Do you have a soul?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wil, Jan 4, 2010.

?

Just a question.

  1. Are you a body with a soul?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Are you a soul with a body?

    13 vote(s)
    41.9%
  3. Or something else entirely?

    18 vote(s)
    58.1%
  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Now dagnabbit, just workin on a resolution... your suposed to be supportive my brother....remember you said you would before we were born.
     
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Now, you know full well we were never born, this is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago...
     
  3. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    No different than any other thread then.
    The past few years, that describes almost the majority of the forum posts.
     
  4. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    Naturally, you will feel about this issue as you do, and you are entitled to do so, but my answer is: yes, a finite life has a point. The point of life is life -- it is every single moment of your existence. Life is an end-in-itself.

    To put it another way, it is the journey that matters, every step along the way, even if that epic story has a final page on which is written "The End". Life isn't some puzzle that you must solve in order to make your life worthwhile.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  5. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    True, but occasionally we get to measure maps.
     
  6. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Good point.
    Thrills...spills...breathtaking excitement....we are on the cutting edge of extreme debate.......action galore.:rolleyes:
     
  7. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    According to my understanding:

    All the telephone directories combined account for a minicle fraction of all the living denizens of this planet earth.

    The majority of the living denizens of this planet earth occupy endlessly vast areas devoid of human habitation.

    There does indeed seem to be a puzzle to solve that results in acquiring work skill-sets that advance ones station in life. Similar to the historic development of Democracy itself and/or the development of technological advancements or Alchemy or Pastries & Baking —Trade secrets for each field of expertice.

    There is the phrase "the Human Experience" or "the Human Condition" —this expression parallels animal existence —except for the hierarchical difference that Humans are thoughtfully aware of their existential wanderings.

    Look at who many type of beasts live & act in packs.
     
  8. immortalitylost

    immortalitylost Say Meow.

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    Sure, you can say that the meaning of life is in living it, but there's still really no point to any life, if when you die, you just blink out.

    I mean, there's no end to the means, as it were.

    Saying life is the meaning of life is easy, but then nevermind the meaning. What's the point of life? If all we have is here and now and dim recollections of what was and no idea where we're going, what's the point of living at all? Sure, you only get so long, you might as well enjoy it, but why, if you're going to blink out of existence in the end anyways?

    I mean, what will it matter if you lived a good life? What will it matter if you were famous, or were funny, or were really good at cards, or were a mass murderer? No one matters, like, at all. Because if we have no soul all we are is meat puppets reacting to things because of chemical signals and electrical impulses. We are our bodies and our brains, and that's it.

    The only way to see any positive in a world where everyone just blinks out after death, is that you can leave something behind to help further the universe. And that just doesn't cheer me up. Because most people won't.

    I guess I just need life to mean something more than a shallow geological footprint, and a few legends, or a movie based on you if you're really lucky.

    And death without a soul. The actual final death of all that makes you, you.

    Well that's just terrifying. I don't see how I could actually live life if I knew that was, without a doubt, the way of things.

    I mean, I can respect that you see things this way. It's definitely not for me, though.

    Can I just ask one thing? If, when you died, you did still exist as a soul, would that be a good thing for you? Like, a pleasant surprise? Or not? I'm trying to understand...
     
  9. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Interesting. I'm not sure how to respond because it depends on one's definition of soul.

    I realize soul means different things to different people. And I suspect that it may actually *be* different things to different people. What I mean is that I think it's probably universal that what is experienced is some sort of node on a big network we could call universal consciousness or the Divine or God or whatever. But what that node is like and if it experiences some sense of personal trajectory seems to vary by individual.

    I don't like to discount other people's experiences, but neither are they all alike or similar to my own.

    So, I conclude that maybe there are different kinds of "things" (for lack of a better word) that we could call souls. And these are not universal.

    Shrugs.

    My own experience is distinctly of being a disincarnate entity that is connected to a much broader disincarnate field of consciousness... and is currently occupying this body. Kind of like a certain sound that creates an image- that resonates through that image.
     
  10. Jenn

    Jenn New Member

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    Hi immortalitylost,

    I totally understand what you're saying. I agree -- it would be horrible if there was no "point" to our existence, no meaning, no reason or purpose. In this respect, I disagree with existentialists.

    At the same time though, I also would encourage you to look deeper then at your own beliefs. Not sure how fully you identify with your own statement:

    but it is a good illustration. We all derive meaning or an understanding from our beliefs about ourselves and the universe. BUT if anyone chooses a certain set of beliefs because they "need" them to be that way, such need keeps that person from believing something to be so because it IS so, in favour of believing something because that is how they want it to be. Need or desire usually does not engender clear sight of the world, however disillusioning that clear sight may really be.

    I don't personally have any "set" beliefs about the Soul, although I have toyed around with many different ideas and tend to lean more towards mystic and zen understandings.

