Helen Keller's Soul

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Helen Keller's Soul

Here is a quote from Helen Keller that I find to be one of the more fascinating, and relevant to the subject of consciousness, things ever written by a human being.

"Before my teacher came to me, I didn't know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness. I did not know that I knew aught, or that I lived or acted or desired. I had neither will not intellect. I was carried along to objects and acts by a certain blind impetus. I can remember all this, not because I knew that it was so, but because I have tactual memory. It enables me to remember that I never contracted my forehead in the act of thinking. I never viewed anything beforehand or chose it. I also recall tactually the fact that never in a start of the body or a heart-beat did I feel that I loved or cared for anything. My inner life, then, was a blank without past, present, or future, without hope or anticipation"

My question, to those who believe in the existence of a human soul or some form of dualism, is how can you reconcile the existence of a soul as the seat of consciousness with the lack of self awareness experienced by Helen Keller in her early childhood? It seems to me that if there indeed was a soul and it inhabited her body, she should have had, at the minimum, a sense of self even without the external input of sight and hearing.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Hmm.. Damn interesting

Hmm.. Damn interesting question.  I know what I would have said when I was a Christian, but I'm interested in hearing it from a Christian first.   (It's more fun debunking it that way.)

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Hmm..

Hambydammit wrote:

Hmm.. Damn interesting question. I know what I would have said when I was a Christian, but I'm interested in hearing it from a Christian first. (It's more fun debunking it that way.)

 

I was bound to post something interesting sooner or later, law of averages and all. Smiling 

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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I am not sensory deprived

I am not sensory deprived and yet I don't recall have a strong sense of self at an early age. I'm not sure what self-awareness has to do with dualism. Lack of awareness of a soul does not mean it doesn't exist. I'm not particularly awaur of my liver, but I really need it.  Note that I am not trying to justify dualism. I just don't see the connection.


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wavefreak wrote: I am not

wavefreak wrote:

I am not sensory deprived and yet I don't recall have a strong sense of self at an early age. I'm not sure what self-awareness has to do with dualism.

You remember a time when you didn't know you existed?

Quote:
Lack of awareness of a soul does not mean it doesn't exist. I'm not particularly awaur of my liver, but I really need it. Note that I am not trying to justify dualism. I just don't see the connection.

Not my point at all. I am not asking about not having a sense of a soul. If that was what I found interesting, I could point out that I don't know anyonewho has a sense of a soul. What is interesting in Helen Keller's case is that she had no reference for her own existence. It was only after her teacher worked with her that she realized she had existed in those first eighteen years.

I am asking, if there is some component of consciousness removed from these sensory perceptions, a homunculus or internal viewer, why should it not realize its existence regardless of sensory input?

 

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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wavefreak wrote: I am not

wavefreak wrote:

I am not sensory deprived and yet I don't recall have a strong sense of self at an early age. I'm not sure what self-awareness has to do with dualism. Lack of awareness of a soul does not mean it doesn't exist. I'm not particularly awaur of my liver, but I really need it.  Note that I am not trying to justify dualism. I just don't see the connection.

The soul as an organ changes my image of an afterlife drastically.


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I have heriditary

I have heriditary congential anosmia.

Fancy way of saying that I have no sense of smell.

I didn't start figuring out this fact until around the 3-4 grade.  My friends could stand close to painted over windows outside the cafeteria and tell what we were having for lunch.

I was fascinated by the "magical" power of smelling.

Before that though, the concept of smell didn't really exist in my mind.  I knew the word, but I didn't really understand what the word meant.

So I can kind of understand what Helen was saying.

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Vessel wrote: wavefreak

Vessel wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

I am not sensory deprived and yet I don't recall have a strong sense of self at an early age. I'm not sure what self-awareness has to do with dualism.

You remember a time when you didn't know you existed?

Quote:
Lack of awareness of a soul does not mean it doesn't exist. I'm not particularly awaur of my liver, but I really need it. Note that I am not trying to justify dualism. I just don't see the connection.

Not my point at all. I am not asking about not having a sense of a soul. If that was what I found interesting, I could point out that I don't know anyonewho has a sense of a soul. What is interesting in Helen Keller's case is that she had no reference for her own existence. It was only after her teacher worked with her that she realized she had existed in those first eighteen years.

I am asking, if there is some component of consciousness removed from these sensory perceptions, a homunculus or internal viewer, why should it not realize its existence regardless of sensory input? 

I have a great deal of difficulty putting my self in Helen Keller's place. I just can't imagine such sensory deprivation. But even her senses were not completely missing. She still had taste, smell and touch. But language doesn't typically come through smell and touch so what she might be describing is a lack of a language that would allow here to describe anything. When her teacher started to break through that veil, it gave her a way of expressing things. I also wonder if it was not her self awarness that was missing but rather her awareness of others. Until there was some substantive communication with others, how could she discern that there were people causing what sensory input she DID have. She may have not had any concept of boundary. Everything that existed in her experience was "self". When she bagan to communicate, she realized that the universe was more than Helen and Helen's needs.

I'd also be interested in what others might have to offer about the development of this sense of self in infants. Isn't this a normal progression in developmental psychology? 

Is self awareness required for this homunculus to exist? 


