“They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little” (Koran Al Israa 17:85)
At present we are living in a very complex era that humankind’s intelligentsia call the “Space Age,” the “Computer Age,” the “Atomic Age,” the “Information Age,” and the “Technological Age.” These are descriptive culminating “Ages” of the Piscean period that will soon give way to other developments. In time, we will hear terms or phrases such as, the “Ascension Age,” the “Quantum Age,” the “Hyper-Space Age,” and the “Photon Age.” All of these latter Ages allude and refer to the characteristical nature of the forces that will soon interact, interface and integrate with humanity in the coming Aquarian Age causing a transmutation within the psychosomatic system of man at cellular and atomic levels. The two-helix DNA structure comprising our genes would split and multiply into twelve strands, in accord with the same law that divides a cell. Certain atoms within the pineal gland would simultaneously become active, as would certain sections of the brain. The synapses and dendrites of the neurons of the brain would form new connections all over the grey matter linking both the right and left hemispheres, and both the cerebellum and the cerebrum. Chakras beyond the major seven would likewise be stimulated and anchored into man’s lower force-field. Additionally, the various layers of the chakric-system and their many petals or attributes would unfold giving man untold abilities. It is said that the attainment of enlightenment is not merely a psychological event, it is also a chemical and electrical one. It is in fact an alchemical affair. In short, in the Aquarian Age man will be spiritually mutated, and made anew to a greater perfection-but only if man is prepared and works to facilitate this. This transmutation is the evolutionary quantum leap that awaits humanity.
With all of the awe-inspiring metaphysical developments that would occur, there are still simple truths that would need to be addressed to enlighten the layman, such as the existence of the soul, which is the topic of this paper. There are lots of seekers and potential seekers of a higher reality that need to be shown the way. It is the writer’s hope that this paper would fill the void in people’s mind regarding the hidden side of their existence, and hopefully, cause then to fathom further in the marvelous mysteries of the universe.
The Search for the Soul
The scientific search for the soul began ever since the dawn of spiritualism that had its onset in the early decades of the 19th century when the Fox sisters claimed communications with the spirit world. Still, in spite of all the “marvelous” high-tech achievements of man in these latter days of the Piscean Age, the question of the existence of the soul and its survival of physical death remains unanswered successfully by conventional science. The soul’s existence has not been academically and scientifically “proven” in the laboratory to the satisfaction of scholars of all branches of learning; on the other hand, however, the non-existence of the soul has not been proved either. To our knowledge, the devices that would monitor, measure, and scan frequencies beyond the known energy-spectrum remains to be invented ere the concrete proof of the existence of the soul required by Science may be attained. The many inventions of Tesla and Edison revealed that they were pioneers working on this problem.
Throughout the centuries philosophers have been speculating upon the existence of the soul and its survival of the body; of its nature and relationship to the physical form; of its origin and destiny; and also of its possible glorified nature, or its state of immortality. However, intellectual and analytical reasoning have failed to provide any substantial evidence of an independent entity existing apart from the physical body. The serious search for the soul by our world philosophers and thinkers through a priori, or reason alone seems to have waned in the twentieth century. Perhaps it is realized that the intellect has its limitations in grasping, comprehending, and truly knowing abstract and metaphysical matters, or it could also be the realization that any concept that could be thought of has already been conceptualized in the past–that any novel ideas would merely be variations of former metaphysical speculations and of the wide variety of theories, and would not make man any more wiser. This would once again substantiate the eternal truth that there is nothing new beneath the sun. Still, there are always die-hards.
The physical senses, the mortal mind, and the intellect are poor faculties when it comes to determining the nature of Reality or the Absolute. What is relative may be known intellectually and experienced objectively; relative absolutism may be speculated upon though without knowing whether one’s conclusions are of the absolute truth in the absence of scientific proof, even if they be rational and logical; examples of this is the “Unified theory” of Einstein and the “Idealism” of Kant. Absolute absolutism is simply indescribable and ineffable. It transcends the intellect, and anything said about it in conventional terms is simply misleading. Even our description “indescribable and ineffable” may be inappropriate. From the standpoint of the Absolute all that we know of whether through our senses or intellect are perhaps erroneous and illusory.
