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Most people who believe that "souls" are a thing, assume two things about them:
that only humans have one, and that all humans have one.

I'm not so sure either of those assumptions is correct.
What do you think?
And... why?

rway 7 Apr 20

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I'm gonna write that one down


I don't think we have a soul I believe we are one, at this moment we have been placed in a temporary vessel that we call a body. this body is part of a matrix (for lack of a better description ) for the purpose of judging the way we interact with are fellow beings. the way we interact with our fellow being will Determine if we will be allowed to progress beyond this temporary existence.


C.S.Lewis probably said it best;
You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.


Whether a soul exists, independent of the human body, is irrelevant to the thoughts of the body. If there is consciousness beyond human life it is meaningless to the human experience. Just as we have no awareness of ourselves prior to birth, it is inconceivable that we would after death.


I believe all sentient beings have souls. It may be a bit of a stretch to believe a unicellular organism has a soul, but anyone who owns a dog or a cat would most likely say they have souls as wells. To ask what exactly is a soul is a question I don't believe a mere human could answer.


Lacking any other evidence, poets are the only ones who define our soul, and when you read them, it is "all of the above."

Do you believe that only humans can be poets?

@rway, I sense that you think not. Do tell.

@TimTuolomne on the contrary, poetry is subjective. Different critters express themselves in myriad ways. Who am I to determine whether they are doing so creatively or deterministically? 😀
Some of them are quite possibly more intelligent and/or creative than we are by some measures.


The soul is the being. The mind created by function of the brain. The moment the brain dies, or a few seconds later, the soul/being ceases to exist.

yes, that's a common assumption... but based on what reasoning?

I would agree that the soul is the "being" of the person - even identical twins that have the exact same DNA have different souls. My soul is what makes me who I am. I believe it grows, develops and matures as I grow, develop and mature; it embodies my conscience with right and wrong. I respectfully disagree, however, that it dies when my brain/body dies, and I am assured of this from the Bible, which I believe to be the word of God. Matthew 10:28 says, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."

@mistyjones that's my thinking, too... there's no empirical or logical reason to leap to the assumption that the mind dies with the brain. It's just an assumption.
We don't even know what the relationship is between the two. Indeed, we can't even characterize what the mind is, let alone how it's generated and what happens to it under different conditions.
We assume that the mind is damaged when the brain is damaged in certain ways... but that's only because we're trying to measure the effects by interacting with a damaged brain.
The mind may be completely unaffected, and we have no conclusive reason to believe otherwise.


Earth is a soul filter.
Each of us gets seven or eight decades to prove or disprove the worthiness of their soul.
Most Sounds sink, but there are a few floaters.
Love your neighbor !


We have no sure way of knowing, however I believe all humans have a soul. I understand animals also have a soul and many of the "lesser" species have a "collective" or group soul. There is much information on this from Theosophy, particularly found in the 3 volumes of the "Secret Doctrine". Much of this has been derived from the Vedas, Puranas, and the Upanishads.

If Western science is natural philosophy then Eastern philosophy is natural science.

In the West we are raised from birth to be reductionists and determinists. In the East they are raised to be holistic. I'm pretty found of the idea of yin and yang. It is a commentary on a shared psychological ecology. The extension of that concept is that if souls exist then the holistic perspective is that they exist in everything. It seems perfectly reasonable to me as a thinking tool.


The "soul" is the universe. Your soul is your contribution to universe (+ or - is judgment) and irrelevant to everyone and everything except you (and by proxy, your owners/gods).


Whenever you venture beyond the realm of the five senses and our cause and effect logic circuits, you’re in Silly Putty land, as far as reality is concerned. Our language necessarily reduces such phenomena to fit into our preprogrammed parameters. Call it ”God,” call it “Divine Force,” call it “Higher Power,” they all stuff something ineffable and unknowable into a box tiny enough to wrap our brains around.

I personally have never had such an extra-dinensional experience myself, but there seems to be sufficient documentation of such experiences that acceptance of realms beyond the material isn’t really that much of a stretch. But when we try to quantify and define those realms and the things that happen there, we start tripping over ourselves.

Ever since I read “Journeys Out of the Body,” by Robert Monroe, I’ve accepted the idea that “something” exists apart from our physical self. Monroe never tried to explain it, or define it; he simply described what happened to him over the years. Call it what you want: second body, soul, astral body, it doesn’t matter. Anecdotal accounts will never satisfy the hard-core materialist. Logic won’t dissuade the believer.

Ah, but Silly Putty land is where all the interesting stuff happens...