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wavefreak wrote: I have a

wavefreak wrote:

I have a great deal of difficulty putting my self in Helen Keller's place. I just can't imagine such sensory deprivation.

Yeah. I don't imagine anyone can.  

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But even her senses were not completely missing. She still had taste, smell and touch.

This is true. Apparently this wasn't enough to give her a sense of existence. She says she had tactual memmories but didn't realize them until working with the teacher. This seems to me to say she was storing information though was not conscious of doing so. I would imagine, perhaps, the way a lot of animals store information but are not self aware.

Quote:
But language doesn't typically come through smell and touch so what she might be describing is a lack of a language that would allow here to describe anything. When her teacher started to break through that veil, it gave her a way of expressing things.

I would imagine not only a way to express things but a way to think at all. Before this time I would imagine she would not have been able to form a concept as she had no medium in which to construct one.

Quote:
I also wonder if it was not her self awarness that was missing but rather her awareness of others. Until there was some substantive communication with others, how could she discern that there were people causing what sensory input she DID have. She may have not had any concept of boundary. Everything that existed in her experience was "self". When she bagan to communicate, she realized that the universe was more than Helen and Helen's needs.

From the quote, I take it that she had no awareness of being. It seems to go further than saying she was not aware of others.

Quote:
I'd also be interested in what others might have to offer about the development of this sense of self in infants. Isn't this a normal progression in developmental psychology?

Is self awareness required for this homunculus to exist?

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Watcher wrote: I have

Watcher wrote:

I have heriditary congential anosmia.

Fancy way of saying that I have no sense of smell.

I didn't start figuring out this fact until around the 3-4 grade. My friends could stand close to painted over windows outside the cafeteria and tell what we were having for lunch.

I was fascinated by the "magical" power of smelling.

Before that though, the concept of smell didn't really exist in my mind. I knew the word, but I didn't really understand what the word meant.

So I can kind of understand what Helen was saying.

Do you notice any difference in the way you regard food as compared to others? Just wondering since so much of our experience of taste is said to be tied up with olfaction. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Quote: I have a great deal

Quote:
I have a great deal of difficulty putting my self in Helen Keller's place. I just can't imagine such sensory deprivation.

Of course you do have that difficulty. Just like you cant know what it is like to be a frog, or a scorpian or amoeba. Just like you cant know what it is like to be a different race or oposite sex.

Skeptics are not suprised by Helen Keller's ability to learn. We just dont see a magical puppiteer interveining. We see a dedicated teacher and an egar student.

Everytime someone with a dissability succeeds the theist crys GOD! But if God existed, wouldnt it be more effeciant to skip the deficite in the first place?

Eagles have better eyesight than humans and cockroaches are much older than mamals. For every Helen Keller that succeeds, there are infinatlely more that dont with her specific condition. Just like sperm and eggs. MOST dont succeed and that is a fact of life. Hellen succeeding is a normal minority ratio per capita, per her specific condition.

Hellen, like any precieved "miracle" is focusing on the hits and ignoring the misses that overwhelm the hits. Life fails most of the time, and what we see living is the minority compaired to the attempts.

Her rarity is not magic or divine, it is simply a rarity. I am rare too. I am a product of millions of sperm competing for one egg. All the other sperm died and for each of the 3 syblings I have, my mother had countless eggs end up as a period.

Keller is to be honored, not because of a magical sky daddy, but for the demonstration that we can figure out WHY she acomplished what she did without incerting THOR, or Isis or Jesus in as an answer.

If she could figure it out without sight or hearing, we can figure it out without fictional sky daddies. 

 


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Vessel wrote: From the

Vessel wrote:

From the quote, I take it that she had no awareness of being. It seems to go further than saying she was not aware of others.

I guess I can't make any definitive judgments about this based on a single quote without being able to dig deeper into what she meant. It raises some very interesting questions. But using it to build a solid argument about dualism seems a bit of a stretch. This quote is not describing a state of mind, it is describing a memory of a state of mind. Current research suggests that memories are heavily edited and filtered, even to the point of confabulating satanic abuse. Were I to find a person deaf and blind from birth that said they found god would that prove anything because of their special sensory circumstances?

 

Another quote by Helen Keller:

I believe it is a sacred duty to encourage ourselves and others; to hold the tongue from any unhappy word against God's world, because no man has any right to complain of a universe which God made good, and which thousands of men have striven to keep good. I believe we should so act that we may draw nearer and more near the age when no man shall live at his ease while another suffers. These are the articles of my faith, and there is yet another on which all depends — to bear this faith above every tempest which overfloods it, and to make it a principal in disaster and through affliction. Optimism is the harmony between man's spirit and of God pronouncing His works good.


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Vessel wrote: Do you

Vessel wrote:

Do you notice any difference in the way you regard food as compared to others? Just wondering since so much of our experience of taste is said to be tied up with olfaction. 

Definitely.  I can taste but I cannot sense flavor.  I eat whatever I want, I drink beer a lot, I have a job where I don't get very much exercise, I'm not athletic, and I'm 6'1" 160lbs dripping wet.  My brother on the other hand always has trouble with his weight.

I met a guy one time that told me he was one of four brothers.  Three of them could not smell.  The only one of them that ever had weight problems was the one who could smell.

