Précis: The means by which we can feel and imagine what we call the “soul” — the nervous system — forms by materially folding inward during embryonic development. Later, the “soul” forms by the inward-folding of introspection.
In most spiritual speculations into the origin of a human life, a subtle essence of disembodied will is theorized to “descend” or “enter” into material incarnation to act out a role or to learn a lesson. The inner ethereal being is thought to both precede, create, and survive the sheathe of flesh, which St. Paul describes as a “tent” in 2 Corinthians 5, Krishna describes as “clothing” in 2.22 of the Bhagavad Gita, and Plato describes as a prison-house assigned by karmic lottery in the last book of the Republic. The same theme of subtle-creating-gross is repeated more delicately in the naturalistic thought of ancient medicine, which holds that the vitalizing breath (prana in Sanskrit, qi in Chinese, ruach in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek) begins to stir and organize matter around itself at the provocation of the soul or a divine force. “You created my inmost being,” sings David in Psalm 139:13. “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Invisible intelligence has long been felt to form the inner core of human life, and design its presence. A primal desire to live is felt to condense invisible energies into tissues that can move and express that desire. The invisible is said to give birth to the visible; the immaterial is said to give birth to the material. Continue reading “Creating the Soul”