In the Qabala, the esoteric oral tradition of the Hebrews/Jews, the Absolute is called “Ain Sof.” It is the hidden God, the Source of all not mentioned in the exoteric scriptures. Jehovah, the god of Moses, with his human characteristics, is merely a reflection of the supreme god found in the pantheons of the coexisting cultures of the time. The existence and nature of Ain Sof was not publicized because the Initiates knew that the mental capacity and spiritual development of the masses had not reached the required level whereby such revelations could be intuitively grasped and safely applied. This state of affairs still exist nowadays but with a twist. Now the mental development of man has far outpaced his spiritual side. Whenever abstract matters are discussed, the human mind tend to concretize and anthropomorphize that which cannot be objectified or understood intellectually; and with man’s failure of apprehending abstract matters he comes to the conclusion of their non-existence. Man, therefore, becomes ignorant of his ignorance.
Though the above ideas concerning Reality may appear to be distinct, in actuality, they are interrelated and are connected with one’s mode of apperception and intuitive insight. Superficially, they are our different ideas or understanding of Absolute Reality. We will not speculate further upon this, for the more we delve intellectually, the further we stray from the truth. Reality may only be known and experienced mystically.
How is the soul related to the above concepts? Is the soul merely another invention of the mind, or can it be known and experienced in a physical and concrete manner, or any way that transcends the physical senses and intellect? As the Age of Pisces relied heavily upon analytical thought in order to apprehend “truth,” so the Aquarian Age will rely most emphatically upon altered states of consciousness, intuition and other higher faculties in order to perceive, experience and comprehend abstract realities. Whether the intuition or a higher faculty proves the existence of the soul will depend entirely upon the empirical knowledge acquired by each individual in an absolute state of awareness. That science would finally prove the existence of the soul, or certain aspects of it at some future date we have no doubt, but the answer to such a question may be acquired here and now through mystical means. In the coming Age there will be a shift of emphasis from speculative metaphysics to applied metaphysics or practical mysticism. Though this is already occurring with the varied activities of the proponents and exponents of occultism and metaphysics in the last few decades, this condition will intensify further in the next millenium. The true knowledge of the soul would have to come from the soul itself. It cannot be otherwise. Science may only discover aspects of it.
When Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity he ushered man onto the road of civilization and into the path of spiritual inquiry. Fire relieved prehistoric man of many fears. With the discovery of fire, man could for once in his life relax in the comfort of his cave without the fear of being attacked by unexpected predators. In his new-found ease man commenced to think and introspect. His higher mind began to awaken and he started off pondering upon the existence of invisible realms and a “self” independent of the material form. This cogitation was triggered by certain experiences that he had such as dreams, psychological impressions, and unexplainable instinctive knowledge. In dreams he felt that something within him goes forth out of the body to continue the activities of the day. This was the birth of the belief in the existence of the soul. The belief and search for an incorporeal principle of human life, therefore, goes way back beyond recorded history and is to be found in all cultures in one form or another. So far, only the spiritual cream of society–the mystics and saints–have solved the problem of the existence of the soul through experimentation in the laboratory of the Spirit.