Sometimes I eat just to make my stomach shut up.

I'm also what I call a "culinary ogre".  I'm not very picky about what I eat.

Spices for the most part are wasted on me.

I don't understand why so many people love food so much.  Sure there is some good ass food out there.  Medium rare steak, chili cheese fries, bacon cheeseburgers, etc.

But you get more out of them than I do.

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wavefreak wrote: Vessel

wavefreak wrote:
Vessel wrote:

From the quote, I take it that she had no awareness of being. It seems to go further than saying she was not aware of others.

I guess I can't make any definitive judgments about this based on a single quote without being able to dig deeper into what she meant. It raises some very interesting questions. But using it to build a solid argument about dualism seems a bit of a stretch.

You are placing way to heavy a burden on me if you think that is my intent. I haven't even begun to use it to build a solid argument against dualism. So far all I have done is pose a few questions. I am asking the dualist to explain to me how they reconcile their understanding of consciousness with this one example. No need for anyone to put shields up yet.

I see it as conflicting with the dualist's, and more intertestingly those who believe in a soul, view of consciousness. So far that is as far as it has gone being as that no one who believes such things has put forth any explanatory comment.

Quote:
This quote is not describing a state of mind, it is describing a memory of a state of mind. Current research suggests that memories are heavily edited and filtered, even to the point of confabulating satanic abuse.

Yes, false memories can be implanted. Perhaps that is the case here. Perhaps she spent the first 17 years of her life completely aware of her existence but later recalled it diffirently. Devoid of any evidence to suggest this is a case of false memory, however, I would have to start from the assumption that it is an accurate description of her experience, or lack there of. 

Quote:
Were I to find a person deaf and blind from birth that said they found god would that prove anything because of their special sensory circumstances?

If you found one who said they knew of god during their time of nothingness it certainly would be a fascinating thing to research and discuss. 

 

Quote:
Another quote by Helen Keller:

I believe it is a sacred duty to encourage ourselves and others; to hold the tongue from any unhappy word against God's world, because no man has any right to complain of a universe which God made good, and which thousands of men have striven to keep good. I believe we should so act that we may draw nearer and more near the age when no man shall live at his ease while another suffers. These are the articles of my faith, and there is yet another on which all depends — to bear this faith above every tempest which overfloods it, and to make it a principal in disaster and through affliction. Optimism is the harmony between man's spirit and of God pronouncing His works good.

Did someone claim Helen Keller didn't believe in god? or that she didn't believe in a spirit or soul? I don't see what this quote has to do with the topic.

 

 

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Quote: I believe it is a

Quote:
I believe it is a sacred duty to encourage ourselves and others; to hold the tongue from any unhappy word against God's world, because no man has any right to complain of a universe which God made good,

And as honorable as her accomplishments were for her time with her condition, she is still as human as the rest of us. Helen atributing life to god is not impressive. It would be like Plato or Socretes atributing their accomplisments to their gods.

I would still have a beef with her as I would with Thomas Jefferson as far as their theistic claims.

"Made good"? If she were alive today I would ask her about black holes, and pulsars and meteors. I think as bright as she was, she might not have clung to that quote if she had been exposed to the data we know today. 

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Vessel wrote: You are

Vessel wrote:

You are placing way to heavy a burden on me if you think that is my intent. I haven't even begun to use it to build a solid argument against dualism.

No burden. I'm just saying that *I* can't conclude much from this quote. It indeed raises some very interesting questions.


Quote:

Yes, false memories can be implanted. Perhaps that is the case here. Perhaps she spent the first 17 years of her life completely aware of her existence but later recalled it diffirently.

I was not suggesting that her memories were false. I just wonder how accurate they can be communicated as the experience before she learned a language nothing to "map" to a verbal description.

Quote:

Did someone claim Helen Keller didn't believe in god? or that she didn't believe in a spirit or soul? I don't see what this quote has to do with the topic.

 

No. I included that to make the point that a quote by someone is of limited value in inferring something.


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  "My question, to those

 

"My question, to those who believe in the existence of a human soul or some form of dualism, is how can you reconcile the existence of a soul as the seat of consciousness with the lack of self awareness experienced by Helen Keller in her early childhood? It seems to me that if there indeed was a soul and it inhabited her body, she should have had, at the minimum, a sense of self even without the external input of sight and hearing."

 

On what basis do you even assume that self-awareness is necessary criteria for the existance of a soul? There are a lot of unfounded presuppositions in your question. And she did have a sense of self. She just didn't have the ability to understand or know the definition of self.

 

And there are two very imprtant points in her life that you left out.

 

In her darkness, Hellen Keller believed in a God, even before she ever heard of the concept or the word God.

 

The very first word she ever said when she learned to speak was "God."

 

You didn't mention these facts, probably because you were unaware of them or just intentionally deceptive.

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  ""Many persons, having

 

""Many persons, having perfect eyes, are blind in their perceptions. Many persons, having perfect ears, are emotionally deaf. Yet these are the very ones who dare to set limits to the vision of those who, lacking a sense or two, have will, soul, passion, imagination. Faith is a mockery if it teaches us not that we may construct a world unspeakably more complete and beautiful than the material world. And I, too, may construct my better world, for I am a child of God, an inheritor of a fragment of the Mind that created all worlds."  -- Helen Keller

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This reminds me of an

This reminds me of an article I read about when doctors first started operating on people blinded by cataracts.

