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Your self, your soul, is merely a story you tell yourself

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I was listening to an early episode of Radiolab yesterday which examined how we identify ourselves. Identify ourselves as being uniquely different from other people, that is. How when see ourselves in the mirror, we've learnt since childhood that it's us and so on.

    At some point in the programme they had a neuroscientist talk about how the brain works and when he was asked where the soul is, he said there is no soul. Whatever it is about you that would constitute whatever it is you perceive to be a soul, is merely a story about you, presumably drawn from your memories, that you've told yourself.

    Of course, someone who doesn't have your memories, or has different memories of you, would perceive your soul to be different to the way you see it.

    It's worth thinking a bit about, for several reasons.

    Firstly, the concept of a soul was devised by the ancient Greeks, who believed the heart controlled our thoughts and was the essence of our "soul", but they've since discovered it's just a pump and the brain is the bit that manages our thoughts and functions.

    Secondly, whatever it is that makes us individuals can change completely if we suffer a brain injury. Everything about your personality can change under such circumstances, so who are you then? Would St Peter recognise you from the notes in the little black book they reckon he keeps about you?

    Who wants to pick this up and run with it?
  2. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

  3. cuteinpuce

    cuteinpuce Star commenter

    Well that's me convinced...
  4. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Unless it harms others, I tend to let people believe what they want to believe.
    I can't see how people believing they have a soul generally harms anyone.
    Often it is a force for good
  5. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Despite science being my trade, the thought that death is 'it' depresses me. I actually believe each incarnation is like a 'level' of a computer game (so, paradoxically, some people suffering $hitty lives are actually on a higher level 'challenging' assignment.)

    Science is far from being able to explain everything and shouldn't pretend it can.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Of course there is!

    josienig, kibosh, sabrinakat and 3 others like this.
  7. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    You're absolutely correct, STG. What's the chances of it being able to explain things better than the ancient Greeks were able to work out though?
  8. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    How are you able to judge what harms and what doesn't?

    I'm all ears if you would care to say why and how.

    It strikes me though that the concept of a soul throws everything into confusion. How can you teach a religious kid simple arithmetic by telling him that one and one is two, by using him and the kid next to him as an example?

    If he's got God in his heart, why ain't that three? Goodness knows how they teach arithmetic in faith schools where everyone has God in their hearts as well.
  9. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I assume you don't teach maths.

    Least ways, I hope not!
    kibosh and cuteinpuce like this.
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I do not physically exist in this world. I am, in essence, a soul without a corporal body.

    I am, in fact, just the product of the fevered imagination and yearning desire of a stunningly beautiful girl, daydreaming on a beach in the sun somewhere.

    Tough job, but someone has to do it.

    Dream on, Love.
    lanokia and kibosh like this.
  11. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    No, I don't teach maths, nomad, I'm just suggesting the potential flaws in what we understand about it that might throw the maths that science uses out of kilter.
  12. cuteinpuce

    cuteinpuce Star commenter

    I don't see the flaw. If someone consists of two people - themselves and the God within them - then they would count as two in the arithmetic calculation you suggested.
  13. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    What if you're legion?
  14. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I reckon you must have gone to a different school to the one I did, cute. Let's try it slowly...

    Fred + Bill = 2
    Fred + Bill + God = 3
  15. NoseyMatronType

    NoseyMatronType Star commenter

    Buddhists have been saying this for the last 2,500 years.

    Good to see the West finally catching up.

    Google 'anatta' for more details.
    indusant likes this.
  16. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Do they not get a 'God' each?
    kibosh likes this.
  17. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    Does having the devil in you count?
    Mrsmumbles and kibosh like this.
  18. cuteinpuce

    cuteinpuce Star commenter

    So where's the arithmetic flaw? o_O
  19. Nanook_rubs_it

    Nanook_rubs_it Star commenter

    Larsy and kibosh like this.
  20. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Pigs might jump into a lake.
    bombaysapphire likes this.

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