According to Louis Ginzberg , soul of Adam is the image of God. In Brahma Kumaris , human souls are believed to be incorporeal and eternal. God is considered to be the Supreme Soul, with maximum degrees of spiritual qualities, such as peace, love and purity. In Helena Blavatsky 's Theosophy , the soul is the field of our psychological activity thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.
However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call "good"—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc.
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While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not. The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the "battlefield" of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.
Rudolf Steiner differentiated three stages of soul development, which interpenetrate one another in consciousness: In Surat Shabda Yoga , the soul is considered to be an exact replica and spark of the Divine. Similarly, the spiritual teacher Meher Baba held that "Atma, or the soul, is in reality identical with Paramatma the Oversoul — which is one, infinite, and eternal Eckankar , founded by Paul Twitchell in , defines Soul as the true self; the inner, most sacred part of each person.
The ancient Greeks used the word " ensouled " to represent the concept of being "alive", indicating that the earliest surviving western philosophical view believed that the soul was that which gave the body life. Cornford quotes Pindar by saying that the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near" in dreams. Erwin Rohde writes that an early pre- Pythagorean belief presented the soul as lifeless when it departed the body, and that it retired into Hades with no hope of returning to a body.
Drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, Plato considered the psyche to be the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. Plato says that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. He believed that as bodies die, the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies. However, Aristotle believed that only one part of the soul was immortal namely the intellect logos. The Platonic soul consists of three parts: Plato also compares the three parts of the soul or psyche to a societal caste system.
According to Plato's theory, the three-part soul is essentially the same thing as a state's class system because, to function well, each part must contribute so that the whole functions well. Logos keeps the other functions of the soul regulated. In Aristotle's view, the primary activity, or full actualization, of a living thing constitutes its soul. For example, the full actualization of an eye, as an independent organism, is to see its purpose or final cause.
This organization between form and matter is necessary for any activity, or functionality, to be possible in a natural being. Using an artifact non-natural being as an example, a house is a building for human habituation, but for a house to be actualized requires the material wood, nails, bricks, etc. However, this does not imply that a house has a soul.
In regards to artifacts, the source of motion that is required for their full actualization is outside of themselves for example, a builder builds a house. In natural beings, this source of motion is contained within the being itself. The various faculties of the soul , such as nutrition, movement peculiar to animals , reason peculiar to humans , sensation special, common, and incidental and so forth, when exercised, constitute the "second" actuality, or fulfillment, of the capacity to be alive.
For example, someone who falls asleep, as opposed to someone who falls dead, can wake up and live their life, while the latter can no longer do so. Aristotle identified three hierarchical levels of natural beings: For these groups, he identified three corresponding levels of soul, or biological activity: Aristotle's discussion of the soul is in his work, De Anima On the Soul. Although mostly seen as opposing Plato in regard to the immortality of the soul, a controversy can be found in relation to the fifth chapter of the third book: In this text both interpretations can be argued for, soul as a whole can be deemed mortal, and a part called "active intellect" or "active mind" is immortal and eternal.
Following Aristotle, Avicenna Ibn Sina and Ibn al-Nafis , a Persian philosopher , further elaborated upon the Aristotelian understanding of the soul and developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and the Avicennian doctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among the Scholastics.
Some of Avicenna's views on the soul include the idea that the immortality of the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final intellect. While he was imprisoned, Avicenna wrote his famous "Floating Man" thought experiment to demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantial nature of the soul. He argues that in this scenario one would still have self-consciousness.
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He thus concludes that the idea of the self is not logically dependent on any physical thing , and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms , but as a primary given, a substance. Avicenna generally supported Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the heart , whereas Ibn al-Nafis rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a few organs ".
He further criticized Aristotle's idea whereby every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. Following Aristotle whom he referred to as "the Philosopher" and Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas —74 understood the soul to be the first actuality of the living body. Consequent to this, he distinguished three orders of life: Concerning the human soul, his epistemological theory required that, since the knower becomes what he knows, the soul is definitely not corporeal—if it is corporeal when it knows what some corporeal thing is, that thing would come to be within it.
