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Re: [sl] Re: Psychology/Soul

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  • J Vincent Beall
    Mike, soul does not lend itself very easily to any kind of technical language, and no one should expect to know anything of the least significance about soul
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 24, 2002
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      Mike, soul does not lend itself very easily to any kind of technical language, and no one should expect to know anything of the least significance about soul through arrangements of symbols which are languages, without the ability to discern the spiritual effects their own soul and the souls of others have. Spiritual effects are dynamic effects which transcend the physical nature of objects and the bodies of persons. Now that I have said this don't worry yourself about how you might argue the against this. Many people have such experiences and can allow themselves to contemplate soul without ontological insecurity. However, the average man is not well able to soberly consider his experience in this regard, and loud protests against even the ideas involved are enough to reveal this weakness.
       
      It is a matter of the way in which persons experience life. Knowledge of soul is within persons with the ability to perceive certain aspects of really ordinary experience without fear.
       
      No one really believes that soul needs a scientific description, and what I have just said opens into many areas which would need to be addressed in order convey what kind of world the soul implies. We don't all experience the world the same way. Those with higher experience in this world also have greater freedoms to effect the world. We affect the world through our muscles mechanically, but in the higher affect we effect events through soul.
       
      All those who don't need to be told what I have written here because they live it out day by day, can't help you in an explanation like this one. Really, just being told does not make you free to understand. Its not pure intellectualism operating solely in the abstract plane which can be eventually understood and memorized by almost anyone given enough time.
       
      Knowing soul depends completely on you own depth, health and well ordered integrity. But those who see what is spirit and how it moves in daily experience will remain quite content in never entering into any debate about what it might be.
       
      I hope that you may one day have a cathartic awakening which will gift you with 'the world made new' in the newness of your perception of this world. 
       
      Love does all things, (Paul the Apostle)
       
      Vincent
       
       
      Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 3:17 PM
      Subject: [sl] Re: Psychology/Soul

      In a message dated 6/19/02 2:37:11 AM GMT Daylight Time, vincent@... writes:


      Well, as I have gotten from reading somewhere, the word psyche does mean
      soul in the ancient sense so it would seem that the word psychology can be
      used to mean study of the soul. However, I am most fond of the description
      of the soul as it can be elaborated through Jewish mysticism. Kabbalah seems
      to offer enough attributes for a comprehensive map.

      At this link a physicist, who works at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New
      Mexico, has written a brief paper about evolution of consciousness. His
      paper seems to reveal much more about his own psychology, than it might
      about mysticism, or authentic metaphysics. But, I enjoyed reading it.

      http://www.telp.com/spirituality/tolcon.htm

      Vincent


      Hi Vincent.

      I've been thinking for a while that the term 'soul' needs some investigation.  Like many other ancient terms, its meaning has altered drastically as the metaphysical worldview has changed, and no more so than in the last 300 years.   A little digging in the history of its meaning at various times might provide some useful insights for interpreting older texts. 

      While any detailed treatment would be impossible without a lot of philosophical background, I find it interesting to note that the pre-Enlightenment soul contained a formative function that is irrelevant today.  It was thought to be the means by which bodies, animal vegetable and mineral, were 'informed', that is, it was a kind of architect's 'blueprint' which guided growth.  Since the arrival of atomism, molecular biology, and particularly genetics, we no longer need to posit this kind of supernatural blueprint in order to explain forms.  The human body, like those of animals, minerals and plants, is understood, at least at the scientific level, to be self forming, through the operations of nuclear properties and DNA. 

      Until 4 or 5 hundred years ago, with no inkling of these mechanisms, another cause for our form and growth had to be posited, and this was one of the *major* roles of the 'soul'.  Not only living things, minerals too had souls, which 'in-formed' them.  (This explains the otherwise strange concept of minerals having 'souls').  There were long controversies on question like: 'does the soul have material being?' 

      A biblical, or Aristotelian, or Gnostic or catholic 'soul' was, in large part, an 'ordering', 'formative' concept, designed to account for the forms of beings, a kind of ghostly superstructure around which matter was organised.  It was of course believed to remain in existence when the material body expired.  It was as much (or more) part of the identity of the individual as the material body.  Pre-Enlightenment, such a mechanism was *necessary* to explain forms.

