Webster's Third International Dictionary:
1. the immaterial essence or substance animating principle or actuating cause of life or of the individual life.
2. the psychical or spiritual principle in general shared by or embodied in individual human beings or all beings having a rational and spiritual nature.
3. the immortal part of man having permanent individual existence.
4. a person's total self... sometimes distinguished from spirit...
The Self-Revealed Knowledge, by Roy E. Davis:
"An individualized ray of God's consciousness reflected from the field of primordial nature that mistakenly presumes itself to be independent of God. The soul's illusional state of consciousness has to be purified and transcended to have its awareness restored to wholeness."
Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th edition:
Soul: an immaterial principle or aspect that, with the body, constitutes the human person. The soul has also been conceived as the very essence of a thing and not a mere aspect or part. Although now closely associated with such terms as mind, spirit, or self, with which it has become almost synonymous, the basic connotation of soul in ancient and primitive societies was life. Soul is the life of the body. ... At death the soul leaves the body, and all bodily processes cease.
K.W.B., author of Awareness - The Center of Being:
The soul is individualized awareness. At this stage, pure Awareness loses its purity and gets involved with mental creations. It is then called the ego. Therefore, the experience of pure Awareness lies in becoming again pure Awareness, a condition of pure Beingness, which is totally void of thoughts and thinking. Awareness is self-energetic and it is this energy that animates the body and gives it its life-force. The Spirit, the Self, and Awareness are synonym.
1. In contemplating the origin of Awareness.
2. In the experience of pure Awareness.
4. In the investigation of Reincarnation.
- Read the books by Dr. Ian Stevenson, a professor of psychiatry, who has for more than 30 years collected and analyzed thousands of cases, all strongly supporting the notion of reincarnation.
5. In the study of out-of-body experiences (OBE) and near-death experiences (NDE).
- Read books and studies by Dr. G. Gabbard, Dr. S. Twemlow, Charles Tart, Raymond Moody, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Dr. Melvin Morse, Dr. Kenneth Ring, Dr. Michael Sabon, and many more.
- In his book "Recollections of Death", Michael Sabon, a cardiologist, states: "autoscopic hallucination does not appear to be a plausible explanation of NDE."
6. In the overwhelming agreement and matching description of all philosophies and religions (with the exception of the Jehovah Witnesses, who believe that there is no soul beyond the body).
In response to this article, Paul Katz submitted the following references which are part of Plato's proof for the existence of the Soul, both before birth and after death, using logic and inference:
"The 'Cycle of Opposites' Argument 69E-72E
The Argument from 'Recollection' 72E-78B
The Argument from 'Affinity' 78B-84B
The Theory of Forms proves the Soul Indestructible 102A-107A
also one occurs in tenth book of the Republic, also one occurs in the Phaedrus, and is amplified in the tenth book of the Laws."
- Submitted by Paul Katz with references to Plato's Phaedo by R. S. Bluck, Bobbs-Merrill.
Note to "Cycle of Opposites Argument":
Plato based his arguments on the basic observation that everything in nature appears because of the two opposite forces which are already expressed on a subatomic level. What is known as the Yin and Yang is found on all levels of our material world. We find it as negative and positive, hot and cold, electron and proton, good and evil, just and unjust, up and down, and so on. If someone becomes unjust or evil, he must have been a good or just person before he turned bad, otherwise he was already bad and could not have turned bad. If someone turns into a good and just person, he must have been the opposite before. If something gets cold it must have been hot before. One enters sleep after being awake and vice versa. Thus Plato observes:
"The state of sleep is opposed to the state of waking, and out of sleeping waking is generated, and out of waking, sleeping; and the process of generation is in the one case falling asleep, and in the other waking up."
Plato then compares life and death in the same manner and finds death generated from life and life generated from death. Hence our Soul must be from beyond, because "the souls of the dead must be in some place out of which they come again."
If, on the other hand, death would be the only exception to the rule, then, life would move in one way in a straight line. This is contrary to the observation that everything else circles. As a consequence, nothing would in the end remain that could create new life. Everything would move from a pool of existence into nothingness which also raises the question where it could have come from if not from existence itself.
Plato concludes: "I am confident in the belief that there truly is such a thing as living again, and that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence."
Note to "Recollection Argument":
In his "Recollection Argument" Plato observes that we compare things with ideals of which we could have no other knowledge of than from the faint memory from before we were born. Whenever we judge abstract ideas like beauty, equality, goodness, truth, and so on, we compare these concepts with ultimate absolute ideas. This proves that we must have some knowledge of these absolute ideas from before we were born.
KWB: This faint memory is also the reason for our spiritual and religious endeavors. If we would not somehow already at a deeper level know that survival is possible, we would not put that much hope in our spiritual searches. This could be compared with someone who seeks healing: Would this person seek healing if he would not have a memory of a healthy condition and his knowledge that healing is indeed possible?
Plato goes further and finally identifies absolute beauty, goodness, and essence in general to be the true previous condition of our being to which we still refer when we compare and classify our sensations.
Plato continues: "If these absolute ideas existed before we were born, then our souls must have existed before we were born." And, if the soul existed before birth, the soul must continue to exist after death, "since she has to be born again."
Note to "Affinity Argument":
After more excellent reasoning, Plato finally identifies the soul as unchanging and resembling the divine while the body resembles the mortal: "The soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible, and uniform, and indissoluble, and unchangeable; and the body is in the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintelligible, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable."
The body is destined for dissolution while the soul remains indissoluble.