Searching for the Soul
Like man himself! In the beginning man was with God and part of the indivisible All, and he tore himself loose in spite of it. From this awareness of self over the course of billions of years there developed an awareness of the contradiction, “I”—and the world! And yet a part of the All clung to this “I”, was still imprisoned in this physical body, grew with it, died with it and was inseparable from its earthly remains.
And a great desire for liberation caused this soul to seek a false path and grope in the shameful darkness. It always ran back by the way which it had come to its original awareness of the “I” instead of to the “Not—I”, and did not know that the goal was at the other end.
The soul was conscious of the contradiction between the “I” and the “Not—I”, but the soul accepted the physical body as part of the “I”, even as the “I” itself did, and did not realize that the physical body was only a part of the “Not—I”. Thus man’s physical body became the unfortunate bridge that always led the soul back to the physical world of which it was a part. And all those souls driven by desire passed over it and descended deeper and deeper until they sank into God.
Yet how comical it was when the pious cried out that one must conquer the body! Their words were so wise, yet their understanding was so wrong. They did not conquer the body—but rather strengthened its power by all they did. They conquered the soul of man and became as beasts; they conquered the beasts inside and became as God.
But the time must come for the striding forth of the liberated human being. When the knowledge becomes so deep and so firmly rooted that each one knows his body is nothing other than some tree that stands in the forest, than some bird that flies in the air: than any foreign object that lies far in the distance! When each passionately feels that his body has nothing in common with his soul—and is as alien to him as a stone in the street , when the assurance reaches each consciousness that the external world may be all-embracing, yet, it fails to hold one thing, namely, the soul—then that great day will dawn—
Then the soul of man will tend the body well, like a temple, like a good house in which one dwells. Only, it will be a stranger, something external from us, and this knowledge alone will be the great conquest of the body. Then the bridge that leads downward will be broken; then the lunacy of our forefathers will perish; then the eternal desires will laugh happily as they kiss freedom and truth amidst their tears over the dark errors of the ages.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The above was written by German author Hanns Heinz Ewers over a century ago! Or rather it is my translation of his words and thoughts into the English language. As I partake in more online discussion groups, in particular Mensa discussion groups I find that believing in the individual soul is not politically correct. I also find that attitude a little bit two-faced. Consider the question, “Is a loved one the same person after having a debilitating stroke? Is their awareness, their consciousness, still the same but hindered by physical damage caused by the stroke? Or have they in some way become less human? I have seen stroke victims struggle to find the words they desire to express and the frustration that they feel being physically unable to do so. To me this is direct evidence that individual awareness remains even though it might not be able to physically express itself
The question really becomes whether conscious awareness is purely energetic in nature or mechanical. Is individual awareness capable of being separated from the physical body or is it simply an expression of the physical body that dies when the physical body dies? While science almost unanimously denies the existence of the soul, it entertains such thoughts as the possibility of integrating human consciousness with machines or computers. Movies such as “Avatar” envision the ability of human awareness to transfer itself from one physical body to another! For some reason science admits the possibilities of these things while denying the possibility of the existence of the soul. I find that very troubling!