Do you think that the realization that souls don't exist is actually quite liberating?

I've been discussing this with a Canadian friend of mine, and due to just how much one's consciousness and behavior is altered as a result of brain damage (think of the case of Phineas Gage, or of Alzheimer's disease, or generally dementia) - it is safe to assume that YOU, as in what one identifies as being *themselves*, which accounts to beliefs, skills, knowledge, behavior, identity - that is ALL provided by the brain itself. And if the brain itself is damaged, then all of this is lost.

Considering that at death, our brain stops functioning, then even if there WAS a soul, it would be such an insigificant portion, that whatever that would contain is no longer "you". Our perception is the result of our brain processing signals, so our "soul" then would also be incapable of pain.

Therefore, "eternal damnation and suffering" is IMPOSSIBLE!

I find this to be quite liberating.

What do you think?

  • YES, it is liberating
    Vote A
  • NO, it is not liberating at all
    Vote B
  • ACTUALLY, I was so busy disagreeing with you that I completely disagree with the base assumption in the first place, and gave this question zero thought
    Vote C
    Vote D
    Vote E
    Vote F
Select a gender to cast your vote:
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Most Helpful Girl

  • How do we know souls don't exist though? I think there are far more between heaven and earth, than we have accepted and can prove the existence off. Maybe when we die, it's only our body that is too broken to continue, and our conscience moves on. To where I don't know, since I don't believe in heaven. It's just something we must find out when we die, and if there is nothing then we won't know, because we're gone.

    • But your conscience is a part of your neocortex (specifically the frontal lobe)...

      I personally think "souls" are literally just a way to come up with the answer to the following question:
      "How does the brain work?"

      replace MAGIC with "soul" and you have your answer. It's just a superstitious way of explaining something that science hasn't completely answered yet; akin to how previously people used to think the Sun was a God, rather than just a blob of hydrogen and helium in constant fusion.

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    • Well, I think a part of us lives on after we die, and by the looks of it, you don't.

    • Oh yeah, that is true. The only thing that can live on that's based on a part of us is our genetic code in offspring.

Most Helpful Guy

  • It's not 'liberating' because I never believed in the existence of the 'soul'.

    • I used to think about it for a while but then I realized it's impossible and then I didn't

    • Afterlife has only been invented to make humans accept hardship by promising better conditions after death if people work and fight hard enough during life, without revolting. A crooked deal thus.

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 4

  • I think it's frightening.

    because the most frightening thing for me is to know that there's nothing after this. Ceasing to exist - sick. O. o

    • Better than eternal pain and stuff.
      This just means we should get on with our lives and do things while we can.

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    • @hellionthesage if you value their lives, you will do your best to choose an option that won't end it.
      If you don't value their lives, you will be more inclined to solve your conflict with them by killing them.

    • @Mesonfielde I suppose that is a possibility, but killing is a far cry diffrent then torture. I have no problem with the killing of a physcopath if its for self defense of if rehabilitation is impossible. However I would say it has more to do with society as a whole rather then the individuals that comprise it. If we abandon them despite the suffering inflicted on them/disease how are we any diffrent? Its the idea that it is wrong to torture not because inflicting harm upon the guilty is necessarily wrong but because of how it affects us. To act in such a manner would have ramifications. Where would the line be drawn, what would the probability of the person being innocent be, etc. What does it take for an action to become unforgivable, to damn you without any hope of redemption? If you can never be redeemed, whats the point of stopping, of trying to be better?

  • Nah, I actually believe that what makes us "us", the thing that causes us to be self aware and have our own look on the world, our "soul" is something we just cannot detect or understand yet. We are still in such early days of science, think how many years in the history of the human race that we have actually had scientific discovery and research, real stuff... then imagine how much further we have to go, we've only just got out feet wet.

    • Well, I think what makes us us is our brain, and our brain's structure is defined by our genetic code and how it adapted to external stimuli. It is both the "processor" that processes external events, and also the "memory" that stores events. It is the core of all our decision making, which would mean that our brain is essentially us.

  • Have you ever heard of feeling trapped in your own body? The brain controls the body. This doesn't mean that their isn't a soul. The body is just reacting how the brain allows.

    • Yes, but your brain is also responsible for your perception and consciousness and thoughts. If you remove the frontal lobe, you will be as perceptive as a vegetable.

  • It's seriously just your opinon, I'm not going to even touch this.

    • It is an opinion based on scientific knowledge rather than arcane folklore, though..

What Guys Said 8

  • I never believed in the afterlife so I suppose I agree with you I just never thought of it that way. I don't mind religious people finding comfort in idea of an afterlife but for me this is it and you have to lived it to its fullest capacity for yourself. I find it neither liberating or limiting it is just the way it is in my head. I am very much a if it is not broken don't fix it, if I go somewhere in a car I don't think about mechanics of process, I will just go there. I will only worry if car won't start.

