Yi), the Will (Zhi), and the physical manifestation of the body (Po). That is pretty much the description of the aspects of Life: Spirit, Soul, Mind, Will, Body.

prothero;88801 wrote:
What creatures or entities have a soul?


Every living thing has an evolving soul. Some are more evolved than others, which manifests as a more complex nervous system. Whether non-living as souls, is one that I am contemplating. If all matter is made of quanta and quanta is entangled with consciousness, it is pretty difficult to cut out non-living matter from consciousness (Yi) which would be an aspect of soul. But this is something that I am still contemplating.

prothero;88801 wrote:
Does the soul have to be individual and immortal?


Soul is the sum of all experiences. It can very well (and probably likely) be entangled with other souls, so they cannot be considered individual, but rather as part of the whole. As the waves in an ocean may interact and entangle with each other.

prothero;88801 wrote:
Could the soul be like energy transformed and altered but never created or destroyed?


I would say that there is nothing in my way of thinking that would preclude such a notion. However, it is nothing that I have thought about.

prothero;88801 wrote:
Is personal immortality a non alterable part of your notion of soul?


I would not say that. The notion of the soul as something personal is not my image. I see everything as being unified but interacting. Transformation is certainly an aspect of the soul.

Hope this answers your questions. I would be interested in your own views and comments.

Rich
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 03:52 pm
@richrf,
[QUOTE=richrf;88807] Hope this answers your questions. I would be interested in your own views and comments. [/QUOTE]OK but I think ones concept of "soul" and notions of "immortality or reincarnation" hinge on deeper metaphysical assumptions or philosophical speculations about ontology (ultimate reality) and epistemology (knowledge).

[QUOTE=richrf;88807] Yes. Descaretes knew what was good for him. No inquisition for him if he could avoid it. But, I still believe that his grand statement, I think therefore I am, is one of the great declarations of the unity of mind and body. [/QUOTE]Well fundamentally I have a panpsychist, pan experientialism or neutral monism view of ultimate reality. Matter and mind are inseparable manifestations of ultimate reality. I am not of a materialist but a process orientation. Ultimate reality is composed of events not of inert particles of insensate matter. All events have both a physical and a psychic pole. I do not separate reality into two realms nor do I regard mind as an epiphenomena or emergent property of matter Particles are continously created and destroyed by process. Process and creativity are primary; matter is a secondary manifestation.

[QUOTE=richrf;88807] My view draws on Chinese/Daoism: The Shen/Universal Consciousness guides everything. The thinking/mind part called the Yi, acts in conjunction with the Soul. Yi supports thinking, awareness, creativity. So, there is the Universal (Shen) governing the Soul (Hun), the Mind (Yi), the Will (Zhi), and the physical manifestation of the body [/QUOTE]
richrf;88807 wrote:
Po. That is pretty much the description of the aspects of Life: Spirit, Soul, Mind, Will, Body.
The monistic aspects of Eastern religions and the process orientation of Eastern religions is appealing to someone of my more basic philosophical orientation (process, pan experientialism, neutral monism and panentheism) but the highly detailed system you describe is too much for me (more religion than philosophy in my view).

[QUOTE=richrf;88807] Every living thing has an evolving soul. Some are more evolved than others, which manifests as a more complex nervous system. Whether non-living as souls, is one that I am contemplating. If all matter is made of quanta and quanta is entangled with consciousness, it is pretty difficult to cut out non-living matter from consciousness (Yi) which would be an aspect of soul. But this is something that I am still contemplating. [/QUOTE]For pan experientialism all organized actualities and events (living and non living) have both a mental (psychic) and a material (physical) aspect so we would have no problem with this concept as far as it goes. It just seems too limited. Reality is composed of events not of particles. Perpetual perishing and rebirth. One moment (or droplet, quanta if you prefer) of experience perishes and a new moment of experience is born (created) incorporating elements of the past and choosing from among the possibilities of the future. Mind (or soul) is you prefer permeates the universe. The universe is not primarily a materialistic mechanistic deterministic machine but is alive and enchanted, experiencing to its very core. The Cartesian splitting of reality is false. Materialism gives a partial, incomplete and inadequate explanation of reality (experience). Materialism does not fulfill the purpose of metaphysics to integrate all of experience into a rational framework and to include ethics, aesthetics and values.

