Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Are The Differences Between The Soul And The Spirit?

A friend wrote … had a kid ask me what the difference was between the soul and the spirit and struggled to find a concise answer, so I googled it and found this written by Mary Matthews: the human soul is what governs the human hardware -- the ‘software’ of... human existence, our very own ‘operating system,’ unique to each of us. The human spirit is the ‘electricity’ that animates us.

Colloquially the soul is often thought of in essentially material ways, such as in “The Soul of Jazz,” and in Mary Matthews quote: the human soul is what governs the human hardware -- the ‘software’ of... human existence, our very own ‘operating system.’ In a certain sense, these metaphors are true, but defining soul is much more complex, and profoundly deeper than that.

Spirit in the colloquial sense is thought of as one's charisma, exuberance, and outward expression of the love of life. That’s the sense metaphorically expressed with the word electricity in Mary Matthews’s spirit quote.

It’s easy to give concise meaning to phenomena perceptible by the senses, because they are observable in everyday terms expressed as a result of human experience: The Soul of Jazz, human hardware, software of human existence, electricity.

I once wrote in The Essence of Who You Are, The metaphorical soul of jazz is the essential, evolving, conscious soul of all life: ‘... finding who you are beyond form, beyond time,’ ‘the underlying essence of all life.’

But, beyond that, there is really no concise, factual answer to the question; it cannot be explained in a few clear or succinct words. In ways, it is ineffable. We yet do not have the knowledge to authentically define or explain the spirit or soul, which is so much a part of our life’s experience.

I believe, however, the soul and spirit are synonymous with consciousness. Therefore, I use the word consciousness to be inclusive of soul and spirit.

Additionally, one cannot talk about consciousness without including karma in the conversation, because karma is the source from which consciousness evolves.

So, I have a premise, a conjecture, a hypothesis, or theory, much of which is related to what has been learned -- and, written about as in Peter Russell’s The Spirit of Now -- from quantum physics.

Consciousness can be thought of in the same way as light. Light is made up of photons, which sometimes act as particles and at other times waves. Similarly, consciousness, and in particular its karma, the photons of consciousness, if you will, also, hold properties. Karma holds as properties a collection of all you experience, good/moral or bad/immoral. The law of karma describes the universe as an interconnected network in which every action causes a reaction to occur in the future. As is consciousness, light is isotropic, omnipresent and omnipotent, from which light’s properties allow humans to see. As light allows vision, consciousness allows us also to see, but not as in vision, but that to see in the metaphorical sense, something transcendent and beyond the bounds of our laws of physics, that which is beyond our natural world, beyond our three-dimensional world of objects. Consciousness works collaboratively with the brain to contribute to understanding, comprehension, and perception. It allows us to look at things objectively, but more importantly subjectively, as well. However, unlike the phenomena of light, consciousness is omniscient. It is the source of everything in this world’s dimension, including light. It is the nuts and bolts of that inner world of you, of what essentially makes you, you.

All of this happens within our laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, in our life’s particular dimension: The Anthropic Principle, the principle that requires the laws of nature to be consistent with the existence of intelligent life.

Humans gained vision via the evolutionarily development of their biology and chemistry, whereby reflections of light cause chemical reaction that permits vision. In the rod cells of an eye's retina, the light-induced change initiates a complex cascade of chemical reactions that transmit electrochemical signals that the brain perceives, resulting in vision.

However, in reality, there is something beyond those objects we see, beyond those electrochemical signals. Its essential essence is not what humans see as objects. It essentially is lacking form. It is beyond the ordinary range of perception; it is beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable; it is above and independent of the material universe. It is an interpretation we make of that transcendent something, via the interaction of light with our eyes, electrochemically transmitted to our brain. Consciousness is only a part of a transcendent something. That transcendent something, for the lack of a better word, I simply call stuff.

I borrowed from the dictionary some phrases that describe stuff: stuff is the basic substance of essential elements that qualify a person for a specified role (in the form of objects, and spiritually as karma); and it has a special capability (we could call this spirit/soul/consciousness) from which things are or can be made (in the material sense as well as the spiritual sense). Stuff is the source from which all things in our world are realized: vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, and the sensation of touch. The source of all materiality. And, it is even the source of our sense that there is somehow something we call the soul.

Stuff, therefore, is the basic constituent of all things, which includes consciousness and its karma. Just as life evolves genetically, and in so many other ways -- culturally, memetically (meme) -- likewise so does karma evolve in consciousness. Keep in mind, consciousness is karma’s container; it is its essential element. Karma is that part of consciousness that is particularly yours.

It all works together in a collaborative way within our dimension and within all possible dimensions. It is believed by many that human consciousness originates in the brain, and is manifested especially in thought, perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination. However, I believe, consciousness is an out of body experience, even extraterrestrial, where the working of the mind is consciousness interacting with the brain. Consciousness should be, although an elusive phenomenon, regarded as the most authentic aspect of our reality. In essence, it is the fundamental reality. It certainly makes the concept of mind (antiquated usage, mind in this sense is the brain, made of matter), body, and soul (consciousness/spirit) more profound. Hierarchically, this concept should be expressed: stuff (the source of all things), consciousness (soul/spirit), brain (the CPU), and body (the mechanics of it all – the way in which it all is manifested).

There will come a time when science will be able to substantiate stuff and consciousness, show its connectivity and how it interacts with us individually, collectively, in our world, universe, and cosmos -- the totality of all existing things, its omniscience -- Our Omniscient God, which is essentially that inner world of you. You are it!

When that time comes, there will be substantial proof beyond theory that there are in fact other dimensions. At that time, perhaps, we will have come as close to discovering the Theory of Everything as possible. When humanity grasps its implications, we will have taken a giant step toward abandoning old ideas, we will have in fact taken a giant step toward world peace. For with this endorsement humanity should understand that we are all made of that same stuff, that which is beyond our current knowledge of physics, biology, and chemistry, that we are who we are, in the material sense -- i.e. as to whether we are black or white, pretty, beautiful, or not so beautiful, short or tall, etc. --, by random circumstance. Everything we know, all knowledge, and everything and anything we can perceive spiritually or materially comes form that stuff. Humanity will understand that objects -- our material world -- are erroneous perceptions of reality; that our obsessions with race and religious differences are nonsensical. We will have a different set of values. That our obsessions with schadenfreude, icons, celebrity, war, violence, guns, and the love of money are not just factors of life, or necessary to life, that everyone just needs to accept, but that they are in fact illusions, and what is necessary to life is peace, which is achieved through greater knowledge, understanding, compassion, and love.