Mary Navarro

Specialty Ads Artist, Berry Dominicana

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What is the difference between Mind and Soul?

Lately I've been asking myself a lot about the differences between Mind and Soul... I started by the basic definition from a thesaurus, both definitions came to be in conclusion "that incorporeal, non material something someway linked to the body which is the essence of it"... Some dictionaries even use mind and soul as synonymous words... But iI have an insight that this are two different things, I would like to know what other people think about this and what conclusions have they made about this topic.

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    Apr 12 2012: The soul is you in other words you do not have a soul you are a soul. The mind is the connection between the soul and the body that allows the soul to use the body. The mind is not the brain.
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    Apr 10 2012: Mind and soul are not exactly the same, but they are inseparably linked to one another. To best understand what mind is, we should examine it as an equation:

    brain + soul = mind

    The mind is your consciousness – your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your personality, and your interpretation of reality. It is everything that is aware and interactive, it is the voice in your head. This conscious awareness, the mind, manifests from the interaction between two opposite aspects of your being: the physical you, and the spiritual you.

    The “physical you” is your body, your organic machine, which includes your brain.
    The “spiritual you” is your soul, an energetic source of creativity and non-rational awareness.

    Many people today believe that every aspect of their mind arises from the electrochemical processes of their brains, and nothing more. But is this true? Who’s to say that the physical interactions of neurons and delicate chemical balances in our brains are not just the consequence of a more subtle, energetic process? Perhaps our brain is merely an organic computer, and our soul is the user who sits behind it and makes it work.

    We often equate “consciousness” with “thought,” but thought is a creation of the brain. There is conscious awareness without thought, without words. Attaining this awareness free from thought in your lifetime is what is often referred to as “enlightenment” or “awakening.” It is the experience of mind without brain:

    mind – brain = soul

    This is why philosophy can sometimes be an obstacle to understanding consciousness, because it strictly relies on logic and classical rational thought. To observe and experience the pureness of our souls, we have to transcend the fetters of thought, individuality, and interpretation. Many religions have taught this for thousands of years, and there are many ways to achieve it, but there is no right or wrong way. We all have our own path, and it’s up to you to discover your own.
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      Apr 14 2012: Perhaps there is some supernatural spirit energy.
      You can not prove this.
      I can not disprove this intangible thing

      Or perhaps our our consciousness, personality, self, awareness, thoughts and emotions are in our brains.
      Perhaps body - brain = brain dead. This still a valid hypothesis.

      We can debate the evidence or the likelihood of either.
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          Apr 14 2012: Mind, consciousness, emotions, intellect are the product of nature, natural process, not some guiding intelligence. This applies to human minds/consciousness or in less complex non humans. In my view.

          Many natural processes appear to have some order or incredible appearance of design. Could be. Does not need to be. In fact inferring there is some intelligence just introduces more complex questions. These tend to be answered by circular arguments such as the nonsense uncaused cause.

          While I don't have a complete grasp of consciousness, how it works exactly, I don't see the need for a guiding intelligence to give us what there is. No need to leap to supernatural explanations every time we have a complex problem. I can do gravitational calculations but still struggle to get my head around how it works, what it is. But I don't suspect gods are pulling my body towards the centre of the earth, to the moon, the sun etc.

          There could be, just like there could be something of our self beyond our physical body made of atoms, electrochemical processes etc. Eternal spirits, mystical energy centres - possible but probably not as many imagine.The natural universe being more wierd and complex and surprising than we imagine. Unusual connections - likely and possible respectively.

          There could be some along the lines of a spirit or self that is undetectable. unmeasurable, not reliant on our body. There is even the much smaller chance that your particular interpretation is closer to the truth than other beliefs. Or it could be when our brain stops working we die. The end.
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        Apr 15 2012: Look at it this way - you are a conscious, aware, thinking human being. You were conscious and aware the moment you entered this world, but did you have thoughts from the get-go? No. Certainly not that you can remember. Animals are conscious, but does their consciousness equate to ours? No. They don't have thoughts like we do, they don't have the language, they don't have the machinery necessary to achieve that level of consciousness. Separate consciousness and thought in your mind - they are not synonymous. In order to understand consciousness, you have to remove all concepts of thought and individual awareness from the picture. In eastern religions, this thought/individuality is called ego.

        When we talk about the universe being conscious, that doesn't mean that it has to be some Judeo-Christian, anthropomorphic concept of a divine being, one that's intentionally creating and manipulating the universe and events on earth. To take a fair look at the universe, you have to fully acknowledge just how much we don't know. The entire observable universe, every physical particle, from here on earth to the farthest reaches of the farthest galaxy, all of that is confined within the third dimension. All of that, added together, is equal to about 5% of the known universe. Everything else is dark matter/energy, something unobservable, something mysterious. We are a speck of dust.

