Of the soul


Here, Cicero makes a very interesting argument. He writes

…..and if the soul be the only thing in the whole world which has the power of self motion, then certainly it never had a beginning, and therefore it is eternal.

What the soul is, however, as I wrote yesterday, remains incoherent and unknown.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

19 thoughts on “Of the soul

  1. renudepride says:

    I agree with you in your earlier post on the soul. It exists only as long as we are alive. Naked hugs!

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  2. I thought soul was a type of music? Beyond that, I see no evidence for it or reason to believe it or they exist. Now, pink pixies who ride blue unicorns are another matter entirely.

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  3. tildeb says:

    In his time, the soul was the Mover and that is what gave life to matter. In Aristotelian physics, it’s all about motion, you see.

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    • makagutu says:

      the believer in the soul today has no idea what he or she means by the word. at least the ancients even if their ideas were misguided, tried to make sense.
      can a soul without a beginning or end suffer?

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  4. Eric Alagan says:

    “But is the soul of this world, dear Cicero?” asked the mendicant

    The people in the village picked up rocks and bashed the mendicant.

    And for sure, the mendicant was no more of this world.

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  5. shelldigger says:

    I second incoherent and unknown.

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    • tildeb says:

      Not in that time period, where everyone accepted the metaphysical language of there being a ‘nature’ to everything… like rocks had the ‘nature’ of being heavy, of trying to return to their source, that smoke had a ‘nature’ trying to return to its source. Life’s ‘nature’ was to return to the source, the First Cause, the Prime Mover. And this ‘nature’ was obvious because life involved self locomotion, a clear and coherent indication of belonging to motion.

      When we use a different metric, namely our scientific understanding, only then does the idea of a ‘soul’ become incoherent and unknown… because we know motion is a product of responding to a mechanical or electronic or chemical force.

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      • shelldigger says:

        Thank you for the perspective Tildeb. It is probably quite apparent I am from this time period then. 😉

        I find it interesting that the native peoples of this country held a similar belief, that all things are spiritual in some way and interconnected. I often think that given what we understand of evolution by common descent, they were at least half right and closer to the truth than most would give them credit for. Even if it might be for the wrong reasons… At least concerning living organisms, not so much for the rocks.

        Which oddly enough reminds me, I just read the other day about the ability of plants to communicate through light. A bizzare insight if it is credible, I just spent 5 minutes looking for the link:

        https://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/stories/plants-witnessed-using-blazes-light-communicate

        Not that this has anything to do with the topic at hand, it’s just how my brain works 🙂 I apologize for any derailment that may or may not occur.

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        • tildeb says:

          Isn’t that cool? I listen to a CBC radio program called Quirks and Quarks and have heard a bunch of research studies on plant communication. It’s quite fascinating and an area full of unanswered questions. I just learned of a large forest in northern Alberta (aspen?) that is really just one tree with a few trillion offshoots. As I said, quite cool.

          We are built to be interested in making connections with phenomena we encounter. It has to do with our hypothalamus comparing our internal memories with our external data. When there’s a match, a bit of serotonin; when there’s a differential, our amygdala gets activated and we get a shot of dopamine. This internal mapping to external (but filtered) verification is a brain thing that will always try to find something of a match (by making connections that may or may not be true). I suspect the chemistry very much biases us to find confirmation to our internal models of reality in which we are immersed, and so if that takes a bit of woo or superstitious belief, then our reptilian brain bits don’t seem to care much. It’s the frontal cortex that draws so much energy that seems to be the mitigating factor in that it can override and interrupt and incorporate the chemistry to demand a better map before meshing the internal map to the exterior data. And that requires scaffolding of interest, which is what our brain thinks of as ‘work’. Many of us are quite willing to avoid it.

          I mention all this because we are primed to assign agency in order to understand what our motivation for causing the phenomena might be if we were the ones causing it (mirror neurons in action) and then we export the same motivation to the phenomena in order to react to it ‘appropriately’. Hence, the common ‘spiritual’ connection to what we encounter. But the important takeaway is the order in which we do this; we start with ourselves and then export our model to reality. It is tempting (this from our amygdala) to get that order backwards and presume the ‘agency’ or ‘connection’ we have manufactured is really there and we have simply encountered it, thus claiming (incorrectly) that the personal experience of the agency is proof it is external and therefore independent from us!

          But I also think there is more to the idea of connections than neuroscience is revealing. I think all matter and energy is in fact connected through fields and field interactions. And I think this because (I know this sounds ridiculous) I am beginning to grasp why physicists are just know saying ‘space’ (and not time) is the ‘illusion’. It fits the quantum mathematical models much better as well as experimental data at the very small and very large levels where classical physics breaks down. Reality is a funny beast.

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          • tildeb says:

            Oops. I have confused the hypothalamus with the hippocampus. My brain…!

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          • shelldigger says:

            I think you just explained everything from believing in ghosts, UFO’s, religion, and fake news with that write up. I must admit it’s been a long time since I studied and took the test for what area of the brain does what, so honestly all I can do do is nod in the affirmative and pretend that I am pretty close to understanding all of that 🙂

            Energy and matter are pretty much the same thing as I understand it. So conceiving that they are connected in any way isn’t that far from the beaten path IMO. Reality is stranger than fiction and indeed a funny beast.

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        • makagutu says:

          Derailment, never

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    • makagutu says:

      Yes. Funny the religious people are always praying for our souls without having an idea what it is

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    • makagutu says:

      We should ask religiots who keep praying for souls to tell us what they mean by it

      Liked by 1 person

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