Does anyone know what a soul is?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Does anyone know what a "soul" is?

What I mean to ask is, is there some science that states that humans have a soul or a conscious? Well actually I'm pretty sure there is no proof and there probably never will be. But I want to know why do we believe that humans are the only ones to have "souls"? Also I saw a youtube clip of Michio Kaku who didn't really give his opinion on afterlife, but to me it seemed like he hinted at a possibility of our "soul" to pass onto another dimension upon death based on the m-theory. Now he kind of said the soul of a human could be an energy that can only be perceived in the higher dimensions. Now I have another question, hypothetically if we were to have a soul that passed on to higher dimensions(not heaven or hell), when did humans obtain this characteristic, did we evolve somehow? Did the first cells to use oxygen have a soul?(sounds stupid) My opinion is that we really only have this lifetime, but that is my opinion and I am definitely open to change my views. I do know that I will probably never believe in a personal god, or a jesus type god.

Thank You, I'm 18 and a whole life ahead of me, but these things bother me. My dad's 57 and I love him and I don't ever wanna see him leave.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
DaveC426913
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This is not the place to discuss souls. Souls are a personal belief thing and science has nothing to say about it.
 
  • #3
Evo
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What I mean to ask is, is there some science that states that humans have a soul or a conscious? Well actually I'm pretty sure there is no proof and there probably never will be. But I want to know why do we believe that humans are the only ones to have "souls"? Also I saw a youtube clip of Michio Kaku who didn't really give his opinion on afterlife, but to me it seemed like he hinted at a possibility of our "soul" to pass onto another dimension upon death based on the m-theory. Now he kind of said the soul of a human could be an energy that can only be perceived in the higher dimensions. Now I have another question, hypothetically if we were to have a soul that passed on to higher dimensions(not heaven or hell), when did humans obtain this characteristic, did we evolve somehow? Did the first cells to use oxygen have a soul?(sounds stupid) My opinion is that we really only have this lifetime, but that is my opinion and I am definitely open to change my views. I do know that I will probably never believe in a personal god, or a jesus type god.

Thank You, I'm 18 and a whole life ahead of me, but these things bother me. My dad's 57 and I love him and I don't ever wanna see him leave.
Welcome manny.

Belief in a *soul* is a religious thing and nothing to do with science.

People like Michio Kaku will say just about anything because he's a "pop culture" figure and not on tv to be purely scientific.

It's not bad or wrong to want to believe in an afterlife, but there is no evidence to support such a notion.
 
  • #4


Thank you, but I guess I didn't mean soul but a conscious after death, if that is allowed?
 
  • #5
DaveC426913
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Thank you, but I guess I didn't mean soul but a conscious after death, if that is allowed?
That is an oxymoron.

(And no, my spacebar is not broken :smile:)

If there is death, there is no consciousness.
If there is consciousness, death has not come.
 
  • #6


Okay maybe I'm just confusing myself right now, I just wish that an afterlife exists, but deep down I know it doesn't. It seems too perfect of a world then, would you mind lending your opinion on the rest of my questions disregard the word soul and i guess assume that an afterlife exists? I'm looking for answers that don't exist because i'm scared.
 
  • #7
DaveC426913
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Okay maybe I'm just confusing myself right now, I just wish that an afterlife exists, but deep down I know it doesn't. It seems too perfect of a world then, would you mind lending your opinion on the rest of my questions disregard the word soul and i guess assume that an afterlife exists? I'm looking for answers that don't exist because i'm scared.
That is an honest response, but still, this is not the place for it.

Even if this did become a thriving discussion, you might not get comforting answers, as most people here are likely atheistic, or at least, anti-afterlife.
 
  • #8


Okay well Thank you, I would say I am atheist too but that I have certain extravagant wishes, but I wouldn't mind hearing other people's opinions even if they mention the things I do not want to hear.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913
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I see it more as the human condition. We are built (for the most part) to want to take comfort in eternal life and a parental figure.

Wanting things doesn't make them true. But things not being true doesn't necessarily take away the human desire for them.
 
