So many words, so many concepts. So little truth. Anyone who has ever cared about language, perhaps while in the throes of attempting to express some subtlety — which might be nearly everyone of course — may well have looked into the derivation of such problematic concepts as ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’, endemic to Western religion.
If they had, they would have found that both ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ ultimately derive from root words indicating ‘breath’.
If you have ever sat with something that died — even a fly — then it is easy to grasp how this coining occurred. As the body stops breathing, something goes out from it. Something was there — then it is not, the body is empty of it, and it stops breathing.
But do we need this profusion of words?
Why don’t we stick to one that is rooted in what we are — life?
It is life that that is not in the body after it dies — that life that animated it.
After all there’s plenty of living forms, all full of life, in any dead body; they start disassembling the thing as soon as the last breath passes. But those living forms are not that unitary life that we recognised, that was in it before.
We may not know what ‘spirit’ is — which leads to endless speculation and theorising.
We may not know what ‘soul’ is — which leads to endless speculation and theorising.
But we do know what life is – for that’s what we are.