A few definitions

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lorenzop
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A few definitions

Post by lorenzop »

There are words and phrases bandied about - and I'm wondering how folks employ them. For example the word 'soul'.

Some regard the soul as the immortal aspect of an individual, perhaps the inner-most thoughts, desires and feelings of a person.
Does the soul evolve, or, is the soul the highest\purest aspect of an individual we actualize? Is a soul born, or is the soul immortal, if immortal can it also be subject to modification? Ashwin, in your essay you alluded to the configuration of a soul, and implied maturation soul . . . is a soul born\created, if so when?
I don't use the word 'soul' because I'm not sure how to use the word - and I have little idea how another person might use the word.
,Another word I question the use of is 'spiritual'. I use the word spiritual to refer to the transcendental unbounded aspect of life, that which has no relative properties or attributes. Spiritual, having no essence or identity, Buddhists refer to That as Emptiness . . . being the Source of all Hindus refer to That as Fullness.
Everything else is the 'relative'.
Folks here refer to certain entities, processes as 'spiritual' . . . what is your definition of spiritual such that the word still has meaning and utility?
Federica
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Re: A few definitions

Post by Federica »

lorenzop wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:42 pm There are words and phrases bandied about - and I'm wondering how folks employ them. For example the word 'soul'.

Some regard the soul as the immortal aspect of an individual, perhaps the inner-most thoughts, desires and feelings of a person.
Does the soul evolve, or, is the soul the highest\purest aspect of an individual we actualize? Is a soul born, or is the soul immortal, if immortal can it also be subject to modification? Ashwin, in your essay you alluded to the configuration of a soul, and implied maturation soul . . . is a soul born\created, if so when?
I don't use the word 'soul' because I'm not sure how to use the word - and I have little idea how another person might use the word.
,Another word I question the use of is 'spiritual'. I use the word spiritual to refer to the transcendental unbounded aspect of life, that which has no relative properties or attributes. Spiritual, having no essence or identity, Buddhists refer to That as Emptiness . . . being the Source of all Hindus refer to That as Fullness.
Everything else is the 'relative'.
Folks here refer to certain entities, processes as 'spiritual' . . . what is your definition of spiritual such that the word still has meaning and utility?

Lorenzo, as Ashvin has described in the last essay, sometimes we search for definitions, but that doesn’t get us very far in terms of real comprehension.

It’s as if I asked you: “What does it really mean 1,840,000 rapeseed flowers in a field?” And you told me: “It means 2 times 920,000 flowers, like 2 fields side by side with 920,000 flowers each. That’s the definition.” And at first, I may feel: “Ok, at least I have something, a formula that I can refer to, and use to discuss about flowers in fields, in case the conversation is about fields with 1,840,000 flowers".

But then, if I really think about it, I may realize that this definition doesn’t help me at all. It's an empty addition of words, that doesn't sum up to much meaning. I still have no sense of what I'm talking about. What would help me instead is to go visit a rapeseed plantation, and that the farmer tells me: “See? This field is about 200,000 plants. As you can see here, each plant has about 10 flowers on it. So you are looking at a yellow mass of about 2 million flowers”. Then yes, I would have a meaningful experience of what 1,840,000 rapeseed flowers may look like and feel, approximately.

The same is true for the definition of concepts, like 'soul'. It’s best to try to introspect first, and try to sense what your soul feels like, then put it in some words, it doesn't matter if it feels approximate and arbitrary. It will be your experience, that is a great starting point. Only then you would be able to make the most of someone else’s definition of soul, or Steiner’s definition. Then you would be much more able to get what others say about 'soul', able to use the word in relation to other concepts and ideas. Otherwise it would be only an exchange of words. A replacement of one word with some other words, and neigher would be connected to an experience of meaning.

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So, if someone put a gun against your head, and ordered you to reflect for one minute on your soul, and then write down your provisional definition in a few words, what would you write?
The reason why it is impossible to observe thinking in the actual moment of its occurrence is the very same which makes it possible for us to know it more immediately and more intimately thany any other process in the world.
lorenzop
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Re: A few definitions

Post by lorenzop »

Federico, I get what you are suggesting re introspection, true and honest introspection can reveal differences between what we believe and what we know . . .
However when engaged in a conversation or reading an essay it’s useful to know how other folks use Cerberus and words.
I think this site could benefit from a ‘glossary’.
Re ‘soul’, for myself, I don’t find a ‘soul’ except as 1 or more thoughts about a self. IOW, I don’t find an independent entity or ‘soul’ that thinks and feels, but rather, the occasional, and often in retrospect, a set of thoughts and feelings about a soul.
So I would use the word ‘soul’ as the inner most desires and feelings of a being, A malleable and evolving configuration that can be applied to a being, and perhaps a family, a nation and etc.
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AshvinP
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Re: A few definitions

Post by AshvinP »

lorenzop wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:42 pm There are words and phrases bandied about - and I'm wondering how folks employ them. For example the word 'soul'.