Throughout the ages mystics, sages, and prophets have impressed upon us the importance of knowing the immaterial entity that animates and directs the body. Some consider this entity to be the mind, the self, the soul, the life-force, the spirit, the ego, the personality, the psyche, the Spark of God, etc. They declare that it is only through knowing this intangible reality of man is it possible to know one’s Source and one’s purpose of being. The instinctive drive that motivates and impels man to search for the soul stems from the imponderable soul-factor itself. The importance of the search is sensed by the mind but the exact reason is not known explicitly. This is what Jung called the religious instinct. Moreover, this “instinct” is not to be found in man alone, but also in the other primates and the cetaceans. Another curious fact is that the higher animals exhibit many so-called human qualities such as guilt shame, and pride. If these feelings are associated with the soul, then soul, or at least soul-essence may be said to indwell in animals also. However, man is considered the only being that wonders about the soul, death, the after-life, etc. In The Meaning of Immortality in Human Experience, William Ernest Hocking (1873-1966), the American philosopher says that,
“Man is the only animal that contemplates death, and also the only animal that shows any sign of doubt of its finality.”
Does the soul really exist? And what is the value of identifying the soul? Without the search and discovery of the “soul” along with the knowledge of its purpose of existence through whatever means possible, there would always be a feeling of dissatisfaction and uneasiness in the bosom of man. Without the undeniable proof of the survival of individual identity life would appear to be a series of meaningless events and experiences. If the soul does not exist and everything ends at the death of the human form then all the struggles and all the strivings in life serves no purpose. Why bother with the harsh teachings of life if all will end up in total annihilation with not a single iota of the immaterial man surviving the physical form? Suicide would be a convenient escape; and yet, somehow, we sense that suicide somehow violates cosmic rules–rules laid down by whom or what?
On the other side of the coin, man’s inflated ego has caused him to believe that he is the only creature on earth with a soul. His “superior intelligence” is proof of it. Man believes that no other creature possesses faculties such as imagination, reason, and the will as he has–the vital faculties needed to control and direct the environment. This reasoning gave man a sense of supremacy and uniqueness; and also the sense of being the chosen one of God, for was he not made “in the image of God”? This is basically an egocentric point of view, one that gives rise to the exploitation, abuse, manipulation and ultimate destruction of Nature. Associated with this belief is the presupposition that intelligent life only exists on earth, and that Man is representative of it. Man is so blinded by the ego that he does not realize that life adapts itself to whatever conditions it finds itself. The chemical and environmental necessities for sentient life here on this planet may not be the requirements for the manifestation of life on another planet. Life may subsist on other or unknown elements. For instance, carbon being the basis of life on this planet may not be the basis of life on other planets. Other planets may make use of silicon, silica, or other materials instead. That which gives life is not any of the known gases, but the universal life-force called prana. Aside from this, from the metaphysical point of view, life does not solely exist in the spectrum of energies that we objectively perceive, but exists even beyond that. So, as an example, a planet such as Venus or Pluto may be host to intelligent beings residing in the higher dimensions of the planet without being detected by the crude telescopes or instruments that we call technologically advanced, such as the Hubble Space Telescope.
Vital questions that might be addressed are whether animals possess souls, or is this a unique gift to man alone; is soul a substance or a function; and that if man evolved self-identity out of the functions of the life-force, at what point of his evolution did he acquire it; and should soul be considered an entity, at what point in the fetal development does it ensoul the form, or does it enter when the baby takes in its first breath? Such questions may only be answered should we possess a true knowledge of the metaphysical part of life. A study and understanding of all of the seemingly intangible aspects of nature such as the microcosmic constituents and functions of man–the etheric elements supporting organic life, the divine spiritual force that sustains the microcosmic structure, the three-fold Soul, etc., assists greatly in answering profound questions.
Man possesses subconscious knowledge of his soul, but for some reason he blocks this out consciously by “pretending” to be ignorant. He hypnotizes himself into disbelieving immaterial realities for this is the line of least resistance to him. Actually it is much easier to remember than to forget. The proof that the soul, the spiritual essence of man exists is that we are searching for it! It is the mystery of the soul searching for itself.
