The early Greek philosophers struggled to define the soul in a way that made sense and helped people to understand themselves and perhaps – why they did what they did. In this day and age, some authorities are defining faculties of animals that are similar to the human, and this is having unforeseen consequences. We see the beginning of developing the capacity of the soul.
The mind is a general term for the way a person that thinks, reasons, perceives, wills, and feels. The early Greek philosophers considered perceiving, feeling, desire and movement as part of the soul. Aristotle taught that if it is alive, then it has a soul. Different forms of life have different souls … plants and trees have nutritive souls that have nourishment, growth and decay. Beasts – animals, have sensitive souls, which has perception, the functions of the five senses. This perception distinguishes animals from plants and trees, for Aristotle taught that nothing alive is an animal unless it can perceive.
So we begin to see that the early philosophers were trying to distinguish different forms of life through what they were capable of doing, and in this case, it looks somewhat close to categories of life with being and awareness. They (the philosophers) were also struggling with consciousness – and self awareness – and which forms of life are self aware. While this may all look silly and vague, some states in the USA have passed legislation that animals (pets, mainly) are sentient and have feelings.
In case you think this is odd, examine the photo below. The monkey took a selfie.
There was a series of disputes about the copyright status of selfies taken by Celebes crested macaques using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater. It went to court, there were appeals, and finally, the courts decided that non-humans could not hold copyright. While this is funny, other developments could lead to newly defined legal actions for hurting animals. This all builds on the works of the philosophers with consciousness and self awareness, and the different kinds of souls as Aristotle was pointing out.
Now that we have raised the notion of the selfie, what is it that distinguishes humans from animals? Can animals think? Are animals self-aware as the photograph above seems to imply? Aristotle said that the soul enables the human to think, know and suppose. He makes the human a rational animal, with a rational soul that includes nutritive and perceptive powers illustrated earlier.
We could offer a little metaphor to show how Aristotle was building up the profile of the soul. We know we need food, and when we are hungry, we look for food (nutrition), we see the food (perception), we move to get it and prepare it (rational) and feed the body. Many Greek philosophers – Aristotle included – said that these acts were all functions or properties of the soul. The soul cannot exist without a body, it is a vital, active principle that informs the body, and gives it a particular life and configuration.
The Philosopher went on to build a case for discrimination using sweetness and white!
Sweetness is a taste felt when sugars are in the food. Most people consider sweetness to be a pleasant taste.
White is linked with light, goodness, innocence, purity, cleanliness and virginity. It is sometimes thought to be the color of perfection.
This was to illustrate the unity of consciousness, which could be aware – using perception – of objects with different properties. Sweetness is perceived through taste whereas colour is perceived through sight. Does the soul have the ability to discriminate or is this part of the intellect? These were important questions when the early philosophers were building a profile of human nature and its properties, if one could put it that way.
With the works of the Greek philosophers, we begin to see development of the capacity of the soul, vis-a-vis movement, desire, knowing, supposing and thinking. We know that we have a soul, a life-force within. Does this give life to the mind, does this give self-awareness to the human? Is this the place of the intellect, that which makes the human a rational animal? These are questions that unfolded down through the ages and come to us today, in this age of light, in these days of Ascension.
In these days of Ascension, many experience an awakening of psychic faculties within. How are these related to the soul? Are clairvoyance, clairaudience, awareness of the higher dimensions and having an aura around the body in any way related to the soul? These are relevant questions, unfolding as they are for us, just as the questions unfolding for the Greek philosophers were relevant for their time, their civilisation.
Earlier we mentioned the Oversoul and its many sparks hived off to have experiences in varied life-forms and circumstances. Circumstances of family, environment, gender, colour, intellectual capacity – or lack thereof – or even, disability, autism, blindness. What is it that nourishes the soul? How do we feed our souls? We feed the body (usually) three times a day, morning, noon and night. How then, do we nourish and feed our souls?
What are the experiences the soul has come to have? How do we know that we have had our certain experiences and fulfilled our soul contracts, the soul’s blueprint in this life? These – and other questions – we will delve into as we continue on the Journey of the Soul.
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