[extropy-chat] Soul, Body and Fetus: A Parapsychological Issue

Claribel claribel at intermessage.com
Tue May 24 10:06:41 UTC 2005

I see the question of how the 'soul' or consciousness interacts with the
physical body as both a scientific /and/ spiritual issue -- a
parapsychological issue. There are various models in the world about the
nature of soul or consciousness. There are the models of various Jewish and
Christian sects, various branches of Hinduism, Buddhism, etc, as well as
newer constructs like Spiritualism and the oft-maligned "New Age."

These belief systems tend to based on a combination of faith and
experience -- if not the practitioner's /own/ experience, /somebody's/
experience in the past. I think that it is necessary to navigate a path
between blind belief and unconditional dismissal of anything that doesn't
fit into current mainstream science.

Parapsychology offers a number of investigations into phenomena such as
NDE's, OBE's, reincarnational memories, and mediumship, which contain much
evidence suggestive of a soul that can act separately from the body and
survive bodily death. The question of exactly when the soul /enters/ the
body would also legitimately fall in this discipline. Unfortunately,
parapsychology is still not regarded as a 'respectable' enough science to be
taken seriously in public policy. I think that development in this area is
very important -- and that the results will transform society in
unmeasurable ways.

I am aware (from looking at the extropy.com website) that there is some
anti-parapsychological oriention in the Extropian community. Here is Dean
Radin's excellent FAQ on the current state of parapsychology:
http://www.psiresearch.org/para1.html It deals with some objections on
parapsychology's validity and provides links to other sources.

As for the 'weight of soul' issue: I'd like to point out that Eastern
mystical philosophy and its Western correlates assume the existence not of
merely one, but of many layers of  'subtle material' enveloping the soul, of
different frequencies or degrees of density. These are known as the etheric,
astral, mental and causal, to cite one common list of gradations. (Some
systems divide them into further sublevels.) If there actually is something
leaving the body at death which can affect a physical scale, I would guess
that it is most likely the etheric body -- the densest of all the soul's
sheaths. As another person pointed out, not all religions believe in a
strict division between spirit and matter.The possibility of intermediate
states -- a continuum of interconnected levels -- is one that is well worth
investigation. Ken Wilber's Integral Science offers one approach to this.

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