Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have long thought that our view of the "soul" is seriously flawed.
If there is a soul, then what is it ?
Many people say its the subconscious, and many people use this to say
that we are different from animals.
Actually, first, let me address this point, we are different from animalsin a couple of ways.
The most obvious to me, is that we are tool makers
(not just tool users, other animals use tools).
Next, we are the only animals that can visualize a different reality.
Now, i picked my words carefully here, because, well, any other way to say it can be mis-interpreted.

Visualizing a different reality
This can mean dreaming, but really, its unclear as to what animals dream,
and i think they do dream, my dog often appears to have nightmares!
I could also have said we are the only animals to "Mock Ourselves"
But, animals often do this as well.
Animals do not bury their dead, nor do they eat with spoons, so there are some that i could have included, but seem to be pointless, and are just part of a larger point.

Lets look at the 2 examples above.
Eating with spoons...
This is part of the mechanics of having 2 hands free (sine we walk upright) and also having an opposable thumb. But it also has to do with culture, and a societal structure.
Apes DO have societies, though they dont eat with spoons, listen to Chaupin, or drive cars,
they do have emotion, and society.
To me, there is no inherent difference here, only a matter of degree.
Burying the dead.
Now this one is a bit different. It means that we think there may be an afterlife.
There is actually the possibility that it came from habit of not wanting other animals to eat the carcass, then it just worked its way into culture from there. But even then, there is still the question of afterlife.
Or is there ?
We cant actually ask a dog if he thinks about afterlife, but if we could i would think that they do not.
The reason for this is that thier brains are not developed as ours.
Again, to me, this is just a matter of degree, no real inherent difference.

Now we know that there is a part of the brain that developed because man started walking upright, that would not have developed otherwise.
(i think the cortex?)
Anyway, walking upright gave us advantages of radiating heat (to cool us off)
The brain got bigger, and the center of the brain started being used.

Now, interestingly, the brain is the only part of the body that does not regenerate itself.
All other organs cells do.
This brings me back to my original point that we are not the
"SAME persons that we were many years ago.
Not only do we learn, and gather experience, and make more connections in the brains tissue, but our actual cells are not the ones we were born with.
SO , in looking at a SOUL, we have to ask is this really our subconscious ?
Do we have a SOUL when we are babies ?
How about when we are in prenatal development ?
When the cells are still dividing ? When it is just one cell ?

SO, even though there may be hierarchical differences between man and ape,
Visualizing a different reality, i still believe that the only differences between man and ape are that of degrees

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