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When does the soul/spirit enter the body?

Discussion in 'General Afterlife Discussions' started by Corey, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. pandora97

    pandora97 Active Member

    The reason that souls do not begin their complex merger with a fetus under three months is quite simply because there is not enough brain tissue for them to work with at this stage.

    I recently saw a documentary about a boy born with only 2% of his brain. Does this mean he was born without a soul?......Or, how much of a brain is enough?:confused:
     
  2. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Presumably "not enough brain tissue to work with" wasn't quantified by those under hypnosis.
     
  3. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    And yet, the question of whether the soul is the life force does have moral implications. Since the human pre-nate is alive from the moment of conception, if aliveness indicates the presence of the soul (a nonphysical self) then for a while that soul is associated with a living body that does not yet have a brain, since a discrete brain doesn't form until later. The first measurable neural activity, which occurs well before there is an actual brain, happens at 5-6 weeks.

    There are several possible ways to think about this.
    1. Soul=animating life force and locus of individual identity (self).
    2. Soul=locus of individual identity; spirit=animating life force. They are not the same thing.
    3. Soul=locus of individual identity; there is no life force.
    4. Life force exists, but soul does not.
    5. Neither soul nor life force exist. (scientific materialism)

    I don't expect anyone here to have much use for 5 but all five are compatible with some conception of afterlife or other (and have been defended by some who believe in an afterlife).
     
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  4. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    It matters little, in my view. A human being is an admix of physical body and something that's not physical that animates it. Soul, spirit, life-force.... Call it what you will; a rose by any other name would smell as sweet or something similar.


    It's a distinction without a difference. Whatever word you use for whatever animates the physical shell, its body, the something-or-other commits to animating it from the point of conception or pretty close to it - we can't be exactly certain about a process we know bugger-all about anyway. The start of the animation of a physical shell may have little relevance to the state of development of the brain. We just don't know.

    They're all interesting points of view. ;)
     
  5. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    If the soul and the life force are different, then a soul-less living human organism is possible; if they are the same, no such possibility exists. That makes it a distinction with a difference.

    Remember the Terry Schiavo case? She was said to be in a permanent vegetative state. Her husband, and the medical doctors, argued that although the body of Terry Schiavo was still living, the person was gone. They didn't talk about souls, but obviously the same claim could be made in terms of souls. You can hardly claim that it's a distinction without a difference. If the fact that she was still alive entails that her soul was still present, withdrawing life support would be an act of homicide, exactly as her family and millions of people insisted. If her soul was gone, withdrawing life support would have been an act of shutting down an untenanted body, which is more in line with what her husband, the doctors, and millions of other people were claiming. There is some fact of the matter, even if we aren't in a position to know what it is. Both positions cannot be true.
     
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  6. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    There is no such distinction in the way I presented what I wrote. Philosophers argue about soul and spirit et al but I have no difficulty.

    I remember the case well and every day there will be similar ones that don't make the headlines. Only today in the UK the life support of a young boy was switched off yet that boy continues (at the time I'm writing) to breathe unaided. We humans have to try to decide what's best in situations we don't understand.


    You're using words that I don't use in ways that I don't use even other words.
     
  7. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    I agree. And a first step toward understanding is to use words as clearly as possible to express our questions, before we can even think about whether we have the right answers. If we are not in a position to know whether soul and life force are identical then I suppose we have a moral obligation to err on the side of caution, which has direct implications for decisions about abortion and end-of-life care.
     
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  8. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    I've been banging on about how words are used both here on ALF and elsewhere online for more years than I care to reflect upon. Folk have fallen out with me and given me a tongue-lashing on various occasions.

    No matter how clearly we try to use any word, if that word is used by someone else to mean a different thing then we'll not move forward.
     
  9. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Take, as an example of usage I find distictly odd, your phrase "untenanted body" Yes I know what you're getting at but the concept is fundamentaly flawed - bodies don't have tenants. Something different, clear, concise and defined is needed.
     
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  10. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    Even if we don't use words in the same way, if we can at least make it somewhat clear how we are using them we have the possibility of "translating". Thomas Aquinas had one way of using the word "soul"; Descartes had a very different way. But we can make meaningful comparisons of what the two of them had to say as long as we keep track of their different ways of using the word (and a lot of other words).