        You don't have to believe in a god or in a supreme consciousness to recognize how humbling that is. Everything we know means precisely dick in the grand scheme of how much we know we are completely oblivious to. Start from that point, and then consider the possibility that consciousness precedes matter. That, because matter does not collapse from its waveform until it is observed, it implies that there must have been some conscious observation occurring long before humanity ever existed. Consciousness is not thought, it is not logic or reason - it is simple, subtle awareness.
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          Apr 15 2012: Thanks for expanding on your views. My response below is partly synthesizing this and not meant to be combative.

          Actually my consciousness etc was developing before and after I was born in parallel with brain development. A new born baby has an immature brain and does not have adult consciousness.

          Likewise an aged person with dementia has brain impairment and damaged or declining consciousness.

          I agree our consciousness and cognitive abilities r not equal to other animals. I suggest some adult animals have greater consciousness and cognitive ability than newborn human infants. A gold fish does not have the same same cognitive power or self awareness as a dolphin.

          Of course we have evolved to the point of being unique, the greatest intelligence known, language, tool making, reason, awareness etc. We are no longer subject to survival of the fittest. We have the most complex group dynamics and technology. Yet we only figured out writing in the last 10,000 years. Agriculture I guess 30,000 years ago. We were simple hunter gatherers for millennia. Our ancestors most sophisticated tool was the hand axe for thousands of years. The wheel, controlling fire, a blink in the history of the universe.

          We are special in a way on planet earth. Probably other more advanced species elsewhere. But we are a only a few hundred thousand years, maybe a few million from humble origins.
          Am both humbled and amazed and often tied up with the mundane in between.

          I agree we don't understand a lot. You have your working assumptions and I have mine. Yours have a an immaterial aspect I find speculative, although I actually find your view point is less conflicting than those involving specific and detailed cultural deities.

          I understand your general idea of consciousness versus thought. I meditate and enjoy the silence and sense of self when the internal chatter stops.

          On balance I see consciousness as a product of our brain. Matter existed b4 concs. But you might be on to something.
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        Apr 15 2012: That subtle awareness - without thought, without individual identity - that is the highest level of consciousness, that is the energetic fabric upon which these miniscule physical aspects of the universe are woven.

        So, when people say God, don't think of a man in the sky. Don't think of what you know other people believe and try to convince others of. Think of the sum total of all the energy in the universe. Think of every human being, all their thoughts, all their memories, every bit of conscious energy every living human has rubbed together so far, and consider it all as one pool. Think of the vastness and mystery of the universe as we know it scientifically.

        Imagine that all that energy, all those individual human consciousnesses, imagine that they are one, enormous, conscious awareness. Each individual piece contributing to and deriving from a much greater awareness. Not something that meddles, not something that cares or chooses or condemns, but just a raw awareness. The bare creative material of our universe. It doesn't have to be mystical. It doesn't have to work on dogma or faith or lies. It doesn't have to conflict with our science. Just entertain the idea that all energy is conscious. Consider the likelihood that we just happen to be the first animals lucky enough to have a brain capable of subjectively observing and contemplating that consciousness.

        We are a marvel of evolution and of nature, but that nature is more fundamentally energetic and mysterious than so many of us prefer to admit.
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          Apr 17 2012: Hi Chris. At this stage I still lean towards evolution being a mix of random mutations and natural selection via survival of the fittest. In my view this gives the appearance of design, but no designer is required.

          I guess your definition of what your proposed intelligence is, is a somewhat difficult concept for most of us.

          I suggest it is at least as possible that there is no intelligence in this sense only the appearance of it. Plant intelligence, is difficult for use to explain. Even the survival instincts of a fish, what drives them, where are they embedded, haw did they develop are difficult.

          I think these could still be the results of a process without a guiding or personified intelligence.

          I can see how you would make the leap, from seeing the the complexity, the remarkable outcomes, and say there must be some guiding force. I say this force is simply survival of the fittest.

          We do see some not so smart apparent design elements, or remnants of our evolutionary past - the appendix, nerves that go all over the place, because our prehistoric fish ancestors had no necks.

          I have difficultly getting my head around the minds, brains, consciousness of other animals. Humans are a step above the others. I don't know if this happen quickly in evolutionary terms over thousands of years or over millions of years.

          I think we may be seeing the same awesome thing, but you put a different filter on it. An intelligence.

          Natural selection results in species that have evolved to be better fit to survive. They look designed. In a way there may appear to be some intelligence behind this.

          Natural selection does not work fast enough to cope with the explosion of human technology and growth.

