This NPR essay got me thinking about the nature of the soul.
I once believed as this woman does, that the soul is a ghost in the machine, a thinking, feeling beam of light that's temporarily trapped in a crafty prison of meat. Now I believe otherwise; the still-mysterious interaction of the electricity arcing between our uncharted synapses and modulated by myriad hormonal reactions suggests that what we call the soul proceeds directly from our biochemistry. This in no way refutes or diminishes the idea of the Soul, so why dismiss it as abruptly as, for example, that NPR commentator does? As one of my cyberaquaintances puts it, 2+2=4 unless that makes someone sad. The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on the Soul shudders at the thought that the Soul might be impossible apart from the body since that would work against the idea of a supernatural afterlife. I sniff a certain Pauline hatred (or at least mistrust) of the material, organic world here. Doesn't the New Testament speak of putting on new bodies in heaven? My belief that the Soul is a mystical expression for the biochemical arc of electricity through the brain is no refutation of the afterlife if one regards the body as hardware and the Soul as software. That may sound like the Ghost in the Machine argument, but it's different because it requires the hardware as a means for the software to function, while ghost in the machine regards the body as unneccesary. I'd like to think there's plenty of substantial literature on this subject, and I'm sorry that I haven't done the reading. But neither has that NPR commentator, and she got on NPR.