The patients they operated on had never seen in their entire lives, and they were asked to describe what vision was like to them. It was interesting to hear some of the responses.

Basically they saw nothing but swirling puddles of color, like someone just dumped different colored buckets of paint into a large vat. They could see the colors and they could see them moving, but they couldn't make any sense of it at all.

It sort of makes you stop to consider how much thinking your brain is doing in a hurry whenever you just casually look around. Something as simple as a shadow (darkish color blob next to object which is another colored blob?) carries information that has meaning to us, but had no meaning to these people. The way objects appear to grow smaller as they grow further away is something we don't even think about, but it's something that would have to be explained to these people who were seeing for the first time.

As it turns out, some of them loved it, even though they had no idea what it was all about. Others hated it and kept their eyes covered, saying they actually preferred the familiar darkness.

It really made me rethink my own eyesight.

 

Just like I can't imagine what it's like to be Helen Keller, no matter how hard I try, I can't make what I see look like nothing but a puddle of random colors. I can't help but make sense of it.

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Alberto wrote:

Alberto wrote:

 


On what basis do you even assume that self-awareness is necessary criteria for the existance of a soul?

How did you interpret what I wrote as saying self awareness is necessary criteria for a soul? If the soul is the seat of consciousness, that from which self awareness arises, then it seems we should expect those with a soul to be self aware. It is not a necessary criteria of, but something that I see as a reasonable expectation given a souls existence. Is it an unreasonable expectation?

If a soul and exists is able to continue to exist without a body, does it then exist in some state devoid of self awareness?

Quote:
There are a lot of unfounded presuppositions in your question.

Such as? I'm willing to discuss with you if you are willing to do something aside from make assertions.

Quote:
And she did have a sense of self.

The quote seems to me to say otherwise. If you have a quote that contradicts it I would be willing to read it. Simply asserting that she did is pointless.

Quote:
She just didn't have the ability to understand or know the definition of self.

The quote seems to contradict your assertion. Do you have something substantial upon which you base this claim?

Quote:
And there are two very imprtant points in her life that you left out.

I'm sure there are thousands of important points in her life I left out. This thread isn't her biography. ?

Quote:
In her darkness, Hellen Keller believed in a God, even before she ever heard of the concept or the word God.

Source?

Quote:
The very first word she ever said when she learned to speak was "God."

Source?

Quote:
You didn't mention these facts, probably because you were unaware of them or just intentionally deceptive.

I wasn't aware of them and I'm still not aware of them except as naked assertions posted by an anonymous internet user.

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Alberto wrote:   ""Many

Alberto wrote:

 

""Many persons, having perfect eyes, are blind in their perceptions. Many persons, having perfect ears, are emotionally deaf. Yet these are the very ones who dare to set limits to the vision of those who, lacking a sense or two, have will, soul, passion, imagination. Faith is a mockery if it teaches us not that we may construct a world unspeakably more complete and beautiful than the material world. And I, too, may construct my better world, for I am a child of God, an inheritor of a fragment of the Mind that created all worlds." -- Helen Keller

Can anyone else find a quote that shows Helen Keller believed in god? And if they can, will the next person who posts one explain how it is supposed to be at all relevant to the topic?

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Quote: On what basis do you

Quote:
On what basis do you even assume that self-awareness is necessary criteria for the existance of a soul?

I would probably agree that the OP presupposes a specific definition of the soul that not everyone probably shares. Some people DO associate it with self-awareness, whereas others think it's some thing we're unaware of that's stowed away, undetectable, serving as a phone line to god and a train ticket to heaven. And of course there is the reincarnation version. I'm sure there are even more variations than this, but these are the ones I encounter most.

But the fact that different people explain the definition and functions of the sou in different ways doesn't argue very strongly for its case. 

 

Quote:

There are a lot of unfounded presuppositions in your question. And she did have a sense of self. She just didn't have the ability to understand or know the definition of self.

To be fair, none of us can really know the answer to this because we utterly cannot relate. I suspect you're right, but the only one who really knows the amount of truth in that statement is HK herself. 


 

Quote:

In her darkness, Hellen Keller believed in a God, even before she ever heard of the concept or the word God.

I sincerely doubt it.

And furthermore, how can you believe in that for which you have no concept? That is a ridiculous statement.

 

Quote:

The very first word she ever said when she learned to speak was "God."

 Note: she learned to speak. So the first word that she spoke while she was being taught to speak means absolutely nothing. Her teacher could have chosen to have her say the word "elf" as her first word, but that wouldn't say anything about elves.

Furthermore, the word god is linguistically a pretty simple utterance. A child in the earliest stages of language acquisition could easily say this word accidentally with no idea whatsoever as to what they were saying. You don't have to add much to "Ga! Ga!" to arrive at a deity.

 

Quote:

You didn't mention these facts, probably because you were unaware of them or just intentionally deceptive.

Whether or not that's true, I'm unswayed by your rebuttals.

 

I'm actually more interested in the sensory questions this topic brings up rather than the soul questions. But that's just me.