          Still natural is competitive and brutal.
          Not a very compassionate intelligence when you look at the suffering and fear that drive the more conscious animals. Life is kill or be killed. So many extinct species.

          It is the illusion of design from a rather nasty process.
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        Apr 15 2012: Thank you, Don! I enjoy this website for the tough criticism, misguided as it may sometimes be. But it's nice to hear some words of encouragement and to know that my own pursuit of truth rings true with others.
  • Apr 14 2012: Seems like this place was taken over by spiritualists, new-agies, cabalists, and all other sorts of mumbo-jumbers.
    • Apr 14 2012: Well it certainly seems that this question/conversation has an awful lot of input from what you term mumbo-jumbers. I have a certain amount of sympathy with their viewpoints, as an ex-christian and then ex-new ager hippy type. I found for me it was reading books about evolution and genetics that 'broke the chains' of mumbo-jumboism.

      It wasn't that I disbelieved in evolution, I live in a part of the UK where you just have to go down to the beach and look around to come back with pockets full of 110 million year old ammonites, belamites and brachiopods. It was just that I had a vague belief in some sort of guiding principle behind that evolution, it seemed all rather improbable that humans could evolve to ask questions about all this stuff. Then after reading about evolution as an adult it became clear that I had a misguided viewpoint on evolution. I saw it as a pyramid with humanity as the top, rather than a vast branching tree of which humanity is just one tiny branch with a large brain and abstract reasoning skills.

      Of course once I had realised that and had a chance to swim around in the ideas of evolution and genetics everything seemed to click into place. To paraphrase a religous quote 'I knew the truth and it set me free'. My view towards spirituality now is that it is nothing special, I can still use meditation as a useful skill to calm myself and wind-down if I find myself in a situation that causes me anxiety but I view it as a nothing more extra-ordinary than the ability to do mental arithmetic.

      I would be interested to hear you views on why you think a site such as TED seems to have such an attraction to the 'mumbo-jumbers'. My personal view is that it is simply because a lot of cutting edge, out of the box thinking takes place here.
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        Apr 15 2012: Not only does it attract abstract thinkers, but recent studies have shown that (at least in the US) spirituality is on the rise. Faith in dogmatic, strict religions may be on the decline, but people are finding themselves more open to and observant of the spiritual realm. It is a perspective that has been with humanity from the beginning and that still thrives today. Whether you buy into it personally or not, spirituality is an essential aspect of being human, and it always has been.

        As a strict evolutionist/atheist turned spiritual hippy mumbo-jumber, I'd be very interested to know what you thought of the ideas I've expressed elsewhere in this discussion, specifically in regard to consciousness as primary to matter.

        I find myself currently on the opposing side of a debate I used to study and feel very strongly about, and I try to apply my critical thinking skills as best I can to my current perspective. I believe that there is truth to be found in our universe, and just as that pursuit of truth drove my scientific inquiries, it continues to drive my spiritual ones. Only by sharing and comparing can any real knowledge be gained, and any real truth can be argued on more than faith alone.
        • Apr 15 2012: Well as near as I can ascertain it, your view point is what I've heard a science fiction writer term 'quantum mysticism'. I mean no offence with this term, it's simply a label that seems to fit and I am not attempting to short change your view or imply anything derogatory with this. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion and worldview.

          Now I must admit that I am not an expert on quantum mechanics (QM), I just dont have the math for it, and it's so counter-intuitive that it's difficult to talk about without reference to maths. I have no scientific degrees, I'm just a voracious reader and term myself a well-eductated layman, maybe i'm not even particulaly well-educated.

          I did notice that you make reference to what I believe is called the quantum measurement problem (please someone correct me if I'm wrong). You state 'That, because matter does not collapse from its waveform until it is observed, it implies that there must have been some conscious observation occurring long before humanity ever existed'.

          This was an opinion I used to share and put this opinion on a website many years ago. An internet friend with a relevent physics degree countered with this argument - In order to make a measurement of a QM system you have to interfer with it in a physical way, bounce a photon off it, excite an electron and so on. The future evolution of the waveform is thus effected by the interaction involved in taking the measurement. The waveform is collapsed by this interaction and not the consciousness of the observer.

          At least that's along the lines of what he said, I just don't have the math to understand quantum mechanics. Human minds evolved to deal with objects bigger than a pin-head and smaller than a mountain, outside these scales our common-sense reasoning fails us. You cant visualise QM you have to rely on the math.

          As one hippy type to another - Peace and Love dude :)
      • Apr 16 2012: Hi Terry,

        Your story has lots of parallels with mine. Anyway. I don't think I can give you a proper answer about why would TED attract so many mumbo-jumbers. I thought, wrongly, that it would attract mostly people inclined to be reasonable. Anyway, I digress. Maybe it has something to do with mumbo-jumbers thinking they are enlightened and thus get attracted to TED more out of snobbism (in the sense that them being enlightened they should follow knowledge). But this is just a very wild guess. Not thought with any care at all.

