4/26/2011

Selling one's soul, or hoping to get one, and other matters philo-theo-sophical

A bit of Easter Week catch-up.  For years the preferred bathroom reading (for me) has been Doonesbury. About three or four good cartoons and I am cleaned out upstairs and down.  

But in the last week of Lent, (actually the Saturday before Palm Sunday, the sales slip reminds me) I bought a fine little volume, "Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates:  Using Philosophy (and Jokes) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between."  The book is by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein who also wrote "Plato and a Platypus walk into a Bar..."

Visit their website HERE.

Its a good read on a difficult topic  (death and all that). More, it can be picked up and put down, paced by other concerns to its rightful place. 

Along about page 95 at the beginning of a discussion on the soul, the authors commented on Wally Scott who had the idea of selling his soul on TradeMe. All sorts of questions arose, not the least of which was whether the soul was intangible goods and therefore not enough of a "thing" to be bought and sold. Still, apparently he did manage to sell it to a Pizza shop owner. It was reported HERE. Maybe it is true that New Zealanders have all the fun.

The whole thing was viewed at the time as being in bad taste and soon dropped out of sight. But the questions remain: what sort of thing is the soul?  Is it simply a different word for "life"? Is it part of some pre-Christian spiritual scheme and a primary sort of object in the universe? Are we soul, or do we have a soul, or you know, have soul?

Christopher R. Harris
My brother Christopher, the professorial one, (good looking bloke,don't ja think?) seems to think it is something to be wished for. Some years ago he sent a Christmas Card on which he wrote, "Pray for my soul, as I am hoping to get one for Christmas." While he seemed to think the soul was a thing to be desired, he must have misplaced the note from our mom (the sainted and still lively Anne) that said, "Your soul and your doing kindness are the best thing you've got going for you. So you don't lose them they have been sewn together. Try not to pull out the threads."


Well, as they say in NOLA, "he done good." Wrote a couple of books, raised a family, has a real job, and can retire, maybe, one of these days. He didn't tear at the threads too much. Soul and action seem to be working together. 

But the point is, about this "soul" thing... the only problem he and any of us may have had about understanding soul is grammar. 


Perhaps it is not that we HAVE a soul, but that we ARE soul. We are soul and body, stitched together, and the body seems to be the sort of presence that does kindness and the soul is the sort of presence that desires to do kindness, they do it together.


The question is, and Cathcart and Klein take this up in detail, "does the soul exist apart from the body? or more generally, does soul exist if there is no body?  Well, there is a bit of philosophical theological stuff to chew on in Easter Week.


So, what do you think?

5 comments:

  1. Well, I read in the bathroom, too, but I never thought of telling on my blog, and here I am telling on your blog.

    does the soul exist apart from the body? or more generally, does soul exist if there is no body?

    I think not. You, with good help from Anne, put it pretty well:

    We are soul and body, stitched together, and the body seems to be the sort of presence that does kindness and the soul is the sort of presence that desires to do kindness, they do it together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Grandmere --first about confessing to bathroom reading --and secondly --God didn't blow into the wind, he blew life into a body.... separating them is the work of dualists or perhaps Platonists....

    ...in my body I shall see God....

    Or, at least that is the hymn of the Church at funerals....

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And hopefully, Mother Margaret, when we finally get to be with God, nobody "blows wind"!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dearest Hermano! LOL! However --if it's God doing the blowing wind --I'm sure it will be pleasant!

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.