The soul – a truly absurd concept?
Let's consider how 'absurd' it really is.. For hundreds of years, we've been ignoring religious people spout about our 'immortal soul' with a smirk of knowing derision: “We know the truth. There is no such thing as 'soul'.” ^^ For the longest time, I agreed.. But if/when we start looking at it from another perspective, it becomes believable. First, try looking at 'the soul' as a parasite on a host (the body). The soul needs the body 'to live' (as sustenance). Without it, the soul withers and dies.. Next, look at the soul as 'guidance program' for a particular body. Without it, the body is 'mindless' (guideless). ^^ So what I briefly describe is not exactly a parasite-host relationship. It's a shared dependency, a symbiosis, in more positive terms. ^^ Is this view not more believable than the traditional 'divine spark' story spoon fed to most of us since birth? Let's put the views into a table:
A soul is From this perspective
divine spark tradition
symbiotic organisms new
So according to atheists, there is no soul (it's a fantasy). According to tradition, the soul's a 'divine spark' (imparted by God specially on humans). And according to this new perspective, the soul could be symbiotic organisms. ^^ The nature of those organisms and exact relationship may never be fully understood.. For example, what we call 'the soul' may be a complex (largely) electromagnetic field associated with our nervous system. ^^ Okay, let's 'test' this idea.. If you walked into an extremely powerful electromagnet, what would the effects be on your consciousness? I'm guessing you'd 'gradually' lose the ability to think until you became fully unconscious. It may be rapid due to strength of the actual magnetic field. ^^ So we may be largely electromagnetic – if this thought experiment is relevant and accurate. 'We' in the previous sentence refers to the composition of our 'souls'.
Clearly, atheism 'wins' in terms of Occam's Razor.. The simplest explanation (as briefly outlined in the last article) is no explanation. But.. That's hardly satisfying in terms of explanation and power to control. Those are the ultimate goals of science and engineering. So atheism helps humanity only in the sense it provides a context by being associated with 'no progress'. ^^ Sorry guys/gals.. No assumptions does not help science. In the history of science: we observe, we propose, we observe, we correct, we observe, we correct,.. It's the never-ending cycle of observations and explanations. ^^ So.. Why should consciousness/'the soul' be any different? ^^ I propose we make the 'bold' assumption: the mind-body human system is a symbiosis of two distinct organisms: 'the soul' (a complex largely electromagnetic field permeating our neural tissues and 'feeding off' them) and 'body' (what we normally observe as the human body) that 'uses' the soul to guide and animate. ^^ Sound 'traditional'? Not really.. The real difference between this approach and tradition is testability. We'll never be able to test the 'God spark' thing because the existence of God is untestable itself. So tradition's perspective is untestable and does not belong to science. Neither does the atheist position.
The only position that belongs to science is the new one: perhaps mind-body is two symbiotic organisms: soul and body – that not only seem to need each other for everyday life – but to simply exist. Surely this is a testable/disprovable hypothesis? We don't have to 'find' the soul to 'make the theory work'; all we need to do is test our hypothesis. Coma? 'Vegetable'? The soul left. Recovery? The soul came back.. ^^ A very childish 'explanation' of death and mental ailments. But.. To pose consciousness replacing 'the soul' but never making an attempt to create it artificially (as I have proposed in several previous articles) is unconscionable. ^^
Let's propose 'the mind' (our consciousness) is 'loosely associated' with 'the soul'. (Perhaps it 'is' the soul in terms of awareness.) ^^ I'm not just bandying about with word-play.. There is at least one discussion group devoted to the 'infinitude of complexities' associated with these concerns.. ~ Really don't wanna get into that.. Every psychologist, philosopher, and AI researcher has their own idea of consciousness and cognition. Every psychologist is also a philosopher and vice versa. Chances are, every AI researcher is also both.. So we cannot even agree how to approach machine consciousness when we cannot agree what consciousness is. ^^ For several decades, I've been attempting to 'reverse engineer' human consciousness 'from the senses up' – but attempting to simultaneously implement this design in modern digital technology. It's mostly 'up here' [pointing to head] but there's a few articles that include this line of reasoning.. Will we soon develop a machine that has human-like awareness? Possibly.. Will it have a 'soul'? (A good question mother dislikes to debate with me.) I insist: it must!
If 'mind' = awareness/consciousness = soul = a symbiotic organism feeding on our neural impulses.. If body = an organism that needs 'soul guidance', then all conscious physical entities require a soul – robotic or otherwise.. Conscious robot? Needs a soul. Playful dolphin? Needs a soul. Aware human? Needs a soul.
Is there a difference between the soul of a robot, dolphin, or human? Good question.. I'm guessing: not much.. ;) ..Should we fret so much when a loved one 'departs us'? Really? Looking from the perspective introduced above, it's just a matter of time before their soul finds another body to attach to.. ^^ So should we fret so much? Not really..
Things come and go.. Men and women come and go in our lives.. We come and we go.. :P (Bad joke – sorry.) ^^ Ending with a bad joke is better than none at all.. :P