Does the Soul Exist?

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Is there a soul?

Humans have souls, but animals and other living things do not
1
6%
Both animals and humans have souls
6
38%
The soul does not exist
6
38%
Other
3
19%
 
Total votes: 16

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deschainXIX
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Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 09 Oct 2014 23:22

What is the average lucid dreamer's philosophy concerning the existence of the soul?
Do you think you or any other human being has a soul? If so, what is its nature? Is it just as mortal as the body and mind? Do you think animals have souls? Or do you have your own viewpoint, your own unconventional opinion about what a "soul" is or how it functions?

Write about and discuss your opinion here.
(Be willing to give and receive refutation or remark, so long as emotion is kept out of it entirely. Also, be open-minded and consider all possibilities.)
Well said.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 09 Oct 2014 23:25

To my mind, a human is nothing more than an organic machine, albeit one of such mind-boggling complication and intricacy that it feigns bearing something greater within.

I think the soul can be disproved by considering animals. Most people would agree that animals have no souls. Even highly domesticated animals still resort to the primitive brutality and coldly calculating viciousness that kept them alive in the wild--ripping other animals apart, or abandoning their babies if it becomes unsustainable to keep them alive. Most people believe that humans have souls, but animals do not.

But how much different is an animal from a human? Consider a dog. Aside from all the superficial, anatomical differences, there isn't much distinction between a man and a dog. Both feel emotions. Both feel the need to eat, drink, sleep, socialize, reproduce. Both are (evidently) fully biological. The only important difference, I think, is that humans are more intelligent.

So if the soul is defined by intelligence, then am I to assume that mentally retarded people and people with brain damage do not have souls? Or what about babies and children? At what point does one gain one's soul? Does one definitively earn one’s soul at the age of 2? 3? What about animals whose psyches are not conventional in the sense that they have "intelligence" or employ reasoning or problem-solving (IE hive-minds)?

I think the most compelling ideas about the soul were brought up by science fiction novelist Philip K Dick in his famous book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", in which he observes that the only thing separating a human being from something else (like a machine or an animal) is empathy. But ultimately humans are NOT prone to empathy, at least no more than a dog is.

If you put two humans adjacent to one another and subject them both to the most horrible and unbearable torture imaginable, then proceed to ask one, "Should I stop torturing you, or should I stop torturing him?" He is not going to look upon his fellow human and feel empathy and say, "Okay, stop torturing him, not me." He isn't even going to think. He is going to scream for it to stop--if you asked him, he'd probably KILL to make it stop. Humans are driven by self-interest. The only reason they form and behave in societies is because it keeps the individual self safe. Safety in numbers.
Also, consider serial killers or criminals or anarchists (people who are willing to step outside of or have no regard for society). Serial killers are very important when considering the nature of the human mind. Previously, I said that animals have no souls because they have no problem with brutally and indiscriminately murdering fellow animals, sometimes even animals of their own species. But it seems that humans hold a similar primitive, subconscious violence, something left over from their time spent in the caves. Perhaps serial killers simply have no regard for social barriers and are simply more in touch with their true nature. Either way, empathy is irrelevant.

Thus ultimately, there is no distinction between animals and humans. EITHER both animals and humans have souls OR neither do and the soul doesn't exist.

And this truth ruins any ideas about the soul brought up by religion, seeing as many religions think that men are somehow greater than beasts.

Further, it makes no sense for both animals and humans to have souls. Because if all animals have souls, regardless of intelligence ... Do microorganisms have souls? Do viruses have souls? Does tissue itself have a soul? Do all the individual cells of your own body have little miniature souls? Does an undeveloped fetus have a soul? What about little sperm cells?

It just doesn’t make sense. All you're left with is that the soul does not exist.
Well said.