Some regard the soul as the immortal aspect of an individual, perhaps the inner-most thoughts, desires and feelings of a person.
Does the soul evolve, or, is the soul the highest\purest aspect of an individual we actualize? Is a soul born, or is the soul immortal, if immortal can it also be subject to modification? Ashwin, in your essay you alluded to the configuration of a soul, and implied maturation soul . . . is a soul born\created, if so when?
I don't use the word 'soul' because I'm not sure how to use the word - and I have little idea how another person might use the word.
,Another word I question the use of is 'spiritual'. I use the word spiritual to refer to the transcendental unbounded aspect of life, that which has no relative properties or attributes. Spiritual, having no essence or identity, Buddhists refer to That as Emptiness . . . being the Source of all Hindus refer to That as Fullness.
Everything else is the 'relative'.
Folks here refer to certain entities, processes as 'spiritual' . . . what is your definition of spiritual such that the word still has meaning and utility?

Lorenzo,

What Federica said is very important and cannot be underestimated in our search for understanding. A critical part of what we speak about here is to experience our spirit being liberated from definitional molds such that the word-symbols become its instruments for orienting to the complicated flow of experience, rather than being completely conditioned by the definitions and forced to flow in a limited palette of mental states whenever it comes across the word 'soul' or 'spirit'. We should be able to fluidly negotiate with different conceptual symbols for inner experiences, just as we can orient to the experience of "love" with many different linguistic and imagistic symbols from different languages and cultures that provide 'snapshots' of the inner experience from varied angles.

Your comment above already shows you have introspected these domains to some extent. You refer to the soul as our innermost thoughts, desires, feelings (and we can also add sensations). Notice how these are all nouns - things that can be made the object of perception, i.e. that we can think about. We can reflect on our thoughts, desires, feelings, sensations. These are qualities that have already flowed through our perspective and into the 'past', they have been actualized within our stream of experience.

On the other hand, you recognize the 'spiritual' has been more associated with processes, verbs. It is the activity that organizes and coheres the fragmented perceptual landscape, but which cannot be encompassed as another perception. As soon as we try to encompass that activity, there is new activity that is doing the encompassing and remains imperceptible (that is why it can also be characterized as no-thingness). This activity flows from the 'future' domains of potential experience and gets narrowed down into actualized soul qualities over time.

The soul and spirit have traditionally been distinguished as the feminine and masculine aspects of the Divine, which were split apart through the Fall and are seeking each other out for a Cosmic Marriage through free human activity. This is the fundamental axis of percept-concept (or perception-intuition) that is discussed in PoF as well.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
lorenzop
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Re: A few definitions

Post by lorenzop »

I am not disparaging the role of introspection by suggesting to clarify terms in a conversation. For example, two persons could have an extended conversation about football, yet one person is thinking European football (soccer), and the other is thinking American football. A 'simple' clarification of term can go a long way.
I tend to agree with your comments above, the 'spirit' of your comments, that 'soul' and 'spirit' don't really have a singular definition or meaning, especially through time and across cultures and religions.
Marco also uses the word 'soul' without definition (as far I could find).
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AshvinP
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Re: A few definitions

Post by AshvinP »

lorenzop wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 3:40 am I am not disparaging the role of introspection by suggesting to clarify terms in a conversation. For example, two persons could have an extended conversation about football, yet one person is thinking European football (soccer), and the other is thinking American football. A 'simple' clarification of term can go a long way.
I tend to agree with your comments above, the 'spirit' of your comments, that 'soul' and 'spirit' don't really have a singular definition or meaning, especially through time and across cultures and religions.
Marco also uses the word 'soul' without definition (as far I could find).

Alright, but taking the provisional characterizations provided above, does this help you follow any of the posts that discuss 'spiritual activity' or 'soul life' better?
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
lorenzop
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:29 pm

Re: A few definitions

Post by lorenzop »

AshvinP wrote: Sun May 12, 2024 1:07 am
lorenzop wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 3:40 am I am not disparaging the role of introspection by suggesting to clarify terms in a conversation. For example, two persons could have an extended conversation about football, yet one person is thinking European football (soccer), and the other is thinking American football. A 'simple' clarification of term can go a long way.
I tend to agree with your comments above, the 'spirit' of your comments, that 'soul' and 'spirit' don't really have a singular definition or meaning, especially through time and across cultures and religions.
Marco also uses the word 'soul' without definition (as far I could find).