        • Apr 16 2012: To continue on from your point I think feeling themselves enlightened, they wish to share that enlightenment, not really anything wrong with that and I certainly have a lot of empathy for that view point. As I stated above I still use meditation as a useful skill, I simply see it now as more like an program or app that I can 'run' on my secular humanist computer. I certainly don't think becoming atheist has harmed in anyway my ability to display compassion or hold true to my hippy-dippy peace and love ethics, it's just a different overall world view that doesn't diminish ethical thinking only enhance it. Long live rationality.

          All the best to you too :D
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      • Apr 17 2012: Just the answer I was expecting from you Chris. What took you so long?
  • Apr 13 2012: For what it's worth here is my interpretation of the question. The brain is not a computer, not exactly, but it can be thought of as very similar to a computer. Brain is the hardware, mind is the software and the concept of soul is the software speculating about itself.
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    Apr 11 2012: Mind is part of our physical body (brain area) that lasts as long as we physically live and soul is our energy that lasts much longer then the physical body. it contain our essence.

    love your soul, use your mind.
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    Apr 10 2012: Hello Mary,

    I am a philosopher, specializing in "philosophy of science, mind and consciousness." You are asking an old and deeply important question that is not surprisingly my favourite.

    For what it is worth, I think one is real the other is fiction. By the way, ask yourself which you would be willing to say might be a fiction, can imagine not really existing except as a piece of fiction (like the Easter Bunny) - your mind or your soul. This will quickly give you some idea of your commitment to the existence of both - and some advice, slow you thinking down on this subject, NOTICE HOW you have to think to decide this. Very telling, including the exposure of assumptions you might have about both.

    You are asking after what is called a "metaphysical or ontological distinction" - the "mind-body problem" or "dualism." And it is a profound problem that your definition hints at when it says soul is "that incorporeal, non material SOMETHING SOMEHOW LINKED to the body which is the essence of it." An even more focused and in my opinion more interesting version of your question is the "hard problem of consciousness." This is my area. IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND/SOUL!!

    I say this without arrogance, it is an historical fact established by many far more qualified than I, if you want to answer this particular question objectively, as one approaches most things that matter in life, carefully and thoroughly, then you need to look to the philosophers. To get a more complete answer to your question, I recommend focusing your investigation on these two terms in the definition, SOMETHING and SOMEHOW. This is where the true nature of the mind-body/hard problem is discovered and decided by an individual.

    Honestly, Mary, I recommend the "thought experiments" in this area and a priority should be "Phenomenal Zombies." Trust me, it will seem strange at first, but it will reveal to you the heart of your question and amaze you. Google it and start. Any ? just contact me.

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    Apr 12 2012: you are obviouly going to get alot of diferent opinions and definitions. often with some similaities. there are religious definitions. thereare non religious definitions. and every thing in between.

    probably a core difference is whether weare more than our body and brain processes. some suggest we have some immortal essence or spirit that lives on when we die. others think our experinces, intellectual capacity, sense of self, and consciousness reside in our brains. either view is possible. or the truth may be some bizzare derivitive of both.

    having watched people with dementia gradually lose there self i lean towards thinking our brains areare the key defining factor but there may be more.

    another question is whether animals have soul.

    in the end soul spirit mind are words that mean different things to different people depending on their world view.
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    Apr 11 2012: They are part of the same spirit. And this subject is too far from dictionary definitions...its better if you askyourself about the resemblance of both than the difference.
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    Apr 11 2012: Hi Mary,

    I have always understood mind and soul to be different things. As a Christian, we are told to love God with our whole mind, heart and soul. I think you probably agree with this as well don't you? That they are two different things.

    Well, here, in any case, is some additional information and insight. Hope it helps you.

    In one work, the mind is defined as a faculty of the brain with which we gather information, reason, and draw conclusions.
    “Mind” is rendered from several related Greek words expressing such attributes of the mind as thinking faculties, intellectual capacity, mental perception, intelligence, reason, thought, intention, remembrance, mental state or view, opinion, and mental inclination, attitude, or powers..
    In Hebrew the words for “remember” and “consider” may be translated in certain places by such expressions as “keep in mind” and “have in mind.”
    The original-language terms (Heb., ne′phesh [נפׁש]; Gr., psy•khe′ [ψυχή]) as used in the Scriptures show “soul” to be a person, an animal, or the life that a person or an animal enjoys.
    Ne′phesh evidently comes from a root meaning “breathe” and in a literal sense ne′phesh could be rendered as “a breather.” Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (Leiden, 1958, p. 627) defines it as: “the breathing substance, making man a[nd] animal living beings.
    As for the Greek word psy•khe′, Greek-English lexicons give such definitions as “life,” and “the conscious self or personality as centre of emotions, desires, and affections,” “a living being,” and they show that even in non-Biblical Greek works the term was used “of animals.”