    What we believe about the world or even, in this case, the "soul" though has very real connections to how we subtly view our every-day selves. Many mystics, be they Christian, Sufi, Hindu or otherwise, suggest that the Self is the God within. For literalists, this idea freaks them out. How can their God also be themselves? Well, there is the old adage--as within, so without but if you don't get it, then you won't until that experience or understanding comes to you.

    I'm not advising for you to "give up" your beliefs or believe in nothing. Go ahead and continue to have those beliefs, but I *am* encouraging everyone to give up their attachment to those beliefs. I'm also encouraging everyone to distinguish within themselves the difference between who you/the universe is and the thoughts/beliefs/ideas you have about who you/the universe is. This is something most people fail to do, therefore they trap themselves into only one way of seeing.

    Being attached to ideas about the soul or the self is like wearing blinkers. If there is a "truth" out there about the soul or self, you'll probably never see it because you aren't willing to open your eyes and look around you.

    The thing is that we don't want to look around us, to venture out and let go of our "needs" -- out of fear. What IF life really IS meaningless and devoid of intelligent purpose? What IF there is no God behind it all? What IF after death we all just "blink out" of existence? We fear seeing things in a new way because we attach those beliefs/ideas to who we think we are. When someone threatens those beliefs/ideas, we view it as a threat to our very selves.

    Fear is never an excuse though for not asking the hard questions. By facing that fear, we can learn that our beliefs and thoughts are *not* the same as who we are (and thus in many ways, what we used to feel threatened by no longer does).

    But I will warn you though that if you are courageous enough to let go of your attachments, let go of trying to force the world into something that fits your needs ... you will experience "death". You'll experience disillusionment, disintegration ... as your old worldview, your old sense of self, perhaps even your old understanding of "soul" and "God" fall apart. That's part of the process though. The dark night of the soul eventually leads to dawn.

    I don't know where any of your paths may lead ... especially if you live courageously (yeah it takes "faith"!). All I know it's pretty exciting :) And I know that it is a path to true meaning and wisdom, albeit hard.

    Chogyam Trungpa said: "Fearlessness comes out of a realization of fear."

    And David Whyte reminds us: "One of the great temptations of human existence is to base your life on contingency; that you will actually take the courageous step once all the conditions are absolutely and utterly right for you. Of course these conditions almost never come. Every courageous life is lived in the grit and difficulty of existence."

    :)
     
  11. immortalitylost

    immortalitylost Say Meow.

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    Hmm... Well, let's just say that I don't identify with my own statement as much as it must seem. :)

    I mean, If I had hard proof that life has no meaning, and I will blink promptly out of existence as soon as my neurons stop firing, well, that'd be that then. If that was, really the hard and fast truth, I'd deal. I would be terribly afraid. But I'd accept it.

    But there is no hard and fast truth. Nothing is definite. Especially where souls are concerned. And from what I've seen and experienced in this life, I kinda have to believe there's something beyond death. It would be completely ignoring all information I have to think otherwise. (not that I know any more than anyone else.)

    I'm not exactly sure what comes after death. No living person is, and I mean none. That's the big secret. And my current beliefs are far from fixed, despite what my terrible wording implies... (seriously, it's an ongoing problem with me.) ;):)

    I'm always learning new things about the way this reality works, and I have faith, simply, that there is something to have faith in.

    I guess I'm just trying to understand what leads a person to believe that there is nothing but this brief speck of time for us, and we are nothing but the flesh we inhabit. I don't have any problem with people seeing things that way... I'm just trying to understand it.

    So I'll bravely continue my quest for an answer that no one has, lol. After all, bravery is being afraid, but acting despite the fear. :D

    Sorry if it seems I'm taking the matter too lightly. It's just my belief that despite my searching for answers, I won't really learn anything about the goings on after death, till I'm... well, dead. Like I said, I'm convinced no one living knows the truth of things, at least not the perfect truth. And that most definitely includes me. :D It kinda seems set up so we don't find out. :)

    I'm simply living life as best I can till I kick the bucket.

    So, right now life is the point of life for me. Just like any person who doesn't believe in an afterlife. I'm just waiting till later to find out the grander scheme for my soul, and whilst I'm here, accumulating a number of theories that I have no way of proving true. :)

    After all, what else can I do?
     
  12. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    What is the difference between poll options one and two? viz. -

    Are you an A with a B

    or

    Are you a B with an A


    ....?

    s.
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Are you a person in a car or a car with a person in it?

    Are you the car or the driver?

    Hopefullly that answers it.
     
  14. Jenn

    Jenn New Member

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    Hello again immortalitylost,

    Mmm good. I figured you weren't fully identifying with that single statement but I thought it was a good opportunity to focus on something which touches what I see to be one of the main reactions to matters like death.

    I'm also glad to hear that you aren't too serious in some respects because that often shows the kind of attachment I was talking about. And your words about courage and fearlessness are right on. Fear is natural but it is how we handle it that makes the difference between courage and cowardice.

