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Thread: What Is The Soul? 13 Possible Definitions

  1. #21
    failure to thrive Array AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    There is the body. And there is the soul, which is the breath of life breathed into us; that which makes life live.

    Our body exerts influence over us, and encompasses our earthly being and our flesh. It is all our thoughts, our desires, and our longings. It is our means of survival.

    Our soul is straight from our Creator. And because of this, it is pure essence of life and light. It is pure good, and it is not individualistic, it is one with God. The more we allow our soul to 'live' in us, the more our bodies are influenced by God, and the more we are holy and pure, and are fully the people God intended us to be. The less we allow our soul to live in us, the more dead we are to who we were meant to be by Him. I believe that is why people who are soulful and Godly, tend to have a glow about them-a peace. It's because soul is fully alive in them, making them shine, as God intended us to.

    When we die, if we love Him and believe in Him, then our soul returns to Heaven, from whence it came, and our body passes back into dust.

    If we do not, our soul stays in our dead bodies, and we become stuck in the earth until the end of our world. These would become like a zombie, except be unable to communicate with anyone, unable to move, rooted in the earth from whence they came, retaining their consciousness in a wakeful deadness. This is because they served their earthly form over their spiritual soul. They will have until the earth passes away to contemplate the error of their ways, and, finally, accept and love their Creator, His last offering of redemption. Then when the earth passes away, they will either be finally rejoined with Him (if they have come to believe and accept Him); or destroyed forever, incinerated with the earth and all remaining life.

    That is what God revealed to me. Take it as you will.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanjuro View Post
    I question the existence of the soul, and consequently none of those struck me as being overly profound.

    If I had to guess, I'd say it was your consciousness. But blah blah.
    There are definitions of the soul which are devoid of supernatural aspects or implications, it has been considered quite apart from questions about God, an afterlife or personal survival of physical death.

    In the first instance soul meant the same as psyche or mind or perhaps self or as you say consciousness.

    Some of the greek philosophers who may have considered soul in the sense of essence, or whose theories did not relate directly to this question but which are relevent, did not necessarily believe in an afterlife, at least not one in any sense like ours, or in God or Gods with any positive relation to mankind, Epicurious wrote about this and I thought it was brilliant for the most part, Plato's theories of the forms, the true and perfect versus what is, could have implications for the question too.

    Although I sort of detect that you are a little dismissive about this question, what is more important or what is it a distraction from? Sure these things could amount to navel gazing, I dont think any of the thinkers mentioned in OP are particularly inspired or inspiring but there are others who are positively enriching to read and think upon.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    I've thought about this in great depth, its one of those things I like to think about, read about, discuss with people. I dont have all the answers about it, not sure if I've reached all my final conclusions about it either and sort of hope I dont reach that point any time soon.

    Of the theorists that I like the most on this topic are Jung and Fromm, one's a believer in the supernatural, although I think he's unfairly dismissed a lot of the time as mystifying and esoteric, the other is the opposite.

    I think its something that can be considered quite apart from questions of belief in God (either the existence of God or reliance on divine providence or any of the meanings of believing in someone or something) or an afterlife (and those two things are not necessarily related) or supernaturalism vs. naturalism. Its something that, as I understand it, can relate to psychology, sociology and philosophy or the other big mediums for thinking or musing about human life and experience.

    It does relate to questions about the self and character though, all the research which has aimed at confirming the hypothesis that there is no self and no character and prefers to think of people as reduceable to a bunch of nerve endings and narratives is something I think is grounded in alienation.

  4. #24
    Level 8 Scumlord Array SpankyMcFly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    I find it to be a confusing and convoluted term. I don't use it, many conventions of what it "is" I simply disregard as nonsense.

    Next please.
    I can relate to this.

    I don't believe in the supernatural. Souls are supernatural.

    The word however is useful linguistic shorthand at times. However after you've scratched the surface it gets lost in translation. It's like asking an American citizen what does it mean to be American...

    I avoid using the word unless I qualify it, "I use the term advisedly" ala Dawkins

    Me thinks concepts like an afterlife or souls (aka immortality) are quite outdated. It seems like a lot of death anxiety alleviation.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... Some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age. " - H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #25
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Experts on what, exactly? What a bunch of psychobabble.

