What is the soul?


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I will tentatively suggest that the soul is the essence of our being, that is framed by the physical shell as we live out our motions in this material existence.
But the soul is not constrained for long, for after the physical crumbles, there is nothing left but the essence, which slips through the net of physical reality and returns to the proverbial bosom of God, in a state of Heaven.
Was that a good start? I will use that as the beginning of any disucssion any would have with me regarding the nature of the soul.
i think there is a fine semantic distinction between soul and spirit: the former being conscience; the latter, our spiritual essence.
Hmm, the entire issue does seem a little complicated when both "soul" and "spirit" are invoked. Is it not that they are the same thing with difference names? Different aspects of one thing? Or indeed two separate entities in their own right? Hmm...
soul is james Brown. Spirit is new age. :11ztongue:
Perhaps the distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (in a non-musical sense, maya ;) ), is simply one of terminology.

I would think that the popular usage is interchangeable, that they refer to the same "essence" - perhaps in the same way that a penny is both a piece of metal and a unit of currency.

Hm...I'm sure there could have been a more relevant and non-material example to use. ???
The soul is what you are the spirit is what drives you? hows that sound? :-
What is the soul?

Who knows! :- Here's a few possibilities though. ;)

(a)Your astral body. If the soul exists, then it could possibly be descibed as an astral representation of the pysical self, in a quite traditional classic art sense. The essense of what makes us alive. This description of the soul is one in which the soul can wander away from the body in the form of either astral projection, an OOBE or an NDE. You can actually exist as 2 people, but only experience things as your astral self. People who have had NDE's often claim to have hovered above their bodies, and seen a silver thread of energy connecting the solar plexus of their astral self, to the solar plexus of their physical body. In this concept of the soul, the body is simply a shell, all that is you is your soul. This is the type of soul related to described by those who believe in the afterlife, reincarnation, auras, or the astral body.

(b) Your individuality. A much more philosophical way of looking at the soul is that it is not in any way material. The soul is the part of you that stops you from simply being a mindless automaton. This type of soul is the part of you that makes all those rash illogical descisions, the part of you that analyses everything differently to everyone else, the part of you that makes you ... ... ... well you. In this concept of the soul, it cannot leave your body, as it is not at all physical. The soul is fully integrated with the body, once it leaves you, you die, what happens after is a much debated topic.

(c) Your empathy. The part of you that can feel other peoples emotion. Some believe that the soul is your emotional center, the part of us that makes us perceptive of each others pains, desires, etc. A psychic energy that is part of you, and linked spiritually to all other souls.

(d) Human arrogance! It is entirely possible of course that there is no soul, and that the arrogant human desire to see beyond the realms of the world around us has led our species to concoct the concept of the soul as an assurance that we have more than 80 years to live. The notion that we are simply born and die through a chemical process is quite a bleak one, the possibility that the soul does not exist should therefore be considered. It is in our nature as a species to try to deny the inevitable, therefore the possibility that the soul is simply an imaginary form of pyschological security that once we die we are not gone for good, should not be overlooked. After all very few people are truly prepared to simply not exist any more, the concept of an afterlife also helps grieving, the possibility that we just die and that's it, is too hard for some people to accept.

(e) A psychic shadow. As demonstrated be anyone who has ever taken and/or seen any Kirlian photography. A warm healing energy surrounding and engulfing the physical body.
Surely, the 'soul' is whatever an individual conceives it to be?
Is it not true to say that all such conceptions come from within ourselves - are subjective - and are therefore whatever we like them to be, conceive them to be?

To say that we actually, in some objective sense, have a 'soul' or 'essence' is likely always going to be unproveable beyond ourselves and can only be validated personally within ourselves; therefore the necessity of the concept is entirely personal.
There is, of course, to be considered, the 'out of body' experiences reported by individuals after 'surgery' or 'near death' experiences. If it can be proved that something of themselves is able to proveably 'look down' upon their physical body while under anasthesia, or whatever, does that actually 'prove' the existence of a 'soul' or 'essence', or just something we have yet to understand objectively?
There is nothing wrong with unprovable assumptions or assumptions that don't make sense. If we didn;t have those things we wouldn't have science. To claim to have objective knowledge would be quite a little more dangerous.
The soul is our essence of being. The body is the shell that holds it. Our personality is like clothing but not the actual essence itself.
[quote author=Dave the Web link=board=3;threadid=26;start=msg643#msg643 date=1055502597]
The soul is our essence of being. The body is the shell that holds it. Our personality is like clothing but not the actual essence itself.

I really like that definition Dave, thank you. :)
although I agree quite with the statement, the questions that follows is "What is the essence?"
Various cultures have defined words translated as "soul" and "spirit" in very different ways. My favorite is ancient Egypt, which had a number--6, I believe? I'd have to go check--of noncorporeal critters running around inside a living body. Among these, the best known were the ka--a spiritual double that hung aorund in the tomb after death and for which grave goods, food, models, etc. were provided--and the ba, usuallky translated as "soul," a little critter visualized as a bird with the dead person's head and face that flew off after death.

When I was a Pentacostal Christian, many moons ago, some distinction was made in my church between the human soul and spirit. The idea was to show humans to be a kind of trinity, just like The Big Three In One. In that version, "soul" tended to be the kind of animal instinct we possess; Jung's "anuimus" comes to mind. Spirit was the Christ-essence within us. Or was it the other way 'round?

Nowadays, I keep things simple for myself. For me, now--and this is not a definition set I would inflict on anyone else--"soul" is the on-going "true self," the part that keeps reincarnating in order to learn certain lessons it sets for itself, while "spirit" is a good generic term for ANY noncorporeal entity, including ghosts (which may be a kind of a "psychic echo" or residue rather than the actual soul of a dead person), guides, guardians, angelic beings, demons, and astral-dwelling critters that have absolutely NOTHING in common with humans.

In that definition, all souls are spirits, but not all spirits are souls.

At least, so *I* see it.
What is the soul? A question that has plagued humans since the dawn of time. If you were to ask a Buddhist what a sould is, he would tell you the soul is the man himself, his heart, his mind, his spirit, and in some cases his honor. If you were to ask a scientist what a soul was, you would get told that it was some philosophical entity that had unknown energy patterns, that is; if he didn't laugh at you first.

If you ask a christian, he/she would tell you that this is the eternal embodiement of your inner being. The thing that which god gave to us in the beginning.

If you ask a Taoist, he/she would say something to you about karma and the afterlife.

The question shouldn't be "what is the soul?"...the question should be...What is a soul to you? Personally. To each of us, words that have spiritual sentiment usually mean different things to different people. Even the generalized "angels" of todays popularity contests.

Each generation are born people who KNOW what spirituality means. What it really means. Not what someone's idea of spirituality means. In other words, even though we may not believe something, doesn't make it true or false. It makes it true or false to us.

So for each one of us every single day...we wake up, we have our morning/daily/nightly rituals without so much as a second thought to the world that is beneath the surface of the eyes of man.

Those people that are born try to sway others to the realization, but for some reason, over the centuries, these teachings, right or wrong get swayed themselves by the very people who brings the message to others.

Either way, when you ask a question as such, you should also ask others, and yourself, what is it I BELIEVE? When you truly know that, you will be ahead of the game.

Just a few thoughts of my own. And seeing as this is my first official post, here, I was invited here by a friend, so I bid you all a good and fond hello. I hope to be around a while.

Thanks wh. ;) :eek:

Aerylon Blackwolf.