  • #10
Evo
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Okay maybe I'm just confusing myself right now, I just wish that an afterlife exists, but deep down I know it doesn't. It seems too perfect of a world then, would you mind lending your opinion on the rest of my questions disregard the word soul and i guess assume that an afterlife exists? I'm looking for answers that don't exist because i'm scared.
Don't be scared. All humans die. It won't matter to you when you're dead because you will have no thoughts, no fears, no problems.

If it makes you feel better to think that loved ones, pets, etc... are up there looking down on you, it's ok. The majority of humans on this planet believe that.

You're too young to be worrying. The truth is that even though there is no evidence for an afterlife, there is no proof that there isn't one. You can be realistic and still find comfort in hope. You should do whatever makes you feel better.

You can be "agnostic".
 
  • #11


Thank you to the both of you. I came to this forum, because I knew I wouldn't get religious loaded replies. Although I didn't get an answer to the question that no one will ever get an answer, you guys did comfort me and I like the part where you say:

"The truth is that even though there is no evidence for an afterlife, there is no proof that there isn't one. You can be realistic and still find comfort in hope. You should do whatever makes you feel better."

Thanks Guy and Gal? !!
 
  • #12
DaveC426913
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Glad we are able to provide what little help we did.

And Evo is most definitely a gal :smile:
 
  • #13
677
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Don't be scared. All humans die. It won't matter to you when you're dead because you will have no thoughts, no fears, no problems.
You certainly don't know that. Neither do I.
 
  • #14
250
8


My personal opinion is that there is no such thing as a soul, it's just made up by humans. I too would like there to be an afterlife, but I just don't think it's plausible. Humans just think that because their lives seem meaningful (compared to animals) and they have such complex thoughts, their lives shouldn't end at death. But really there are many other things that have life and some sort of thought (smart animals like dogs, dolphins etc) and if humans get an afterlife then there is no reason for other animals to not have an afterlife either. But because I don't think there is reason for ants or cats or mice to have afterlives, humans don't need afterlives either. Death is just a required thing, it comes hand in hand with life, a package deal. You shouldn't be scared for you or your dad. Once you pass, no more pain. It will be like what it was before you were born. You might be sad for a while when the time comes, but it will go away. One day you will have kids in your same position. And the cycle will continue for a long time.
 
  • #15
Rabbit_


Could the soul be the cognitive ability to ask questions and seek the answers? I dont think any other animal on this planet shares this trait other than humans and I think this is what fundamentally differentiates the human beings from the other animals.
 
  • #16
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0


I hate to suggest this-- because it can be a little hippy dippy-- but have you considered studying advanced mathematics and physics and throwing yourself into some philosophy classes--? They won't really assuage your emotional feelings about life and the afterlife or what have you, but having a better grip on the world around you and understanding energy and concepts like infinity and set theory might help you cope mentally. No matter what, in the end, you have to make up your mind about what you believe for yourself, and experience love without worry about whatever happens once we die.

And hey, you are still really young. Ray Kurzweil might get his wish of a singularity and it will be all smooth sailing from that point. Maybe. :/

Either way make sure that your Dad knows just how much you love him now and be grateful for him and don't take your time for granted. No matter what-- soul or no soul-- love counts for something.
 
  • #17
677
16


The fact is nobody knows. Everyone are just posting out their imagination. You have equal right to believe there exist afterlife as other people have to believe it don't.
However they say that if you practice meditation and other ancient eastern mind stunts, you may get the ultimate answer.
 
  • #18
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I_am_learning said it very well, nobody knows. If someday humans solve the consciousness you will have an answer. Until now, if you believe that the mind follows from the matter, you deny the soul, if you think otherwise, you embrace it.
 
  • #19
DaveC426913
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The fact is nobody knows.
We do not know there is not a teacup orbiting Jupiter. We d not know that Carl Sagan does not have an invisible dragon living in his garage.

Everyone are just posting out their imagination.
No, they're posting what the evidence is telling us.

