December 26, 2007

‘On the immortality of the soul’

‘The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.’ If continued …with the ultimate goal the enrichment of its soul!
George Santayana
US (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 - 1952)

As the soul is coming into existence depended upon the will of God, so does its continuance. Part of the doctrinal authority of the Catholic Church taught that the spirituality of the soul could be proved but not its immortality. The soul's coming into existence and its continuance depend entirely on God, so that "properly speaking, it does not have an immortal nature. By "immortality" is frequently meant simply the survival of the soul or spiritual part of man, after bodily death. It is the declaration of the fact that death does not end all. The soul survives. This is commonly what is meant when we speak of "a future life," "a future state," "a hereafter." For the Bible, immortality is not merely the survival of the soul. The immortality that the Bible contemplates is an immortality of the whole person - body and soul together. The metaphysical argument that the Greeks made was to prove the immortality of the soul something that had neither beginning nor an end. It may be said that immortality in the biblical sense is a condition in which the individual is not subject to death or to any influence which might lead to death. God is uniquely immortal in that He is without beginning or end. Man, on the other hand, is immortal only by its origin and when his mortal body has been replaced by one which is immortal. "In the Old Testament as well as in the New, man is a complete being only as both body and spirit are in union. He is then a living soul or person (Gen. 2:7) Immortality for the Christian involves the resurrection and may be fully attained only after it. “Men find it very hard to believe”, Cebes says at Phaedo 70a, “what you said about the soul. They think that after it has left the body it no longer exists anywhere, but that it is destroyed and dissolved on the day the man dies.”
A third premise is that justice is the virtue appropriate to the soul, injustice being its vice. Hence another short-term conclusion: a just soul lives well; an unjust one, badly. But living well, says the next premise, is being happy and living badly is being miserable.
Each person if it said to have a soul that implies that the person brought this soul at the time of birth and that the soul grows deep within the individual and flourishes as the person grows. The soul must be the spiritual form of the man and the ability to understand using the mind and enriching the soul; how people interact and what the prerequisites are in order for an action to bring a satisfactory, good mannered result. The body lives and needs to be provided with energy in order to perform certain tasks. The bodily organs all work together to help the body adjust to the environment and survive through out a typical day. The soul is part of this body because without this body it would be impossible for the soul to survive. If my body wasn’t here right now my soul would have been absent as well. When we speak of the soul of the individual it implies that the individual is the one who has the soul and nobody else can have the exact same soul in a different place and time, therefore the soul is part of the individual’s body. The body has a physical, tangible nature and is perceived by others. I saw my friend yesterday and I was sure that the person I saw was my friend because I could recognize his dense eyebrows and chestnut hair. The person entrapped inside of my friend’s body is the person that shows certain qualities and when I recognize these qualities of the person I can soulfully realize the inner truths of my friend’s soul. Although the soul isn’t composed of any physical substance doesn’t imply that it doesn’t exist. The soul is the function of the body and mind working together under harmonious or non harmonious circumstances. The body is found on a constant obligation to keep up with the rules the mind sets and vice versa. It could be possible for the body to set the rules for the brain therefore the more balanced the body and mind combination the better and more harmonized the soul of the person is. The soul or the psyche of the individual can be good or bad, wise or ignorant, prosperous or deprived always depending on the person that is in charge of his own soul. Therefore in meeting and objectively making decisions concerning truthful individuals, one must be able to conclude whether the individual possesses a good or a bad soul. Bad souls can only be remembered likewise and are always forgetful to the mind of the observer, never willing to imitate, never want to think of the bad soul because if the person’s essential beliefs aren’t met on the image of the other individual the first will try to avoid anything that reminds him of the latter.
Immortality of the soul is only immortal as our body and mind can be. The mind ceases to exist due to the total decay or akinesia, the death of the body that does not follow rules any more. The body ceases to exist and cannot be seen only a few hours after the body is buried, burned or in any other way disappear from the physical world we see around us. In this case the soul has travelled away with the body and I won’t be able to recognize my friend anymore because I am not able to see his tangible qualities. All I can remember are the words that were coming out of his mouth; his good or bad soul .In that example my friend would be most likely to have a good soul because of the fact that he is my friend and logically good souls only match with good souls. The only thing that stays immortal is the idea of my friend’s soul as means of his qualities that all entail his good character.
