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NerdyKeith's avatar

Spiritually speaking, how do you define a “soul”?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5489points) March 9th, 2016

Do all living creatures have one?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

ucme's avatar


Mimishu1995's avatar

I have come to the belief that life is energy. Energy has two forms: kinetic and protential. When we are alive we possess kinetic energy, and when we die energy becomes protential. The “soul” is just the energy.

Seek's avatar

I still can’t get a reliable definition for “spiritual”, so I’ll abstain.

zenvelo's avatar

There is actually a stream of Catholic thought that everything has a soul, defining soul as the connection to Cosmic Creation, the manifestation of the spark of the Big Bang. So it is not limited to “living things” but even the whole of creation.

gorillapaws's avatar

If souls exist (that’s a big “if”), then a soul is an uncaused cause. By that I mean it is a non-physical entity capable of receiving input, but acting independently of input. It is the “engine” of free will and agency. It’s also very hard to defend the existence of philosophically.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

What zenvelo says above is pretty much the conclusion I’ve come to, independently from any church. I never gave it much thought until I worked hospice making sure terminal patients were as comfortable as possible. My specialty was pain management. I kept a journal during that time and watched almost 100 people die in 18 months. Some very strange things happened on that unit causing me to think about things that I’d never considered important before. I’ve come to believe we are all connected, although in these modern times, this connection is often ignored. Many American Indian tribes believed the same as @zenvelo describes above, expanding the idea that all things return to a common soul, the Great Soul, as potential energy as Mimi describes. The physical manifestation of this is the earth and all things on earth. This is merely a model, a metaphor that enables me to wrap my head around the conclusions that I’ve come to. It doesn’t get more elaborate than that, no philosophical filigree, no mythology, no good and evil. It works for me. But I still don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.

kritiper's avatar

Your thinking processes, your memories, all that is you to you. Nothing material. Yes animals have the essence of self without there being any concious thoughts pertaining to “me.”

ucme's avatar

Like God said when she looked upon the ghost of Hitler, “ahh soul”

Cruiser's avatar

My thoughts on this are very much inline with @Mimishu1995. Our soul is our energy within us we borrow from the universe while we are alive on this planet. And when we die this energy leaves our body and not all at one time either. The powerhouse energy that our body uses to think breath, eat, digest and move around is what I believes leaves our body and is probably a sizeable amount of energy too that people over the ages equate as our soul leaving our body and ascends to “heaven” which I know and believe is our universe hence my beliefs in the universal life force of everything. Then as our bodies decay or are incinerated the final energy that binds our atoms is finally assimilated back into the universe free and available to be absorbed by some other form of whatever.

You can take this energy of the soul in so many directions from here. Starting with positive energy (love), negative energy (hate and anger) then apply it to the other precepts of Karma, Ying and Yang, heaven and hell. Then move on to the discussion of soulful and soulless. Lots to talk about.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Soul is character.

For this reason “soul” isn’t limited to, as you said, living creatures.

Also, some forms of Shinto state that all things have soul, even technologies.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, as @Mimishu1995 said. Energy. The energy that makes us all our own unique selves.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I kind of wish James Brown were still with us. The go to authority on“soul”, may his own rest in peace.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Mimishu1995, @zenvelo, @gorillapaws, and @Espiritus_Corvus all get to what I feel. I feel that there is something more to existence than what I can hold, see, taste, hear, or smell. I gave up trying to understand it, let alone define it, a very long time ago. I am happy feeling that there is something. Something. It’s a feeling.

If I’m wrong and there’s nothing, it won’t matter how I feel. I don’t feel anything about that. I’m not worried about it.

I once wrote an essay about a question like this. I ended it by giving a recipe for soup. Basically, it said to take everything in your refrigerator and combine it in a pot and cook it. Then it should be enjoyed. Savored. Relished.

Eat it up.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Brain functions.

tinyfaery's avatar

I do not believe in a soul.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a fiction, invented by humans to arrogantly put themselves above and separate of the animal world.

CWOTUS's avatar

Strictly speaking, I don’t. When I hear people talk about souls, soul mates, and the like, if I can’t change the topic then I simply exit the conversation. Unless she’s really good-looking.

Cruiser's avatar

—@ragingloli Kinda like religion…perhaps a cast away offspring of religion’s circular logic and because no one could come up with a more logical way to explain the presence of the soul…just sign it off because you can’t come up with a better explanation…move along folks…..

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A soul is identical to a mind. Just like a spirit is identical to a thought.

A mind is the culmination of every thought of greed, lust, charity, forgiveness, etc…

A soul is the culmination of every spirit of greed, lust, charity, forgiveness, etc…

Same concepts from different disciplines.

Inspired_2write's avatar

As stated from the other responses I agree too that Consciousness , thinking processes are another word for SOUL.
Without our thought processes what would we become?

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