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Universal Spirit
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Post: #1
Universal Spirit
A recent post I made had me rethinking the precepts that would have to be true in order for the hypothesis to be valid. On realizing that, I found that I kind of already have a spiritual(-istic) system for dealing with reality here. And on top of that, I realized that the intricacies of this -- for one thing, haven't been all the way uncovered in my own system, and for another thing, I haven't seen anyone else (save maybe Archer -- PM me) really question one of the underlying parts of this belief.

The thing that I largely haven't seen people questioning is the unit of the individual soul. It's been believed for a while over here that it's possible that we're looking too closely at individuals and individuals' realities to be able to see the entire picture. We were keyed into this by our own plurality and the way we have had of, say, looking too closely at a frond on a branch to see the entire forest...so to speak. Regardless of whether that metaphor applied as it was meant to, to the plurality, it did get us to expand our view...to the point where we're now looking at Spirit as a field, and are questioning the existence of individual "souls."

The definition of "soul" that I am using above is the one in which it's seen that "soul" makes up everything that a person is. This had already been challenged in my Buddhism study by the concept of Dependent Origination (everything that exists now, exists because prior causes and conditions allowed it to arise). The operative concept of "soul" that I have now is the name for the specific experience of a biologically-based entity when it is indwelled by Spirit. (which, of course, may be a partial explanation [re: biology], but I'm not confident enough in this yet to go fully panentheistic with this in a debate setting.)

Spirit, to make it clear to people who haven't heard this before -- <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> -- is a name for a specific energy which is seen to exist outside of spacetime and thus when seen from within spacetime, seems to pervade everything at all times. So our existence as subjectively aware beings is basically a marriage between the energy of Spirit (which is constantly present but undetectable -- as if you asked a fish what water is), and everything else which makes up the physical and otherwise energetic aspects of our universe.

The problem here is then trying to figure out what people are talking about when they speak of their "soul", and trying to figure out if there literally is -- say, something like literal "reincarnation" or "transmigration of the soul" -- and trying to comprehend; not really the essence of, but the fate of the individual, post-death. My hypothesis says that the energy which gave the individual awareness (Spirit) simply "merges" back into the field of Spirit, which it was one with all the time, anyway.

But what then of the entire other side of life? (Which seems to be theorized within a framework which includes "individual" spirits, as being discarnate.) Do "individual" other spirits exist outside of ourselves, as we tend to believe? Or is that just being somewhat vivimorphic? <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> Projection of our own internal psychological elements? Projection of the world living within us all that is Spirit, which possesses and might be able to give access to all minds everywhere and anywhere, which have ever or will ever exist?

I realize this is difficult -- it's difficult for me and I'm the one who reached it. I will attempt to explain further if people have questions (and they will) -- but this is not yet a fully formed system, and I do not wish to stretch my knowledge beyond its rational bounds -- so I will not have all answers. But I wanted to put this out here for discussion. I realize this seems plausible to me, but does anyone else have input on this?

I've got to go, right now.
2011-02-21 2:36
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Post: #2
Re: Universal Spirit
As an illustration:

Let's posit for a minute that souls exist.

Let's also posit for a minute that all living things have souls.

Therefore, a mint plant would have a soul.

You have a mint plant. This mint plant is a very happy little mint plant. Given sun, soil, and water, it grows. Eventually, it begins to send out runners.

Each of these runners hits fertile ground and creates a new root to drink, and starts to sprout leaves.

When the runners have sprouted and are strong, the new root base is separated from the mint plant. These new mint plants are transplanted into pots and are given sun, soil, and water. They, too, thrive.

Now you have three mint plants. All genetically indeterminable from the other. So...what happened to the mint's original soul? Are there now three souls? Are there one? If the mint plant(s) can know their own existence, do they experience life as singular or as a unit? If singular, where is the basis of their knowledge? If they share a group soul, does this mean that all the mint plants can feel and resonate with each other? What happens when one dies?