[QUOTE=richrf;88807] Soul is the sum of all experiences. It can very well (and probably likely) be entangled with other souls, so they cannot be considered individual, but rather as part of the whole. As the waves in an ocean may interact and entangle with each other. [/QUOTE] The currently favored view "theory of everything or universal field theory" is M or membrane theory. Everything (all of reality) would be part of one continuous interconnected undulating membrane. This coincides in some vague sense with Eastern monistic notions of Atman and Western Platonic notions of World Soul. The attribution of some sort of interconnected universal cosmic mind or soul is not part of the theory but it would not be excluded by it either. On the other hand Cartesian dualism, Newtonian mechanics and the materialistic, mechanistic, and deterministic world views inspired by them pretty much exclude spiritual or theistic worldviews except as entirely human (and thus morally or aesthetically relative) inventions.

[QUOTE=richrf;88807] I would not say that. The notion of the soul as something personal is not my image. I see everything as being unified but interacting. Transformation is certainly an aspect of the soul. [/QUOTE]
Those process philosophers who speculate about God and immortality (primarily A.N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne) do not generally believe in personal immortality. Birth is the beginning of individual experience and Death is the end of individual experience. Your experience may be preserved eternally (and perfectly) in the immortal mind of God. Your life is thus contributory, preserved and significant insofar as it contributes to the divine purpose or enjoyment.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 04:00 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;88715 wrote:
You need to study the sub-definitions of the verb "to be" to understand the difference.

Rich made a predicative statement. You did not. Your use of the verb "to be" places the unicorn within a group of nonexisting things, and you make no implicit assertion to its existence independent of this group identity.


I'll change my example. "The unicorn is a white horse with a horn in the middle of its forehead". How about that one? Isn't that sentence true? Am I supposing the unicorn exists on account of the term, "is"?
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 04:09 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;88844 wrote:
I'll change my example. "The unicorn is a white horse with a horn in the middle of its forehead". How about that one?
Although unicorns seem to be possible, they do not seem to be "actual". They fail the test of truth as correspondence to reality. Rational but not empirical.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 04:21 pm
@prothero,
prothero;88845 wrote:
Although unicorns seem to be possible, they do not seem to be "actual". They fail the test of truth as correspondence to reality. Rational but not empirical.


Irrelevant to the conversation between Aedes and me.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 06:33 pm
@prothero,
Thanks for the comments.

prothero;88842 wrote:
OK but I think ones concept of "soul" and notions of "immortality or reincarnation" hinge on deeper metaphysical assumptions or philosophical speculations about ontology (ultimate reality) and epistemology (knowledge).


Could be, but it is the best idea that I have found that accounts for the continuing evolution of human knowledge and capabilities.

prothero;88842 wrote:
Matter and mind are inseparable manifestations of ultimate reality.


Yes, I share the same view. Everything is made of the same stuff, just different density that is formed by ever condensing spirals.

[/COLOR]
prothero;88842 wrote:
Ultimate reality is composed of events not of inert particles of insensate matter.


In studying the linguistics of computer database design, I formed the concept of objects and relationships that create processes and events. They are inseparable but also distinct. The wave/ocean analogy is the best image that I can come up with to describe this distinctiveness/connectiveness of things.


[/COLOR]
prothero;88842 wrote:
Process and creativity are primary; matter is a secondary manifestation.


I have a similar point of view, however it is difficult for me to find a primary and secondary since they more or less happen concurrently. So I just call them two sides of the same coin. Whatever affects one affects the other simultaneously.
[/COLOR]
prothero;88842 wrote:
but the highly detailed system you describe is too much for me (more religion than philosophy in my view).