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I'm astonished how many

I'm astonished how many assumptions are being made here about what Hellen Keller thought and felt. It only took about 2 minutes of searching to figure out a few things.

 Her first word was "water", according to several sources. This was signed not spoken. Haven't yet found the first spoken word.

She was religions, but certainly not in a fundemantalist way. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_in_my_Darkness

She was a heavily influenced by Swedenborg.


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wavefreak wrote: I'm

wavefreak wrote:

I'm astonished how many assumptions are being made here about what Hellen Keller thought and felt. It only took about 2 minutes of searching to figure out a few things.

Her first word was "water", according to several sources. This was signed not spoken. Haven't yet found the first spoken word.

She was religions, but certainly not in a fundemantalist way.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_in_my_Darkness

She was a heavily influenced by Swedenborg.

I'm simply asking a question to those who believe in the soul about how they think a particular Helen Keller quote, which seems to me to quite obviously state that she did not know that she was, that she knew nothing, had neither thought nor intellect, no love, no desire, yadda yadda, zilch, (some apparently seem to believe that one can be self aware without knowing they are self aware which leads one to wonder what they think  self aware means, but...) fits their perception of the existence of said soul. I am making no claims about anything else about her aside from one quote of wordfs direct from her, well, fingers.

I can't speak for anyone else.   

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: wavefreak

Vessel wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

I'm astonished how many assumptions are being made here about what Hellen Keller thought and felt. It only took about 2 minutes of searching to figure out a few things.

Her first word was "water", according to several sources. This was signed not spoken. Haven't yet found the first spoken word.

She was religions, but certainly not in a fundemantalist way.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_in_my_Darkness

She was a heavily influenced by Swedenborg.

I'm simply asking a question to those who believe in the soul about how they think a particular Helen Keller quote, which seems to me to quite obviously state that she did not know that she was, that she knew nothing, had neither thought nor intellect, no love, no desire, yadda yadda, zilch, (some apparently seem to believe that one can be self aware without knowing they are self aware which leads one to wonder what they think self aware means, but...) fits their perception of the existence of said soul. I am making no claims about anything else about her aside from one quote of wordfs direct from her, well, fingers.

I can't speak for anyone else.

FWIW, She was night blind and deaf from birth. She lost her hearing and sight to an illnass whil still an infant.

 

As for the quote that started this, what was it quoted from? The context might be illuminating.She may not have been entirely literal. 


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 Vessel, I don't have

 Vessel, I don't have access to the sources Helen believed in a God when deaf and blind, or that her first word was God. If I recall correctly, I heard this in a documentary years ago. It would be virtually impossible for me to locate that. There is a whole array of statements and writings from Keller. Be careful not to take her out of context.

 

But there is ample data showing she was a theist. She belonged to the theistic philosophy of Emmanuel Swedenborg.

 

It's interesting to me that those in history who overcome the greatest obsticles, are theists of some sort.

 

You responded: "How did you interpret what I wrote as saying self awareness is necessary criteria for a soul? If the soul is the seat of consciousness, that from which self awareness arises, then it seems we should expect those with a soul to be self aware. It is not a necessary criteria of, but something that I see as a reasonable expectation given a souls existence. Is it an unreasonable expectation?"

 

Your conclusion is derived from a flimsy presupposition. It "seems" to you. In other words, you don't know for sure. If the premise of an argument is uncertain, then logically so also are its conclusions. I would say your conclusions are not warranted. Keller had no referrent by which to contrast or distinguish her own existance. "I think therefore I am" (Descartes). She was a thinking individual in her darkness -- so therefore she must have been self-aware.

 

 

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 Also, consider this: it

 Also, consider this: it is hindu and ancient Gnostic cults who believed in a strong duality between soul and body. This duality between the two, is common today in new age philosophies and religions -- it even has some place within some Christian sects.

 

But Christianity has historically believed that man is a soul AND a body. Both are dependent on each other for full realization and awareness.

 

The soul is not a fully functioning reality outside the body. It is aware to some extent, but we have no way of knowing the level of this awareness.

 

Only those in heaven (saints) are truly and fully conscious outside a body.

 

The resurrection of the dead, as taught by Judaism and Christianity, will be a re-uniting of the soul and body, restoring man to his proper condition and complete nature of soul/body unity.

 

Man is not a soul

 

Man is not a body

 

Man IS soul AND body.

 

The ancient Gonstics believed matter was evil so they denegrated the body.

 

But in Christianity, the body is good and redeemned by Christ.

 

Christ didn't come just to save the soul. He also came to save the body --the whole man.

 

It will be restored to its proper constitution at the general resurrection of all people at the end of time.

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wavefreak wrote: FWIW, She

wavefreak wrote:

FWIW, She was night blind and deaf from birth. She lost her hearing and sight to an illnass whil still an infant.

 

As for the quote that started this, what was it quoted from? The context might be illuminating.She may not have been entirely literal.

Yes. She was not completely blind from birth, but became so very early in her life. 

The quote is from:

Keller, Helen. The World I Live In (pg.113). 1908

Here.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Alberto wrote: Vessel, I

Alberto wrote:

Vessel, I don't have access to the sources Helen believed in a God when deaf and blind, or that her first word was God. If I recall correctly, I heard this in a documentary years ago. It would be virtually impossible for me to locate that. There is a whole array of statements and writings from Keller. Be careful not to take her out of context.