      So when we read about the soul from an historical text, we are reading about something very specific, who's reality was a philosophical ('scientific') necessity, required to explain the ordered existence of minerals, plants and animals - and humans.  Since the development of molecular biology and genetics, this role has been removed, and the term has - or at least should have - changed out of all recognition.  The interesting thing is, many people seem not to have noticed, and , entirely unaware of the older concept of the 'soul' use it as if nothing had changed.   Religious teachers talk about the 'soul', citing ancient texts, without mentioning the fact that a large part of its raison d'etre has disappeared, and without an awareness of the change, the texts are very misleading. 

      Mike

      BTW, could I ask you to note my change of address to mikebispham@... .  Mail sent to my old address at mikebispham@... no longer reaches me.



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    • Dan Washburn
      Hi, Mike - Interesting that you say soul bore the structure that in formed physical beings. I ve always thought of it as an energy rather than a structure,
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 24, 2002
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        Hi, Mike -

        Interesting that you say 'soul' bore the structure that
        in'formed' physical beings.

        I've always thought of it as an energy rather than a
        structure, the breath of life, without which the body dies,
        relying, I guess, on the greek pneuma=breath=soul equation.

        psyche = mind
        pneuma = soul

        Most of the time when I'm reading and someone mentions
        'soul' I don't have a clue as to what they are talking
        about.

        Having been raised a catholic, I also think of the soul as
        the immortal part of a human being. They don't say much
        more about it that i remember, though. So apart from
        soul=immortal the slate is blank.

        It struck me just recently that they have to be wrong, as
        usual. The New Testament is always promising life
        everlasting to the saints (all the faithful christians).
        Which means that the unfaithful will not have everlasting
        life, they will die, disappear, be utterly destroyed, rather
        than be immortal, suffering the pains of hell for all
        eternity.

        so take consolation: if we don't make it into heaven, at
        least we have oblivion to fall back on.

        But this means I'm wrong and the soul isn't immortal, even
        if everyone is saying, well bless my immortal soul.

        Dan
      • mikebispham@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/24/02 9:06:00 PM GMT Daylight Time, ... Hi Dan, Vincent and list I think my view most days is that the soul is a human construct
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 4, 2002
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          In a message dated 6/24/02 9:06:00 PM GMT Daylight Time, danw@... writes:


          Hi, Mike -

          Interesting that you say 'soul' bore the structure that
          in'formed' physical beings.

          I've always thought of it as an energy rather than a
          structure, the breath of life, without which the body dies,
          relying, I guess, on the greek pneuma=breath=soul equation. 

          psyche = mind
          pneuma = soul

          Most of the time when I'm reading and someone mentions
          'soul' I don't have a clue as to what they are talking
          about.

          Having been raised a catholic, I also think of the soul as
          the immortal part of a human being.  They don't say much
          more about it that i remember, though.  So apart from
          soul=immortal the slate is blank. 

          It struck me just recently that they have to be wrong, as
          usual.  The New Testament is always promising life
          everlasting to the saints (all the faithful christians).
          Which means that the unfaithful will not have everlasting
          life, they will die, disappear, be utterly destroyed, rather
          than be immortal, suffering the pains of hell for all
          eternity.

          so take consolation: if we don't make it into heaven, at
          least we have oblivion to fall back on.

          But this means I'm wrong and the soul isn't immortal, even
          if everyone is saying, well bless my immortal soul.

          Dan


          Hi Dan, Vincent and list

          I think my view most days is that the 'soul' is a human construct invented to explain/support various ideas about our being.  It fills a gap in our understanding of our own being.  Like most other human constructs, it has to be reinterpreted anew by each generation, as the enveloping culture moves forward. 

          Our culture, as I pointed out, has removed one of the major roles of the ancient and medieval soul, by discovering that the information needed to make a human, animal or plant, is contained, not in an 'informing soul', but in each biological cell.  Who would have thought it?   This has had the effect of adding to the secularisation of 'being', yet people still blithely use the term 'soul', quoting ancient texts, as if nothing had changed. 

          It follows that each generation must work to recover the meaning of older texts, within the older culture, before being able to know what that author intended.  (There is perhaps an exception to this rule - at least in some repects - the mirror to the eternal world - mathematics.) 

          IMHO, anyone using the term to convey a contempory (rather than historic) meaning, has to offer a definition for his/her own generation.   This might then create some common ground for dialogue between 'spirituals' and 'scientists'.