I observed all of the component parts and decided that they were required for a minimum description of Life: ie. the Universal Whole, the Individual evolving soul, the Physical counterpart, the Awareness/thinking/creative part, and the Willful part (something to get things going). That is about as compact as I can go without leaving some aspect of life hanging on a limb.

prothero;88842 wrote:
Materialism gives a partial, incomplete and inadequate explanation of reality (experience). Materialism does not fulfill the purpose of metaphysics to integrate all of experience into a rational framework and to include ethics, aesthetics and values.


I agree. Materialism left me rather empty and since I don't feel empty, I moved on.

prothero;88842 wrote:
Everything (all of reality) would be part of one continuous interconnected undulating membrane.


This would be similar to the spiraling/pendulum like motion of the Dao as represented by the Taiji symbol.
[/COLOR]
prothero;88842 wrote:
Those process philosophers who speculate about God and immortality (primarily A.N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne) do not generally believe in personal immortality.


It is often interesting, that when you dig in, you find that they do, except that they do not publish it in works fearing that they might not be taken seriously or worse yet, drummed out of business. So, they refrain.

[/COLOR]
prothero;88842 wrote:
Birth is the beginning of individual experience and Death is the end of individual experience. Your experience may be preserved eternally (and perfectly) in the immortal mind of God. Your life is thus contributory, preserved and significant insofar as it contributes to the divine purpose or enjoyment.


Thanks for sharing with me your conception of life. The primary reason I embrace the notion of soul, is that it does appear to me just accumulated memories which would account for individual differences in behaviors and skills. It is a very nice concept to have handy when dealing with practical issues in life.


Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 07:03 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;88844 wrote:
I'll change my example. "The unicorn is a white horse with a horn in the middle of its forehead". How about that one? Isn't that sentence true? Am I supposing the unicorn exists on account of the term, "is"?
The statement in terms of its logical structure contains several components -- I refer you to the very famous example "The king of France is bald" by Bertrand Russell (the subject of the linked article). Substitute your sentence and you'll see exactly what you're saying. (Or substitute the sentence "The soul is eternal")

Definite description - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:

France is presently a republic, and has no king. Consider the statement "The present King of France is bald." Russell wished to answer the question: Is this statement true, false, or is it meaningless?


It does not seem to be true, for there is no present King of France. But if it is false, then one would suppose that the negation of the statement, that is, "It is not the case that the present King of France is bald," or its logical equivalence, "The present King of France is not bald," is true. But that seems no more true than the original statement.


Is it meaningless, then? One might suppose so (and some philosophers have; see below), because it certainly does fail to denote in a sense, but on the other hand it seems to mean something that we can quite clearly understand.


Bertrand Russell, extending the work of Gottlob Frege, who had similar thoughts, proposed according to his 'theory of descriptions' that when we say "the present King of France is bald", we are implicitly making three separate existential assertions:
[INDENT] 1. there is an x such that x is a present King of France (∃x(Fx))

2. for every x that is a present King of France and every y that is a present King of France, x equals y (i.e. there is at most one present King of France) (∀x(Fx → ∀y(Fy → y=x)))

3. for every x that is a present King of France, x is bald. (∀x(Fx → Bx)) Since assertion 1 is plainly false, and our statement is the conjunction of all three assertions, our statement is false.


[/INDENT]Similarly, for "the present King of France is not bald", we have the identical assertions 1 and 2 plus
[INDENT] 3a. for every x that is a present King of France, x is not bald so "the present King of France is not bald", because it consists of a conjunction, one of whose terms is assertion 1, is also false.

[/INDENT]The law of the excluded middle is not violated because by denying both "the King of France is bald" and "the King of France is not bald," we are not asserting the existence of some x which is neither bald nor not bald, but denying the existence of some x which is the King of France.