The soul is immortal both in the spiritual world as it is immortal in the physical world of the body but this immortality can stop anytime because a soul will no longer be able to continue its existence and fulfill other dreams, desires, expectations, can no longer be part of the physical world which is the only reality accessible to all human beings therefore can no longer exist. To say that the soul is immortal means that the soul itself has reached a point of awareness that it can have the knowledge of all the qualities and essence it holds, therefore be certain that the soul can be immortal. Such knowledge of the soul itself could not be matched with the essence and physical matter of the body and the knowledge it has because the only knowledge the body has is that of its immortal inability. The mortal soul couldn’t possibly be immortal because the body that is strictly associated with it doesn’t have such a knowledge and if the soul had such a knowledge it would have forced us to say that the soul is independent of the body but as far as the argument proves the soul is part of the body and when the body is taken away due to its ending nature the soul is washed away with it. The idea of the person’s inner world is all that remains behind. Good memoirs!
The soul is not independent in any way because it depends on the immortal God that created it. The God may bring the soul out of existence at any time but only with the soul’s innate desire and after all the stages were completed in this earthy world and there is no more space available for the body to hang around therefore the soul has completed all cycles of living and the body can no longer carry it. The soul is preparing for all the beauties it can observe while existing in the physical world as part of its body, all these beauties make the soul to appear good. Good or bad it all stops to be, as everything you see around stops to exist if naturally brought to existence blessed with the quality of aging systematically. The soul takes the form of the goodness that is encompassed in the spirituality of the individual and its physical nature. All complications that preoccupied everyone discussing on the immortality of the soul and the satisfaction they tend to get when they illogically prove that a thing like the soul will survive through an infinite time for zillion of years to come cannot be justified by any means because who is going to be here to see such a survival? Has it ever occurred in the past and do we see any souls floating around in space and time? No, we have not ever lived such an experience because the soul isn’t a physical thing and therefore cannot be seen by the human eye. And if the soul is indeed a spiritual thing that can only be perceived by some sort of meditation or the third eye, as aura or any other form of energy again doesn’t conclude that the soul can live for an infinite time period. If I sit under a tree and mediate very deeply my body will reach the deepest form of relaxation and my soul that is connected to it will also be free for a while but not independent from my body because the ultimate relaxation has an effect on all three simultaneously; the mind, the body and the soul. It won’t be possible for the soul to depart the body because that would imply that the unification of body and soul isn’t strong enough to hold the body together and aware of its surroundings. During the NREM sleep the body is totally relaxed and if the person sleeping has a clear consciousness while awake the soul will be calm and peaceful during the night. If I visit the Philosophy department and steal all the books that are found there my soul will be highly uncomfortable and I won’t be able to sleep well during the night and I will often wake up to think of my action or I may be depressed because logically and morally it is not justified for me to take all the philosophy books and disappear. Having said that we need not forget that it always depends on the person’s moral world, the mind and body of a person may perceive an action to be justified when it is actually not. Unfortunately, not all people are able to understand these simple truths due to a variety of reasons; how they were brought up, failures in life, brain disorders, social interactions etc. Do you see why the soul is always attached to the body influenced by every decision a person makes, either justified or unjustified?
There is a universal belief that cats can live under different occasions and survive death. Cats were seen dead in the street and without anybody ever removing them and bury them or throw them in the garbage can; they weren’t there the next day. It seems that cats have several souls that even if the body is totally unable to move, a new soul awakes inside of their body and give raise to them cats again. Some people believe that cats have seven souls and this doesn’t possibly imply that there is an exchange of souls and when one goes away the other one falls form the heavens and reincarnated in the cat’s body but the soul doesn’t die when the body does but the last breath is delayed from gone away and therefore the cat’s body is somehow recovering the accident and slowly begins to move again. Cannot be proved but real life experience has showed it at different occasions or it is a myth born by elders who want to entertain their grandchildren.
