Soul Essence: A Contemporary Outlook on Human Spirituality Share? Need a topic!?
Humanity has been endowed with many unique and spectacular characteristics which separate us from all other beings. These attributes have caused man to speculate about the potentials for an intrinsic holiness or essence, which can be readily expressed by the orthodox nomenclature of a “soul” or a “spirit” Virtually every major religion in the world makes spiritual existence the centerpiece of its dogma (excluding the ethical belief systems largely found in the East) This belief in a “soul” has had a pervasive influence over human thought, emotion, experience, and one’s very state of being(existence) Most Westerners have grown up with the notion. Even if individuals don’t personally believe in the existence of a soul, one cannot deny the collective thought which has shaped the human experience. So what is the soul? Most religions would quantify it as the human essence, an intrinsic holiness, or the person’s core. All of these have incredible aesthetic and romantic implications, but none of them properly give one an answer to the question posed. Children are often taught that one’s “soul” is a wispy apparition that never ceases being, that will carry that person’s essential characteristics into worlds to come, but is this accurate? Is the “soul” or “spirit” really just an invisible miniature person trapped inside our physical bodies ready to be released? This ghost imagery was most likely derived from mythology or folklore as a way to represent an abstract concept to children who didn’t yet possess that ability. Instead, a concrete visual was necessary, and thus the birth of the “soul image” which enables one to grasp such a complex conception. However, do humans ever progress past this image or are most stuck with the precept given to us in our youth? We know there are no miniature replicas of us lurking inside our physical bodies. Science dispels that myth. So we are left with the question, what is the soul? What is one’s essence? Why is it important to know?
Unification of Various Academic Advances:
Many advances have been made in a multitude of academic subject areas which may very well lead to new conclusions about how we interpret the “soul” Still, for whatever reason, these advances are rarely combined to discuss the spiritual. There has been a longstanding tradition of trying to separate the physical (concrete) from the metaphysical or spiritual (abstract) which goes back to the intellectual advances made during the Renaissance and the intellectual revolutions which began the subsequent exploration of the world from an empirical vantage. Science helped human beings explain, and in some cases even control their environment. This new found ability to conquer the mysterious led to a secularization of society which we are still undertaking. This caused the schism between the physical and metaphysical worlds which are still viewed today as completely separate. However, the problem remains, if a human being enjoys both a physical and spiritual existence, how we can separate these qualities if both are engaged in simultaneously? The following citations will involve natural sciences, social sciences, and religion in an attempt to provide a holistic approach to explaining the “soul”
Physics: The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form.
The total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less.
Psychology: The Central Nervous System controls all bodily processes and the interpretation of one’s environment. Simplistically speaking, the brain is divided up into three main components which will suffice for a work of this scope.
Hindbrain: This portion (located at the base of the skull) controls all autonomic functioning (vital functioning)
Midbrain: This portion of the brain controls sensory input and analysis. This portion is responsible for emotions, basic human urges, and general interpretation of input supplied by one’s senses.
Forebrain: This portion of the brain gives us the ability to “think” to rationalize, to engage in abstract processes (hypothetical thinking) to engage in language and generally what we refer to as intellectual endeavors.
Bioelectromagnetism: (bioelectricity) This area of study refers to the energy (be it electrical or magnetic) that is produced by living cells. All living beings therefore produce energy and this energy production is guided by the Nervous System.