There is a second way of stating "the present King of France is not bald". Instead of substituting x in the sentence "x is not bald" as we have done above, we may negate (1) yielding "it is not the case that there exists an x and x is bald" (alternatively "it is not the case that there exists an x, therefore x is neither bald nor not bald". This sentence is true as opposed to the statement obtained by the previous method. Second, it is easier to see that it does not violate the law of excluded middle. Russell's analysis has been attacked by P.F. Strawson, Keith Donnellan and others, and it has been defended and refined by Stephen Neale.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 07:13 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;88899 wrote:
The statement in terms of its logical structure contains several components -- I refer you to the very famous example "The king of France is bald" by Bertrand Russell (the subject of the linked article). Substitute your sentence and you'll see exactly what you're saying. (Or substitute the sentence "The soul is eternal")

Definite description - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Yes of course. "the so-and-so is such-and-such" implies the existence of the do-and-so, but that has nothing to do with the term, "is". It has to do with proper names and definite descriptions. The "is" stuff is a red herring. Right answer, wrong reason. Your argument about negation fails because it makes a scopic fallacy. Russell goes into it. There is an important distinction between: it is not that case that the present king of France is bald, and, the present king of France is not bald. The scope of the negation differs.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 07:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;88903 wrote:
that has nothing to do with the term, "is". It has to do with proper names and definite descriptions. The "is" stuff is a red herring. Right answer, wrong reason.
Really, because Russell himself divided the verb "is" into submeanings including statements of existence, and therein divides the sentence in question into three separate existential assertions.

Your statement about unicorns contains an assertion that unicorns exist, see point 1 (there is an x such that x is a unicorn). This has nothing to do with whether you believe it or not. But the crux of the problem is that Rich's statements about the soul ALSO contain this point -- and the entire ensuing conversation is entirely contingent upon that point 1 (there is an x such that x is a soul).

Well, Russell asks what that statement means if there in truth is no king of France. I more or less asked Rich what the thread means if there is no such thing as a soul. And now I'm asking you what your statement means if there's no such thing as a unicorn.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 07:39 pm
@Aedes,
It's confusing because with the King of France thing, we started with this: France is a republic.

We don't have any similar statement that rules out the existence of unicorns.

There used to be tiny elephants on an island in the Pacific.

What's so impossible about a horse having a horn?

We just assume there are no unicorns. In fact the word unicorn connotes mythology.

A unicorn is a horse with a horn. Is in the case doesn't suggest that the unicorn exists anywhere but in the imagination. It's just equating the subject to the predicate. If the unicorn is mythological, whatever you equate it to, will also be mythological... right?

I'm not grasping how any of this pertains to the idea of the soul.

There is no statement ruling out the existence of soul (is there?) And the soul is not universally understood to be mythological.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 07:51 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;88906 wrote:
It's confusing because with the King of France thing, we started with this: France is a republic.

We don't have any similar statement that rules out the existence of unicorns.

I'm not grasping how any of this pertains to the idea of the soul.
You are correct, but the problem is that the whole conversation about souls (or unicorns) is absurd, moot, meaningless if they do not exist.

And if a conversation starts out with a description of the soul, containing an embedded existential assertion about its existence, then the conversation is a priori meaningful only to those who accept it and meaningless to those who don't. We face this with conversations about God all the time.

So this is why I asked Rich to support the existence of a soul in a way that a non-believer or a skeptic could go along with.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 08:29 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;88906 wrote:
There is no statement ruling out the existence of soul (is there?) And the soul is not universally understood to be mythological.


Yes, what I am suggesting is that the soul is immediate - now. It is that which is learning, exploring, creating, sharing. It transcends one physical life, and the evidence that I have presented are skills that appear to evolve as a species (instincts) and in each person differently (innate characteristics). One can certainly reject all of these notions, however, for some people, it may be interesting enough to explore further.

Rich
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 09:09 pm
@richrf,
richrf;88916 wrote:
Yes, what I am suggesting is that the soul is immediate - now. It is that which is learning, exploring, creating, sharing. It transcends one physical life, and the evidence that I have presented are skills that appear to evolve as a species (instincts) and in each person differently (innate characteristics). One can certainly reject all of these notions, however, for some people, it may be interesting enough to explore further. Rich
I do not see clearly how your conception of soul is different from your conception of mind, psyche or subjective experience (even culture) in general.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 09:48 pm
@prothero,
prothero;88921 wrote:
I do not see clearly how your conception of soul is different from your conception of mind, psyche or subjective experience (even culture) in general.


