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Post details: Soul Searching

Soul Searching

Human soul. A kiss of God for some, a torchlight of mankind for others. An underground labyrinth of neural connections inhabited by some of the most skittish shadows known to man. This is where joy and sorrow dance their uncomfortable dance. This is where good and evil play out their eternal game of tag. Soul is one of the most enigmatic objects in this Universe. And somehow not quite belonging in it. Like a large oriental mirror placed on the surface of the Moon.

The question of what exactly this strange "thing" is has mesmerized world's thinkers, philosophers and theologians for centuries. Is this elusive entity seemingly residing in that small cubicle behind our eyes tied to the human body and will cease to exist with it? Do we recycle souls - as in reincarnation - or do we have each one of our own? Are our individual souls part of a vast universal soul or are they completely disconnected from one another? The stream of possibilities is endless.

Few days ago a friend of mind called me and as our conversation progressed toward more esoteric subjects he touched upon another puzzling aspect of our existence: If the soul is in principle immortal and capable of existing elsewhere in some better state - what is the point of dragging our poor bodies through this valley of tears that we call life? Of course, like most earthlings I have no idea. But I found this question a good fodder for speculation.

In my opinion, soul is a bafflingly intricate entity and as such cannot be not brought into this world fully developed. It needs time to grow and mature. Think about butterflies for instance. They too are not born in their full technicolor splendor. The logistic challenge of folding wings into the egg is too much of a hassle even for Mother Nature. Instead they spend the initial phase as larvae, whose sole purpose is to consume plenty of food and prepare for the adulthood, and only when the time is right the larva turns into a chrysalis and a few days later a grown butterfly can finally flap its wings. This multistage process is more feasible than all-in-one development, and can perhaps be likened to a multi-stage space rocket whose early stages really serve no other purpose than launching the final spacecraft into the right orbit.

I think soul is just like that. It takes a lot of effort to mold it into the proper form. Education, compassion, introspection, emotions, intelligence, plenty of tears and love, even some star gazing - all that complexity would be nearly impossible to encode into our DNA before the moment of birth. Our body and mind are just larval stages which give us basic infrastructure to attain higher forms of being gradually through living. You can think of your body as a kind of booster rocket. It grabs the newborn self-awareness and throughout the course of life lifts it into the orbit.

What the correct orbit is - and whether you need a special spiritual training to reach it - is the point theologians and secular thinkers may argue about for ever. I am not even going there. For starters I would be happy to know if this soul is an objectively existing medium or whether it is just a delusion of a brain which happens to give those who believe in it an evolutionary advantage. But that is an issue we probably won't settle in the foreseeable future. Certainly not while being on this side of the graveyard wall.



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