Tag Archives: theory

When does a soul get created?

As a Buddhist, I do not believe in souls. Talk to most people – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and even Buddhists – and they talk as though something survives after death. Such is the power and attraction of the concept of the soul.

Out of curiosity, I asked an American Muslim when is the soul created. He said, “at the moment of conception”. And thereafter it remains either in Heaven or Hell (and also Purgatory if you are Roman Catholic). So the mystery, it seems to me, is that the eternal soul did not start off as eternal but was created out of the grace of God or gods (of which again in Buddhism are concepts).

The problem here is that we have no evidence for these, only that of the textual sources, and not any independent or direct proof of souls and gods as such. Apart from being told by someone else, namely the sacred texts and by those who believe in word of the sacred texts, there is no other proof. Buddhism’s claim that everything is impermanent can be verified by observation. While we cannot observe everything, the weight of non-contrary evidence is substantial. Inferential logic tells us that the soul is perhaps one of these “things” which stands counter to impermanence even though no one can show us any evidence for its existence.

This alone should sound off alarm bells in your head.

While I do not have a problem with the concept of the soul, I do have problem with the belief in the existence of a soul. But at the same time, it is normal to think and believe that such a thing exists. This is something humans do very well, and perhaps defines us from other animals. But it is also natural that some for the human species (Buddhists) to “see through” it, that is, to understand the nature of it.

So it is baffling that in this day and age, where our understanding of the natural physical world has progressed this far, to be still caught in the grips of such an illusion. Powerful indeed is this illusion, passed on from generation to generation through speech and action.

Souls are not created. The concept of a soul is. The concept is perpetuated by its continued reinforcement. The root is therefore in the nature of words and not in the nature of the thing.

Trade offs

Chess is like life: the trade offs are never one-to-one and never black and white. Sometimes they are similar trade offs. At other times they can be for material, temporal or positional advantages.

Waste not a single moment

Chess is like life: you must not waste time and start to prepare from the very first move. If you get behind you may find it hard to catch up later.

SNS and real life

Most people tend to forget that SNS is a part of (modern) life, and should be dealt with in the same way as life.

What you wouldn’t do in real life you shouldn’t do on SNS either. This should be a general rule of thumb.

Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you is another rule.

On the id, superego and ego

There are conditions and your reaction to these conditions. The conditions are 1) what you want to do, 2) what your society wants you to do, and 3) what you decide to do and do in response to your desires and society. Freud called your desires id, societal pressures superego and your decisions ego. There should a balance for all of these. Otherwise there are problems.

Another way to put this is that the id is the internal world, the superego the external world, and the ego view and interaction of the internal and external worlds.

Id, ego, superego

Life is complicated. There are so many things we need to tend to. And Sigmund Freud understood this in simpler (or more complex) terms.

In talking of the psyche of people used the terms id, ego and superego. Basically, the id is what you want (your desires, wants and needs). The superego is what is expected and demanded of you from society. And the ego is what you do when taking into consideration of the superego (pressures from society and culture) and the id (your personal urges). These three need to be balanced for a person’s well-being.

The equality of objectivity

In objectivity everything has a value of 1. The problem is that it has a value. Choosing an equal value for everything is in itself a value-ladened choice, no different to choice unequal values.