    Be Well,
    Mary M.
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      Apr 12 2012: mind heart and soul. reflects the prescientific beliefs of the time. how can you love with a muscle that pumps blood.or simply a metaphor.
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        Apr 12 2012: Here is some info that might shed light....hope it helps you understand my reply to Mary.

        The heart is made prominent in the Scriptures, being mentioned about a thousand times in one way or another. The Hebrew (lev, le‧vav′) and Greek (kar‧di′a) words for “heart” are used by the Bible writers both literally and figuratively.

        In comparatively few instances the Bible writers refer to the literal heart organ. 2Ki 9:24 shows one of these instances.

        In the great majority of its occurrences in the Scriptures, the word “heart” is used figuratively.

        It is said to stand for “the central part in general, the inside, and so for the interior man as manifesting himself in all his various activities, in his desires, affections, emotions, passions, purposes, his thoughts, perceptions, imaginations, his wisdom, knowledge, skill, his beliefs and his reasonings, his memory and his consciousness.”—Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1882, p. 67.

        So, in the Scriptures the figurative heart is not confined to being the seat of affection and motivation, nor is it limited to the intellect.

        “Among the Semites . . . all that was peculiar to man, in the category of feelings as well as intellect and will, was attributed to the heart.” It is “the sum total of the interior man as opposed to the flesh, which is the exterior and tangible man.”—The Metaphorical Use of the Names of Parts of the Body in Hebrew and in Akkadian, by E. Dhorme, Paris, 1963, pp. 113, 114, 128 (in French).

        Be Well
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    Apr 11 2012: A quick difference from top of my head
    MIND mostly dealt by psychologist.....while SOUL is arena of Philosophors or more accurately spiritualist philosophers.
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    Apr 11 2012: Mind actively aids brain to think and feel, while soul is you, your entire being, your essence... YOU YOURSELF. Nothing can function in isolation.
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    Apr 11 2012: Hi Mary.
    My tuppence worth.

    Our mind equates to our thoughts at any given time. The mind is the non-material product of the brain.

    The soul is the part of us that is "in the image" of God. It is our non-material essence that transcends death & is capable of oneness with our creator. It's a bit like the DNA code; it is a set of non-material instructions that equate to our physical form. Let's assume that God is capable of memorising your program; then He could resurrect your exact body at will. Much like I could form the Lord's Prayer with pen & ink. There is nothing in the pen or the ink which would tend to write the prayer, I have the program as memory.
    So in order to resurrect me, God needs my DNA code, & my spiritual code (soul). He has promised a major upgrade of both, but it will still be me.

    That is my best explanation, & is sure to be wrong, but it helps my understanding.

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    Apr 11 2012: The difference between Mind and Soul?

    The mind is the collection of processes that allow you to function, awake and asleep, consciously and subconsciously.
    The soul is what we used to call the mind, before we realized it was the mind and when we were absent of the pursuit of self-reflection, realization of the value of honest observation, and empirical data.

    The mind operates in what we assume to be reality; the soul, as far as current evidence supports, anecdotally or otherwise, does not operate at all in any present model of reality.
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      Apr 11 2012: Anecdotal evidence doesn't support the operation of a soul? You may be able to argue that strict experimental evidence doesn't support it, but you'd have to ignore the majority of human experience past and present to say there's no anecdotal support for a spiritual body.
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        Apr 11 2012: Andrew,

        If we truly do not ignore the majority of human experience, then we need to include the experience of proper reasoning, the empirical evidence that you admit "may be able to" argue against the existence of a soul, along with the anecdotal evidence you allude to, and decide for ourselves (weighting each contribution properly) whether or not to accept a proposition not supported by reason or the empirical evidence made available to us by human experience, but perhaps supported by certain experiences of certain people at certain times (this is the anecdotal). There is anecdotal evidence for nearly any proposition - there is a Santa.

        I have to say I would not want you on the jury of any capital trial I might find myself...conviction based on anecdotal evidence...

        This question is a very serious one to humanity and to individuals. It needs to be approached with a clear and sharp mind.