          As a Catholic, I guess the teaching on the soul you follow is largely based on St. Thomas Aquinas, particularly his Summa Theologica, which, like the rest of his thinking was based on Aristotle's texts, although Thomas did make significant alterations where he thought Aristotle, without the benefit of revelation, had erred. (And he approached Aristotle from a Neoplatonic background)  You'd have to read the relevant parts of the Summa for proper detail.  It'd be interesting to know if the vatican has issued any corrections or comments about genetics and the role of the soul. 

          I've added below the opening paragraphs of Aristotle's 'On The Soul'.  The full text can be found at http://www.non-contradiction.com/ac_works_b11.asp

          As you can see, understanding him might take a few moments...

          Cheers,

          Mike

          ON THE SOUL (Aristotle) translated by J. A. Smith
                Book I

             Chapter 1

                HOLDING as we do that, while knowledge of any kind is a thing to be honoured and prized, one kind of it may, either by reason of its greater exactness or of a higher dignity and greater wonderfulness in its objects, be more honourable and precious than another, on both accounts we should naturally be led to place in the front rank the study of the soul. The knowledge of the soul admittedly contributes greatly to the advance of truth in general, and, above all, to our understanding of Nature, for the soul is in some sense the principle of animal life. Our aim is to grasp and understand, first its essential nature, and secondly its properties; of these some are taught to be affections proper to the soul itself, while others are considered to attach to the animal owing to the presence within it of soul.

                To attain any assured knowledge about the soul is one of the most difficult things in the world. As the form of question which here presents itself, viz. the question 'What is it?', recurs in other fields, it might be supposed that there was some single method of inquiry applicable to all objects whose essential nature (as we are endeavouring to ascertain there is for derived properties the single method of demonstration); in that case what we should have to seek for would be this unique method. But if there is no such single and general method for solving the question of essence, our task becomes still more difficult; in the case of each different subject we shall have to determine the appropriate process of investigation. If to this there be a clear answer, e.g. that the process is demonstration or division, or some known method, difficulties and hesitations still beset us-with what facts shall we begin the inquiry? For the facts which form the starting-points in different subjects must be different, as e.g. in the case of numbers and surfaces.

                First, no doubt, it is necessary to determine in which of the summa genera soul lies, what it is; is it 'a this-somewhat, 'a substance, or is it a quale or a quantum, or some other of the remaining kinds of predicates which we have distinguished? Further, does soul belong to the class of potential existents, or is it not rather an actuality? Our answer to this question is of the greatest importance.






        • IAMMYRIAH@aol.com
          It occurs after reading these threads that trying to prove the existence of Soul, or Light, is like trying to tangibly prove the existence of Love. Love can be
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 4, 2002
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            It occurs after reading these threads that trying to prove the existence of
            Soul, or Light, is like trying to tangibly prove the existence of Love.

            Love can be talked about, expressed, reflected, but cannot be understood
            until one experiences it for themselves. Just as there are many qualities
            and vibrations of Love, so there are many qualities and vibrations of the
            experience of Soul and Light.

            Trying to "prove" these qualities is likened to trying to prove the very
            thought that one first had in the first place that desired factual tangible
            proof. How does one "prove" they had a thought? Like Soul, Light, and Love,
            there are many variances to thought. We all know when we have higher and
            loving thoughts, and when we have denser harsher thoughts. But can they be
            proven? Thoughts move us into action, to seek knowledge, but they are as
            intangible as Soul, Light, and Love.

            Thought is not simply a human quality itself. We witness animals taking
            action from "thought," and there are many who have listened to the "thoughts"
            from the plant and mineral kingdom, as well as angelic and ethereal realms.
            They are as real to the experiencer as one who experiences Love. Again,
            thought cannot be proven, only experienced. Thought is the conduit that
            connect one to the experiences of Soul, Light, and Love.

            Just some Thoughts :).

            Always with Love,
            Myriah Krista Walker
            www.grassesroots.com
          • jkott333@aol.com
            In a message dated 7/4/02 3:15:18 AM, mikebispham@aol.com writes:
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 5, 2002
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              In a message dated 7/4/02 3:15:18 AM, mikebispham@... writes:

              << I think my view most days is that the 'soul' is a human construct invented
              to
              explain/support various ideas about our being. >> mike

              From my perspective, I see the soul as the Higher self, Overself where the
              EGO is absent. That part of our consciousness that is all knowing and absent
              of man's fears, illusions and shadow which are use to color our reality.

              Another day in Paradise.

              Jerry
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