The argument that these paragraphs make although will support the Platonic and Aristotelian argument that the soul is the essence of the body, will agree with the latter philosopher who said that after the body is gone the soul is gone and there is no way back. Plato thought of the soul as a never dying thing that is finally justified when it frees itself from the body’s prison. Unfortunately this argument cannot be proved because it implies that the soul is another God and can do whatever it wants, a non- perishable, persistent through time and never ending soul equally powerful as God. Such argument can be argued from the simple truth that human beings and other living beings that all have souls cannot stand against time so do their soul because the soul is only theirs. If they are not capable of not vanishing away with the ethers why is the soul that belongs to them? However, a human being lives and should live mainly to satisfy himself and these people who the person can identify as their other selves together with attempts to reach God, spiritually most importantly than bodily. The spiritual force keeping the universe together has existed for zillion of years, it was there from the beginning, got the first seat in the large auditorium called universe. All of us people want to go somewhere close and see clearly what God sees. This is the continuous development of the human species that desires all Godhood virtues, qualities and values therefore the soul will be justified and comfortably relaxed only if it has lost the way somewhere along the way to the front stage of the large auditorium called Universe where God appears to be. Only what we prove to be all right in a clear ethically-justified understanding remains behind and the soul becomes an idea containing all the ideals of human beings. As long as the human species is present on this earthy life we have, all souls will be remembered of what their master has previously done.
Do we as human beings have very little knowledge to understand the soul? The soul leaves the body and this is known as death, the very last breath a living body takes, brings the termination of its soul. Many religions and different philosophies attempted to give a full explanation of the soul and one that supports the thesis of this paper is described in Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma one of the older world’s religions:
• The souls are classified as – mundane which are non liberated souls and liberated souls who have achieved Godhood by burning their karmas.
• Mundane souls are further classified on the basis of evolution of senses and faculties that it possesses. E.g., humans are classified as five sense souls and Plants and Microbes are classified as single-sensed souls.
• Consciousness characterized by Perception and Knowledge is the intrinsic quality of a Soul.
• A soul is the master of its own destiny. It is its own lord. The suffering and liberation of the soul are not dependent on any divine grace. It attains salvation by its own efforts.
• Every soul has the capacity to achieve Godhood in its human birth. This is achieved by burning the accumulated Karmas by following complete non-violence and non-attachment.
• Liberation is permanent and irreversible. The liberated soul which is formless and incorporeal in nature experiences infinite knowledge, omniscience, infinite power and infinite bliss after liberation.
• Even after liberation and attainment of Godhood, the soul does not merge into any entity (as in other philosophies), but maintains its individuality.
Shall we later proceed to the conclusion that all scientists, architects, philosophers, physicists, artists and many other historical figures that showed leadership and put their genius capacities in order to invent, create, perform miracles like building cathedrals, pyramids, the empire state building, those who invented the internet, airplanes, those who travel to space, study meteorites and desire to find lives other than ours, those who lived in a fourth dimensional world proved in paintings like Salvador Dali and an endless list of others who moved humanity a step ahead in time and fulfilled many of the infinite desires of the human species. The greater the help geniuses provided the better their souls are and the more they are remembered by others who follow in this world. Their minds belonged to their bodies and their soul became bigger and deeper one way or the other because their actions will be justified for years to follow and we are to build on their work and continue to create more and more for others to enjoy and make their lives more interesting and worth of living therefore enriching all souls that actively participate in this non stop interaction of souls with the goal of liberating themselves. This is the journey of a desiring and healthy soul, uncovering mysteries and solving questions, taking full advantage of the greater machines ever invented and the most complicated ones, the body and the brain with the latter having an advantage over the first. Learn how to operate these two machines and life will make you understand and appreciate nature that provided you with a human soul. Only then we shall see the light and stop worrying about death because it is the most natural thing ever happened.
“Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life is based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” Albert Einstein