Monday, December 01, 2008

Soul: Construct or Established Fact?

This article, I have to admit, made me a little angry. The writer clearly believes that the soul is a kind of rough phantasm, some anomaly of human realization that is not real and will be eventually discarded wholesale. This is my gripe with certain members of the scientific community, who insist everything be touched, tasted, smelled, felt, or seen before they acknowledge it as real. The scientific method will only take one so far, in my opinion, and being beholden to hyper-rationalism in everything is the quickest way to fail to kill romance or to entertain any semblance of mystery in one's own life.

Though I have called into question certain established facts in my life and while I also believe that the unexamined life is not worth living, neither have I become so inherently skeptical that I've purged away religion or spiritual belief. The soul is a beautiful construct to me. As the article points out, its roots go deep into the past. Though there are some thing that are deeply ingrained in the fabric of humanity which I struggle against as a pacifist (for example, war), there are other time-honored tradition which I keep and see no need to reject wholesale. This article could also be titled "Why I Could Never Be a Atheist."


Gail said...

Hi Kevin-

In keeping with your theme I would say that you are on "old Soul", having experienced a lot and therefore are one with much wisdom. I can easily feel an old soul or a new soul and also a trapped and/or angry soul. By the way, I am an old soul too! :-)


Utah Savage said...

I ride the razors edge of atheism and agnosticism. I always have though I have done my own very careful research of churches (by attending them) and studied World Religions in a philosophy class in college, then followed the interesting links to certain writers. If I were forced to pick a "religion" it would be Buddhism, but I want to believe that anything is possible, thus the agnostic side is strong. It is dogmatism that stops me in my tracks when it comes to Christianity. And it is so much bloodshed that soils the hands of so many of the religious the world. For a religion based on the teachings of a guy who was a pacifist, the Christians are a very bloody minded bunch.

The soul? That's another matter. I think of the soul as energy. I've been told by new age advocates of all things soul related that I am an old soul. I'm 64 in this incarnation, but I act like a pissed off teenager. So for now, I think I'm a young soul.

John J. said...

Personally, like Utah Savage, I am an agnostic. Really, most scientists, if they truly follow the scientific method, fall more along the spectrum of agnosticism than atheism/religious. The thing about taking one side or the other from a scientific perspective is that you have to prove or disprove something using measurable things and since you can never conclusively prove a negative and you can't, by definition, prove G(g)od it is outside the realm of science.

The soul is the same way. You can say that, scientifically, there is no need for a soul to have life, but you can never say conclusively "there is no 'soul'."

Life As I Know It Now said...

the reason I like Buddhism is because it doesn't insist one believe in a "God" but does emphasize a higher power (the law of cause and effect) which some call reincarnation and others call karma. in Buddhism you can be spiritual without being religious although some people have made it into a religion to suit themselves.