I'm simply using her own words, as she wrote them, with the source now provided so whoever wishes can examine context and make their own conclusions as to her meaning. 

 

Quote:
But there is ample data showing she was a theist. She belonged to the theistic philosophy of Emmanuel Swedenborg.

Again, is anyone here disputing this? 

 

Quote:
It's interesting to me that those in history who overcome the greatest obsticles, are theists of some sort.

Most people are, and historically have been, theists of some sort. Most people in history who overcome obnstacles are theists of some sort. Seems perfectly logical to me. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Your conclusion is derived from a flimsy presupposition. It "seems" to you.

Where is my conclusion? I asked a question and stated my impression based on the data I had. There is no conclusion. Every statement I make is not a conclusion. I don't know how you operate, but I usually try to gather information before reaching conclusions, and even then all conclusions are tentative. 

Quote:
In other words, you don't know for sure.

I realize this. This is why I wrote "it seems to me". Why are you trying to explain to mke what I wrote? 

Quote:
If the premise of an argument is uncertain, then logically so also are its conclusions.

Before you attempt to unnecessarilly explain logic to me, you might want to look up conclusion in a dictionary. Then you can show me where I have stated any conclusion in this thread. 

Quote:
I would say your conclusions are not warranted.

I would say that your purple elephant is standing on my tulips. ? 

Quote:
Keller had no referrent by which to contrast or distinguish her own existance. "I think therefore I am" (Descartes). She was a thinking individual in her darkness -- so therefore she must have been self-aware.

Again you directly contradict what is stated in the quote with nothing but a naked assertion. She says she didn't "contact her forehead in the act of thinking". She says she only knows of her existence then and the tactual memories she has from that time in retrospect. You did read the quote before you started commenting, didn't you?


“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Just out of

Just out of curiosity,

 

Why do so many people

 

 leave so much space between lines

 

 

 

 

Alberto wrote:

Also, consider this: it is hindu and ancient Gnostic cults who believed in a strong duality between soul and body. This duality between the two, is common today in new age philosophies and religions -- it even has some place within some Christian sects.

Yes. I would be interested in hearing these people's take on the quote as well. Know any?

 

Quote:
But Christianity has historically believed that man is a soul AND a body. Both are dependent on each other for full realization and awareness.

So, from the historical Christian perspective, man would require sensory input processed by sensory organs for full realization? Why is the soul then needed at all? Also, would this mean that the Christian heaven is a physically existing place?

 

Quote:
The soul is not a fully functioning reality outside the body. It is aware to some extent, but we have no way of knowing the level of this awareness.

What does aware to some extent mean, and from where are you getting that the soul minus the body is aware to some unknown extent?  

 

Quote:
Only those in heaven (saints) are truly and fully conscious outside a body.

Do they have different souls then regular people souls? Why are all souls not the same in their level of non-bodily awareness?

 

Quote:
The resurrection of the dead, as taught by Judaism and Christianity, will be a re-uniting of the soul and body, restoring man to his proper condition and complete nature of soul/body unity.

So does one then go to some physical place? 

 

Quote:
Man is not a soul.

 

Man is not a body

 

Man IS soul AND body.

What purpose does the soul serve? 

 

Quote:
The ancient Gonstics believed matter was evil so they denegrated the body.

Well, that was silly of them.

 

Quote:
But in Christianity, the body is good and redeemned by Christ.

 

Christ didn't come just to save the soul. He also came to save the body --the whole man.

 

It will be restored to its proper constitution at the general resurrection of all people at the end of time.

The soul seems completely unnecessary here. What purpose does it serve? Why not just have a body as the materialist believes?

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: The soul

Vessel wrote:
The soul seems completely unnecessary here. What purpose does it serve? Why not just have a body as the materialist believes?

While materialism has a lot of support among RRS members, it is not a universally held position among philosophers. Neither is theological non-positivism. But they certainly make some strong points. If you look up philisophical materialism, you'll find some of the objections that allow the persistence of concepts such as a soul.    


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wavefreak wrote: Vessel

wavefreak wrote:

Vessel wrote:
The soul seems completely unnecessary here. What purpose does it serve? Why not just have a body as the materialist believes?

While materialism has a lot of support among RRS members, it is not a universally held position among philosophers.

Holy crap. Where do I state, or even suggest, that materialism is a universally held position among philosophers? Did you actually get the impression I beleive this is so from something I wrote? If so, would you please, for my own benefit  that I might heretofor correct such mistakes in trying to have a discussion, point out exactly where I give this impression?

Quote:
Neither is theological non-positivism.

There is no universally held position among philosophers. Does this actually need to be said?  

Quote:
But they certainly make some strong points. If you look up philisophical materialism, you'll find some of the objections that allow the persistence of concepts such as a soul.

However suprising you might find this, I am neither illiterate nor uneducated. I am well aware that there are objections to materialism. I find them to be highly unpersuasive, but that is another thread. Here we are discussing the Helen Keller quote and its relevance to the existence of a soul. If you have specific points from objections to materialism that you think are pertinent to the thread, by all means post away. 

