The older Darwiniana, along with the Gurdjieff Con blog had many discussions of ‘soul’. We will try to refresh them here as we go along. The whole issue is a hopeless quagmire and never reaches any resolution in the context of scientism. Science cannot resolve the question of soul through total negation.
But is religion any better? The typical religionist simply adopts a set of vague beliefs and take them on faith. But to a close look there is no document in the entire history of christianity that truly resolves the mystery of soul. Science has simply rejected the whole mess.
First, the issue of ‘soul’ is not a spiritual versus material question. The soul is material as anything else, but might move beyond space time to some unknown condition. We have often discussed Bennett’s universal materialism, which is helpful to not get hung up on spiritual versus material issues.
We have a series of approaches, not excluding the realm of new age thinking where sufis, for example have a unique lore/technology of ‘soul’ so-called. That is another distracting confusion for us. Virtually no moslems or even sufis know their own tradition. This tradition we suspect emerges in ancient egypt, entered christianity and then was lost, and survived in the islamic world.
Figures like gurdjieff seem to hint at it, perhaps echoing sufis.
But that is not what we are talking about here: the sufi theme of the completed man…
We are talking about the ‘soul’ that comes with homo sapiens as a feature of his species. it is a humble chevrolet compared to a rolls royce, simple but functional…man’s connection beyond space/time.
yogis always sense this when they say that so and so was never born and never died.
Something in man (animals?) stands at the threshold of space-time, thus the inklings and confusion.
J.G.Bennett has a few good ideas
Kant lays down the metaphysical limits of reasoning here.
Buddhists confuse the issue it seems with their doctrine of anatta, very hard to interpret
Indic yoga speaks of the atman as brahman…
Buddhists have a classic perspective on the bardo and the death transit…very hard to interpret
We have two confusions, the ‘soul’ for a christian, say, and the ‘entity’ human that might reincarnate?
The two are not the same. But as noted christians no longer understand their own religion. They may as well consider the yoga/buddha reincarnational psychology, very reservedly, superstitions abound and appear immediately.
Let’s start here with one group of ideas and then leave it at that for this post, categorized ‘the soul question’:
Kant warns of the limits of our metaphysical knowledge, e.g. the soul
Bennett claims that homo sapiens acquired soul in his final speciation from homo erectus.
It would seem to move along our own interpretation that human speciation includes a complex package of traits: language, mind, art/creativity, ethical/aesthetic sense, upgraded consciousness as potential self-consciousness, anatomical/brain issues…??
It would seem that the issue of ‘soul’ is related in this package to the question of mind, as though mind were the tip of the iceberg. At death the physical mind disintegrates but the deeper ‘soul’ remains, in some accounts finding rebirth.
Thus, still short of full knowledge, the human package has mind/soul in a complex that must it seems have an ambiguous status near the life/death boundary: this is the basis of reincarnation.
It is hard to grasp how all this could have evolved: it is more like a software upgrade.
That’s not particularly helpful, but it might help as an initial reflection. Note how science completely divorces itself from all such questions, not surprising, but unfortunate
the sufi version is the big mystery slowly making its way into public domain. Be wary indeed of the sharks here. We suspect the sufi version here has fallen into the hands of some very doubtful characters.
Let’s stick to the issue of what homo sapiens is to start, hoping that the new era to come will yield better knowledge.
So you appear to have a ‘soul’ as a species characteristic, not much: you are cruising through time in your chevrolet: here is the catch, is that immortality immortal. You must somehow find salvation in that situation. But don’t go thinking christians know what that means.It means you can resolve the future of your homo sapiens freebie ‘soul’: it will wear out sooner or later. Sufis speak of the ‘completed man’, but you may as well skip that. Yoga/buddhists speak of enlightenment. perhaps that is another resolution, but again such ways are filled with pirates plying devious schemes of all kinds.
They must have forgotten its meaning.
But the point is clear enough(maybe): the timeless soul/body is still bound in some larger time: it must resolve its future there…