Hi,

Yes, it does get kind of messy since I am bouncing back and forth from the Daoist model (Shen, Hun, Yi, Po, Zhi) and the more common philosophical terms such as mind.

I would say that the Yi would correspond most closely to the human aspect of Awareness. So the Yi which is closely correlated to the brain/spine/nervous system supports the Hun's (Soul) role of learning, creating and storing everything in memory.

A little messy, but I hope this gets the point across.

Rich
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Tue 8 Sep, 2009 12:07 am
@richrf,
richrf;88487 wrote:
The soul, as I define it, is a very basic concept. It is that part of the human being that transcends a single physical life.

Why suggest a soul? Because it gives purpose and meaning to life, just like day to day existence gives meaning to a physical life, so does the soul give meaning to a transcendental life.

For example: Our probably existence tomorrow, gives meaning and purpose to what we do today. So does our probably existence in the next physical life give meaning and purpose to our physical life today.

Physical life has memories of yesterday. It is our accumulated experiences up until present in this physical life.

Where are the memories of past physical lives? They do exist:

1) Instincts: these are accumulated experiences and memories of most all living existences. Humans have evolved with their own shared instincts.

2) Inherited characteristics: these are the combination of memories of those share by a single soul and those of the parents souls.

3) Innate capabilities: these exist in all of us, since these are the sum total of everything we are up to and including present. However, some capabilities are more evolved than others because of what we did our prior lives. So some of us are better a business, or sports, or lying, or music and singing, or arts, or begging, or being able to relate to another human being (empathy). These skills are learned not only over one physical time but many, many.

Jung was said, in a taped interview, that he didn't believe there was a transcendental soul but it knew. He didn't clarify how he knew, but my guess is that it was a feeling from within.

If anyone has another way of looking at souls, I would be interested.

Rich

Hi, Rich.

I would use an analogy comparing the entire human body to a book.

If we were to examine a good book empirically, through a scientific microscope, and not see or understand the meanings of the sentences, of the paragraphs, of the chapters or indeed of the whole volume in its singular entirety, then we could never come to understand or to grasp the beauty and mystique of all of its wonderful meanings all in its marvelous pages. The leaves or pages of a great book are, in point of fact, living, breathing, "psychological" and non-empirical. But the scientific eye doesn't understand any of that.

So too with the human body. The body houses things which can not be understood without the dynamic force of life that has been lived and experienced. For example, you can't know how much that new red bike that I got on my fifth birthday meant to me just by examining the structure of my brain.

The moments in space and time in life that we experience are like the ink matter that goes together to build up the letters upon the pages of a book. The space and the time are necessary quanta just as is our physical bodies, but you can't understand a book without going through the many and diverse experiences that the writer displays.

There is the further but related distinction between the physical sciences and the study of the humanities in general. A scientist qua scientist can never ever understand Shakespeare's Hamlet.

The human person is a mysterious thing. And I'd say we are made up of all of our past experiences. Human beings take a very long time to become mature adults. This maturing process is also a hidden process. No one can understand a person without long exposure to their thought processes and their overall character traits. Human beings are associated with meanings. These meanings do not really exist in time and space in the here and now. Human meanings exist as potential interpretations of experiences. This "potential" is something like a soul.

Of course, words can be translated, and it is possible for me to understand a Holderin or a Fichte even though their books and poems originated in another world, at other times and places. So human meaning is transportable (transcendent) as well as hidden from the surface of reality. This is reason to believe in the "soul". Soul that is universal and non-empirical.

Things such as beauty and evil are things that can't be explained by the employment of merely physical formulations. Science will never explain things like friendship or music and without these things there can't be any real nations or peoples worth while.

The cosmos is not a physics lab but rather the human sciences have grown out of hidden, historical human values. Scientific facts are dependent upon the human soul.
 
 

 
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