Home: Scrying: More weirdness: Strangeness, change and the soul

More weirdness: Strangeness, change and the soul

January 18, 2006

Roland's room undergoes massive changeSince there seems to be some interest in the subject of weirdness and change, I’m going to delve a bit further today. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had change on the mind. Not only did our weather decide to change to cold (even with a touch of snow,) but I spent the last weekend redecorating my house. That turned out to be a time consuming and tiring, yet positive change. In a way, it is a perfect example of our difficulties with change. It isn’t the change itself that is so distressing—to the contrary, it is often refreshing—it is that change is usually accompanied by responsibility. In my case, changing my house resulted in beautiful changes (I’ll take some pictures soon) but took a good bit of responsibility.

The changes facing our planet have the same effect on us. In some ways, advancing to cleaner and more efficient technologies thrills everyone; but if it means being responsible, we hesitate. It isn’t even typical responsibilities that we fear, but those which are uncertain. If we try a particular idea, we don’t quite know the effects, or the responsibilities we will be taking.

Facing the uncertain and unknown, or weirdness, if you like, is always going to be distressing. Think of that first hill on a roller coaster: your heart races and you ask yourself “how did I get here? What was I thinking?” You feel your gut sink as you reach the crest of the hill… but the ride down the other side is always a thrill. Uncertainty is a bit frightening, but it can be fun. (Of course, there are better analogies, as there is little responsibility in roller coaster riding, outside of buying your ticket and being the requisite height.) I have a paper that explores this topic more, with a better metaphor, that I’ll have to dig out soon. Think “Frankenstein” meets modern science. It is, at least, a fun take on daunting subjects.

Does a soul change?Setting science aside, for a moment, I’m going to bravely venture into a completely different angle. If we have souls, do they change? In my opinion, they must… everything else does. I don’t exactly see the idea of a soul as most people, either. I believe if we have them, then so does everything else, down to kittens, bacteria, even minerals, gasses… why not even light, or a force like magnetism? I am willing to admit, looking at it this way; humans possibly have more complex souls than other species or things. This complexity, however, is based on change.

I picture the soul as an aspect of a being which brings them or it unity. If a stone has a soul, and I drop it, breaking it into two pieces, then there would be two souls. One could argue each mineral grain in the stone also has its’ own sort of soul. A soul is not some static, unchanging thing, however. Like the stone, it can weather over time, or with enough change in the environment, become something else entirely.

In the same way, if we make enough of an impact, and initiate change in our lifetimes, our souls may endure beyond. Their impacts may remain the same, or they might dissipate, or be transformed into something else entirely. I’d say I’ve been affected by the souls of many great thinkers and writers. But is the spirit of Tolstoy I encountered upon reading Anna Karenina the exact same as the spirit of Tolstoy as he existed in 18th century Russia? I’d doubt it… I suspect it has changed quite a bit. Rather than dissolving into unnoticed bits and pieces which go onto something else, the spirit, through countless changes in perspectives, has survived.

This is why I embrace weirdness and change. Not only do I see it adding to the diversity and potential successes of our world, but it is necessary for the enhancement and durability of the soul. Adaptability leads to endurance; change over time leads to complexity and diversity. Together, we get the strange and chaotic utopia we live in. Personally, I kinda like it, weirdness and all.

Quantum physics, which is all about weirdness, suggests that everything in the universe, when broken down into the most basic parts, vibrates. I think the same must be true of the soul… it is like a vibrating wave, changing along with a piece of the universe—or in tune with it, if you prefer. Everything—our bodies, the cat, a lightbulb—is a container, in a sense, for a fluid, evolving soul.

Since I brought up the subject of the soul, I should address this question once and for all, for the record: If I believe in the soul, do I believe in God? Essentially, I do… I see the concept of God as similar to the concept of the soul, but rather than in an individual sense, in a universal sense. That is, I believe God is the “spirit” of the entire universe. (For a more cynical summary based on the earlier metaphor, we’re all simply grains of minerals in the ultimate chunk of rock.)

Perhaps, if the image of the universe is represented by this multidimensional conglomerate of values, bits of information, and experiences, diversified and changed over time (like us… or the stone) we truly were “created in God’s image.” The difficult part of that to accept is, we just aren’t that special, because everything else was too.