The soul

by Neil Rickert

An imaginary part of the human anatomy that some people are able to use to increase their power of self-delusion.

4 Comments to “The soul”

  1. I’ll put this as a comment, to avoid detracting from the main post.

    Victor Stenger has an article “Science and Spirituality” at Huffington Post, and Jerry Coyne has blogged about that article. Jerry remarked about religion insising that there was a “tweaking” of humans by adding a soul. I commented on that blog post. That’s when the above definition of soul occured to me.

    I rarely see mention of the soul in online discussion, though perhaps that only reflects the kind of discussion that interests me. But I did come across a mention yesterday, where debater Kent_D answered a question on where his decisions originate with “In my spirit; in the immaterial part of my being.”


  2. Neil,

    I wanted to say that I think of the soul as the part of us that is not accessible or operating within the 3 spatial dimensions, nor in the 4th dimension that represents time. In other words, I label the dimensions that we can’t experience (anything lying outside of the aforementioned 4 dimensions) as “the soul”. So one could argue, it is “the immaterial part of my being”. While many people may define their idea of “the soul” as abiding by similar principles — I want to make it clear that I think it is an energy inextricably linked to us in other dimensions, and I don’t think their is necessarily one soul for each person. I believe in a collective soul (we could equate this, at least in some ways, with Jung’s “collective unconscious”), which different levels of consciousness perceive/receive differently (regardless of if they are humans, dogs, bacteria, etc.). The problem I have with the common view is the way people have anthropomorphized the idea of the “soul” including the assertion that their actions will somehow effect that soul, leading to religious implications with anthropomorphized “life after death”, etc. Many people think of their “soul” as something with an individual identity that represents them non-physically. This is where I diverge from the common view.


    • Thanks.

      I don’t much use the word “soul” myself, though some people seem to use it as a kind of metaphor for personality or character. Used that way, I would consider it an abstraction or a useful fiction. And, yes, that would make it immaterial.

      When theists talk of a soul, they usually mean something rather different, something supernatural.

      An afterthought: I don’t actually know whether or not you are a theist, and there isn’t any reason why that should matter to me.


      • I don’t believe in “God” as theists do. I believe that “God” is simply all the energy in the universe — and thus we are all a part of the whole, or a part of “God”. I do not believe in an anthropomorphized “God” like theists do (Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc.). I think that idea is ridiculous, selfish, and in fact sacrilegious to my holistic view of the universe.


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