If the original mint plant was not grown from seed but was a cutting, itself -- then can one trace back the "original" soul farther? Is a bed of mint which all sprouted from the same original plant; one plant, or many plants?
2011-02-24 2:30
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Post: #3
Re: Universal Spirit
... You broke my brain. Possibly because my brain was already fried before I read this. But. I can't make heads or tails of that LOL Way too confusing *nod*

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2011-02-24 2:48
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Post: #4
Re: Universal Spirit
I don't know if you read any Orson Scott Card, but one of his series uses a concept called 'philotes'... basically the genuinely indivisible particle, the material of souls and consciousness. As the 'science' of the story goes, there are philotes, units of soul, in everything, all the way down to quarks. When a bunch get together, they rank themselves in terms of precedence/dominance/authority over each other. Say you get a few hundred, and they form a single cell. The number one philote of the hundred might be the one that tells the nucleolus when to perform different actions. That number one philote is called the 'aiua' in the series. Over time, maybe a few million cells grow from that one cell, and the dominant philote gets shuffled into other ranks by still-more-dominant philotes. Eventually you have a live, sentient organism with a very complex consciousness and one incredibly strong aiua exerting will over the rest. The complexity comes from the multitudes of philotes, and the strength of the single aiua is essential since of all those philotes, millions of them, it had the most force of self-will/awareness.
That aiua is dominant... but the organism is the result of all those philotes acting together to decide unanimously what they will be once they are assembled.

I'm not saying this is the way things are... but perhaps we could treat spirit as something that exists in incredibly tiny units that, when gathered en masse, are more self-aware in proportion to the complexity of the structure or organism they produce.

*shrug* ^_^ Card makes an interesting model of it.

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2011-02-24 2:49
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Post: #5
Re: Universal Spirit
Re: Estelore...

*^_^* This is a very interesting model. Thanks for putting it forth. I haven't read OSC, but I am now interested in this series of his. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

I'm not entirely certain of the source of this, but I'm getting a little...I don't know what you would call it, an image of little bits of "good water" trickling...giving life. It could just be me tuning in to my plant in the other room, heh. *^_^* Or that poor chocolate mint plant that I had that ...got mildew. I suppose that if I were sensitive, there would be no reason for me *not* to be sensitive to the plants I care for...even maybe the dead ones that I remember and write about months later.

I've read about something similar (to the philote concept, just not so well explained) in a book on Shinto -- though being part of the philosophy of an organized religion, it's a bit...what's the word...doctrinal. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> That is, it's very possible that the idea started out as folk belief and got more and more complicated and formalized as time went on. There are four different types of "souls" in the version of Shinto I read about, each responsible for a different aspect of life...though I can't remember each of the functions, at the moment. The two I can remember with some certainty are the idea that one is responsible for giving physical form, and one is responsible for mental capacity...as you said earlier, the higher the number of souls, the more complex the organism. But they didn't theorize the subdivision of spirit particles into tiny, smaller-than-quark size. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> Which I like, by the way. <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin -->

What I find interesting as well here is that we then have a spiritual model for the explanation of cancer...that being, essentially, a mutiny. (and yes, the apparent similar word origin between "mutiny" [to revolt (Middle French)] and "mutate" [to change (Latin)] was only now made clear to me. French is a romance language, descended from Latin, yes?)

OT: The problem of cancer is one that's been on my mind for a while...I am interested in keeping my system ordered enough...not necessarily "ordered" in a "human" way, but ordered in a "living" way...that I'll lessen my chances of having to deal with it. Plants have always helped me with this...except cactuses. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

Since my time growing up in a second-wave feminist household, and seeing so many second-wave feminist leaders dying of breast cancer...I think there's something to be said about the impact that thinking in a healthy, positive way can have on one's risk.

Anyhow..."good water" is probably something I would like to remember. I'm not sure if it's because I tend to perceive spirit energy in the form of water, in the first place...(for example, thinking of souls as the condensate of spirit)...or if it's because I've got a plant pinging at me. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I suppose I could talk about this more, but it gets pretty personal...
2011-02-25 5:37
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Post: #6
Re: Universal Spirit
Personally, I don't believe in souls. Not one bit.

As for the essence of what makes me me . . . it's like this.

Imagine that I take Lego and build a really cool castle out of it, so complicated and intricate that no-one could replicate it, that I couldn't even replicate it myself, and so interconnected that I'd have to break it apart in chunks to remove any one brick.

Now, imagine that the really cool castle gets dropped on the floor and broken. It's impossible to put back together, some bits have fallen under a sette, the cat ran off with a big chunk of it never to be seen again. Over time the chunks on the ground get broken up and used in other models. Some better, some worse, some very similar. Perhaps most of the bricks never get used again and one day they get binned.

