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Jerry- What exactly is a soul?

Apr 02, 2006 12:00 PM
by Vincent

You wrote:

"The word "soul" has become fuzzy in its meaning."

I believe that the soul (or 'psyche', greek New Testament 
word 'psykekos', as opposed to 'pneuma' for spirit) consists of four 
primary components:


1. Mind (our thoughts)
2. Heart (our emotions)
3. Will (our choice capacity)
4. Conscience (our moral compass)

These four components of the psyche also correlate to the four 
primary components of 'psychological consciousness', by which we may 
determine if a creature (an animal, a tree or a crazy person) is 
psychologically conscious (or has a soul).


1. Capacity of Reason (can solve basic math problems, or strategize 
through work obstacles; 1+1=2)

2. Capacity of Love and Affection (has a potential for kindness, 
compassion, empathy for those who have had similar sufferings; 
although retaliatory vengeance may at times exist, love is still in 
there somewhere)

3. Capacity of Free Will (can choose what color clothes to wear, or 
what direction to turn a car steering wheel; choices, in and of 
themselves, are inherently non-moralistic)

4. Capacity of Conscience (likely a component physically located 
within the brain, which only processes the literal event 
consequences of a choice previously made; new choices only 
become 'good' or 'evil' when experientially compared against the 
consequences of past choices made, as firstly filtered through 
limited subjective perception; 'did this choice hurt me last time, 
thereby rendering the formerly chosen option evil?'; a conscience 
can become hardened or hyper-sensitive, and even physically brain 


Now do the following have souls?:

1. Humans - Human beings are considered psychologically sane when 
these four components of consciousness are simultaneously 
functional, but can be declared insane by a law court or doctor if 
they are not all functionally present.

2. Dogs - Dogs likely possess all four of these components (they 
have souls), albeit not as developed as humans, insofar as dogs can 
do basic math (1+1=2), show affection by licking, choose what 
dogtoys to play with, and feel bad afterward if they bite their 

3. Computers - Computers, although possessing a capacity to 'reason' 
through difficult math problems much quicker than people do, 
nonetheless lack the affection of a dog.

4. Trees - Trees lack all four of these psychological capacities, 
even though they can feel the warmth of sunlight and the wetness of 
water, thereby rendering them capable of repositioning their 
branches and roots in appropriate directions, insofar as trees 
possess physical, but not psychological consciousness.



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