Sometimes, Wavefreak, I get the impression you just like to hear yourself type.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: Here we are

Vessel wrote:

Here we are discussing the Helen Keller quote and its relevance to the existence of a soul.

You are tediously pedantic.

Helen Keller's quote has NOTHING to add to the discussion about dualism as it is given without any context. You project your own ideas onto a fragment of a persons life and expect a coherent conversation. You assume a great deal about what she acutally meant, and you also discard a great deal about developmental psychology. You haven't made a case at all, just tossed out a quote and added in some conjecture.  I could take a quote from the God Delusion and attempt to make Dawkins support some specious position. But unless all of the God Delusion is taken into account, a single quote from it means nothing. You have failed to present anything other than an intersting quote. If you want a real conversation, provide some context regarding Helen Keller's quote. 


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wavefreak wrote: Vessel

wavefreak wrote:
Vessel wrote:

Here we are discussing the Helen Keller quote and its relevance to the existence of a soul.

You are tediously pedantic.

Your opinion is noted. I'm not overly concerned by it.

Quote:
Helen Keller's quote has NOTHING to add to the discussion about dualism as it is given without any context.

I provided a link to the entire work from which it was taken. What more context do you require?

I am asking for one who believes in the existence of a soul to offer their take on the quote and their opinion as to what relevance, if any, it has to their belief.

For instance, if there is a soul, does her experience, as she has described it, fit into what they would expect? If so, how? Do they believe that sensory perception is necessary for a soul to experience? If so, does one continue to experience after death? Or what purpose do they see the soul as serving? If not, then how do they reconcile it with the experience of this woman as she has relayed it? Do they believe that a soul is sufficient for self awareness or consciousness or does it require a body?

 Whether or not you think the quote has anything to say towards dualism, or not, is your opinion, which you are entitled to. Dan Dennett included the first two lines of this quote at the beginning of a chapter in his work "Consciousness Explained", which is where I originally discovered it. He never explicitly addressed how he thought the quote relevant to the topic of consciousness, but I doubt he included it simply because he liked the way the letters were arranged. I found the quote interesting and so  looked up the work it was cited from and read a bit more finally coming to wonder how others would view her experiences and what, if any, relevance they had to particular positions on the nature of consciousness. 

Quote:
You project your own ideas onto a fragment of a persons life and expect a coherent conversation.

 I read the quote. I took meaning from the written words. I thought about this meaning and what it said in relation to other concepts. I asked a question in a forum in order to prompt a discussion. Those are the things I have done.

Quote:
You assume a great deal about what she acutally meant, and you also discard a great deal about developmental psychology.

 I read what she wrote and thought about her experience, as she described it, and how it seemed to me to not be what I would have expected to find were there a human soul that was responsible for consciousness. If you have something from developmental psychology you would like to present feel free.

Quote:
You haven't made a case at all, just tossed out a quote and added in some conjecture.

I haven't made a case. I have posted a quote and asked a question, offering what I took from the quote as a beginning to the conversation.    

Quote:
I could take a quote from the God Delusion and attempt to make Dawkins support some specious position.

Please point out where you think I have stated Helen Keller supports some specious position. When you realize I have not, you will see why your analogy is not applicable. 

Quote:
But unless all of the God Delusion is taken into account, a single quote from it means nothing.

So unless I take everything you've ever said into account I can not determine what you mean by any particular thing you say. This seems an odd requirement for determining meaning to me. 

Quote:
You have failed to present anything other than an intersting quote. If you want a real conversation, provide some context regarding Helen Keller's quote.

I've provided the entire book. What more context do you require? Should she be dug up and re-animated?

Your complaints are tiresome, Wavefreak . I would appreciate it if you either tried to be productive in conversation or did not participate. Thank you.

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: I would

Vessel wrote:

I would appreciate it if you either tried to be productive in conversation or did not participate. Thank you.

 

So basically, if I don't participate in the manner *you* consider procductive, I should just fuck off. Freethinker indeed.

Eat shit and die. 


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wavefreak wrote: Vessel

wavefreak wrote:
Vessel wrote:

I would appreciate it if you either tried to be productive in conversation or did not participate. Thank you.

 

So basically, if I don't participate in the manner *you* consider procductive, I should just fuck off. Freethinker indeed.

Eat shit and die.

Wavefreak, why so emotional? You have done nothing in this thread but complain about this thread. I have no idea why you would want to do such a thing nor do I understand why you become so hostile when I politely request that you either take a more productive approach than simply complaining or, if the thread really bothers you that much, it is very easy to not participate.

I'm sorry if I have angered you in some way. This thread was not intended to provoke you. Your behavior in this thread really has me puzzled. I don't know what exactly I have done to provoke such a response.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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  Let us not forget Helen

 

Let us not forget Helen Keller and her enormous contribution to humanity. She deserves our respect and perhaps a moment of silence. I dedicate this post to 57 of her quotes.

 

  1. " Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

     

  2. "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

     

  3. "As selfishness and complaint pervert and cloud the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision."

     

  4. "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold."

     

  5. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."

     

  6. "College isn't the place to go for ideas."

     

  7. "God himself is not secure, having given man dominion over his work."