True, we can't observe anything outside the very limited range of our senses, tuned by natural selection for getting laid, picking berries and avoiding snakes; or that of the various detectors that we've managed to devise so far.
But we have no reason to suspect that we've identified, let alone accurately characterized, everything that there is.

The hard-core materialist lives in a tiny world of delusion, purposefully limited to only that which he can see or "detect."
That's the same level of awareness that a house cat enjoys.

We're only even aware of about 4% of the physical world... we lump the rest, or what we suspect is the rest anyway, into the placeholder categories of dark energy and dark matter for future analysis.
And we don't even know how that 4% works... that's simply what we're aware of that's all. Take gravity for example, we can describe with great precision the effect that gravity has. But... what is it? How does it create that effect? ¯\(ツ)

And that's just the physical world. The metaphysical world is anywhere from non-existent, to infinitely more vast and complex than the physical world. We don't have a clue.
But with that realization, the claim that we have 4% of the universe figured out, is looking like a dramatic overestimation.

There's a whole universe out there, with natural laws, presumably, that impact us with just as much ubiquity and certainty as do the ones of which we happen to be aware.

The one tool we do have, to give insight into those, is reason. We can know things that we can't observe directly, if not conclusively then with great confidence, sufficient to proceed with further exploration of the implications, to validate/invalidate our suspicions... and so on.

Me... I think the soul is simply your mind.
Your brain/body is a vehicle, your mind is you. Your body is temporary. You are persistent.
You can't detect a mind, but you know it's there.
It has to be there, because that's where your contemplation over whether it's there is happening.
A lump of neurons and fat can't wonder things. 🙂

Mundane science cannot describe the mind, or begin to explain the relationship between the mind and the brain, at least not so far. We don't have a clue what we're even talking about when we say "the mind", from an empirical view. Ask any neurophysiologist, psychologist, astrologist, proctologist... doesn't matter. They may have an opinion, but they don't have an answer.
Therefore, we have no empirical reason to assume that when the brain dies, the mind also ceases to exist; and to me the proposition is counterintuitive. That presumes a change in state, from existence to nonexistence... with no known impetus for the change. That would be irrational. So, the only rational position is to assume that the mind, whatever it is, is persistent after death.
I suspect that you are tied to a single collapsed quantum state, constrained to a particular time and place by the act of "observation" that is self-awareness... then, when that self-awareness is gone, you're simply released into your natural state... the state of all possible states like Schrödinger's cat; omniscient and timeless.
That's our natural state, this is just a side-trip.

Do we retain our autonomy, or are we absorbed into a single consciousness? If you're omniscient... then is there really any difference?

Anyway, that's just speculation from one perspective. Most people, I assume, get their ideas about the Soul from religion.
I was just asking, if you believe in a soul at all... then, do you think everybody has one?
And, where does that belief come from?
Also, how about animals?


I must not be one of the "most people". First, I agree with waveoflight, that we need to define 'soul'. The "best" definition of soul, I've found, was Watchman Nee's many years ago, when I read his book, Spiritual Man. If I recall correctly, he said, within the soul are the mind (intellect), will, and emotion. That part of us (living creatures) that thinks, chooses and feels. If that is the definition, then, of course, anyone who knows animals knows they have a soul, which is a conclusion even God agrees with!

Why do you say God agrees... ?

@rway Animals, think, feel and choose. Animals have a will, they have a mind and they have emotions. In Genesis 9 is interesting....God will require an accounting of a beast that kills a man....and verse 15 God makes a covenant with every living creature....

@dmatic ah, that's interesting. Thanks


When people talk about souls, I've mostly heard people say that they believe that all beings have them, not just humans. Although I'm a sceptic personally, I do find the topic of souls to be quite interesting. So I'm curious what someone who believes in souls would answer here. Do only humans and animals have souls? What about insects and plants?

So far as ants, I believe the fall in the "collective soul" category; ie. when one or a group learns something new, it is somehow shared with the others over time in disparate places. Not sure about plants. But from a Theosophical perspective, all things are "alive/living". And it is postulated that life passes through rocks, then plants, then the lessor forms, on up to the higher animals, and finally into human beings on the reincarnation path.


You will have to define "soul" first.

I think your soul is simply your mind.
I'm asking what you think.


I believe in souls, but I also think my dog Molly has soul haha. I'm not sure if I'd say ants have a soul, but definitely some sort of collective conscience.

That's sort of why this question occurred to me a while back. I've seen animals behave as if they could have a soul in there... and of course we have many examples of humans behaving as if they don't.

I think dogs have souls too, maybe even ants.


Most people in north Korea believe winged unicorns exist and indeed their great leader gallop around on the back of one!

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