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Dingolingo

What is 'soul' ?

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For ease of modern reference, I am going with the  Greek source;    ψυχή (psyche) . 

The 'English root ' seems  obscure and relates to specific past concepts which may not be generally relevant to the 'modern western person'   ;  " The Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th-century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Further etymology of the Germanic word is uncertain. The original concept is meant to be 'coming from or belonging to the sea/lake', because of the German belief in souls being born out of and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola (soul) compared to Old Saxon sêo (sea0) "  - Wiki .

The modern concept seems indistinguishable from 'spirit' or even 'ghost' .... its definitions describe an association with the body but with an immortal component.  This is hardly satisfactory, even simplistic.  I contend the original word, psyche ( relating to breath, 'wind' , etc )  means something other than 'soul' .

I would like to explore 2 things ;

1. Plato's concept of the three types of soul (as it has become known )

2. A new definition of and description of what soul is .

To start with 1.

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato's_tripartite_theory_of_soul

Basically, 'logical, spirited and appetitive ' . I contend this is nothing like the modern concept, bit is very much like the concept of the basic drives of psychology.

Plato also used this classification for 'three types (or modes of) State. In this case the similar energies apply, but more as 'collective drives' .  Now, if we read the myths and ideas about the Goddess Psyche  ( good source here ;    http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Psykhe.html    )   it is not to hard to see the dynamic between Psyche and Eros  as  'Ego and Soul "  (and they interchange ) .  And this 'soul' and 'ego' myth demonstrates the interaction of these three forces.  

After many years of study and exploration ,  I have come to understand that soul equates to 'imagination'  , but by the word imagination I might mean a lot more than what is commonly understood. Man's imagination ( and his soul) is what makes him Man , ie, the one distinguishing denominator that separates Man from all the other animals.  I have been chasing what that difference actually is for years, as time and research goes on and more discoveries are made, that definition has changed.  It is still related to 'Man the Toolmaker'  but now we must extend that definition . For me it is the ability to  be able to make a tool, not just 'in the moment ' for the purpose at hand, but for a perceived future usage , more so with a multi use tool ; that ability to 'internally visualise' , 'imagine' a series of future possible events ....  and what events may branch off or lead to others, and make, create have decisive action  and  create objects, tools, technology to help accomplish that purpose. - Imagination.

For me this is the essential quality of the soul;  '.It '   ,   this   'drive' ,  yearns to express itself, it needs creative expression , that is, it 'wants'  the ego to adopt its ideas and put them into physical practice in the material world. That's how it gets its 'feedback' .  A soul that cant express itself gets 'sick' and that can effect the hole 'psyche' (which I see as the sum of all parts of the 'self' ) . A man, it is said, can loose his soul, he becomes dejected and life has little meaning for him.

This is just a brief outline of some ideas. I would also like to explore the idea of 'spirit' in modern and older context .

And expand on the influence of these three forces and other things related to them.  .... in essence ,  they seem present  within the dynamics of many things .  ( Like Goddess Psyche's 3 nasty sisters  ;) )

 

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For me, the soul is a sense of self, I've no idea what tools have got to do with it.

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One of the issues is ;  What distinguishes Man from the other animals. Many have said it is because Man has a soul.  But what really distinguishes Man from the other animals ? Clearly it is his toolmaking ability as described above, and the way he uses his imagination.  That's how toolmaking relates to it.  But toolmaking is only an indicator. Soul is the process, the ' need to enact' one's visions. It might work through tool making or any other visionary process that leads to fruition.

A sense of self, for me, does not relate to soul, it relates to spirit.  here is the issue I touched on above.   Previously many considered our constitution to be of 3 parts; Body spirit and soul. A 'sense of self' is usually attributed to Ego or Ego and other dynamics interacting with it.

Great changes occurred in human consciousness, observation and perception - the way we thought about things., from around 1400 - 1600 culminating in the Scientific Revolution. Many things 'became dualistic'  ,even in theology;  in   real : ideal   parings .  The Body : Spirit : Soul triad became  the  Body :   spirit/soul   duality.  Both spirit and soul became merged into an undefined concept. Most modern westerners, when questioned, see little difference between spirit and soul; both 'come from God', leave the body and travel to the after life (wherever  or whatever), can be detectable (supposedly, by others ) and other qualities.

Spirit, is one's particular makeup, what you came here with before any environmental influences moulded you. Your original essential self and propensities , and perhaps even 'skills'.  Since there is no other obvious 'medium of transference'  I suppose it comes in the genetic code ....  ?

The issue then becomes , detecting a persons 'true spirit', their natural propensities ( and their 'souls desires' to find ways to express and fulfil that spirit in action)  and how that can slot into their life's path, work and their place in community.

Some might find this too 'far fetched' but I am sure many of us have seen this in children developing (in my case  twins , which offered interesting observations ) , even in a litter of kittens or puppies, we can see different 'personalities' enacted (and I don't mean the ' runt syndrome' or similar )

Of course, after conception,  we also, have conditions that cause attractions and  repulsions, but that is an extra layer added on top of 'spirit ' . 

This is important for individuals and societies and if these dynamics are not enacted, both individual and society become, at the least, dissatisfied , at the worst , self destructive. We only have to look at pour own society and adolescents , the indicators show decline and problems.

I contend that a person (and a society) that can express their spirit and enact their 'soul visions'  are happy, content, healthy, satisfied, and progressing, while one who doesn't is unsatisfied, unhappy, not content, wants more, and is either static or in decline.  And this 'state of satisfaction' , regardless of culture or location, seems wholly independent to  the acquisition of money goods and power. Many people have seen and wondered about the glow and happy satisfaction many people and societies have, that seem to be poor and have little material wealth , in our view. So what is causing that ?

 

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