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What Is The Soul?

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Concept of a Soul is Empty and Devoid of Meaning

- Albert Einstein, letter of February 5, 1921:

"The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning."

The argument of the soul parallels the The Argument from Consciousness. We have natural explanation for Consciousness, any mental state can be attributed to activity and chemicals in the brain. There's just no need for the soul and therefore it can be dismissed via Occam's Razor.

What is the Soul and how does it function?

Consider a person whose "personality" is based on the existence of this person's "soul". That is, what the person feels, thinks, etc. is stored in the "soul", and it is the existence of this soul which is the basis of that person's life.

Studies of the biology of human beings show that the movement of various parts of the body are controlled mostly by nerves which ultimately lead from the brain; the control is sent as electrical impulses over the nerves. Thus, we postulate that, if the "soul" exists and is the driving or motive force of a person, it should be the ultimate cause of the signals in the nerves; that is, the brain serves as a sort of conduit for the soul.

Now consider what would happen if the person had a stroke. A stroke causes brain damage. What would happen to the connection between the soul and the body?

We would postulate that, if the person's "personality" is seated in the soul, the worst that a stroke would do would be to prevent the soul from perfectly controlling the body. We do not expect a person's personality to change, because the stroke only affects the brain. But is this true? Is the worst possible effect (aside from death) of stroke merely paralysis, without causing a change in the essence of the person's behavior?

In fact, the actual evidence shows that a stroke can destabilize the emotions of a person [citation needed]. Certainly a person's emotional makeup would be considered a major component of a person's "personality". Thus, we can conclude that a major component of a person's personality can be caused by damage to the brain.

Arguably it can still be said that the damage to a brain would also cause damage to the soul using that brain as the channel to control the body. However, we might consider whether or not the brain damage is analogous to the soul's damage. If the brain is somehow healed, does the soul heal too? Is it possible for the soul to heal, but not the brain? Vice versa?

Alternatively, consider the person that has a personality that certainly varies with circumstances and time, with the memories and feelings all stored and manipulated in the brain. That same information stored in a computer is merely a electromagnetic pattern that needs an interpretation to declare what the pattern represents - an external not internal interpretation. The existence that says "I" is something more than just this store and processor. The "I" itself contains the interpretation. The brain can be damaged or altered (which will affect the emotions, abilities, memories etc) but the "I" is still the same 'person'. The "I" starting as a baby and becoming an adult through to senility is still one "I" with differing storage in the brain, different access to the brain's store and different abilities to use or express what it accesses - but still "I".

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