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buildit
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby buildit » 09 Oct 2014 23:42

I am sure the usual suspects will debase the idea of a soul or the fundamental aspects of the embodied characteristics of good or bad in the existence of a soul. I would first require anyone denying a soul should at least give a brief description of what they are calling a soul.
To me a soul is a mirror image of the mental energy a person exhibits. I am still formulating a more complete view of where the soul exists but I feel strongly that it is attached / linked to the subconscious. I have asked a few people who learned lucid dreaming and control on their own without learning aids or reading books. All of these people have suggested that when lucid dreaming and exhibiting their most powerful traits their physical form is fluctuating or pure energy. I suspect that energy form is the unconscious embodiment of a soul.

It may also be worth reading this link under the science topic I posted earlier concerning life after death.

http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=15419
Is Lucid Dreaming the brains preparation for the next step of human evolution when we can escape the corporeal bond of our bodies?

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Summerlander
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby Summerlander » 10 Oct 2014 10:03

Hats off to you, DeschainXIX! Quite a rich thread! I don't believe there is such a thing as a soul (spirit, ghost, mental energy in the dualist/vitalist sense). My view comes from what evidence supports: physicalism.

Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of a particular brand of physical complexity - so complex that we are still trying to figure out what nature evolutionarily stumbled upon over millions of years. The self is, therefore, nothing but a user illusion. There is no free will and no afterlife.

Such conclusions seem pretty evident to me over a hundred years of neuroscience. One can be conscious, unconscious, comatosed, and death is simply the point of no return at the end of the spectrum of non-experience. Everything about the mind, every mental faculty, is excisable via brain damage or malfunction. We are our brains and when these are destroyed we've had it. In evolution we've had simple mineral beginnings and today we like the egotistical feeling we experience. We like to delude ourselves with the fantasy that we are somehow immortal or that a holy father made the universe with us in mind. (Not cockroaches, beetles, and ants who are more numerous both in numbers and species.)

As I also pointed out before, the hadron collider finds the Higgs, and yet, no sign of a ghost that supposedly controls physical bodies in such a gross manner.

That's my piece. :-)

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

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R99
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby R99 » 11 Oct 2014 09:21

@ deschainXIX

Nature is all about adapt and survive. one species cannot survive without another species. take mosquito for example. its there bcoz larger predator need them to survive like frog etc. u cannot compare animal to a human. there r both product of nature. but Animals dont kill a deer unless its hungry. but wen it comes to human, it kills not just for survive, it also for fun, greed etc etc..

@ for all the people who thinks humans are superior.

people says we r superior to all other species on earth just bcoz we r more intelligent. i dont see how thats true. humans make money, fools someone or invent something and we call it intelligence. then y cant we sense upcoming weather change, or natural disaster, plenty of animal species can sense it b4 us. isnt that make them intelligent too. they can too make conversation to one another with their own language. even plants have memories (mimosa pudika aka sensitive plant).

@deschainXIX again, lets elaborate ur theory

"If you put two humans adjacent to one another and subject them both to the most horrible and unbearable torture imaginable, then proceed to ask one, "Should I stop torturing you, or should I stop torturing him?" He is not going to look upon his fellow human and feel empathy and say, "Okay, stop torturing him, not me." He isn't even going to think. He is going to scream for it to stop--if you asked him, he'd probably KILL to make it stop. Humans are driven by self-interest. The only reason they form and behave in societies is because it keeps the individual self safe. Safety in numbers. "


lets just say the one human is u, and the next human is ur Mother or father or whoever important to u, what will be ur decision. i really like to know ur answer.




Now about soul. i believe it exist if u r alive. its an energy that cannot be described that easy. its that experience, the emotions, the memories, the hope, the care for one another etc.... i believe every living thing have these. when an energy enters in to a form (physical body) it becomes a soul. this we call the soul then experience this world as this form. later when the form runs its course and too week to contain this energy it exit from this form to be one with cosmic energy.

i know its very complicated to understand. and its not complete either. again its my view about soul. u r welcome to ignore it. :)
I see the Truth now.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 11 Oct 2014 16:20

buildit wrote:I would first require anyone denying a soul should at least give a brief description of what they are calling a soul.


I'm referring to "the soul" that most people believe in today. That is, an immortal, spiritual/immaterial entity that controls your body from some kind of spiritual plane. Belief in a soul probably originated from ancient times when people didn't understand neurology or psychology and needed something to explain the emotions they felt and strange dreams they experienced.