Alright, but taking the provisional characterizations provided above, does this help you follow any of the posts that discuss 'spiritual activity' or 'soul life' better?
I get that the words 'soul' and 'spirit' don't have specific meanings - kind of my point and why I'm reluctant to use the terms. You didn't really attend to how you use the terms.
If I had to guess how the 3 Musketeers (Ashwin\Cleric\Federica) I'd guess the souls is the thinking\feeling inner aspect of an individual being that evolves over multiple lifetimes.
However, it could be the classical Christian use of 'soul', what I was taught in Sunday school . . . the soul spends a brief time on earth and then an eternity either clawing in misery in Baggage Class (Hell), or an eternity in First Class - reunions with God, dead pets, and golfing in sunny weather (Heaven).
Or it could be a more contemporary secular interpretation . . . the soul of an individual, family, culture or nation - having a soul (not really being one) which senses or recognizes there's Somethin Bigger than ourselves, which could be God, or Nature, or the Force, etc.
Federica
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Re: A few definitions

Post by Federica »

lorenzop wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 1:31 am
AshvinP wrote: Sun May 12, 2024 1:07 am
lorenzop wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 3:40 am I am not disparaging the role of introspection by suggesting to clarify terms in a conversation. For example, two persons could have an extended conversation about football, yet one person is thinking European football (soccer), and the other is thinking American football. A 'simple' clarification of term can go a long way.
I tend to agree with your comments above, the 'spirit' of your comments, that 'soul' and 'spirit' don't really have a singular definition or meaning, especially through time and across cultures and religions.
Marco also uses the word 'soul' without definition (as far I could find).

Alright, but taking the provisional characterizations provided above, does this help you follow any of the posts that discuss 'spiritual activity' or 'soul life' better?
I get that the words 'soul' and 'spirit' don't have specific meanings - kind of my point and why I'm reluctant to use the terms. You didn't really attend to how you use the terms.
If I had to guess how the 3 Musketeers (Ashwin\Cleric\Federica) I'd guess the souls is the thinking\feeling inner aspect of an individual being that evolves over multiple lifetimes.
However, it could be the classical Christian use of 'soul', what I was taught in Sunday school . . . the soul spends a brief time on earth and then an eternity either clawing in misery in Baggage Class (Hell), or an eternity in First Class - reunions with God, dead pets, and golfing in sunny weather (Heaven).
Or it could be a more contemporary secular interpretation . . . the soul of an individual, family, culture or nation - having a soul (not really being one) which senses or recognizes there's Somethin Bigger than ourselves, which could be God, or Nature, or the Force, etc.



I suggest that you consider Spirit and Soul in the following way, Lorenzo.
Let's imagine there are three people: persons A, B and C. They all already use the words “spirit” and “soul”, but their grasping of the Realities of Spirit and Soul are different for each of them, because, in the Reality of their Individual Inner Nature, they are able to touch the Realities of Spirit and Soul only in part, each with their own limitations. To improve that, the one thing they can all do is inner work - like we are doing here, thinking through these ideas interactively, or in meditation, everyone by oneself.



Image



So these three persons have different starting positions, and could all improve their understanding of the realities of spirit and soul. And here you can see that definitions won’t help per se, because Person A can tell person B to replace one word (say, spirit) with a set of new words (spirit is… bla bla bla), but if person B doesn’t go to the introspective space (where the violet and magenta circles are found), and doesn’t try to make himself into liquid clay, and pour himself into the Realities of Spirit and Soul, to know them, then the words will remain words, with very little meaning capacity.

Because definitions (words) per se don’t hold much power to pin down inner realities. It’s only when we do an active work in the introspective space, that we can make meaning, by using our own inner powers to probe the realities that we find there. Then, yes, we can call a certain reality "Spirit", so we can communicate with one another. Words, by themselves, are not meaningful. We have to make them meaningful, by going to the introspective space (which exists beyond the words) and doing some work in there.

