I have always thought we had souls/spirits, and all that metaphysical goodness, but lately I keep having doubts as I look deeper into science. Reading about how our emotions are so effected by what we eat and the chemical balances in our brain and body really makes me doubt that we are spiritual beings. Maybe our personality and consciousness is just a combination of life experiences and chemical balances in the body. Also, how deeply “spiritual” or “religious” in an individual are also induced by the body’s naturally occurring chemicals or outside chemicals.
I want to believe I have a soul, and that we are spiritual beings, and that we will move on, but I also love science and it is kind of making me believe the opposite is true.
I try looking into near death experiences, or people who have been revived, but I haven’t found any really convincing stories yet, and science is even starting to rule that out.
So what do you think? Are we just as we are? or is there more than meets the eye?
Help me believe that I have a soul, with as close to factual evidence as you can get.
Or just tell me the opposite and explain why we don’t have souls. External links would be awesome as well. Thanks.
@iambrian, there is no explanation or proof that i can give to you, to say that you and i are conscious, spiritual beings… its just like free will is either you believe your in control or you dont. (transcending these thoughts are bound to happen, YOU just decide how long it takes)
@iambrian, What I’m about to say is not necessarily true, or provable, or disprovable, but in the argument of science vs soul, they say our emotions are cause by these chemical reactions. But, what if these “chemical reactions” are simple a medium for the soul to experience earthly sensations? A soul feels joy, endorphin’s and Oxcytocin “evolved” to fill the need. They “represent” what the soul is feeling.
Again, this could be just babble, but it’s an idea I like to tinker with.
@iambrian, All humans start out with their biological body in control of them. Their brains and hormones and all the other shit that happens in our body control. We are NOT in control of our actions and have no free will. That is until we conquer our body with the power of our conscientiousness. Science tells us this and I believe it. I love science but c’mon dude science is so behind in terms of understanding the universe or finding divine truths. How you could listen to science talk about the metaphysical when it hardly believes in it. Only on the hardcore theories of string theory and even then it is minor. “Science,” “scientists,” and their beliefs are esoteric relative to all of human history. Most of history, especially ancient, they believed in a soul and spirituality. Like not just a group of people but everyone around the world in ancient times believed and relied heavily on spirituality. Science is awesome but you do not have to believe everything tells you. Science limits itself in what it thinks is real and what is hodge podge. It’s prejudice
Dear One, I seriously doubt anyone can confirm what you wish to realize in this context. I can only posit the sages of ages in regard to Hindu conceptions. To paraphrase: they believe that all of us, irrespective of status or station consist of the true immortal soul; piecemeal. It is our bodies and Karma that distinguish us from the one great soul, Brahma. (God) We are here in many incarnations to relive and relearn lessons from previous existences. After we achieve some semblance of uniformity (perfection in ahimsa/compassion) are we able to return to the great primordial force of creation.
Seems logical to my mystified mind! namaste
Why do you suppose that science has anything valid to say on that matter? As far as I am concerned science hasn’t much more to say on this matter than religion has on science.
Which doesn’t mean that I don’t still buy into these doubts on a an emotional level, because I used to be a quite rationally and scientifically oriented person, and you can’t just easily leave this behind completely.
Spirit transcends objective/material reality, and the universe. Science is concerned with measurement within this universe, and as such can’t directly tell us about that which is immeasurable and/or beyond the universe.
That being said, there is scientific evidence that points beyond our current materialistic models of reality (parapsychology, for example, has loads of pretty good evidence), and to realities beyond our own (quantum mechanics lends itself to explanations in terms of parallel universes).
As far as my personal opinion goes, I don’t really believe in souls as entities, like inhabitants of our bodies. More like a metaphor for the mental and transcendental aspect of ourselves (ie that which isn’t externally apparent).
I don’t necessarily “believe” we are spiritual beings. It’s just clear to me that it makes a lot of practical and metaphysical sense to think this way.
This isn’t derived from any facts, and not a scientific statement. It just became plainly visible at some point that some concepts like “consciousness is just a combination of life experiences and chemical balances in the body.” are nonsense at the very start (at least in a mystical-metaphysical context).
They are literally just stories with no real content. You can’t show nonsense to be false because it doesn’t mean anything. How can consciousness be a combination of anything? It’s not a thing. For me, the word “consciousness” itself doesn’t even refer to something, no less something definable. It’s an utterance that goes beyond meaning, like singing or “OM” or the word “ouch” or the barking of a dog.
So every attempt to describe what “it” is misses “the point” (if there is any).
This is the pitfall of talking about consciousness in a scientific or purely rational frame. It’s either superficial, or just nonsense.
