I have had a couple of pretty good debates with some people on the existence of the soul recently. This debate gets tedious as both sides can never empirically claim victory for either the presence of a soul or the lack of it (assuming this point must be argued at an empirical level). I personally don’t need any convincing that I have one, or rather that I am one, but others don’t feel as strongly as I do about it. As far as arguments go, I feel I have a stronger case, since science has never be able to explain the miraculous nature of the human spirit. Regardless of the capacities of the mind and physics that CAN be proven, there is still the mystery of cause, which we may see various scientific theories on, but my theory is there are things that are intentionally not explainable in our universe.
The whole debate on the soul issue, got me to thinking about what life would be like without one, kind of like looking at life from a “It’s a Wonderful Life” perspective. From this perspective, for today’s article, I will be acting like your Clarence, and just like Clarence showed George Bailey how many lives would have been changed without his existence, I will explore with you how life might look without a soul.
So what is a soul? Well this is a very subjective question and one that will get a variety of answers, but for me, a soul is the part of every one of us that is infinitely complete. The soul is sometimes depicted as a smoky aura that floats outside of us when we pass on from the physical world to the spiritual world, and using this imagery, I ask you to imagine this smoky substance as the sum total of your infinite life. You were before and you will be after, and the soul knows the before and after, as well as the present. I like to think of the soul as the metaphorical glue that holds the spiritual part of us together. The intellect, intuition, creativity, passion, bliss, and all of the qualities of the spirit. It is therefore true that when the physical body expires, the soul remains as it always was and is, a vital energy in the infinite universe.
So, as Clarence, let me introduce you to a world without a soul. Firstly, if we did not have a soul, we would have to rely on the world and our reality only as it can scientifically be categorized. In other words, if we cannot measure it, see it and explain it, then it cannot be a part of our reality. So to be fair, I’m going to give science the benefit of the doubt that the brain can produce imagination and/or intuitiveness, but only within the confines of what has already been experienced. For instance, I can imagine a new invention, but only using the information, data, or experiences that are either already inside of my mind or that I may have seen or heard about somewhere else, at some point in time.
As Clarence, I now invite you to look at several common scenarios that constitute what we call living. Let’s start by choosing a career. Using logic and reason and perhaps considering aptitude, it may statistically be logical to choose a career in the medical field. So you choose to become a nurse. If in your lifetime, you were not exposed to qualities from others like, compassion, empathy, tenderness, kindness, or calmness, you would not have these qualities to draw from in your brains capacity. In a soulless society, these qualities may likely become obsolete, as they do not appear to be a result of logical or biological brain function. So what type of nurse would you be? Perhaps an efficient one and certainly there is a possibility you will be methodical, and procedurally correct. Happy? Content? Fulfilled? Maybe – but if you aren’t, in a soulless society your options are limited to improve your state of mind.
Perhaps you decide you want a pet. You use reason and logic to find a breed of dog. You match up size, desired care, and benefits of each breed. You go to the store to pick out your pet, now that you have decided on a breed. While there, one of the dogs makes serious eye contact with you and comes over to you immediately. She seems to already be familiar to you, weird. But, she does not meet your criteria, since you wanted a male and you wished for one that was a little larger in size. You select one of the two males that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. When you get home the dog in unresponsive to you, won’t eat and after several days of following all the recommendations for care and/or discipline, he tries to bite you. You take him back to the store. By the way, the above scenario for picking out a pet will work quite nicely for picking out our mate too. Using a logical/reasoning methodology, you can choose a mate that best matches your aptitude in career, someone that might benefit you genetically, and someone that pleases you aesthetically.
Now what if you were the inventive type – you can hardly contain the ideas that keep popping into your head. You finally get an idea that you cannot contain because it seems like such a good one. You must create a prototype of your new product that will absolutely revolutionize the way that we do household chores. While you have the end result in mind, the materials and logistics of the movement of the product are still not clear to you. But no problem – You use the internet and reach out to experts in the field to discuss ideas (without giving up your idea for someone to steal.) You try several different combinations of materials and designs in order to produce your product. After 10 tries, your testing has not resulted in a satisfactory product. Finally you give up, you simply feel like you have exhausted all your possibilities.
Now I could go on with scenarios like this for a very long time. Many people live this way already choosing not to engage the soul, because they don’t believe they have one in the first place. But what distinguishes these soulless scenarios from opposing ones that engage the soul, are the end results, which may be startling in there implications.
