Location of the Soul

When I heard his words, and saw with my own eyes what passed between these two wretches, the world waxed dark before my face and my soul knew not in what place it was.
—Burton, The Arabian Nights

No soul whatever seemed to be present in that body, or if he did have a soul it was not where it ought to be, but, as in the case of Kashchey the Deathless [a ghoulish character in Russian folklore] it dwelled somewhere beyond the mountains and was hidden under such a thick crust, that anything that might have stirred in its depths could produce no tremor whatever on the surface.
—Nabokov, Nikolai Gogol

Much of the time the soul is indistinguishable from breath, as with blessing the sneeze. We don’t bless the snot so much as the air that propels it, and perhaps the snot globules tumbling through the whirlwind of the trumpeting sneeze may be compared to the flesh of the body caught up in the uproar of the soul.

Descartes in his Passions of the Soul and The Description of the Human Body suggested that the body works like a machine, that it has the material properties of extension and motion, and that it follows the laws of physics. The mind (or soul), on the other hand, was described as a nonmaterial entity that lacks extension and motion, and does not follow the laws of physics. Descartes argued that only humans have minds, and that the mind interacts with the body at the pineal gland.

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3 thoughts on “Location of the Soul

  1. Omid M. says:

    Interesting post,

    I actually wrote a paper about this problem of Descartes in my third semester at Hampshire.

    I can forward it to you if u crave any reading material.

  2. rkd says:

    part of Descartes’ quote is in a beautiful new movie “Cold Souls”.

  3. I read this piece of writing fully regarding the difference
    of newest and preceding technologies, it’s remarkable article.

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