We realize that this topic is controversial in nature, and as being related to religion, it acquires a certain sensitivity among religious fundamentalists. However, this emotional sensitivity should be shelved aside in the rationalistic study of the soul; for one must be objective, open-minded, sensible, tolerant, and circumspect in the acquisition of beneficial knowledge. Unrestrained emotionalism is a hurdle towards the acquisition of truth. Hopefully this paper would offer the reader a greater insight into the mystery of the soul and our intense search for it. This is a complex subject and it would not be possible to wholly satisfy the intellect. Its purpose is no more than to act as a stimulus for the mystical consciousness of the one perusing its pages. Whenever we use the word “soul’ we are generalizing and mean the whole immaterial part of man, unless otherwise specified or implied.
The Webster’s Dictionary defines soul as “the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life,” and also as the “spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe.” It also defines the soul as the “person’s total self.”
Religion and philosophy regards soul as the immaterial aspect or essence of the microcosmic man that confers a sense of self and being–a sense of being an independent entity, quite apart from the external environment. Basically, religious philosophical thought believe the soul to be eternal in essence. Neoplatonism is one of the school of thought that propounds this tenet. The theologian and prelate St. Augustine likewise, believed in the immortality of the soul, as did Cicero, the Roman orator. The soul is often thought to be synonymous with the mind or consciousness. Theology builds up upon the above definitions by considering the soul to be divine in nature and capable of surviving the dissolution of the physical form. In our modern times the belief in soul survival is called Survivalism. Certain schools of metaphysics further assert that the soul, or spirit to be a spark or emanation of the Source of all and that it is an evolving aspect of the microcosm working towards apotheosis or deification.
Perhaps it would be superfluous to say that the soul-concept is subjective. Whether it exists is beside the point: the Self, or soul as an essence has never been perceived objectively by anyone. What are seen as phantoms or ethereal forms by psychics or the average person during certain psychological states are possibly the sheaths enshrouding the spiritual essence. If we have a soul, then what are we? What is “it” that is supposed to possess a soul or Self? Can a Self possess a Self? Is the soul to be differentiated from the Self? Unless we recognize that there are various aspects to the immaterial man we would not begin to understand him. It is in this respect that Occultism, Mysticism, the Ancient Wisdom and Metaphysics in general, are far in advance of the knowledge possessed by exoteric Religion, Philosophy, and Science.
The soul is not wholly definable. We may generalize and say that the soul is the immaterial aspect of man; and yet this non-substantial quality of man is composed of various components, not all of which may be immediately apprehensible by the various faculties of the mind. Also, our media of information conveyance such as words, signs, and symbols are incapable of transmitting the whole truth as it is. The divine aspect of the immaterial man cannot be expressed through language, nor can they be formulated into ideas. A faculty of a lower aspect of the microcosm is incapable of knowing a higher aspect in its entirety. In order for a higher aspect of the microcosm to be known it is necessary to exercise the faculties associated with it. For instance the cliché “it takes a thief to catch a thief” describes and supports our proposition exactly. No one knows a thief better than another thief. Likewise, in order to know something we must be that something or function at its level. This metaphysical principle has a very wide application, and many unusual occult phenomena may be produced from its use.
Although the academic definition of the soul has been given above, there is no standard agreement or understanding as to the terms “soul” and “spirit” and also of the other spiritual concepts taught in the many religions, sects and cults. This lack of standardization causes confusion and often result in senseless heated debates and even physical conflicts. Some systems of metaphysics consider the above terms as archaic and specific words denoting the various aspects of the soul or spirit are utilized instead. Should religion update its terminology and doctrines in accord with the modern findings of science and the pure spiritual teachings of mysticism it would be more aligned with the plan of God and attract more followers into its fold; as it is, true religion appears to be withering in the temples of God. This statement may be contradicted, however, those that argue against it may not understand what true religion is.
The many attributes of the soul are generally known to be the personality, the conscience, the emotional feelings, the mental faculties, the Ego, the memory, the various levels of consciousness, and the will. Generally speaking, philosophy, religion, and metaphysics are all in agreement as to this.
Copyright © 2006 Luxamore