    As far as I can tell, the soul is a concept with an ever changing definition but which always existed for the purpose of attempting to explain elements of animacy and sentience. I do not think the word or the concept has anything useful to offer in the 21st century, as it gives us no real guidance on how to methodically approach the issue, has no definition consistent enough to be used in any precise manner, and has probably always referred to a collection of things not fundamentally related. Science has been more helpful than any attempt to explain the soul, and it increasingly seems that the sciences finds the soul to be an extraneous entity.
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  6. #26
    Post Human Post Array Qlip's Avatar
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    It's worth mentioning that I was raised religious, but it was a weird Bible religion that soul just meant physical existence as part of an early-Christian/Jewish tradition. I feel very little interest in the nonphysical idea of the soul, apparently even less than a lot of agnostics and non-religious.

    I am interested in consciousness and the state of living, biologically or not, aware or not, but I don't conflate the terms with the word soul. Soul is clearly a murky, Christian influenced Western cultural idea.

  7. #27
    The Typing Tabby Array grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    It's worth mentioning that I was raised religious, but it was a weird Bible religion that soul just meant physical existence as part of an early-Christian/Jewish tradition. I feel very little interest in the nonphysical idea of the soul, apparently even less than a lot of agnostics and non-religious.

    I am interested in consciousness and the state of living, biologically or not, aware or not, but I don't conflate the terms with the word soul. Soul is clearly a murky, Christian influenced Western cultural idea.
    It seems that 'soul' and 'spirit' are often used interchangeably; and there is no conventionally agreed-upon working definition for either of these terms.
    Very much complicated by the definition and working of consciousness; of qualia; of reliable reports of near-death experiences which do not comport with the standard "I saw a light / tunnel" type of thing.

    The problem is, without consistent experience, it is hard to agree upon definitions of terms; without even definitions of terms, let alone reproducibility, it is difficult to construct or perform well-crafted ("significant" or "meaningful") experiments; without such, it is folly to attempt to advance theory; and therefore the scientific method is insufficient,maladroit, inapplicable, since its favored tools are of no use.

    But lack of ability to describe quantitatively, and assign trustworthy error bars, does not mean that something MUST be false; it merely means that by proceeding, one has no confidence nor rigorous check to test for or prevent error, systematically speaking.

    (Polanyi's book *Personal Knowledge* has a good description of the limitations of the sciences in describing or adjudging, say, musical talent. The analogy may be extended from there.)
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  8. #28
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Array Mole's Avatar
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    Default Animism and the Soul

    One of our first religions was Animism.

    Animism says inanimate objects are animated by a spirit.

    For instance Animism says the stars in the heavens are moved by angelic spirits. And Animism says rocks have a rock spirit, trees have a tree spirit, bees have a bee spirit, and dogs have dogs spirits, and naturally, who would have guessed, humans have human spirits or souls.

    Not only do we have souls but we know all about them. They are here on Earth to choose between good and evil, and so an afterlife in heaven or hell. Our souls though can be saved by belief. But most important, our souls are immortal. And hey, it means we will never die. We know all this even though we have no evidence whatsoever, even though it flies in the face of reason.

    Animism is a natural religion because it is obvious we are animated, so we conclude all those things in nature must be animated as well.

    Essentially though Animism is a paranoid religion based on the sacrificial form of child rearing.

    In the sacrificial form of child rearing the child was sacrificed to the Gods for a good harvest, for victory in battle, or to consecrate the foundations of a temple.

    And naturally the siblings left behind developed paranoid personalities because they didn't know if they would be next.

    And they projected their paranoid fears outward away from their parents, on whom they depended, into inanimate objects. And so Animism was born.
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  9. #29
    Senior Member Array IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Just logging on for the first time in months. This looks interesting. I'll have to come back to it some time later to give it some ponder time. Thanks for the tag.
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  10. #30
    Carerra Lu Array IZthe411's Avatar
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    Interesting video....Interesting that O's been asking that question over all these years to all these people.

    The thing I hear in most of these people's answers is that the soul represents life- they see it as not only physical but also greater than physical, and some cases timeless, infinite, everlasting..

    I agree that the soul represents life. We descibe people with "soul" people who are full of life - like on a dance floor. We will call others "souless" because of something that makes their existance incomplete, contrary, or meaningless. I think they are all hinting around the same thing.

    Based on my Bible beliefs, the word soul is used interchangeably. It descibes man and animals. It also agrees with the above- the life we have or experience. I also believe while we are souls, the spirit is the current, or spark that keeps us going. When you have spirit, you have life, you are a living soul. Without the spirit, you die- a dead soul.

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