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          Apr 11 2012: Are you suggesting that anyone who has an experience with the transpersonal necessarily foregoes all rational thought and proper reasoning? Clarity is important, but so is openness. A laboratory may not be able to prove by physical means the existence of something decidedly non-physical, but does that make its presence/influence any less real for the individuals who experience it? A majority of people claim to be spiritual, and whether you think there's a valid reason for that is irrelevant to the fact that spirituality is a tangible human phenomenon. Comparing this profound sense of spirituality to Santa Claus is facetious, and it hardly represents an honest approach to the discussion.

          Besides that, plenty of people have been convicted on circumstantial evidence. It's perfectly valid for making a case.
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          Apr 11 2012: You, sir, are correct when you say this is a very serious question to humanity and to individuals. The existence, or non-existence, of a soul in human beings is not to be determined by the rational analysis of humans. The concept of soul is transcendental, it obviates human intellect, reasoning and analysis. To know matters of the soul, or spirit, we must enter the realm of faith. Men can debate the existence of the soul but their ruminations have no effect on the truth. What is necessary to understand the difference between mind and soul is evidence of things not seen. For those who have been born again, Christians, it is in their soul, or spirit, that they find substance for their hopes. It is by faith. It does not depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. He is Spirit. Only some of His attributes are communicable to man. Without faith matters of the soul/spirit are not discernable. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by God's Word, commonly known as Jesus Christ. Faith comes only as a gift from God lest any man should boast. We can dispute until the cows come home but it is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. This important question is about God, the maker of souls. We are like clay and He is the potter. What can we say, or do, to influence Him? Without faith it is all foolishness. May God give you faith Mr. Warren.
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        Apr 11 2012: Anecdotal evidence doesn't support or prove anything, since in order for it to be proven it must first be typical. Since anecdotal evidence is not typical, it cannot be argued as proof and therefore cannot support anything. (Often those who rely on such evidence find their argument) resulting in a logical fallacy.

        Also, circumstantial evidence depends on inference and logic, which can only be allowed if all other elements of an argument are known or assumed to be true. You cannot base a conviction on circumstantial evidence alone, but it may be used in support of other known evidence. Since the soul has no known evidence other than personal or anecdotal, any circumstantial evidence, as in such an analogy, shouldn't hold up in a respectable court hearing.
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        Apr 11 2012: Clarity and precision (C & P), or there is no assurance we are even speaking of the same subject.

        To answer your first question, no. In turn I ask as a point of C & P, what does the phrase "experience WITH the transpersonal" mean?

        As for openness, my very vocation is the apex of "open thinking." I exercise here with you only those tools and methods of the history of the discipline has originated. Philosophy, unlike religion or spirituality (another term I would like C & P for), is the paradigm of open thought...

        One of the things philosophers have pointed out over the centuries of consideration of this subject (including some very notable Theologians/philosophers, Aquinas for instance): Simply stated, it is indeed difficult to provide empirical evidence of non-material phenomena - to empirically prove the existence of something not material. On the other hand, what would? Further, is the experience you speak of (an experience with the transpersonal) not itself empirical data - Francis Bacon would says so, as would modern thinkers - and so open to the same degree and method of scrutiny as the rest of our empirical, observational data?

        Andrew, majority supported arguments are called bandwagon reasoning and consider an informal reasoning fallacy, I tell you this out of courtesying. The obvious support for this is found in the flat Earth hypothesis counter-example (or countless others through history and today). The majority of people believed the Earth flat, based on empirical evidence for more tangible, trackable, and testable than a soul.

        I am also sorry to hear you have lost that once profound sense of magic and fantasy you once held for Santa. At least you still have the transpersonal, spiritual soul to feel profoundly about. (I hope this is not lost on you).

        Again, this is in fact a profound question being asked. We need to work hard in meditating on the subject.

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        Apr 11 2012: Dear Edward,

        The “transcendental” (a term not synonymous with “transpersonal”) is understood in many ways and treated by many philosophers. Notice I said ‘understood’ and ‘treated’. The thing about the sort of position you and Andrew seem to hold is that ultimately it is self-refuting and manages this (no less) by using the very cognitive tools which it is officially claiming are not appropriate to the subject. In philosophy, we call this an absurdity. At this point most meaningful conversation and reflection, and any support one might have originally harboured for the proposition OUGHT TO be abandoned in favour of another. This is common, sound, recommended cognitive behaviour not found in your position on the soul, but I suspect is alive and well in your home, work and relationships…or you would have met your demise by now.

        You speak in riddles because you use my language, our language, the language in ways that have special meaning to you. This is a CHEAT and IRRESPONSIBLE. “Evidence of things not seen,” if what you offer is “evidence,” then I am sorry it receives responsible, reliable consideration like any other piece of evidence in support of any proposition – in this case, a proposition making an existential claim no less, not that hot fudge is better than butterscotch. You claim something exists (there is an ontological category). You claim there is “evidence” for its existence. This same thing “obviates human intellect.” You claim to “know” this something you have to “enter the realm of faith.” Do you understand the proper, common, shared and so meaning of these terms: By this meaning (one you are IRRESPONSIBLIY abusing) it is in fact impossible to know anything form faith. Knowledge is not derived from faith, because of what the word ‘knowledge’ means, not to you, but to us, to the common users. Knowledge and faith are diametrically opposed epistemic categories.

