Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Nature of Spirit

  1. Jun 7, 2003 #1
    What is "spirit" anyway? The animating force within (all?) living things? The central nature of a person?

    What are its properties? Its proclivities? Its "powers"? Its "purpose"?

    Is "spirit" real or imagined? Essential or extraneous? "Perfect" or "evolving"? Eternal or finite?

    And where, in "science", does spirit "fit"?

    In an attempt to define our terms -- for the sake of FUTURE threads -- can we sort out our notions regarding "spirit" or "soul"...and whether, in fact, the terms of interchangeable?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2003 #2
    I don't know, I don't seem to have "the spirit" to answer right now. Hey, maybe that's a clue ... something to do with motivation or, energy level? Then again maybe we can lift "our spirits" by reaching for the ones in the bottle? Ha ha! :wink:

    How about the ebb and flow of consciuouness regarding our thoughts and feelings? That sounds kind of "spiritual" now doesn't it? Actually that's about as close to a bona fide answer as I think you're going to get. Will have to get back to you on this ...
  4. Jun 8, 2003 #3
    Re: Re: The Nature of Spirit

    Hey, it's 7:45 AM on a SUNDAY, yet! a bottle is out of the question..especially at a Quaker Meeting!

    Yes, please do, as I'd like to get something "solid" on the "etherial".

    For instance, do "spirits" have "thoughts and feelings" as you seem to suggest?

    Le'ts attempt to "pin it down".
  5. Jun 8, 2003 #4
    Yes. Does essence return to essence? If so, then it's the beginning and the end (i.e., continuum?), all wrapped up at once ... that which always was and that which always will be.

    While I understand the spiritual realm is all about what makes us tick on the inside, the "inner reality," which those on the outside, even ourselves, are unaware of. It's all about the psychological forces, what we once called gods -- e.g., "psyche" and hence "soul," from which we derive "psychology," were borrowed from the Greek Myths -- which come together in composite, to form the structure of human nature. So we have to understand the gods were very real in that sense. Look up any psychological term, and chaces are it was borrowed from the Greek Myths.

    As for our "soul," that's like a drop of water in the bucket, where the spiritual realm is the water within the bucket. And yet the soul remains within its form (us), and does not become extracted and returned to the bucket until after we die. And yes, in order for these psychological forces to exist, and maintain influx into our very being (soul), that implies that there is an afterlife, as these forces don't just emanate from "nothing."

    Does science stand to gain by any of this? It all depends, on "which reality" they wish to define.
  6. Jun 8, 2003 #5
    Enter the dream realm ...

    The main difference between our dreams and our waking state is that our dreams are more "fluid" and transitional. In which case they often don't make a lot of sense. And yet it is possible to become acclimatized to this state, as you begin to "wake up" in your dreams. By which you may very well discover that a "spiritual reality" does exist.
  7. Jun 8, 2003 #6
    The following is of course only my opinion and belief. I offer it only as a point of view for discussion. I have no proof nor even references to fall back on. Take it in that spirit only. It is not a proclamation nor edict. Some of this come from the thread "The Trinity of Man and God."
    The spirit of Man is created and bestowed upon us at an early age when we first show the signs of having wisdom and thus being human.
    It is of God, a part of God, the Holy Spirit, that returns to God upon our death. Its purpose is to lead, guide and teach us, a mentor if you will. I have heard it referred to as a thought adjuster. Adjusting our thoughts and thus knowlege and behavior to a more loving, good, godly nature. One of it's more important purposes is to love us and thus teach us to love. Another is to teach us to know ourselves and to know God. It is apart of us yet a different aspect from our body and soul.
    The body, including the brain is the physical evolved part of us that is of the earth and will remain of the earth after 'death'.
    The soul is the nonphysical evolved mind, heart, character, personallity, individual us that upon the death of our body goes on to the next more spiritual world. Freud may have been refering to the soul when he talked about the super ego. It is our spiritual self, our essence that is us, that makes us, us individuals. It's purpose is the grow, experience life and love and to come to know itself and it's God. One of it's hardest and main jobs during our life is to allow our egos to develope and become strong so that we become individuals with strength and character of our own and yet not let our ego,s become so strong that they rule our lifes to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. We must not supress or repress our egos but integrate it with our souls and all that we are. This way we can become one within ourselves and one with God. We will then be all that we can be and are meant to be in this life on earth. This may be comparable to Buddhist's enlightenment or Christianity's state of grace or sainthood.
    Agian this is only my personal set of beliefs presented only as my view point for your concideration and discussion.
  8. Jun 8, 2003 #7
    spirit is imagined. it does not exist. it does not fit in science.
  9. Jun 8, 2003 #8
    originally poste by sage:
    "spirit is imagined. it does not exist. it does not fit in science."

    You, sage, are imagined. You do not exist. You do not fit reality.
    The above is just as valid as your previous unsupported statement.
    Both are meaningless.
  10. Jun 8, 2003 #9
    And yet there are many scientists who believe otherwise.
  11. Jun 8, 2003 #10
    The point sage makes, I think, is that 'spirit' is something that is undefinable, and therefore has no place in a scientific discussion. I personally think that consciousness is a physical phenomenon which eminates from electrical impulses.
  12. Jun 8, 2003 #11
    Re: Re: The Nature of Spirit

    Essence may return to essence...but the question is what that "essence" may be. Perhaps there is a "spiritual" component to the Universe...or maybe "simple" "consciousness" is all there is. That's what I'm trying to figure out.

