The Soul: Re-imagined (supplemental)

Writers write in order to express themselves, and to communicate with other people. Implicit in this expression and communication is the desire to be understood, which is why I'm including a supplemental entry on my blog entry, The Soul: Re-imagined.

As a reader myself, I am aware of how ideas like those presented in the aforementioned blog can get convoluted over the course of a 1000+ word exposition. While I took great pains to present The Soul: Re-imagined in a cohesive, comprehensible way, I also realize it might be an idea better presented as fiction, or as a summary of essential statements.

For this supplemental entry, I've chosen the latter method - a summary - to communicate the salient concepts presented in the essay.
  • Whether as a consequence of physical biology, because of innate psychological processes, or a combination of these and other factors, it is fair to conjecture that humans have a need to believe
  • Proclivity towards belief has been studied scientifically in young human children, and the findings suggest that people of all ages tend to favor explanations of the world which imply design or purpose.
  • This need to believe has led to the externalization and the objectification of various systems of truth, whether religious, scientific, political, moral or cultural in nature. 
  • Implicit in this need to believe is the notion that these systems exist independent of human participation, and that they represent a form of truth beyond - or outside of - human experience. This notion is a fallacy and a consequence of primitive instinctual reasoning
  • This rift between the physical and the metaphysical (or the material and the spiritual, or matter and energy) is at the root of many conflicts. Obvious demarcations include totems of "good" and "evil", which are held up as objective measures to justify the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an action. 
  • People do not require ideas of "good" or "evil" to be kind or cruel; human nature is sufficient.
  • Personal truth - a consequence of individual experience in the world - or consensual truth - a consolidation of two or more personal truths is neither conclusive or absolute, and must be always evaluated with great care, depending on context, the perceiver(s) and what is being perceived.
  • Ideas of numinous agency in the world are problematic in the 21st century, as many people have objectified the locus of that agency - the soul - suggesting that is separate or distinct from the physical world we experience through our senses.
  • The novel concept of soul proposed here links two seemingly disparate notions in an attempt to reconcile the pervasive duality of the subjective-objective worldview, whilst preserving the beliefs of ancient wisdom traditions and the most recent discoveries of the physical sciences.
  • In his seminal poetic work, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", English poet, artist and mystic William Blake wrote, "Man has no Body [sic] distinct from his Soul [sic] for that calld [sic] Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses [sic]. the [sic] chief inlets of Soul in this age." This statement posits the soul not as some internal organ or divine quality separate from the body, but as the "envelope" containing the body in all its physical expressions.
  • The second tier of this concept of soul utilizes the theory of quantum mechanics and its practical application in the field of quantum computing. Unlike digital computers, which use bits representing 0 and 1 to store information, quantum computers utilize quantum superposition to process data.
  • One of the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics is Walter Heisenberg's uncertainty principal, which states that the more an observer knows about one property of a particle - such as its position - the less can be known about another property, like its velocity.
  • Modern physicists have not been deterred by the uncertainty principal, and today routinely encode information in elementary particles. They accomplish this by avoiding the "sharp" properties defined by the uncertainty principal, and instead make use of quantum superposition, in which a particle exists in all theoretical states simultaneously. 
  • By use of superposition, a quantum bit - or qubit - can assume values between and including 0 and 1, which increases the processing power of quantum computers exponentially.          
  • Applying the cognitive foundations of belief in combination with Blake's metaphysics and the use of superposition in quantum computers, an interesting concept of soul begins to emerge.
  • In this concept, the living, physical body - "the portion of soul discerned by the five senses" - is the proverbial "sharp" property described by the uncertainty principal. Consequently, it contains limited information about soul.
  • Of greater import, the body - like a particle described by quantum superposition - exists in all theoretical states simultaneously. Like the soul that contains it, the body exists temporally (in time) and atemporally (outside time ).
  • If the living, physical body is the "sharp" property of soul, the body "in all its theoretical states" can convey substantive information about the numinous. These states might include the physical body's genetic chemistry, molecular constituents, disintegration after death, conversion to energy, etc.
  • The temporal nature within which these states express themselves is a context governed by physical laws; however, the atemporal nature of these states implies a context within which they are all occurring simultaneously. Both contexts allow for legitimate expressions of soul.
  • Like the living, physical body, the evolving, material universe can also be conceived of as a "sharp" property within the envelope of soul - existing in only one of many theoretically possible states. 
  • This proposition re-frames a concept in quantum theory and mathematics which suggests in a universe of infinite possibility, we are not really here, just more likely to be here. It also satisfies a notion pervasive in the ancient wisdom traditions that the human body is a microcosm of the entire universe.
  • Lastly, the fact that the physical, living body - and the evolving, material universe - exists as it is, instead of existing in another one of innumerable theoretical states, suggests to this writer that perceiver and perceived are in a "state of grace", connected to soul in as many ways as can be imagined.