Those bricks are still there years and years later. Some are in other models, some are packed away in a box, some are at the bottom of a landfill somewhere.

But where is the soul of the castle?

There isn't one. The individual bricks survive - the energy that made something wonderous survives - but the form is gone and cannot be recovered. The "soul", the unique essence of that castle, isn't some outside force that imbues it with a vague property . . . no, the "soul" is the specific arrangement of a great many bricks to form something that's almost impossible to imagine.

I see people - life - like that. It's not necessary to see "soul" as something that magically enters the castle at some point in its construction. Nope, the castle is the sum of a set of ingredients, arranged just so. It's not necessary to work out when "soul" enters a living being (be it a baby or a mint plant or whatever) - it doesn't, there's nothing to enter; the baby, the mint plant, the shadow . . . just like the awesome castle, the Lego PC case, and the abstract stack of bricks all stuck together are separate organisations of parts to create a whole.

Of course if you play with a Lego castle a lot, you'll find that over time bits go missing or get broken, things get replaced, you build an extension out the back. Just as it is with people, who while remaining a continued individual nevertheless change over time with experiences. If you were anything like me, you'd build your castles out of pieces from lots of different sets . . . just like multiples can be composed of various bits of various different people. And sometimes those new, bigger castles are a lot more fun than the old ones . . . but sometimes they're, well, a bit of a mess. And as a rule things will probably work better if you don't have a space station in the middle of the courtyard . . . though if you like that kind of thing, it could be fun!

No need to worry about personhood and when souls arrive. No need to worry about what happens to the soul after death. All moot questions that (IMO erroneously) treat the soul like it's electricity, something extra that comes in to power an otherwise inanimate object . . . but a power with a flavour and nature that's distinct from all other electrical currents.

Nope. A person is an incomprehensibly complicated Lego construction.

Who makes the building blocks, and who designs the castles, these to me are far more interesting questions than "at one point does a living creature gain a soul". For some people I guess the answer is "god", and for others "mathematics", and for others something else entirely.

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2011-03-02 1:01
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Post: #7
Re: Universal Spirit
@Archer: Interesting metaphor, the Lego bricks/castle. In that model, then, what are "past life memories" (or "memories of other existences", actual arrangement in time is kind of irrelevant), and who or what is doing the "remembering"?

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2011-03-02 8:49
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Post: #8
Re: Universal Spirit
Part of the castle. It's all part of the castle.

All of a person's experiences, thoughts, memories, ideas, body, mind, emotions, imagination . . . all combines together to make that person who they are.

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2011-03-02 19:17
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Post: #9
Re: Universal Spirit
I agree with Archer's lego blocks model in the sense that it has strong correlation with the O.S.Card "philotic bonds" model and much of what I personally believe.

I also consider it to be a "Library of Babel" model.
Step one: Read that short story by Borges.
Step two: realize the implications for each of those trillions of books, but pretend the books are people.
There would be a incredible number of books that are identical to "War and Peace" in every way... except for a single letter, space, number, or punctuation mark slightly out of place.
There would be even MORE that are identical except for two, three, or four letters slightly out of place...

...and so on, and so on, until finally the changes get significant enough that you can confirm the book "stops" being "War and Peace".

This is how I view the universe, more or less, and the many possible "versions" of a given person, object, or nonhuman organism.
[I subscribe to an 'infinite universes' model of reality, which means I also subscribe to an 'infinite versions of everything and everybody' model of reality.]

As I view it, there are no PAST life memories... only simultaneous/almost-you life co-consciousness. You dream and 'remember' things that are happening to some version of yourself/somebody in SOME version of reality, and they dream/remember something from your mind. The way those almost-identical copies of "War and Peace" share content, despite having that one specific distinguishing characteristic from each other, you share content with somebody else (or another version of yourself), despite your different lifetime, genetic identity, and experiences.

Ermn... is that making sense? <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->


But yeah, as far as I'm concerned, soul isn't "added" to your body/mind...

...you ARE a soul*; you HAVE a body, and your mind is the interaction of your physical neural cells with the records of your experiences, knowledge, emotions, and personality.

