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The Nature Of The Human Soul - Term Paper Example

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Nature of the Human Soul: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Me From ancient days to modern, the human soul has long been an intriguing topic for conversation, media, religious and political dissent, ritual celebrations, art, and scholarly dialogue. From soul-snatching sci-fi thrillers to pulpit-pounding theologians, from the execution of Socrates to Japanese fetus memorial spaces, from Soul Music to “The Scream,” the soul is variously explored…
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The Nature Of The Human Soul
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The Nature Of The Human Soul

type of approach used 2. mortality status 3. purpose 4. knowledge 5. types or parts of the soul 6. distinguishing characteristics 7. relation between body and soul 8. origin Plato takes a spiritual approach to understanding the nature of the soul. He sees the soul as an immortal being, whose origin is in a spiritual world of perfect forms. He contrasts this with the physical world, which is a mere imitation of this perfection (Page, 2003). There are three phases of the soul, relative to humans. There is a prenatal phase, the embodiment phase, and a postmortem phase. Plato believes that reason, emotion and desire comprise the soul (Velitchkov, 2009). They function with sequential differences from the womb, through life and after death. The purpose of the soul, from Plato’s perspective, is to carry knowledge to the body, but its duration there is of little meaning, since true meaning can only be in the spiritual world of perfect forms, not in this imitation world. In fact, Plato feels that the soul is distinct from the body, pre-dates and outlasts it, is imprisoned by the body, and achieves liberation only at death. Conflicts arise among human thoughts (connected to upper body tension), spiritual experience (connected to the chest area), and desires or appetites (connected to the lower region of the body) (Page, 2003). Knowledge is not so much transmitted as it is remembered, since the soul carries knowledge from one incarnation to the next, Plato’s version of anamnesis (Kowalczyk, n.d.). I support Plato’s spiritual approach. The soul cannot be measured by science, as it is apparently not bound by the laws of physics, the way the body and physical world are. I also support Plato’s theory that the soul is immortal, that it belongs to a world of spiritual perfection, of which our physical reality is a substandard imitation. At night, when I dream, I experience myself flying and changing physical reality with focused intention. I do not consider this to be my imagination, but rather my soul’s memory and deeper understanding of reality and thought. I believe that experience of freedom from the body is real, more real than body reality. Not only in dreams, but also in hypnosis, or with the inspiration of hallucinogens, or in a near-death experience, or other out of body experience, one can remember and appreciate freedom from the body. I support Plato’s contention that the soul carries all knowledge across incarnations, and brings it to the body in each current incarnation, so that it must be remembered and not re-learned (anamnesis) (Kowalczyk, n.d.). I believe this because of my own experience. For example, sometimes a friend or even a stranger approaches me and begins to outline a deep problem or confusion they are struggling with. I cannot possibly have all the answers, based solely on current life experience and education. Yet, once a deep rapport is established, my soul speaks. Of course the sound is my voice and comes from my body, and what I say is embroidered with my own thoughts. But the essence that flows freely is my soul, and not my body. Of this I am certain. I have had the experience of driving a car and becoming lost in thoughts, having no knowledge of where I am, passing my destination by miles. At such times, it seems clear to me that I am not in a safe state to be driving, since I am ... Read More
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