R99 wrote:Nature is all about adapt and survive.


Not necessarily. Nature is simply what occurs in the universe as a result of physical laws. Unless you're referring to the biological ecosystem on earth, as the rest of your paragraph seems to suggest. Even then, that statement doesn't disprove anything I said.

R99 wrote:take mosquito for example. its there bcoz larger predator need them to survive like frog etc. u cannot compare animal to a human. there r both product of nature.


I don't know what you mean with this. But I think it's safe to say that a mosquito does not exist solely because purple martins and bats needs something to eat.
"You cannot compare an animal to a human. They are both a product of nature."
Wait ... they're both a product of nature. So why exactly can't I compare them?

R99 wrote:humans make money, fools someone or invent something and we call it intelligence.


Yes. To my mind, forming intricate societies based on merit/hardwork, and using problem solving and ingenuity to construct more efficient ways of doing things does in fact suggest intelligence.

R99 wrote: then y cant we sense upcoming weather change, or natural disaster, plenty of animal species can sense it b4 us. isnt that make them intelligent too.


We're talking about intelligence, right? Here's an experiment I'd like you to conduct: Google search these three words--"weather forecast tomorrow."
Humans actually can know upcoming weather changes, natural disasters etc. Animals' ability to "sense" things does not suggest intelligence.

R99 wrote:they can too make conversation to one another with their own language. even plants have memories (mimosa pudika aka sensitive plant).


So basically your whole argument here is that animals are just as intelligent as humans? Interesting.

R99 wrote:lets just say the one human is u, and the next human is ur Mother or father or whoever important to u, what will be ur decision. i really like to know ur answer.


You missed the point of my demonstration. I'll tell you what I would do: I'd scream for him to let me go. I would not think. Perhaps in some part of my mind I'd delude myself with thoughts like, "Once he lets me go, I'll call the police and get help. Then we'll both be saved," or "Once he unties me, I'll attack him and free my Mother." But the fact of the matter is that the dark, primitive part of my mind which is concerned only with my own basic survival and well-being would want absolutely nothing more than for the torture to stop for me. That was the point of my example.

Here, I'll provide another scenario:
Say you are aboard a ship with a hundred other people, when suddenly the ship crashes into a rock and begins to sink. You and all of the other passengers are thrown overboard--there is no time for life vests or anything at all. All of the people are thrashing about in a panic in the crowded waters in a tangled mess. Several people are trapped beneath all the flailing limbs and drown. The ship continues to sink, and as it totally submerges, it sucks people down to the depths with it. You are trapped under the water, trying desperately to reach oxygen. Flailing, panicked people kick you in the face and force you farther under. Now, as you start to slowly drown, you are NOT GOING TO THINK. You are going to become an ANIMAL, seizing desperately and viciously to survive. You are going to grab someone's leg and pull them down so that you can get up to the oxygen. You'd probably force their head underwater so that you could get higher up.

R99 wrote:its that experience, the emotions, the memories, the hope, the care for one another etc.... i believe every living thing have these.


Emotions, memories, and care for fellow humans all can and have been explained by neurology and psychology. Their origins are totally naturalistic.
Well said.

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buildit
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby buildit » 11 Oct 2014 17:22

deschainXIX wrote:
buildit wrote:I would first require anyone denying a soul should at least give a brief description of what they are calling a soul.


I'm referring to "the soul" that most people believe in today. That is, an immortal, spiritual/immaterial entity that controls your body from some kind of spiritual plane. Belief in a soul probably originated from ancient times when people didn't understand neurology or psychology and needed something to explain the emotions they felt and strange dreams they experienced.


So you think a soul is a embodiment that exists before you die? Sounds like the Catholic definition. But then from other post I know you are anti religion and would never believe in a life after death because that would open doors you cannot ignore. If you are to deny a soul you must also prove there is no life after death, nothing of the individual goes on. Our scientific instruments say you are right. At death, the body stops and all electro chemical actions in the brain stop. Our ability to detect ends. Yet there are numerous accounts of people who have died by medical standards and yet can account for the period of time they were dead.
What part of their lifeless body was experiencing this? Why can our detection methods not find this part of the body which seems to maintain consciousness when the rest of the body stops. We don't know but for lack of a scientific explanation I'll call it the soul. For all intent and purpose an embodiment of the mental consciousness of the now dead body does seem to carry on. Where it goes and how long it can last outside the body is unknown but the idea it does exist like a new life from the husk it inhabited is awesome to me. ;)
Is Lucid Dreaming the brains preparation for the next step of human evolution when we can escape the corporeal bond of our bodies?

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deschainXIX
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby deschainXIX » 11 Oct 2014 18:44

buildit wrote:So you think a soul is a embodiment that exists before you die?


No, I think the soul doesn't exist. I was simply responding to your request for me to define the soul. For the purposes of the discussion, I defined it as most people would define it. Most members of today's society think they have a soul and most of them think that it is "the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal."
But please note that I encouraged people to share their own unconventional opinions about the soul.

buildit wrote:Yet there are numerous accounts of people who have died by medical standards and yet can account for the period of time they were dead.
What part of their lifeless body was experiencing this?


Their brain. Death, as defined legally, is the death of the brain. You're referring to people who have gone into cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops pumping oxygenated blood to the various members of the physiological orchestra. Cardiac arrest is not death. Cardiac arrest is failure of the heart. However, when the brain dies, it is a different story. You cannot revive a brain-dead person. They are truly gone. Previously you made allusion to this, but then seemed to forget it by bringing up all those "I Went to Heaven but Came Back" stories.

buildit wrote:the idea it does exist like a new life from the husk it inhabited is awesome to me.


Actually I used to believe in an afterlife too, and I used to think that if there was nothing after death, it would be absolutely terrible. But I've matured. Oblivion is true bliss. Dying is like going to sleep forever ... just infinite slumber. Nothing. In fact, many 90-year-olds say they're "ready to go." They're tired. They're ready to rest. To me, an eternity after death just sounds exhausting and stressful.

I feel sympathetic about this entire ordeal. Because when you tell people that there is no such thing as a soul (and subsequently no such thing as an afterlife) what you’re really telling them is that their grandmother who died a month ago isn't up in heaven, but instead she’s totally gone. So people have this sort of knee-jerk reaction, an existential meltdown I suppose, in which they revert to primitive sun-worshiping.
But what I don’t understand is why people have these preconceived notions about how there has to be SOMETHING after death, or else the thought of death is too unbearable.
Really, the thought of death from an atheistic standpoint is much more gentle and humanizing.
Well said.

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R99
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby R99 » 11 Oct 2014 20:21

R99 wrote: but Animals dont kill a deer unless its hungry. but wen it comes to human, it kills not just for survive, it also for fun, greed etc etc..


that sentence explain everything. this is why humans cannot be compared to animals. did u just ignored that statement deschainXIX. whats ur thought. if humans r that intelligent y cant they follow this simple rule. DO NOT KILL IF ITS NOT NECESSARY.

deschainXIX wrote:We're talking about intelligence, right? Here's an experiment I'd like you to conduct: Google search these three words--"weather forecast tomorrow."

its comes from a fancy machine not from bio chemical brain. and that was the point.

intelligence have many form. i got this from wikipedia

Intelligence has been defined in many different ways such as in terms of one's capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving. It can also be more generally described as the ability to perceive and/or retain knowledge or information and apply it to itself or other instances of knowledge or information creating referable understanding models of any size, density, or complexity, due to any conscious or subconscious imposed will or instruction to do so.

