Your soul is nothing more than thoughts

Barbara Ehrenreich compiled a wonderful collection of historical views relating to the invention of ‘self’ as well as the concept of a ‘soul’ in Chapter Eleven: The Invention of the Self in her book, Natural Causes.

It is tempting to use the terms ‘self’ and ‘soul’ interchangeably, and that’s exactly what I will do here. I expect some might retort that the soul is the higher self or a spirit, possibly eternal, immortal, despite an utter lack of solid physical evidence to support such arguments.

It is equally tempting to equate the self with the concept of consciousness, synonymous with awareness, all requiring thoughts.

“Tommy can you hear me?” Silently Tommy had to think about that, if he was aware of the question. Or perhaps his lack of a response reflected his loathing for those enquiring, which would also necessitate a thought process.

It can be said (because I am saying it) that without the capacity for thought, for thinking, without awareness, without consciousness, there is no self. With no self, there is no soul.

For each of these ingredients, awareness, thought, consciousness, there is a basic, essential requirement: a functioning brain.

In death, the brain ceases to function. Eventually it will liquify and ooze out of the ears and mouth. Thoughts, awareness, consciousnesses, all such activities will be absent, and with them so too will the self and the soul cease to exist.

Throughout life we are reminded of this inevitability. While fatigued we forget things. When incapacitated by a serious head injury we enter a vegetative state. Sure, while in such a state there may be dream-like activity, but only because the brain is still active. Once it becomes permanently inactive the self dies.

What do you see now? What’s on your mind? Only what your brain has interpreted and processed, and converted into thoughts. This is the self, the soul, and once the brain dies, so too will they.

Published by Thomas Timlen

Where to begin? Perhaps the web content says it best...

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