     

  8. "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

     

  9. "I can say with conviction that the struggle which evil necessitates is one of the greatest blessings. It makes us strong, patient, helpful men and women. It lets us into the soul of things and teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcomings of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail."

     

  10. "I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace."

     

  11. "I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace."

     

  12. "I have often been asked, ''Do not people bore you?'' I do not understand quite what that means. I suppose the calls of the stupid and curious, especially of newspaper reporters, are always inopportune. I also dislike people who try to talk down to my understanding. They are like people who when walking with you try to shorten their steps to suit yours; the hypocrisy in both cases is equally exasperating."

     

  13. "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

     

  14. "I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen. Be this as it may, I know that I can feel the heart-throbs of the ancient Greeks in their marble gods and goddesses."

     

  15. "It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision."

     

  16. "It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance it allotted length."

     

  17. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

     

  18. "College isn't the place to go for ideas."

     

  19. "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow."

     

  20. "'Knowledge is power.'' Rather, knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge -- broad, deep knowledge -- is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heartthrobs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life."

     

  21. "Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others."

     

  22. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

     

  23. "Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."

     

  24. "Many people have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

     

  25. "Museums and art stores are also sources of pleasure and inspiration. Doubtless it will seem strange to many that the hand unaided by sight can feel action, sentiment, beauty in the cold marble; and yet it is true that I derive genuine pleasure from touching great works of art. As my finger tips trace line and curve, they discover the thought and emotion which the artist has portrayed."

     

  26. "My share of the work may be limited, but the fact that it is work makes it precious."

     

  27. "My darkness has been filled with the light of intelligence, and behold, the outer day-lit world was stumbling and groping in social blindness."

     

  28. "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

     

  29. "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."

     

  30. "Not the senses I have but what I do with them is my kingdom."

     

  31. "Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful."

     

  32. "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

     

  33. "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

     

  34. "People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant."

     

  35. "Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings."

     

  36. "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.... Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

     

  37. "Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world."

     

  38. "Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived."

     

  39. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

     

  40. " The highest result of education is tolerance."

     

  41. "The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all."

     

  42. "There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his."

     

  43. "The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse."

     

  44. "The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."

     

  45. "There is much in the Bible against which every instinct of my being rebels, so much that I regret the necessity which has compelled me to read it through from beginning to end. I do not think that the knowledge which I have gained of its history and sources compensates me for the unpleasant details it has forced upon my attention."

     

  46. "To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug."

     

  47. "To think clearly without hurry or confusion; To love everybody sincerely; To act in everything with the highest motives; To trust God unhesitatingly."

     

  48. "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle."

     

  49. "The best way out is always through."

     

  50. "Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness."

     

  51. "We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough."

     

  52. "We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world."

     

  53. "We may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings."

     

  54. "What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self."

     

  55. "When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us."

     

  56. "When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."

     

  57. "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."

My signature is stupid like you know who.


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 Sorry, I just realized

 Sorry, I just realized some of those quotes were repeats.

 

Rest in peace Helen KellerSmiling


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Hambydammit wrote: Hmm..

Hambydammit wrote:

Hmm.. Damn interesting question. I know what I would have said when I was a Christian,

What would that have been? 

Quote:
but I'm interested in hearing it from a Christian first.

That doesn't look like its going to happen beyond a few assertions and a novella's worth of quotes, so don't hold your breath. 


“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Alberto wrote: Also,

Alberto wrote:

Also, consider this: it is hindu and ancient Gnostic cults who believed in a strong duality between soul and body. This duality between the two, is common today in new age philosophies and religions -- it even has some place within some Christian sects.

 

But Christianity has historically believed that man is a soul AND a body. Both are dependent on each other for full realization and awareness.

 

The soul is not a fully functioning reality outside the body. It is aware to some extent, but we have no way of knowing the level of this awareness.

 

Only those in heaven (saints) are truly and fully conscious outside a body.

 

The resurrection of the dead, as taught by Judaism and Christianity, will be a re-uniting of the soul and body, restoring man to his proper condition and complete nature of soul/body unity.

 

Man is not a soul

 

Man is not a body

 

Man IS soul AND body.

 

The ancient Gonstics believed matter was evil so they denegrated the body.

 

But in Christianity, the body is good and redeemned by Christ.

 

Christ didn't come just to save the soul. He also came to save the body --the whole man.

 

It will be restored to its proper constitution at the general resurrection of all people at the end of time.

And the "soul" was made by Allah....no....Thor.....no....Yahwey....no....Osirus.

You sound like Charly Brown's teacher.

Wha wha wha wha wha........Jesus

Wha wha wha wha wha.........Allah

Wha wha wha wha wha.........Yahwey

Wha wha wha wha wha........."soul"

Wha wha wha wha wha........."Big foot"

Wha wha wha wha wha........."Loc Ness" 

Your ambiguity in defining "soul" is a naked assertion with no foundation and is as credible as "Bat Boy" out of the Weekly World News. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Alberto
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 I might have exaggerated

 I might have exaggerated when I referred to her "enormous contribution to humanity". But she did offer somethings. She was an overcomer. I don't want the youth of today to forget what she taught us.

My signature is stupid like you know who.