For example, if I tell someone that “spiritual activity” can be defined as an activity we can do, which doesn't necessarily need to make use of the five senses (hence we can also call it “super-sensible activity”) this may sound very paranormal and occult to that person, if no experimental inner work is done to explore that area of the Reality of Spirit.
Or, the person can sit down a second, close their eyes, go to the introspective space, and see if there is anything they can do without using sight, hearing, taste, etc. For example, they can picture the face of a dear one in their mind. All five senses can be checked off here: they are actually not required for that activity. The person is now doing something, that can be defined supersensible, that is, above the level of the five senses. Now the person will know. The person will have made the definition meaningful. Then, it all feels much less paranormal, because the person has now really taken the chance to literally go to the supersensible space and experiment. The person has visualized a face, and has found that the senses were not necessary, by doing direct work (phenomenology), not through definitions or beliefs. If one only sticks with the words of a definition, but doesn’t go to the inner space to find out some reality, a knowing/understanding like this can never be achieved.



PS. The three Musketeers: That was a nice metaphor, Lorenzo :) which I believe could be taken a bit further, in terms of who is who :D (Main Characters section to browser translate)
The reason why it is impossible to observe thinking in the actual moment of its occurrence is the very same which makes it possible for us to know it more immediately and more intimately thany any other process in the world.
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AshvinP
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Re: A few definitions

Post by AshvinP »

lorenzop wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 1:31 am
AshvinP wrote: Sun May 12, 2024 1:07 am
lorenzop wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 3:40 am I am not disparaging the role of introspection by suggesting to clarify terms in a conversation. For example, two persons could have an extended conversation about football, yet one person is thinking European football (soccer), and the other is thinking American football. A 'simple' clarification of term can go a long way.
I tend to agree with your comments above, the 'spirit' of your comments, that 'soul' and 'spirit' don't really have a singular definition or meaning, especially through time and across cultures and religions.
Marco also uses the word 'soul' without definition (as far I could find).

Alright, but taking the provisional characterizations provided above, does this help you follow any of the posts that discuss 'spiritual activity' or 'soul life' better?
I get that the words 'soul' and 'spirit' don't have specific meanings - kind of my point and why I'm reluctant to use the terms. You didn't really attend to how you use the terms.
If I had to guess how the 3 Musketeers (Ashwin\Cleric\Federica) I'd guess the souls is the thinking\feeling inner aspect of an individual being that evolves over multiple lifetimes.
However, it could be the classical Christian use of 'soul', what I was taught in Sunday school . . . the soul spends a brief time on earth and then an eternity either clawing in misery in Baggage Class (Hell), or an eternity in First Class - reunions with God, dead pets, and golfing in sunny weather (Heaven).
Or it could be a more contemporary secular interpretation . . . the soul of an individual, family, culture or nation - having a soul (not really being one) which senses or recognizes there's Somethin Bigger than ourselves, which could be God, or Nature, or the Force, etc.

What about the noun/verb comparison for the soul/spirit distinction? Think about the wind blowing ripples across the surface of the water, where 'you' are merged with the water. We have to use our imagination a little bit here. Some invisible activity blows patterns of ripples and you experience that as sensations, desires, feelings, thoughts. Whatever that invisible activity is which stirs your inner experience, is what we refer to as 'spirit', while the inner experiences themselves (the patterns of ripples) comprise the 'soul'. There is no need to try and correspond these experiential distinctions with abstract concepts from religious traditions or with other metaphysical abstractions. Can you sense there is an inner distinction here between the 'wind' and the 'ripple patterns'?
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
lorenzop
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:29 pm

Re: A few definitions

Post by lorenzop »

AshvinP wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 5:14 pm
What about the noun/verb comparison for the soul/spirit distinction? Think about the wind blowing ripples across the surface of the water, where 'you' are merged with the water. We have to use our imagination a little bit here. Some invisible activity blows patterns of ripples and you experience that as sensations, desires, feelings, thoughts. Whatever that invisible activity is which stirs your inner experience, is what we refer to as 'spirit', while the inner experiences themselves (the patterns of ripples) comprise the 'soul'. There is no need to try and correspond these experiential distinctions with abstract concepts from religious traditions or with other metaphysical abstractions. Can you sense there is an inner distinction here between the 'wind' and the 'ripple patterns'?
Here and in your writings you are using the term 'soul' as the ever evolving process of inner activity, thinking and feeling.
In the 'East' or 'Perennial Philosophy', the soul is named or referred to as the Separate Self.
The Separate Self or Soul is not an entity that has will, thinks and feels, the Soul IS the process, the thinking and feeling.
The content of the Soul is fleeting and temporary.
During pure consciousness (Samadhi etc.), when the mind is absorbed in unboundedness, the Soul or Separate Self ceases to be.
In the 'East' the goal is not to banish or eliminate the Separate Self or Soul, but to cease in identifying as Soul or Separate Self.
Identifying as Soul is the cause of suffering.
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