Counting souls

The soul is the form of the body. This is an idea so simple that most modern people get seriously confused. As materialists, perhaps, they continue to imagine a “form” that could be seen. Hint: a soul can be construed, but not seen. A living person moves. This is true also of other living creatures. He has a human form, which does not mean that every human being has a form that is quite identical. But it will be “radically” similar.

For different souls inhabit different bodies, and are united with them, for a time. The body dies, eventually. (It is a miracle, incidentally, that people may deteriorate gradually, but they die all at once.) The soul, which Aristotle perceived, leaves the body, and fades, or dies all at once. We haven’t found a way to detect what it is up to; but that it has left the body — that is for sure.

Most moderns don’t “believe” the human has a soul, except in rhetoric. Even communists and atheists use this rhetoric, sometimes, from a purpose that is purely rhetorical. They might acknowledge some kind of life force that “seems” to occupy the body, because even medical science distinguishes bodies that are living from bodies that are dead (although it no longer rules on male or female). As dead bodies have trouble organizing, they must accept what the living bodies decide. They are enslaved by the living.

We might call this soul “the ghost in the machine” of the living animal. It is entirely in the machine, as it were, and its self-consciousness is thus severely restricted. It exhibits habitual behaviour, sometimes clever; but the original creative act is not part of its repertoire. It can apparently adapt, quite impressively. It is sophisticated, though rather like a very advanced machine would be sophisticated: for it regulates many, many billions of nested parts, making mistakes only rarely.

I, on the other hand, do not believe a person has “a soul.” I believe he must have two. One is quite mortal, and dies when the person dies, for it was united with his body, and the body has ceased to be, or at least, ceased to be animated, and one way or another it will soon disappear.

This is the soul in the more modest Aristotelian sense — immortal, only as the species is immortal, or rather, souls just like it will be around for a while. For they are individuated, and often plentiful. One might, if one were ever in a position to think such things through, speculate on how these human souls, or monkey souls, or pussy cat souls, partake in the process of creation (or, “evolution,” as the modern man insists), but so it goes. We don’t have to know, and cannot successfully plumb either space or time.

But there is, I reason on Biblical authority, another soul, which is immortal. Humans have this, but monkeys have it not. It could only be installed, like spiritual things, by God or his agents, at the conception of the human; which is to say, effectively, outside time. When the human dies, this soul is uninstalled, but that does not mean it is extinguished.

Indeed, the evidence of divine creation (as opposed to some secondary creation) may be found in our immortality.