2009-12-29

Living and Not

Before, I used a metaphor of a storm to describe a person, to explain how we can understand a person as a process. Each one of us is, indeed, a force of nature. We are like storms in matter that give rise to spiritual storms. We usually do not think that storms will last very long, but under the right circumstances, they can last indefinitely. Perpetuating a process requires preparing and maintaining the right conditions. Maintaining a life and a living person requires arranging the right conditions..
 
The spiritual is different from the physical, but the two are interdependent, and the spiritual depends upon the physical for determining the nature that it has. There can be body without spirit, if the body is incomplete or disordered or defective in some way. There can also be a spirit enabled by more than one type of body. But no spirit can exist without some sort of body, because spirit needs some type of embodiment to give rise to it. There can be many types of bodies - biological, robotic, virtual, utility fog. But in all of these, in some way, embodiment in the world can give rise to spirit.
 
The soul arises from the working of the body. That means the body is not worthless or inferior. The body must be working right in order for the soul to work right. When the brain is damaged, a person's mind is deranged. What people eat or drink may affect how they think or feel. This is because the soul arises from the working of the body. When injury to the body is healed, injury to the mind can be healed. This is why a person who has a fever may be delirious, but when the fever goes away, the person's mind returns to normal. So the soul depends upon a body, and the two are not separate or separable.
 
If the full, characteristic process of person does not continue for a time, for the time during which it does not continue, the person is not present. We can say that when a person is thoroughly unconscious, the person as a living soul is absent for that time. The distinctive person, as a living person, is paused. But if consciousness is regained, the person resumes. A person may continue in a modified form, as in a dream, but when the dream ends, the original person can continue.
 
When a person's body is lastingly altered, as in brain damage or brain illness, such as Alzheimer's disease, the person may be modified, so that the previous person as a distinctive process does not fully continue. Although the body may continue, and the mind of a discernible person may be present, worthy of all our compassion, disorder of the body can lead to a condition in which the previous person is absent in the most meaningful sense. So the continuation of the full person as a living spirit depends upon not only on an embodiment, but upon an embodiment which can continue the characteristic process of the person, including that person's character of mind or spirit. 
 
When a person's body "dies", the soul can still be available from the body which supported it, although the soul is inactive, similar in some ways to the case of a person who is undreamingly asleep or deeply unconscious. If the parts of the body which supported the soul are destroyed, the soul itself is no longer able to be supported, although it continues to exist, as what it was, in the past, along with all things that have been. But there can be no "ghosts" in the present, and there can be no disembodied spirits. There is no passing away or to another (to another place or to another person).
 
We have come to two conclusions that are not obvious to many - that the potential of soul, of a living person in his or her characteristic nature, can survive in the body after the cessation of heartbeat and all activity in the brain; and yet, the realization of that person can cease while the body continues to live, even when a certain person continues to be realized by the body as a mind. This is why we should not see the death of the body as necessarily the death of the soul, but we understand that the soul can die before the body dies.
 
Physical reality makes spiritual reality possible, not the reverse. Matter is the fulcrum of spirit. By controlling the physical, one can control the spiritual. The omnipotence over the physical and thus the spiritual also is an aspect of godhood, which is coming into being.
 
Uplifting the body is one way to uplift the soul, and this is important to understand, because the soul is not only enabled but also limited by its body. By uplifting the body, the soul can be uplifted. Our bodies must be able to support the realization of the divine nature, the divine mind and soul. Our present-day bodies cannot yet support the realization of this divine nature, so we must work toward uplifting our embodiment.

 


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