    As to my use of the word "continuum"...I am NOT referring to the passage of TIME: I'm referring the a "spectrum" of sorts, from rudimentary consciousness (say, the self-awareness of an elementary particle) though to highy COMPLEXT consciousness (like us...or the Universe Itself).

    So are you saying that "spirit" is a "coherent system" on SOME "plane"? Does it think? Does it feel? Does it communicate? Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

    [/QUOTE]As for our "soul," that's like a drop of water in the bucket, where the spiritual realm is the water within the bucket. And yet the soul remains within its form (us), and does not become extracted and returned to the bucket until after we die. And yes, in order for these psychological forces to exist, and maintain influx into our very being (soul), that implies that there is an afterlife, as these forces don't just emanate from "nothing."[/QUOTE]
    If there is a "soul" then I think it might not just be "confined" to our "bodies". It would be an "entity" with a "higher PERSPECTIVE" of which only one FACET of its ATTENTION is on our little lives.

    Science seems to only "wish to define" that which "it" can DETECT, MEASURE and TEST. This is why even CONSCIOUSNESS is not worth considering by many...even tho it is a definite PART of the Universe and so must be INCLUDED (one would think) in any cosmological theory. And yet, no.

    Still, the quest for the Unified Field Theory seems to have a "spiritual" inference...which, again, is NOT to say that "spirit" is "real".

    I'll admit: I'm confused .
  13. Jun 8, 2003 #12
    I want to respond to you...but I seem to be all "thunk out"!!!

    Gonna have to let it ride until I regroup.
  14. Jun 8, 2003 #13
    Whether or not I agree with the first two statements is irrelevant, but I do want to post my agreement with the last statement. Science really doesn't have any room for spirits.

    But, then again, this is the Philosophy Forum, and Philosophy has plenty of room.
  15. Jun 8, 2003 #14
    I happen to think spirit and consciousness are pretty much one and the same, all of which emanate from the "Greater Mind."

    You ever get the sense that you have always been here, and that in some sense you were never meant to die? And yet the spirit lives on unto Eternity.

    Yes, the "spiritual realm" is the interior or "essence" of which the "material realm" is the exterior or "form." While in many ways it's much like existence on this earthly plane, and yet much more, because it's not bound by time and space.

    Well so long as we remain in our bodies, yes. But when we pass on we discover there are literally no bounds as to how high a spirit can soar if, in fact that's what the spirit so chooses. And while I'm sure there are bounds, it would be like making the comparison between a caterpillar and a butterfly ... Wow!

    What a joke! I just can't figure out whether it's God that's playing the joke or whether it's Science?

    Nahh, it's like I said before, the only spirits around here are in bottles! Ha ha! :wink:
  16. Jun 8, 2003 #15
    i, unlike Mentat, am willing to agree with all these statements. the idea of 'spirits' is an out-dated concept from an age where in order to understand the mysical, people would have to assign spirits and gods to objects. we are past this. we no longer need mystic spirits and magic to explain whats going on, the modern scientific process takes care of that.
  17. Jun 8, 2003 #16
    The only reason I wont state my personal opinion of this (or most other) subjects, is that I don't want it held against me later. I am constantly in flux, and I like to play devil's advocate, so I don't want someone saying, "but you said you didn't believe in spirits", when I start arguing in favor of them (or vice versa).
  18. Jun 8, 2003 #17
    I don't think this is how it happened. I think "human consciousness" ASSEMBLED from the "raw material" of consciousness...as a natural PROCESS of the Universe.

    Yes, I know this is a popular conception...that "God is love" etc., etc. The problem (for me) is that I'm not so sure about the existence of "God"...while I AM pretty sure about the existence of the Universe. And, even IF there is a "spiritual component" to the Universe, it would include EVERYTHING that is: not JUST "love" but "hate", too; not just "Good" but "Evil".

    The question of this thread is "What is the Nature of Spirit" If, indeed, Spirit EXISTS. Perhaps it's an unanswerable question...but what ELSE do we have to do???

    Well, I'd have to agree that -- if one is willing to CONCEDE that there is Spirit -- that Spirit would be in the process of EVOLVING! And, it would do so via the experiences -- and lessons learned via the CONSEQUENCES of our ACTIONS -- over many lifetimes!
    Your humility is noted. Mine is absent. My ego seems to be running the show at the moment.:wink:
  19. Jun 8, 2003 #18
    When I posted that it is not scientifically provable, I was pointing at the (more important) fact that "spirit" definitely does, and definitely does not exist.

    It's like objective reality. Objective reality definitely does exist in a scientific framework, but definitely doesn't in a solipsistic framework.

    Do you see what I mean?
  20. Jun 8, 2003 #19
    I can see how this might account for "science" not being interested in the nature and evolution of SPIRIT...but I wonder why CONSCIOUSNESS is left out of the mix?

    But this would be another thread.

    I have to tell you, with regard to "spirit", the "jury is still out" for me. But it seems a worthwhile area of inquiry...especially because the concept comes up -- independently -- in most cultures and through time. Might there be an "inner knowing" at work...or, as you say, an attempt for primitive minds to "explain" they don't understand.
  21. Jun 8, 2003 #20
    Good policy. Good strategy.

    But how does one test their assumptions without stating opinions?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook