What does it mean to you to have a soul? | INFJ Forum

What does it mean to you to have a soul?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by ThomasJ79, May 31, 2018.

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  1. ThomasJ79

    ThomasJ79 Pondering

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    What does the word soul mean to you? What metaphysical basis does your belief stem from?

     
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  2. periodictoblerone

    periodictoblerone Regular Poster

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    you don't have a soul. you ARE the soul, and you have your body :)
     
  3. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    I have kind of developed my own metaphysical "system" (I call it open monism) which blends elements of Wittgenstein's logical atomism with Heidegger's metaphysics of presence.

    Based on this I don't really believe in the soul as such, but in my framework the soul could be the name of the openness that connects beings in immanence. A kind of pre-ontological condition for the possibility of conceiving of being-in-the-world and being-with-others.
     
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  4. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    There are two ways for me to use the word soul. I may use it simply as a synonym of the mind. The second usage is to refer to some experience of selfhood that concentrates on things that are difficult to verbalise: feelings, impressions, intuition. So if I say "I have a curious soul" I'm referring to some aspect of selfhood that doesn't seem to find the right expression to describe the experience.

    The metaphysical basis is emergent materialism, although my stance isn't very strong, but rather I just dislike reductionist assumptions. I prefer to think that the mind exists just like a novel or a symphony exists as something more than a physical entity, and yet I don't believe they have any independent existence, but rather they're a part of the human condition, or experience. I have a thought; the thought exists, but only in this particular framework of selfhood that emerges in the brains. The same for any concept that's larger than the physical phenomena. Or maybe all concepts are like that as our brains create and interpret the reality; there is no pure sensory data available that hasn't already been interpreted in some way when we become aware of it.
     
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  5. Disguised

    Disguised Community Member

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    To me it means this life is a mere experience. Mere, describing that this is one of many lives to be lived. It's a depressing yet a very interesting belief. It sparks the question why? Why is it this body, this time and place. Why did I become as I am?

    I don't really believe in faith as it's something that doesn't count for free will but I think a soul goes where it wants to go, where it should go.
     
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  6. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Interesting. At what 'stage' would you say beings are individuated in this system? Would you say in the brain itself - in the sense that physically speaking, all brains are already different and unique in their own way?
     
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  7. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by the words "stage" and "beings". Are you asking where the individual mind comes into existence? If that's the case, then I'd just say that yes, all brains are different. However, the problem that follows from my answer is that it's very easy to fall back into materialist reductionism. Emergent materialism isn't a totally satisfying answer because of it (hence I said my view isn't that strong). Perhaps it's a way to avoid the question of origin by turning an ontological question into a phenomenological one.

    However, I'll try to explain how I see the difference. We have brains that create an experience of the mind, but the mind isn't independent. It does sound a lot like reductionism. But the point of paying attention to emergence is to say that there's a complex process that creates a phenomenon we can examine as something that does have real existence but which cannot be reduced to the functions of the brain.

    For example, let's imagine really intricate machines that can follow in real time all the things that are going on in your brain, and figure out what your thoughts and feelings are. Even if I examine your brain that way, your experience of "Renness" would still be beyond me, because I can only observe it, not really feel it with my own brain which is too full of Fidicenness. And I'm quite skeptical, though not absolutely certain, regarding the possibility of physical explanations ever conveying Renness or Fidicenness. Those two things are a level of existence that cannot be explained by brain processes alone, yet they don't have any other basis than the brains. Hence they're existents that are material but emergent.

    I can also compare the physical explanation of the mind to a scientist playing "When the Sun Hits" by Slowdive on the stereo and analyzing all the frequencies that are present at given times. And then writing a report saying that this is all that the song is. And in one way he's right. But that's not how humans experience the song, as a simple bundle of frequencies. So the way you hear and experience When the Sun Hits is an emergent phenomenon that's more than just the physically measured things, just like the experience of a soul, yet it has no existence that would be independent of physical phenomena, either the played frequencies or your brain cells creating a memory of them.

    So if I understood correctly what you mean by a stage, I can't give a precise answer because it would require me to think that the mind and the body have some level of independence after all, or then I'd have to consider at which point the experience of mind develops when the brains get more complex, and that's rather an unanswered biological question than a philosophical one.
     
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  8. Wyote

    Wyote Moody Magician
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  9. JennyDaniella

    JennyDaniella Universe Contemplator

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    What an interesting topic.

    Soul is defined quite differently in each parts of the world, and hugely intertwined with various cultures and belief systems. The general idea of a soul is simply an essence within your entire being. It is not physical, but deep rooted within your consciousness. Awareness is quite similar to what I would define a soul. Your brain is a network of fibers and neurons containing thousands of memories and emotions, everything that defines you as a conscientious being, and as Einstein would say, "Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another." It is not philosophy, it is just plain physics. You create your own reality and perception of the world through the frequency you put out.

    To put it simply, we as intellectual, spiritual beings will never be able to accurately define what a "soul" truly is, despite belief and experience. The only thing that we know for a fact is that our body is just a mere shell in this world. Touch, sound, hearing and taste is just a figment of what our mind created the moment of conception.

    Life is nothing but a mystery, even more so when sentient beings such as ourselves are so aware of what goes around us and till this day, we have no idea what our purpose is in this place we call Earth.
     
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  10. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
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  11. Pin

    Pin Commander-in Chief / Ren's Counterpart

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    Soul is a genre of music.

    None!
     
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  12. DopiestDegree

    DopiestDegree Community Member

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    A soul to me is self conscious energy that inhabits the body and it has a unique vibration that gives someone a unique feel to them. I suppose its a belief in which everything in the universe is made of some form of energy or another. Everything vibrating and having a frequency to it. Everything is energy. idk exactly where I'm going with this but just some thoughts.
     
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  13. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Apologies if I asked the question in my rather idiosyncratic use of certain philosophical terms ^^

    I was interested to know more about emergent materialism's principle of individuation of entities and particularly that of the human 'self' in this case. You say Fidicenness cannot be explained by brain processes alone yet doesn't have any other basis that your brain. So in a sense there is, inter alia, a certain phenomenon of the self emerging. (I like the idea of the self as a phenomenon, regardless of whether I'm getting this right or not.) But it's still not quite clear to me what can be said about emergence other than that there is something ineffable about it which leads to phenomena that are not merely the sum of their 'parts'. Also, would you say that one is at least to some real extent free to define one's own self in this system? What is the emergent materialist concept of consciousness?

    Sorry, many questions at once. Feel free to only pick the ones you find most relevant. I'm trying to understand that paradigm better, as it's not at all something I would consider myself familiar with.
     
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  14. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    @Ren I decided to move my answer to your questions to the blog because the long answer doesn't have much to do with the opening question anymore so it's perhaps too much derailing.
     
    #14 Fidicen, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  15. AUM

    AUM Well-known member

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    For me the soul is synonymous with consciousness. So anything that is animated by some form of free-will, and can make decisions based on said free will has a soul. It's not necessary to have absolute free will, mind you, but only the necessary within their scope of their decision space.
     
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  16. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Awesome, I'll have a look over there then :smiley:

    I was going to say: so animals don't have souls? But maybe you anticipated this with your mention of free will "necessary within the scope of their decision space".
     
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  17. AUM

    AUM Well-known member

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    Yeah, the way I see it is that even the dimmest of lifeforms out there are able to make some sort of decision. It may be infinitesimal from our perspective, but that is still a consciousness/soul acting out from their limited free will.

    I was actually recently observing at a worm come across a tiny diverging path in my garden, and it just stood there for about 20 seconds and decided to take a right. Of course, I'm not saying that it was deliberately making an elaborate decision to take a right instead of a left, but maybe this bug recognized that there were multiple paths to travel and decided to take the right based on their own "worm logic"(lul). But it was interesting observing that.
     
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  18. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    I'm with you on this. I don't think the concept of "worm logic" is ridiculous at all. Interesting story/observation to share, thanks :)
     
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  19. JennyDaniella

    JennyDaniella Universe Contemplator

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    Great thinking there!

    I always wondered the same as well when I saw this little ant on a picnic table trying to pick up a small crumb a few weeks ago. It was very interesting to observe, and it made me realize that somehow and somewhere there is this little glimmer of awareness/consciousness within every animal and insect.

    Life is so strange.
     
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  20. John K

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    I’ve always found using possessive forms of language difficult with some things – my soul, my god, my religion, my subject at university, my company. These are very different mys to my keys, my house, my car, my cash. Can I have a soul … can I have a life? In the first group I am in some sense possessed by the object of the phrase rather than possessing it, as in the second group.

    Answering a question like this is a real challenge for me because I seem to have a life experience shared by no-one else I have ever met. When I was 8 I woke up one morning and realised the world didn’t look real – and it never has since (it hadn’t before that time either but that was the first time I’d noticed it consciously). This was not then and is not now a philosophical insight (8-year-olds don’t do those) but a perception. It was not easy for my mum and dad to deal with it, and I learned that there are things it is best not to share too freely. I had some bad solipsistic trips with it in my teens and the only ways I have found out of the dilemma it poses were a mystical encounter with what I suppose is best called God, and an active decision to believe there is an external world.

    So unlike most people who take the physical world for granted, but struggle to see anything beyond it, I can only engage with an external world through an explicit and conscious choice to believe in it. I have a much more comfortable relationship with my inner world, which opens out into another not-me domain which is at least as big as the external world, though less readily accessible. Again, these things are what I experience, not what I think.

    There are compensations – for me the physical world and all that is in it is charged with a mystical light that is alive and is gorgeous. I’m not aware of this all of the time, but I usually can be by an act of will, unless I’m having a particularly stressful time (all too frequently I fear). Sometimes this mystical light is overwhelming and when that happens, it always seems to be happening for the first time and takes me by surprise …

    I experience myself as a nomad, not really fully in the world and just passing through, though I couldn’t tell you where from and where to. This is a great place to visit but it’s not where I belong.

    So I agree with @periodictoblerone that I am a soul - I may have a body, but I’m about as certain of that as many other people are certain of God’s existence.
     
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