Of course, I want to stress that all of what I said is not factual, or even true, per se. It is insight based, not fact based.
So take it as you will. And I’d suggest not thinking about it too much. I get the sense that I think about it far too much and it for me it doesn’t provide great utility or even insight (makes me wonder why I am even writing this, but why not…).
IMO, experiencing your spiritual freedom is far more awesome than thinking about whether it’s “true” or not.
If you haven’t read any books by or done any research into Raymond Moody, Michael Newton or Ian Stevenson then you can start there.
2 of my favorite books are:
@iambrian, I certainly empathize with your quandary, this is a difficult question, not only technically but viscerally as well. I also think it is part of a critical question, for those that would fully experience, the experience of being, an experiencing being.,. The first thing to settle is, what do you mean by soul? In my experience, in this context, what people usually mean by soul is, their sense of personal identity, the awareness of being, an experiencing being, that sense of you-ness that stretches back to your first recollections, and has always been there. In other words, the “I” of mind.
Is this what you mean by soul?
To clarify what I meant by “part of a critical question”, this is actually a reference to the infamous, “Who am I?” question that many developmental psychologists identify as a critical developmental question, that usually comes to prominence in adolescence, This is not at all surprising when you consider at the onset of puberty, the biological clock of development goes tick, tock, and opens hormonal floodgates that induce natures own drastically altered state, and there is no better way to draw attention to consciousness than to alter its’ state.
Unfortunately the socialization mechanisms that have developed within what is essentially the machine of society, do not encourage a full investigation of this question on the part of the individual.
There is another thing wrong with how the question was dealt with by the systems of society at the time. “Who am I?” was dealt with as if it was the fundamental question of identity, this is incorrect. No answer to “who am I?’ has a chance of being completely accurate, if it not based first on an accurate answer to the more fundamental question, “What am I? And this brings us to your question, which I believe is part of this, fundamental question of identity.
So, back to my first question, what do you mean by soul? Do you agree with what I said was usually meant by it?
What you said.
So many people think that for “spirit” or a “soul” to exist it needs to be something separate from the physical plane. I think the physical and spiritual planes are so intimately intertwined it will elude our understanding for a loooong long time. I don’t know, rationally/logically, and can’t know for sure if we have souls/spirits. There’s a good chance I wont ever know in this lifetime. But I feel that we do. Something in my intuition tells me, and I believe that feelings/intuitions are just as legitimate modalities of knowing as thoughts & logic. You just can’t have definitive conclusions with them; you need to be comfortable with ultimately not being sure.
Science is a mind-blowingly amazing tool for investigating the MECHANICS of our universe. But it does not touch ESSENCE. Mechanics are not essence. Mechanics are what the universe does. Essence is what the universe is.
In my opinion science needs to stay a TOOL in our mind and not become our WORLDVIEW. When science becomes our worldview we limit ourselves – we even limit science! This is because we start assuming that everything science has said up until this point is right. How do we know there won’t be a new discovery tomorrow that proves everything we’ve assumed completely wrong? The specifics probably wont be wrong – we know what chemicals go where in the body and we know how fast shit falls if you drop it at x height cause we know the mechanics of gravity. But who’s to say tomorrow ALL of that won’t be completely re-contextualized because we discover something that rearranges our understanding of the foundations of this universe?
We thought the world was flat at one point, and at that time with the information and capability for investigation we had that was a perfectly rational conclusion to come to. But now that we have more information and more capability that idea is known as ridiculous. That kind of revolution in understanding will probably happen again, and then again and again and again…
there are things we can’t know with any real certainty, questions we don’t have the answers to, and i’m alright with not knowing everything
i think everyone’s lost, and that you’re either pretending you aren’t or you’re not
i don’t know what jfk was thinking the moment before he got shot, and i’m alright with that
“At this point of his effort man stands face to face with the irrational. He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world. This must not be forgotten. This must be clung to because the whole consequence of a life can depend on it. The irrational, the human nostalgia, and the absurd that is born of their encounter — these are the three characters in the drama that must necessarily end with all the logic of which an existence is capable.” – Albert Camus
Some people are depressed by the idea that “this” is it. This ideology frustrates me. Why is that depressing. All we know and all we can experience is this life. We can only ponder and theorize about the metaphysical world. This life isn’t all we have in a sense of deprivation but everything we have. We are all manifestations of the universe as the universe is a manifestation of ourselves. This to me is the beauty of life. I find that people who ask “is this really all there is” are simply discontent. I am not disproving the existence of the metaphysical for I am not qualified to do so. I am simply projecting that our focus should be on this life in this present moment. For that is truly all we have right now. Too many people let that slip away. And that is when they wish to believe in an afterlife. They have let there life slip through their fingers.