While it is true we cannot prove there is no consciousness after death, it would require some evidence and a plausible mechanism to occur for any rational person to simply assume it. There is neither.

(By rational I mean as opposed to simply taking it on faith. As you point out, anyone can believe whatever they want.)
 
  • #20
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We do not know there is not a teacup orbiting Jupiter. We d not know that Carl Sagan does not have an invisible dragon living in his garage.

While it is true we cannot prove there is no consciousness after death, it would require some evidence and a plausible mechanism to occur for any rational person to simply assume it. There is neither.
I don't get that. Don't we require 'anything' to assume there is "no consciousness" after death? Do you mean, if we can't prove that it exist, then its better to assume it don't exist.
 
  • #21
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Do you need Me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am,and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there.
Yet I hear.
Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine."
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I am in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take from; only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law's fulfilling.
I am assurance.
I am peace.
I am oneness.
I am the law that you can live by.
I am the love that you can cling to.
I am your assurance.
I am your peace.
I am one with you.
I am.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I am there.

by James Dillet Freeman
 
  • #22
172
1


Do you mean, if we can't prove that it exist, then its better to assume it don't exist.
It's much more sensible to do this, because there's a near-infinite number of things that there is no proof for. There's no proof for a dinner plate orbiting Jupiter, nor unicorns (especially not orbiting Jupiter), nor fairies here on Earth, nor a countless number of things.

It's easier to assume things for which there is no evidence don't exist. Or at least, treat them as if they don't exist until evidence starts to pop up.

This reminds me of Carl Sagan's dragon in the garage.

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"

Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle -- but no dragon.

"Where's the dragon?" you ask.

"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.

"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."

Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."

You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick." And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?
I feel the same way about souls. Every test to try and show evidence of a soul has failed. They even tried weighing bodies just as they died. What's the difference between a soul that cannot be detected and for which there is no evidence and no soul at all?
 
  • #23
677
16


It's much more sensible to do this, because there's a near-infinite number of things that there is no proof for. There's no proof for a dinner plate orbiting Jupiter, nor unicorns (especially not orbiting Jupiter), nor fairies here on Earth, nor a countless number of things.

It's easier to assume things for which there is no evidence don't exist. Or at least, treat them as if they don't exist until evidence starts to pop up.

This reminds me of Carl Sagan's dragon in the garage.

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm

I feel the same way about souls. Every test to try and show evidence of a soul has failed. They even tried weighing bodies just as they died. What's the difference between a soul that cannot be detected and for which there is no evidence and no soul at all?
Yes, you have point there. Its indeed easier and sensible to assume things that can't be detected as being absent because they are so many. I now see that my original thought process was quite flawed.

But, in case of souls, if someone feels that it indeed exists and that they can know about it later on (afterlife), that's also fine. You take one belief. I take the other belief. After we die, we would know who was right.
Of course, at present, no-soul seems more plausible(because of our inability to detect it), but no one is 100% sure. So, everyone can take their chance.
 
  • #24
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3


Applying the deductive methods of science to soul-detection is as fruitless as gleaning scientific principles from a holy book.

I am a scientist and I know that science will never and need never accept the soul. I've also had my religious faith justified beyond the shadow of a doubt through personal subjective experience.

You simply cannot and should not mix these two areas of human experience.
 
  • #25
Pythagorean
Gold Member
4,193
258


I think that emotionally, what we identify with ourselves as "souls" is actually our image. Not our image as in what we look like, but the imprint we leave on the rest of our society and how we picture our place in society.

So while our subjective experience is extinguished upon death, the information waves we left behind may propagate far into the future (consider Newton or Einstein... or even further back to Aristotle... the early cavemen even left us paintings that we know we can attribute to humanity, not some other species.)

So, imo, that's the only way you can immortalize yourself. To cause ripples in the information structure of society. You will not be there to experience it, but your "soul" will permeate society. You will be remembered for your tasks, whether people were appalled by them or inspired by them, whether it's a handful of people or the vast majority of the whole world.
 

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