Essay Immortality Soul Suicide
Scientists and philosophers in 2018 are, as of this writing, in agreement over one of the most profound mysteries of living: no one knows how the mind “emerges” from the brain. We’re then told about our ability to abstract things and that this ability points to a soul.We meet someone named “Tim” and we get to know this person as an abstraction derived from the material reality of “Tim” being a man in the world, and so “this essential ‘form’ abstracted by the intellect is a reality.You did.” This sensation of being stimulated to do something but to not feel in control of the doing prompts neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield to say “there is no place in the brain that can ‘cause a patient to believe or decide’.”But here’s the problem.That Penfield could stimulate a brain to “deceive” a person with epilepsy but to then say we can’t locate the place in the brain that can “cause a patient to believe or decide” doesn’t give license to the idea that there is something mysterious in an extra-natural way that accounts for how we believe or decide. The mind most certainly resides “in” the brain, but nobody has the foggiest idea where, if “resides” is even the right word to use (I suspect it isn’t: instead of being in one location, the mind is probably an across-the-brain activity of emergence).Staples reminds us that the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines death as “…the separation of the soul from the body” to which Staples says is an “excellent definition.” It is not.
He also directly experiences the “I” that unifies all that he is and all that he has done down through the decades of his life.A simple online search for the definition of “death” yields better definitions: “the end of the life of a person or organism” (I’ll accept that) and “the permanent ending of vital processes in a cell or tissue” (even better).To say death entails “the separation of the soul from the body” is to once again speak in terms of a given: that we have souls, the existence of which Staples still hasn’t established at this point in his piece.Flew was certainly not alone in his struggle with the concept of the natural immortality of the human soul.(I say “natural” because human beings uniquely possess an immortal soul by nature.should be the first order of business before discussing a soul’s supposed natural immortality. Staples begins his piece with some throat-clearing about Antony Flew and about how Flew went from being an atheist to becoming a deist.Staples points out that while Flew spoke warmly of Christianity — “I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honored and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true” — Flew not only never accepted Christianity “or any of the distinctively Christian teachings like the inspiration of Scripture, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the incarnation of Christ, etc.,” he “also never came to accept the immortality of the human soul.” Notice that Staples didn’t write “never came to accept the Dr.And if the soul is spiritual, it has to be immortal.It cannot be “reduced to its component parts.”The human soul not only abstracts the forms of material entities encountered, but it also has the power to know the ideas or “forms” of immaterial realities like logical sequence, moral goodness, property rights, philosophical categories like “substance,” cause and effect, and more.This “I” represents the individual “person” that constitutes each human being. I would argue that the distinction is illusory: “the soul” is a religious stand-in for “the mind.” Mind is self and self is mind — and this sense of “I” is rooted in our self-awareness: no supplemental “soul” is needed to experience or explain that “inner” sensation of being a self in the world.Is there a distinction between the soul and the person? Staples then points to the electrical stimulation of people with epilepsy and how this stimulation get can get people to move their limbs but that the surprised stricken individuals would say things to the doctors like “I didn’t do that.