Furthermore, since the rational soul of human beings is a subsistent form and not something made of matter and form, it cannot be destroyed in any natural process. In his discussions of rational psychology, Immanuel Kant — identified the soul as the "I" in the strictest sense, and argued that the existence of inner experience can neither be proved nor disproved. We cannot prove a priori the immateriality of the soul, but rather only so much: It is from the "I", or soul, that Kant proposes transcendental rationalization, but cautions that such rationalization can only determine the limits of knowledge if it is to remain practical.
Psychologist James Hillman's archetypal psychology is an attempt to restore the concept of the soul, which Hillman viewed as the "self-sustaining and imagining substrate" upon which consciousness rests.
Hillman described the soul as that "which makes meaning possible, [deepens] events into experiences, is communicated in love, and has a religious concern", as well as "a special relation with death". The current scientific consensus across all fields is that the existence of any kind of soul in the traditional sense is incompatible with a modern scientific understanding of the human mind, which holds that the human being is merely a complex machine that operates based on the exact same physical laws as all other objects in the universe, according to Julien Musolino, a cognitive scientist and professor at Rutgers University ,  who states that there is currently no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the existence of the soul  and there is considerable evidence that seems to indicate that souls do not exist.
Neuroscience as an interdisciplinary field, and its branch of cognitive neuroscience particularly, operates under the ontological assumption of physicalism. In other words, it assumes—in order to perform its science—that only the fundamental phenomena studied by physics exist. Thus, neuroscience seeks to understand mental phenomena within the framework according to which human thought and behavior are caused solely by physical processes taking place inside the brain, and it operates by the way of reductionism by seeking an explanation for the mind in terms of brain activity.
To study the mind in terms of the brain several methods of functional neuroimaging are used to study the neuroanatomical correlates of various cognitive processes that constitute the mind. The evidence from brain imaging indicates that all processes of the mind have physical correlates in brain function. Identification of causation , and of necessary and sufficient conditions requires explicit experimental manipulation of that activity. If manipulation of brain activity changes consciousness, then a causal role for that brain activity can be inferred. In a loss-of-function also called "necessity" experiment, a part of the nervous system is diminished or removed in an attempt to determine if it is necessary for a certain process to occur, and in a gain-of-function also called "sufficiency" experiment, an aspect of the nervous system is increased relative to normal.
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In addition, neuroscientists are also investigating how the mind develops with the development of the brain. Carroll has written that the idea of a soul is incompatible with quantum field theory QFT. He writes that for a soul to exist: Within QFT, there can't be a new collection of 'spirit particles' and 'spirit forces' that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments.
Quantum indeterminism has been invoked by some theorists as a solution to the problem of how a soul might interact with the brain, but neuroscientist Peter Clarke found errors with this viewpoint, noting there is no evidence that such processes play a role in brain function; and concluded that a Cartesian soul has no basis from quantum physics.
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Some parapsychologists have attempted to establish, by scientific experiment, whether a soul separate from the brain exists, as is more commonly defined in religion rather than as a synonym of psyche or mind. Milbourne Christopher and Mary Roach have argued that none of the attempts by parapsychologists have yet succeeded.
In Duncan MacDougall conducted an experiment in which he made weight measurements of patients as they died. He claimed that there was weight loss of varying amounts at the time of death; he concluded the soul weighed 21 grams. Park has written that MacDougall's experiments "are not regarded today as having any scientific merit" and the psychologist Bruce Hood wrote that "because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific.
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October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul and Religions of the ancient Near East. Soul in the Bible and Christian mortalism. Immortality of the soul , Christian conditionalism , Christian mortalism , and Annihilationism. Jain philosophy and Jainism and non-creationism. This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this by adding secondary or tertiary sources. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Plato's tripartite theory of soul. This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 1 December Archived from the original on 20 December Retrieved 14 December A Guide for the Perplexed London: Continuum, , pp. Given that your life is most definitely going to end, how do you want it to happen? There are two important parts to this question: Energetically, the experience of parenting is solidified at the moment of conception, and the energetic contract between souls —mother, father, child, and siblings if there are any — may begin even before that.
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