        You are showing contempt for this question. Please stop. Sincerely, Shawn
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          Apr 11 2012: Edward, you are destroying your own statements. Do you know you are burying your own argument?

          To give you an idea of what it reads like:
          The unreal can't be determined by the real. The unreal can only be determined by the unreal. The unreal is unreal.

          If something cannot be measured by real means, then it must be considered unreal. For only those things that are real can be measured by real means. Eternity is real. Unchangeability is real. Infinity is real. These cannot be applied to things that you say cannot be determined by the real.
  • Apr 10 2012: The mind is our consciousness, the whole result of our brain processes. The mind most often refers to our intellectual self. By "soul" most people refer to a part of ourselves that would be beyond our physical bodies. The mind is real. The soul imaginary at least in most of the senses people think about it.
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      Apr 11 2012: Gabo, my friend, I did not say which Maker of Souls you should embrace, in fact I said, ". . . apply your substantial intellect to seek to know what is the right thing to do with it." Make up your own mind. If the one true God leads you to himself then you will be safe from perishing.
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      Apr 10 2012: Can you further explain how Christ Consciousness is the 5th dimension? I understand this to be a very popular new age maxim, but aside from heavily favoring the Christian theology, it also abuses the concept of dimensionality from a very anthropocentric and limited perspective.

      What do you consider the 5th dimension to be? Are there dimensions above it? Does this rest come within the lifetime of the individual, or is it a final destination once the physical form has been shed? If one achieves it while alive, what happens afterward? Is it a permanent state of rest, or is it fleeting?
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        Apr 10 2012: I don't think he's talking about anything that has coordinates or space in this here and now and yes it is anthropocentric,we're the only species that has this belief,i don't know of any other.
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          Apr 10 2012: I just want to further explore his personal view on dimensionality and its implications. I understand the difficulty in using terminology specific to space and time when discussing dimensions that transcend both space and time, but I trust the conversation can still be had.

          Also, when I say anthropocentric, I mean that this view favors humanity as some supremely capable or divinely specified organism, one that will always continue to exist or one that is somehow separate from the physical world. In the new age worldview, this tends to lead to a misinterpretation of the nature of spirit as it relates to our physical forms, which I briefly explain below.

          My point being, the universe, evolution, and consciousness do not revolve around us. There is a way to view the universe and consciousness without humanity being the focal point. The natural processes of the universe existed before us, and if we are to understand where we are heading, we will have to imagine a future outside of and beyond ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
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        Apr 10 2012: Ah i understand

        I'm of the christian belief system that is totally at odds with the belief the soul survives death,it is the belief that the total energy that powers the body/thoughts etc is the soul.It is the life energy that once runs down returns to the source,God.but it is not animate or posess a conscious form,just energy.

        This belief is abhorrent to i would say 98% of religions today but conforms with certain writings in the bible.for me it was like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders freeing me to think in the present rather than worrying about eternal damnation or cosmic reintergration as some has tried to tell me.

        Do the dead experience time.
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          Apr 11 2012: When talking about the nature of consciousness and its role in the universe, it’s difficult to remove ourselves from our perceptual biases. We are predisposed to defining the universe as everything that we can see and experience, everything physical and tangible. Similarly, we are predisposed to defining consciousness as everything that we think and feel, everything that makes us the unique individuals that we are. But much of the universe exists far beyond what we are able to perceive here, and much of consciousness is tied to those same distant and intangible aspects of the universe.

          As you said, the soul is not animate or possessing a conscious form. This is also true of what is often referred to as God. All things in the observable universe are, on a basic level, energy. As energy is never created or destroyed, and with our theories on the multidimensional nature of the universe, it would make sense that somewhere, in some dimension beyond our own, there is essentially a “storeroom” of energy. This storeroom, as it were, is a source from which all energy is pulled.

          This source is beyond everything physical, which is confined within the third dimension. It is beyond time, which is confined within the fourth dimension. This energy is the fundamental fabric that the universe is woven from, and it is this energy that is actually conscious. This conscious pool of energy is "god." All things made of this energy are conscious, but not in the sense of thought and self-consciousness, only in the sense of subtle awareness. When people describe transcendent experiences or the attainment of enlightenment, they refer to a sense of oneness with the universe, a freedom from any thought or desire or worry. This is the essence of that subtle awareness. There is no separateness, there is no individuality, there is no thought - there is just raw, unmanipulated consciousness....
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          Apr 11 2012: ...Because our bodies (specifically, our brains) are the only thing that interprets this consciousness, our sense of self and individuality are tied to that physical form. The ego (our sense of self) and its personality are not aspects of our energetic consciousness or “soul.” When we die, our body is no longer influencing our consciousness, distinguishing itself from the world around it, so we are freed from any sense of separateness.