    On a personal note, my own experiences have convinced me that either I'm a very lucky person or else there is some kind of meaning or beneficient nature behind the universe. I see evolution as a direct result of that. But those are understandings not reached from normal rationality but through an entire lifetime (albeit I'm young yet) of observation. Besides, sometimes I think we humans are like the universe's self-awareness made manifest. As self-aware, of course we are concerned with the meaning of things. At the same time, how can we get meaning from a musical note or from the wind in the trees or the way a bird cries in the nigt? These all are indeed significant but they come from a place rationality cannot fully probe. We spend much of our lives trying to derive meaning and purpose from creation but to some extent there is only so much we can use our thinking mind to understand. Why does the numinous grab us and attract us? Perhaps part of our obsession is because that is a natural result of being self-aware, that is our purpose perhaps. It doesn't perhaps matter *what* meaning we derive or what answers we get--just as long as we do indeed gain some kind of personal meaning. That is partially what I think both Keats and John Hillman mean about "the vale of soul-making". We are not necessarily souls-as-product but souls-in-progress. Like you said in that sense meaning is relative. There is no ultimate meaning because meaning is the process that happens when two points are in relation to each other. God and human. Nature and soul. Man and woman. Etc. The relationships are infinite therefore so too meaning is infinite.

    Later today I will try to post here a short video or two that I found that I think speaks directly to this conversation.

    So keep it up, hon. ;)
     
  15. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    To me the word 'Soul' is confusing.
     
  16. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    Perhaps so. My point is not that life contains no puzzles, but that life itself is not a puzzle. While I have nothing against acquiring work skill-sets, and am quite a bit in favor of the self-actualization that may result from pursuing a creative calling that is enabled by such skill sets, one's "station" in life does not determine whether or not one's life is meaningful and worthwhile.



    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  17. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    Of course there is. Life is the end, every step of the way. That life ends does not mean that there was no point to one's life. The point is realized within and throughout one's life.

    Sure, you will die. If death is the end of your existence as the particular individual you are, it is true that your life will no longer have any point. However, your life will no longer exist to be inconvenienced by the lack of a point. While you still live, your life is not lacking in any point, for that point is with you and always within reach.

    As I had said: life. Meaning and point are pretty much the same thing. But perhaps you are asking for specifics? That depends on the individual. You have to discover what really matters to you, and especially what your callings in life are. The point of your life is to actualize your best self.

    First step: rise above the condition of having no idea where you are going.

    (I'm not recommending hedonism, so enjoying life is only one worthwhile aspect of life.)

    If you are going to blink out of existence, that only makes the finite time you have even more precious, so don't waste it! :)

    To whom?

    Let me rephrase the question. What does it matter if you live a good life? It matters to you, here and now, as a living person.

    Whether your life matters or not to other people after you are dead doesn't matter to you here and now. You don't have to live for an indefinable future after death, or for the approval of other people.

    We are conscious and aware, reasoning, desiring, intending, and choosing. I refered to this as "spirit" earlier. No, we are not mere "meat puppets", even if we do cease to exist at death.

    I don't believe in souls as escape pods of personality, but I'm not a reductive materialist who attempts to deny that we are conscious persons, treating consciousness monistically as a mere illusion.

    Why are you waiting for other people to provide your life with meaning? Perhaps you see no other choice in this scenario, but I recommend that you view yourself as a creator of values. It might be nice if these values would continue to exist after death, but that shouldn't be the sum of their meaning to you.

    Of course you do. It matters much more to have self-respect than the respect of others. It matters much more to live such worthwhile moments that you make worthwhile memories, than to be remembered by others.

    It does terrify some people. Not everyone though. That's why I offered my perspective. I want people to know that there is another way. It is not necessarily an easy way to reach for everybody.

    Possibly, it would be a pleasant surprise. I love life, so why not be pleased at having more? If someone were to invent a life extension technique to expand the human lifespan dramatically, I imagine that I would be thrilled at the prospect.

    Then again, if my existence were guaranteed and unconditional, and so as a disembodied "soul" I had no needs for my existence, I wonder why I would do anything at all. Perhaps my eternal existence would be meaningless. Perhaps a finite existence is a blessing in disguise.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  18. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    2 ends of the spectrum:

    A) you only have the brief span of life you are experiencing and then you are utterly gone = no afterlife, no continuity of consciousness, just bag of meat walking/talking/living, here then gone.

    B)ones present existence is a test, with one lifetime to figure things out and then the personality that defines one's self is either rewarded with eternal life, or punished with eternal torment.

    I put forward the idea that both are utterly wrong.
    The reality lies in the middle of these 2 extremes.
    I am sure it will surprise us all when we experience it, as no matter how much we think we know, we really don't have more than a slight grip at any point.
    Even for those who have deep revelations and epiphanies.... the peak fades and the moment passes into memory...... where it can be forgotten.
     
  19. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    ooo . . . do tell . . .
     
  20. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have a soul. My intuition defines "soul" as "some kind of essential part of me that exists beyond death." I can't say much on this point right now; I may visit this thread later . . .
     

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