Getting down to the 'soul' of it
Supernatural Synchronicity has already in it's first few weeks really challenged me as a writer. I feel Ashley is really bringing out some interesting thought processes in myself I didn't even know were there. His latest piece 'Ghosts of the mind' follows on from my mention of the Philip Experiment and leads onto the Mothman Prophecies which if I am going to be honest, I've had a fascination with long before I started researching the paranormal field. It is all in the name of trying to determine where paranormal activity is actually coming from. While we have looked at the pineal gland and telepathy, we also can't ignore the fact that it could all be a complete fabrication of our mind, something which skeptics actively argue.
Can 'ghosts' be explained by science?
I have created a whole series on explanations for supposed paranormal activity called 'Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need To Know'. Quite a lot of it comes down to brain function and how it processes information. We know that the brain can trick us into seeing faces in mist. We know that the brain can make us think that we hear a voice that is really just static. We know that a certain frequency of sound can make our eyeball vibrate to the point that we experience the feeling of being watched. When the brain cannot process what it doesn't know, it wings it. It doesn't like the unfamiliar and it makes us feel uncomfortable when it has trouble processing information. These feelings are often mistaken for something paranormal because again it is the 'unknown'. It is no wonder that skeptics thrive on this information as there are theories and explanations for almost everything, and it almost always comes back to the brain and how it can be 'tricking us'. When you get to the nitty gritty of actually looking at studies, while there are explanations and scientific theories in place, in some instances, science is unable to replicate or explain certain phenomena without any doubt or possible variables in the explanations.
Is it intelligent or residual?
Paranormal investigators generally classify what they consider a haunting into different areas. The two most common areas are what we call intelligent and residual hauntings. What may surprise you is that people also tend to classify spirits and ghosts into different categories as well. A ghost is considered to be a residual energy. It is like a playback of a past event - usually thought to be something traumatic. It is stuck in a loop of replay. As it is a playback, it is something that people believe they can detect, but not communicate with. It is left over energy. An intelligent haunting is what people also refer to as a spirit. This is what is considered to be the energy of a person who was once living and has now passed over. For whatever reason, they have been unable to cross over to whatever place it is a soul goes. While I know I myself speculate if a 'spirit' is perhaps us or caused by the power of our mind, a lot of the mainstream general population believe it has something to do with a person's soul.
What is our soul?
In Ancient Egypt, they believed the soul was made up of several elements that was created as an eternal force which lived inside every living being. In order for all the different parts of the soul to function, they believed a body needed to be in tact which is why mummification was such an essential part of their burials.
- The Khat was referred to as our physical body which when it becomes a corpses. is our connection between the soul to our earthly life.
- The Ka is our astral self and is what most people in today's society consider to be the soul
- The Ba is our means of traveling between the Earths and the Heavens once passed by way of a human headed bird. There is a Ba linked to each physical body. It could travel to the heavens but also return to Earth to visit loved ones.
- The Shuyet is the shadow of the soul and represents comfort and protection
- The Akh is your immortal higher self created from the magical union of the Ka and the Ba and is considered an enlightened spirit. The Akh could return to Earth to haunt the living if they have done something bad or appear in the dreams of loved ones who needed help or guidance
- The Sahu was the part of the Akh which was capable of appearing in the dreams of loved ones
- The Sechem represents the power to control a person's surroundings and outcomes
- The Ab is the heart and represents good and evil and is what defines a person' character.
- The Ren is a person's secret name that was given to them by the Gods and is only known by the gods
Source: Ancient History Encyclopedia
Greek Philosopher Plato's views on the human soul were that our very existence on Earth was a mere shadow of some kind of higher existence. Our body was just a vessel and if anything was in some ways restricting the full capabilities of our soul from reaching a higher plain or a higher form of consciousness - something which I hear a lot of today through spiritual circles. He believed that a soul goes from human to human which is what would explain for some the idea of past lives.
Either death is a state of nothingness and utter consciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is to gain; for eternity is then only a single night.
Another Greek Philosopher Socrates who was a supposed teacher of Plato, believed that a person's soul was immortal. Death was not the end of a person's existence but marks the separation of the soul from the physical body.
“Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.”
Catholic theologian Saint Augustine believed that the soul was also immortal and that the body and the soul is what makes up a human. He didn't necessarily believe that a soul transferred from physical body to physical body.
when speaking of God, no one should think of him as something corporeal; nor yet of the soul, for of all things the soul is nearest to God.
You see even hundreds of years BC philosophers were discussing the same things we talk about today in regards to the mind, the body and the afterlife. These people considered themselves to be dualists.
Of course it wouldn't be Supernatural Synchronicity if things didn't come around full circle. Ashley mentioned in his very first article of Supernatural Synchronicity about Descartes dualism when we were exploring the source of psychical phenomena.
I believe it was Rene Descartes who’s philosophy on the distinction between the mind and body started the debate, which is still evident today on ‘mind-body dualism.’ This for me highlighted a concept where on one hand you have the physical body, the brain; which follow physical laws of nature. However as this construct gives rise to our consciousness perhaps, then the non-physical element of the mind exists. If then the mind is non-physical and can exist beyond the physical body, then the concept of survival becomes more of a reality.
So is a ghost or spirit really just our soul living on in what we consider to be the survival hypothesis? Is there a reason that the general population for centuries have believed this or is it more than we are so influenced by religion and our ancestors that we just haven't really questioned it? That is what this series is all about, it is about asking the questions that make us think. So now once again it is over to Ashley to continue our discussion. In the mean time, I would love to hear your thoughts below. What do you think about our soul? Do you think a spirit or ghost is the soul of a person who has passed away? What do you think happens to our soul when we die? Does it jump to another body or does it reach a higher plain of existence or enlightenment? Join the conversation!
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