          So, do the dead experience time? Unlikely, I think. Not only would a soul become part of a higher-dimensional consciousness beyond the confines of the fourth dimension, but any sense of self would also be released, as the soul (consciousness) transcends the physical and returns to source, becoming part of the whole once again.

          Here's a video that's really helpful in explaining and visualizing the idea of a multidimensional universe. It can be hard to follow at first, but if you get the pattern down it makes a lot of sense:

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          Apr 11 2012: Ken,

          As I understand mainstream Christianity (a relative distinction, if ever there was one), both the body and mind are resurrected. We just passed the day it was to have happened - body and soul ascend. It is also indicated throughout the Bible, including the later Paul "teachings" of Christ.

          Incidentally, the resurrection story is very common of notables of the time - heads of state, other prophets from other religions, the upwardly positioned...- before, during and after Christ. There is nothing unique in this regard.

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        Apr 11 2012: I should of explained myself better which is my fault.

        I lean towards the Jehovah's Witnesses belief system as it is very simple without the messed up ramblings of the last two thousand years and the book clearly states in revelation that only God knows when the time will come, anything else is purely speculative.This does not mean i discount our earth based sciences though i'm abit iffy on our observational sciences of the greater universe,we really only have one possible observation that could point to another universe which is the Darkflow theory and the latest done by a computational model looking for impact points on the CMBR, which was four once the results were in.Except the CMBR can be used in any cosmological theorem and it's a fallacy to think that it only comes from the flashpoint of the Bang.

        I think there is three types of people when it comes to the Question of the Soul.The Rightside,Those that straddle the middle and the leftside,i'm more to the middle off to the side with a very small group,a very minor group.
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          Apr 11 2012: It should be noted that even belief in God is in itself purely speculative, Ken, requiring conjecture, thought to be true and not disproved, but also not yet proved.
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      Apr 10 2012: "Mind" is the idea that your neural activity amounts to some computation, resulting in the processing of information. It's a physical and explainable phenomenum.

      "Soul" is the idea that the processing of information is non-material and of supernatural origin.
      And it lasts forever, so I really wish I owned one.
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        Apr 10 2012: You're defining the broader concept of mind by the limited concepts of thought. There are much deeper and less rational aspects to consciousness and mind than can be explained with simple anatomical phenomena.
        • Apr 11 2012: Well, of course, but complex "anatomical" phenomena, that's different!
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          Apr 11 2012: Andrew, please explain what you mean :
          "much deeper and less rational aspects to consciousness and mind".
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        Apr 10 2012: Proceed on the assumption that you actually do own one Gerald. Then apply your substantial intellect to seek to know what is the right thing to do with it. In the END if you (we) are wrong no harm, no foul. But, if we are right, Hallelujah! Any other course is apt to be a major foul doing major harm. Jesus said this about the soul: ". . . fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 KJV)
        • Apr 11 2012: So what about the risk that the real god(s) might be a god, or gods, other than the Christian(s) one(s)? Those seem quite apt at burning and destroying souls as well. Worse, most of them demand exclusivity, so I can't be both a Muslim and a Christian, and expect either of these gods to forgive me for believing also in the wrong god(s). That leaving aside that I can't force myself to believe. Nor can I pretend to believe, and then expect an omni-everything god (as most gods are supposed to be) to buy into such hypocrisy. These gods would see through it, right? That leaving aside that I don't see any reason to have love and respect for some god because it threatens me to be burned both in soul and body. Fear it, well, sure. But love and respect? That's too much. That leaving aside that ...
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          Apr 11 2012: Oh I see. I thought Jesus was talking in metaphores.
          I thought it meant : don't worry so much about physical injuries. Lot more important is to protect your dignity, your dreams, what you stand for.

          I didn't know the Bible had value for the neurology student. I guess I was wrong.
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        Apr 11 2012: Gabo, even complex physical phenomena are simple compared to the complexity of our universe as it exists outside our limited perspective here in the third dimension. Most of the universe is not observable, which means that most of reality happens beyond what we are usually able to perceive in the physical world. Our science, though philosophically opposed to spirituality, does not in any way defeat the possibility of spiritual truths. It often strongly supports them, albeit from broader and more universal perspectives.

        But what is god if not the universe?