This was a question poked at me whilst we were sitting in a circle enjoying a water/tobacco/whatever else you choose in five minutes break this afternoon. Wierdly, this question caught me rather off guard. The asker of the question was Matt Dravich, our fearless leader, and from what I have been able to gather, a man who, I suspect, has done most of the things my parents used to warn me about when I was a kid.
"What? What are you talking about?".
"I'm pretty sure you're probably the only person in this circle who has a soul.. So have you got one?".
"Errm.. Well.. I suppose so? I've not ever really thought about that question".
(Someone else somewhere in there "I don't, I sold mine ages ago..!").
And so forth, and so forth. I thought it was an interesting little exchange, as you broke down what was really going on in the conversation. Matt, who think of himself as having most things figured out, was really asking me something along the lines of either:-
a) Do you believe in a deity?
b) Do you believe in a form of spirituality?
c) Do you believe that you consist of more than muscles, flesh and blood?
Or something like that. And the more I think about it, the more the paradox of the situation emerges.
To ask someone "Do you have a soul?" is such a strange thing. In conventional Christian spirituality (or that which I grew up around), a person is made up primarily of three parts, the Body, Soul and Spirit. The body, of course was the fleshly component. The Spirit is that which communicates with God and deals with everything thus related, and the soul is where our emotions are played out. So, in this context, to ask one if they have a soul, is essentially asking "do you experience emotion". Interestingly enough, this is what I felt like I was being asked at first. I simply felt like I was unable to answer the question. I suppose, upon consideration, this was because it just felt so absurd.
Even then, I was playing it out in my head.. "That boys got SOUL!" sprung to mind.. How does this question come to play then? Would my declaration of being without a soul mean that I would become thus incapable of wailing out a blues solo with the required 'soul' to make it come alive? "That's not what I'm talking about..". Oh yes? Then the two are completely seperate are they?
It really makes me think.. Okay, so I am the first to confess that these days I halt for a second when I describe my religious beliefs as "Christian", as I find the category so broad, and containing so much that I find completely intolerable. But even still, I find it so weird to think that people think that everything we are comes from nothing more than a few liters of blood pumping around a fleshy bag of bones and muscle. The brain is an amazing organ, but surely it is simply an instrument for something greater to play out it's instructions to a corresponding body?
So, do I have a soul? What does that mean??
Time to check the Mac dictionary...
1 the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
• a person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity : in the depths of her soul, she knew he would betray her.
• the essence of something : integrity is the soul of intellectual life.
• emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, esp. as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance : their interpretation lacked soul.
Well. That was easy. Yes. I believe I do.
Matt. Go read dictionaries sometime. You knob.