*and that soul is the extremely specific, irreplaceable, and technically a sum of the many parts that compose you. If somebody is identical to you except for the location of a single quark, they are "same in content" but "different in actuality", just like the two "versions" of "War and Peace".
Since you lose skin cells, eyelashes, and strands of hair every second of every day, and since your cells are constantly reproducing, dying, and so on... and since you are constantly gaining thoughts and experiences... technically you are a totally different "complete soul" at every instance of your existence. The changes are just so small that you APPEAR to be identical to yourself ("War and Peace") as you were a moment ago.


Fair 'nuff?

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2011-03-02 19:20
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Post: #10
Re: Universal Spirit
I'm guessing that it would be appropriate at this time to ask questions. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I've been reading over this thread and looking up literary references for a little while now. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

I've got to ask whether, Archer, your system is monist -- that is, what are the Lego blocks? I understand that the Lego blocks go into creating life, but I'm not certain whether they're meant to represent matter, or matter and (physical) energy, or some other kind of "energy" (which I'll loosely refer to as "spiritual" even though I'm not sure it fits). The latter is supported by this quote here:

Archer Wrote:But where is the soul of the castle?

There isn't one. The individual bricks survive - the energy that made something wonderous survives - but the form is gone and cannot be recovered. The "soul", the unique essence of that castle, isn't some outside force that imbues it with a vague property . . . no, the "soul" is the specific arrangement of a great many bricks to form something that's almost impossible to imagine.

...though I'm not sure what ...eh, "vibration" the "energy" you're talking about is at. If matter is theorized as energy at a low vibration and (physical) light is energy at a high vibration and ...I really don't know how spirit factors into that model. ^_^;

The model that I've had implanted in my brain for several days is an elaboration on a feeling of moving through a living "ocean" of Spirit. Only...thanks to Estelore reminding me, and my recall of Indra's Net, I'm thinking of it more like a dense fog, at least in this planet's biosphere. That if you think of Spirit like water...water can take many forms. The two that I'm looking at now are vapor (gaseous) and liquid. That if Spirit is water on the whole, it includes both vapor and liquid. When conditions are right, the vapor will be attracted to itself and condense into droplets. The droplets themselves then can increase in size by combining with other droplets, and in addition, they tend to form things like mist, or clouds, where conditions are right.

When I read about Estelore's encounter with the model of philotes and aiua, this is what came to mind -- despite the fact that it isn't really accurate to the Ender's Game version of things. Now that could have been for a number of reasons; primarily I think it was likely because of who was on my mind at the time (my plants).

I did have a strong vision of little tiny bright droplets in the soil being percolated up through roots and into a plant, to be exhaled. But I'm not entirely sure why that came then, or what the vision means, other than that the plant is a model of myself and the water is "good" spirit energy. Like...I believe there is some word in Japanese which relates, I think it literally means "good energy", but in everyday usage it is meant to mean "good health" ("genki"). The term "ki" is connected with the Chinese term "chi", which also is used to relate to one's vital energy (ki/chi/prana) and, in Japanese at least, it is a homonym for blood ("chi"), though I'm not certain if the characters "ki" and "chi" are written differently -- I would think so.

I'm certain it's common knowledge that with the Chinese internal martial arts, focus on circulating chi is...really important, though I haven't done qigong or tai chi yet (aside from a practice run that called attention to pain in my joints which I'd not had before -- maybe meaning I was clearing blockages), so I don't know if the chi circulation is a closed-system thing or if one draws in energy and pushes it out through the minor chakras. I would suspect that it differs between schools -- like if Yang Tai Chi was different from Sun Tai Chi in that regard (where Sun visibly seems to be pushing out bursts of energy).

Anyway, somewhat off-topic. But the droplets would be energy, in the sense of good (healthy) spirit energy. The plant would be me. Not in the sense of me being a plant otherkin, <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> but in the sense of metaphor.

So anyhow, I can see you saying here that the energy -- in my system, the water -- is interchangeable between beings. Like when on an episode of Stargate SG-1, Daniel has a bunch of consciousnesses downloaded into his brain. SG-1 asks if they can have Daniel back. He takes a glass of water and pours it back into the pitcher of water from which it came, then pours another glass of water and asks them if it's the same water...

I tend toward naturalistic explanations...they seem most viable to me.

I'm being called away at the moment, but will be back later. Hopefully I can respond then without saying anything too stupid. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> (I generally wait before responding so I don't unintentionally write something I don't intend to. Oh the joys of sensitivity.)

But do I seem to understand this, or no?

Got to go.
2011-03-03 2:37
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