Saturday, December 20, 2014

The notion of a soul

Recently my mother had a discussion with me related to spirituality. As usual it ended with none of us getting anywhere. I could not convince her of the futility of God and she could not convince me otherwise.

During this conversation she said some thing which once put in perspective led me to a thread of thought which I had previously not percieved.Let us do a thought experiment.

Imagine two worlds where nobody has introduced the notion of a Soul.
In one world(A) people are immortal. In the other(B) they die.

World B sounds like ours. When a person dies what is it that tells us that they are dead? Is it inactivity? If so then how is it different from paralysis? Is it brain function? Whatever the case may be it leads us to ask another question of ourselves. What is the difference between a dead person and a living person? I believe it is this question which gives rise to the notion of Soul. That unquantified thing which is added/removed upon death is what we call soul. It may/maynot exist. This is what we use to explain death.

In world A however nobody ever dies. Hence we may say that no terminal illnesses take place. Thus in world A the concept of death does not occur. Hence if the concept of death does not occur it implies that the concept of soul has no existance as it is not needed to explain anything.

In order to completely explain death one must first answer the question of describing life. When do complex chemical reactions begin to be called life?

All religions have gods or beliefs which may be explained using the interactions of that community with it's environment. For example there may be agod of the desert in the desert but not in the jungle.Since all religion of the world have some or the other concept of a soul they must all have derived it from a situation prevailent everywhere, namely death. All religions prepare us for some form of afterlife. Thus all of them condition us mentally to keep on living. They take the example of the Soul. In my opinion the soul itself is an explanation needed to explain death.