I’m just gonna throw in my opinion. Being a “hardcore” atheist myself.
It does not matter.
You still experience what you experience. You still can have ‘trancendant’ experiences. I have that – everytime I meditate. It doesn’t matter if there is a soul attached. And if we die to live another life – what a beautiful surprise!!
Live as this is the only life you got! Respect yourself and others. Enjoy it.
Just because science hasn’t proved something doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. Self consciousness however is something that is scientifically proven, by the fact that we are conscious of our own existence. However there is no insight on how this rather complex rational process is possible. That is where I believe the paradox of the soul lies, cause here’s a thought that haunts man kind. Life is a complex interactions of rather large and complex molecules, these make up cells. In turn cells make very complex interactions in order to conform multi cellular organisms like us. And in our particular case there are such complex interactions that braincells are able to generate vast concepts such as: our personality, a line of thought, creativity, self consciousness. What is the purpose of all that energy put to use, does it just pass on to the next organism after death, why all the struggle or complexity in life. it doesn’t only suggest a higher meaning, but all the complexity actually suggests intelligent design. You see everything about life is looping, mitosis, DNA replication; all of it are endless loops that repeat over and over. There is a lesser probability of life starting in a singular scenario than the Big Bang. So I can’t imagine all of this struggle going on, without something worth it for. This might be what we refer now to as the soul, an essence that doesn’t belong to matter.
Strange as it may seem, I’m only here because I lay puzzled and confused on my sofa in a dangerous state of depression trying to make sense of life in general but MY life more specifically. Then BOOM a “voice” in my head guided me into a thought process about why I am where I am and why I do what I do. It’s because i didn’t understand life at all. Life as I know it is only a container for the soul. My soul is the electrical energy that is in me that is the spark of life. Energy is eternal. It cannot be diminished in any way only transformed. The electrical energy in me is the ONLY thing about me that is eternal just like all the vast amount of energy that makes up the known universe and beyond. Wow. What about Heaven and hell then? Heaven or hell is not a place to “go to” but more one that you are able to “realize”. Heaven and hell exist in your thought process at all times. Everything you possibly can think is filtered through and is then a choice to be made as which way to go or do. In Heaven or hell there is no time because it doesn’t exist so that eternal instant in which the body gives up its energy or soul, is when Heaven or hell is truly realized. Oh My God have I made some bad decisions in my life.
I think that there has to be a decision made as to which thought process you wish to serve and when you truly make that choice your soul will follow. That doesn’t mean that the hell and evil will be gone away but that they will no longer be able to temp you sorta like a bad tv show in which you have no interest at all. You just know it’s on but ain’t gonna watch it.
I conclude by saying that God is real and so is satin. The war going on over my soul is one I control the outcome of and nobody else. Amen
Reading your post brought an image to my mind of walking along a road and seeing someone very similar to myself walking toward me…and the basic realization that we are doing the same thing…just walking, you are walking forward, I am walking forward, but we are walking in opposite directions ,and toward each other at the same time..
The image comes from how I hear what you’re saying…but it’s the reverse for me. Originally I wanted to believe in a soul or spirit and kept looking but finding nothing…seemed like “voo-doo” to me and wishful thinking. So I basically threw in the towel and took the existentialist, atheist, “don’t kid yourself” path…and for most of my life I have sort of “kept an eye open” but mostly decided to just accept the hard truth and be happy anyway etc etc Most recently I became very interested in neurochemistry and all that your referring to and felt like I finally understood well enough what the whole illusion of consciousness was about and why it “seemed” like we should have a soul but in fact it was pure illusion and chemistry the one and only reality. Everything is in fact chemistry…it is absolutely true that every thought and emotion and sensation and love and hate…the whole story is entirely about chemistry and spirituality without the right supportive biochemistry simply does not and cannot exist.Consciosness is evolutionary and we are evolved primates and anyone who ignores that is ignorant of the facts and pretending to know what they don;t know and making up stories and fantasies to console their fears and anxiety …no offense intended to anyone …but I don’t buy for one second the kind of fantasy stories people create about who they are and what life is…it is CHEMISTRY CHEMISTRY CHEMISTRY and if there is a GOD THEN GOD IS A CHEMIST!
I actually felt enlightened by those facts and the realizations that arise from them…the sense of knowing factually why I feel this and think that etc etc..it can be an amazing experience of liberation from ignorance which pretty much describes what people experience when they “find God” or whatever suddenly seems to make sense of things and clears up the fog of confusion. Enough for now…I have to think about how to say the rest of what I want to say….it’s all about Spirit…by any other name , whatever you want to call it and there is no contradiction or conflict with reality and science and fact…later.