  • soul /sōl/
    noun: soul; plural noun: souls
    1. the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
    •a person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.
    "in the depths of her soul, she knew he would betray her"
    synonyms: spirit, psyche, (inner) self, inner being, life force, vital force; More
    individuality, makeup, subconscious, anima; pneuma; atman
    "seeing the soul through the eyes"
    •emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.
    "their interpretation lacked soul"
    synonyms: inspiration, feeling, emotion, passion, animation, intensity, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, warmth, energy, vitality, spirit
    "their music lacked soul"
    2. the essence or embodiment of a specified quality. "he was the soul of discretion"
    synonyms: embodiment, personification, incarnation, epitome, quintessence, essence; More
    How you define soul determines whether or not that question is valid or not. For instance as the definition points out, "immaterial part of a human being. . ." by this definition we would have a soul. Our minds are immaterial, it may be grounded in our wetware ie brains, but this is really just a circuit board. The "soul" or mind would be comprised of the data that makes up who we are which is immaterial. Think of it this way, 2+2=4, we know this is true. Yet there is nothing physical about it, if we as a species died out this would remain true. If the universe where destroyed, this would still remain. So data is essentially immaterial, that would include the data that makes up our minds. Know, as for the immortal part, technicly that data can and does replicate. Right now you are exchanging a piece of your data and I mine. Our thoughts and ideas are a product of our minds and they influence and alter other peoples ideas and minds. This would function very much like the transmition of DNA. So while it may not be immortal in the sense of it in its entirety, it is immortal in its parts, like continuation of a genetic line, it will change and grow and evolve. Its origin may be forgoten but its influence on the collective thinking of society will not. So if one where to consider it in these terms, we would technicly have a soul. As for the hell part, that would depend on your idea of hell and punishment. To have your very essence viewed as worthless or wrong could be considered hell to some its the containment of ones soul and memory being reduced down to nothing

  • I've thought about this before. Since everything is contained within the brain, then existing without a brain would mean you had no memories of what you were. You're incapable of forming new memories. Incapable of perception or movement. Incapable of experiencing space or time. Assuming all that is "us" is in the brain then soul or no soul, death would be exactly the same experientially, right?

    Some find that liberty scarey because it seems like it's dismantling morality, like "what's stopping everyone from murdering each other if there's no soul" blah blah blah.

    • Which is funny, because if there is a soul, you essentially just get them to heaven sooner. You would think that having only one life would make people appreciate its value more... But the people you mention are selfish.

    • Praise all murderers for sacrificing their souls too get us all to heaven faster before we fuck up. Best not to risk an ETERNITY of suffering/joy on dicking around on earth for a few decades. We've cracked it.

    • Yeah. This is why a view that specifies that souls don't exist is inherently better. There is no justification for murder, other than that they would have otherwise been a threat to the well-being of someone else.

  • Most people who believe in souls see the soul as something that inhabits the "vessel" of a body. Essentially the soul is not the brain.

    My belief is that its a bit silly to make assumptions about things like the afterlife when no one can relay any information on what exactly happens. Like Heaven and Hell is just one perspective. Some people believe only heaven exists, others believe the afterlife is only a hellish place. Still others believe that there is no heaven or hell, and you just exist. And still others believe there is a creator, but it has no powers or whatever.

    Long story short, your perspective is just that. Its your take on a painting that can derive multiple meanings.

  • The way I look at it. If there IS NOT a soul (which I believe), then I want to make the most of this life and do the most good possible for other people and future lives. It is als comforting to thing that any hard time I am going through is meaningless in the end anyways. But I guess you could see it the same way if you believe you are eternal.

    Hoever, if there IS a soul, then I could care less what I do here, because this physical place would be temperary and doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of the supernatural universe UNLESS there is a heaven and hell, which is a ridiculous primitive concept.

  • From that view, I find it to be the opposite of liberating. Having a piece of us that cannot be explained by science inherently means that there is a piece of free will we own. However, if everything can be explained by science, that means that the importance of choice will have all but died: if everything can be proven by science, then that means everything happens for a reason; if everything happens for a reason, then there is no other possible set of events that could happen than the ones that do happen. In effect, we don't choose, as we were predetermined at the beginning of the universe that this would be how we act. It takes the weight of decision out of life. Who cares? You were supposed to be that way anyways.
    According to this, there was no other way Hitler could have been. He was destined to commit genocide. Stalin was destined to issue orders that put to death millions of Russians. The worst of humanity was always meant to happen. That is not liberating. That is a cold sentence, shackling us to the "whims" of Fate.

    • Yes and no, genetics have a pseudorandom factor. Of course, if it is actually just PSEUDOrandom, then that is also predetermined by the initial settings.

      But from a social perspective, events are a result of what people feel is the most optimal choice at a given moment in time under given circumstances. If you can alter how people act/behave towards one another, which is possible if you alter what they believe is right and wrong through rulesets and values; then you can alter what people perceive about others and what information they have about them.

      Our actions are chosen based on our current emotions (the current hormonal setup in your brain based on the integral of our previous experiences up to a given point in time), our knowledge and information and data on what is more or less optimal in that situation, and what the circumstances allow you.

      We do have free will. But you probably wouldn't choose to do a different thing under same circumstances and at that given time.

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    • Science is just the description of what people find. It will eventually find the answer with the right technological advancements. This is something that mere philosophy won't ever accomplish.

    • Science isn't what people find, that is knowledge. Science is a process that does the finding.

      What proof do you have that science will answer all the questions?

  • I think your brain is sort of your soul. Or at least the bigger part is. That part makes all the decisions, the brain talks to your friends, the brain decides when is what.

    • Technically, your brain is responsible for all of what you've mentioned.

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    • I'm sure if he exists, he cares. I'm an atheist, but an atheist who will convert if proof is given to me of a religion being correct.

    • Yeah, just stick with being irreligious, it's the one way that obeys the KISS principle.

  • I believe that the soul is limited by the brain while the body is still alive and after the body dies the soul is free to be itself again.