    Returning to the original question of this thread, I've read some mediumistic material (I don't know what else to call it; I'm talking about material that purports to be from deceased mortals, conveyed via mediums) describing a process in which discarnate souls periodically visit the developing fetus before becoming permanently (so to speak) associated with it. I believe this was from some of Chico Xavier's writings, but I'm not sure. In any case, if such a thing is possible it indicates that the soul and the life force or life energy of the developing fetus are distinct. As always, when dealing with this kind of material it's difficult to know what to believe, especially when it's contradicted by other material.
     
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  11. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    I agree, the expression isn't the best, although it does fit at least some ways of seeing the relation between the soul and body, from Plato's time to the present. Plato described the body as a "prison" of the soul. Some modern spiritualistic literature describes the body as the "garment" of the soul. Prisons are tenanted; garments aren't. But since both are metaphors anyway, we can understand that both are getting at some sort of contingent relation between body and soul. The thing that prisons and garments (or "shells" etc.) have in common is the person can leave them behind without ceasing to exist.
     
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  12. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    I'm going to leave you to figure out which words are best used for what purposes. I've been battling forever (it feels) to standardise even the simplest words used in the field we're writing about.
     
  13. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    I'm not much for metaphors in situations such as the one we're discussing. And even the words 'spiritualist' and 'Spiritualist' cause untold disagreement.
     
  14. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Flawed ways!
     
  15. genewardsmith

    genewardsmith Active Member

    When my mother died, I did as I had done before and went into a meditative state to pray for her transition. I immediately got the sense she was already gone. It was just a blank, totally different from the high "vibrations" and sense of attending entities I was familiar with. Of course, I'm not saying that proves anything; I'm just saying.
     
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  16. Amore

    Amore Active Member

    I had the same impression with several animals (pet dogs and cats) I witnessed dying. It seemed for the last hour or so that the soul had already left, while the body was still continuing the process of shutting down. The body felt "flat", like a machine, while the space around it started filling up with more and more peace and calmness.

    I read that this is the same for humans (I think it was mentioned in the afterlife101 transcripts). It makes sense to me that the process of dying includes a period where the soul slowly loosens its attachment with the body, rather than a sudden event of departing it (except possibly in sudden fatal accidents).

    The same might be true for conception - there might not be a specific moment when the soul attaches itself to the fetus, but rather a period where it slowly sinks more and more into it. Possibly a soul waits for a while to see whether the mother decides to abort or whether other problems arise that would terminate the pregnancy before starting the process of incarnating into the fetus.

    @dingodile, thanks for your interesting and fascinating posts! Lot of food for thought.
     
  17. pandora97

    pandora97 Active Member


    Or before completing it......?
     
  18. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Re the highlighted words above, my preference is to say the spirit interpenetrates the fetus signifying that it penetrates throughout the body as opposed to being 'attached' in a certain place.

    On the other point, my thoughts are that a less-experienced spirit (fewer previous incarnations) might engage fully with the developing, immature fetus at a much earlier stage than a more-experienced spirit. Both would be commited to the body they were to animate but the experience of the latter might result in its being able to animate the developing body 'at a distance'. (so to speak) Eventually, of course, it would engage fully and prepare for its new incarnation. By engaging early the less experienced spirit would have longer to familiarise itself with the developing systems it will ultimately control.

    I have long thought that the efficacy of control of a body by the spirit might influence the overall health of the individual. It might also have a bearing on why some individuals survive when others die in otherwise similar circumstances.

    It's difficult to understand whether the possibility of termination would affect the point of complete interpenetration. We know nothing about what any spirit has chosen for its life experience(s) hence we can't know if the possibility/likelihood of termination would be something to be avoided or something it wished to experience, however crazy that might sound.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  19. dingodile

    dingodile Member

    Not to mention the possibility, described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, that not all incarnations are chosen.
     
  20. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    It's a philosophy I'm not subscribed to - chacun a son gout, mi duck.
     
  21. Amore

    Amore Active Member

    FWIW I recently stumbled upon an interesting website called
    Masters of the Spirit World - Channeled Messages from Enlightened Souls in Non-Physical Form
    which is a very interesting read (in questions and answers format).

    Today I found this in a reply to a question:
    When the sperm merges with an ovum, the soul attaches a cord to the developing fetus. It will rarely completely enter the confines of the body until the later stages of gestation or immediately during the birthing process. During the nine months of growth, the baby will spend time at Home saying goodbye to friends and associates, watching what their new family is doing, and getting acclimated to a human body.

    Link: http://www.mastersofthespiritworld.com/?m=201712&paged=2

    (Lots of info on that website on all kinds of topics. I recommend it!)
     

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