Intelligence is most widely studied in humans, but has also been observed in non-human animals and in plants. Artificial intelligence is the simulation of intelligence in machines.


so animals and plants have their own level of intelligence. they know more about the environment. and we dont. and i didnt said their intelligence r equal to us.

watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf3VvO2CcJg
and u thought we r superior, we cant even find a place without a compass or a map.

i pointed these facts bcoz ur ego wants to believe humans r superior. and its not true,

deschainXIX wrote:So basically your whole argument here is that animals are just as intelligent as humans? Interesting.


yes, it is interesting indeed... 8-)


deschainXIX wrote:Say you are aboard a ship with a hundred other people, when suddenly the ship crashes into a rock and begins to sink. You and all of the other passengers are thrown overboard--there is no time for life vests or anything at all. All of the people are thrashing about in a panic in the crowded waters in a tangled mess. Several people are trapped beneath all the flailing limbs and drown. The ship continues to sink, and as it totally submerges, it sucks people down to the depths with it. You are trapped under the water, trying desperately to reach oxygen. Flailing, panicked people kick you in the face and force you farther under. Now, as you start to slowly drown, you are NOT GOING TO THINK. You are going to become an ANIMAL, seizing desperately and viciously to survive. You are going to grab someone's leg and pull them down so that you can get up to the oxygen. You'd probably force their head underwater so that you could get higher up.


u dont need to explain it again, i am just saying that sometimes in life we need to defend someone else more than ourself . and that time defines who u really are. even animals do that. and u r pointing things like animal instinct is bad thing. i think humans r brutal than animal. thats the whole point of my post. am just defending for animal world bcoz they dont have internet connection to post this :lol:

i am working out some theories about soul or spirit or whatever.

R99 wrote:when an energy enters in to a form (physical body) it becomes a soul. this we call the soul then experience this world as this form. later when the form runs its course and too week to contain this energy it exit from this form to be one with cosmic energy.


and what about this theory deschainXIX does this make any sense to anyone.??
I see the Truth now.

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buildit
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Re: Does the Soul Exist?

Postby buildit » 11 Oct 2014 21:04

R99 wrote:
R99 wrote:when an energy enters in to a form (physical body) it becomes a soul. this we call the soul then experience this world as this form. later when the form runs its course and too week to contain this energy it exit from this form to be one with cosmic energy.


and what about this theory deschainXIX does this make any sense to anyone.??



Yes, I have often theorized that the body is like an egg where the mental energy has time to grow and mature. Once the corporeal self dies the mental self (soul) is "hatched" but to what end I don't know yet.

Isaac Asimov wrote an interesting story once concerning the corporeal end and life after called the last answer.

In the story, an atheist physicist Murray Templeton dies of a heart attack and is greeted by a being of supposedly infinite knowledge. This being, referred to as the Voice, tells the physicist the nature of his life after death, as a nexus of electromagnetic forces. The Voice concludes that, while by all human ideas he most resembles God, he is contrary to any human conception of the being. The Voice informs him that all of the Universe is a creation of the Voice, the purpose of which was to result in intelligent life which, after death, the Voice could cull for his own purposes—to wit, Templeton, like all the others, is to think, for all eternity, so as to amuse him. Conversing with the Voice, Templeton learns that the Voice desires original thoughts by which to please His curiosity, but surrenders that yes, in fact, if He so desired, the Voice could happen upon those thoughts himself, of his own effort.

The physicist is appalled by the idea of thinking and discovering for no reason but to amuse a being capable of easily out-thinking him with a bit of effort. Templeton decides, therefore, to direct his thoughts towards spiting the Voice, whom he regards as a capricious entity, by destroying himself. The Voice dissuades him by pointing out it is easily within His power to reconstitute Templeton's disembodied form with that method of suicide, whatever it may be, disabled. Through further inquiry, Templeton discovers that the Voice (in a classic counterargument to the logical regression of the First Cause argument for the existence of god) has no knowledge of his own creation. Templeton realizes that this, in turn, suggests he has no knowledge of his own destruction, and concludes that the only vengeance for this tyranny is also the ultimate vengeance, and resolves to destroy the Voice.

At this epiphany and decision, the Voice reflects satisfaction, thinking that Templeton reached this conclusion rather faster than most of the countless beings currently trapped in the same condition, implying that the one thing the Voice truly wishes to learn from his thralls is the method by which he can be destroyed.

It seemed a curious tale of what hell might be. :o
Is Lucid Dreaming the brains preparation for the next step of human evolution when we can escape the corporeal bond of our bodies?


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