As Clarence, let me tell you that in our nursing scenario, by living in a soulless society we may produce an army of efficient and highly intelligent workers, this cannot be denied. In all careers and in all areas of work/life balance, we will probably measure our lives by standards that are logical and reasonable to achieve and maintain. Now the downside to this soulless society is you will not see the heroes we are accustomed to modeling some of our best qualities from. In a soulless society, our measure of worth and success will be solely from our expanded intellect (notice I didn’t say wisdom), and our level of achievements and possessions. Qualities that many of us associate with nursing today, to continue using nursing as our example, such as compassion, altruism, loving-kindness, or empathy will not be in high demand and will slowly over time diminish. For as Mr. Spock says in Star Trek, these qualities, since they are immeasurable and inconsistent, are “highly illogical.” There will be no Florence Nightingale or Clara Barton’s in this soulless society. Why? Because heroes like this had qualities, drive, and passion that come from an unknown and unlearned source that defies logic and reason.
In regards to our relationship with animals, like in our pet example, life in a soulless society would certainly change how we interact with both domestic and wild animals and nature in general. Without the soulful connection to our domestic pets and our awe, wonder and admiration (not soulless attributes), for our natural world, the value of our pets and other wildlife may diminish over time, except for the needs to sustain a viable environment. The animals or other wildlife may become a commodity to enable a soulless society to categorize, measure and manage in a more logical and systematic way. I don’t know about you, but for me this would be a life not worth living, for not only have some of my most glorious moments been because of my pets, but my relationship to nature is one of the most transformative tools I have every discovered. Within nature I feel my soul expand and certainly I have felt the spiritual qualities of freedom, renewal, growth, strength, connection, love and peace when I recognize the universal connection I have to nature via the soul.
And taking this further from pet to mate selection, you have to admit that in a soulless society it would seem pretty logical to go through a very similar process to select our mate as we did our pet. But seriously, even though love is an emotion that is sometimes misunderstood and highly mis-used, can we really even imagine a world without it. You may think that your brain can produce the “love” gene or whatever theory you want to construct to simulate a passionate and loving relationship between two people, or between a mother and a child, or even from one person to the universe. But I contend this is about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. There is no hormone, serotonin, dopamine, enzyme, protein, or anything that I can stimulate, manipulate or get rid of, that will EVER take away or change the love I have for my children and grandchildren, to my soul mate, parents or to God. THIS love – comes from somewhere else and it ain’t some squishy pink matter stuck in my head.
Finally as Clarence I warn you, that in a soulless society, the qualities such as passion, perseverance, faith, as well as synchronicity, coincidence, intuition may well be put aside as unworthy or even dangerous because they are not measurable and there is no predictable or controlled cause for them, even though their effect is clearly using the brain for demonstrating them. If these types of qualities are contained and not cherished in our soulless society, then our imagination will be contained to only the data that is currently available today. We might discover something someone else knows, but new discovery that is imagined or intuited from an unlimited soul with a unquenchable spirit will be diminished. Some of our most famous and admired inventors and philosophers, writers, poets, artists, teachers and sages, such as Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Aristotle, Plato, DaVinci, Michelangelo, Ben Franklin, Einstein, Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Goethe, Shakespeare, Dickenson, Emerson, Gandhi and so many other would not exist in our soulless society. What would their point be in a soulless society? All of these greats would say that their ideas and greatest moments clearly came from a source that is higher and unknowable to man, within the soul. In fact, most of these greats are our biggest proponents of the soul and spirit of mankind and our divine universal connection within them.
So, in conclusion, as Clarence, I think I have demonstrated the perilous route we would be taking by excluding the soul. Certainly there is no way to measure the amazing abilities of mankind and the mysterious gift of a consciousness that can know the self and extend the self through the power of the soul and with the magic of the spirit. Yes, we can measure the mind to see that certain enzymes or pep-tides or hormones, etc. are evident when we are feeling love or imagining something, and we may even be able to simulate this. But the true essence and cause of these amazing qualities of spirit will always be a mystery. This is because you will not ever see a soul with a sterile probing mechanism, but only with a heart and spirit that accepts the possibility of the infinite self. By “feeling” the true essence of the spirit of man, the potential of man is unlimited. You have to touch your soul, in even the smallest of ways, in order to see this potential in ourselves and in others.
- People are like stained-glass windows
- They sparkle and shine when the sun is out
- But when the darkness sets in
- Their true beauty is revealed only
- If there is light within
This light within is our soul. It cannot be defined or measured. It cannot be contained. It is you! If you want, explore, see, soar. If you wish to ignore or deny your soul, then this is your choice, but still it does not make the soul go away, it just waits patiently and with expansive love and timeless grace. Maybe I didn’t change your mind like Clarence did for George Bailey, but maybe I did.