Loss of Soul – A Moral Dilemma
The effort here will be to simultaneously examine the meaning of “Soul” and the meaning of “Moral” in an effort to find their commonality and further, to explore a simple understanding of the way in which their meanings have, over time, come to new meanings that reflect the loss of both thereby creating “dilemma”.
From the “dictionary”:
Soul: (noun) First appeared before 12th Century
1: the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
2: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
3: a person’s total self
4: a: an active or essential part
– b: a moving spirit: LEADER
5: a: the moral and emotional nature of human beings
– b: the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment
– c: spiritual or moral force: FERVOR
7: EXEMPLIFICATION, PERSONIFICATION <she is the ~ of integrity>
8: a strong positive feeling (as of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor).
Moral: (adjective) First appeared 14th Century
1 a: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior: ETHICAL <~ judgments>
– b: expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a ~ poem>
– c: conforming to a standard of right behavior
– d: sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment <a ~ obligation>
– e: capable of right and wrong action <a ~ agent>
2: probable though not proved: VIRTUAL <a ~ certainty>
3: having the effects of such on the mind, confidence, or will <a ~ victory><~ support>
As one reviews the definition of moral, it is impossible to describe without application to an entity, individual, or group of some kind. There must be a “someone” to teach, conform, or behave out of right verses wrong. Within the definition, moral also appears to have an “effect” which indicates that there must be a something to effect. There is reference to mind or conscience or judgment. Overall, then, moral is applicable to humankind for it is the human entity that acts of conscience, mind, conformity, or standards. The wondering may be, does moral apply to other than human?
Taking now the definition of soul, we first find reference to individual life, human beings, and self. Indeed, this is expanded to “all spiritual beings” or “the Universe”. Reading carefully the definition of soul brings us to the sight that it is perhaps the cause of life itself. It is the critical component. Those things identified as “soulful” are seen as more full or of a more positive feeling. If this is so, then is it not critical that there be a knowing of soul to be whole in one’s life? If soul is self, must one embrace self completely to have complete experience of life? And of course, does soul only apply to human?
Most interestingly, within the definition of Soul, we find that soul is the spiritual or moral force. It is defined as the moral and emotional nature of human beings. So is soul the moral guide to the human? Is soul the “place” where right and wrong are discerned? If so, then it is the soul that must teach and set standards? If Soul is the authority on moral, and all humans have souls, how have we come to a time being referred to as experiencing “moral dilemma”? If we inherently have souls as living entities, what happened to our essential moral guide? What exactly is the dilemma? And again, is the dilemma exclusive to human beings?
Let’s begin our exploration with a look into what is inferred by the soul being “an actuating cause of a human life”. Perhaps many would interpret these powerful words in many ways. But let’s attempt to bring them to simplicity. First the word “actuating” – to move into action. And the meaning of “cause” – the reason for action. Taken together then, Soul becomes the reason to move into action. With this simplicity we can define soul as the life force. It is that which compels us in all aspects of our life. It is at the base of our individual existence, the reason and the way we move forward. Perhaps, it is the soul that give reason for us to move into life form altogether. For simplicity sake, let’s choose here to select “life force” as the working definition of Soul.
Taking into consideration what the definition says, that our life force or soul has an inherent ability to discern what is right, we are taken then to an inquiry of the “moral manner” in which we move or discern that right. Within this understanding of soul, is all soulful movement in need of finding the “right” for each movement? Is every right choice predicated on the need to engage soul in order to discern the right? Indeed, without such engaging, the individual’s life force is not actively involved in the day-to-day moving of the individual at all. Thus it appears critical that the soul or self must not only be present but engaged to move forward in a moral way.
If we equate soul to self, we must define self as soulful. Yet, often we hear moral direction that points to selflessness. Confusing? Indeed, have the meanings of the words become so confused that somehow we have come to believe that to be moral we must diminish self rather than embrace it as our guide? Only within the hearts of human kind can this question be answered. Only individuals truly know if he or she engages their soul as their moral guide. But from a perspective, once again, of a pronounced existing “moral dilemma”, surely something is missing. Who or what is setting the moral standard that has brought us to this dilemma? Would not embracing our inherent moral guide bring us to a place of shining “rightness”? Our conclusion must come from an honest embracing of humanity and a respectful assessing of the root beneath the dilemma. Given we are alive (have been moved into life by soul) we have the ability to “be” moral. Perhaps the missing piece is simply the lack of engaging soul. It is not that human beings are choosing “immoral” direction at all, but rather that they are not “choosing” from the inherent guide. There must be then a “loss of soul” as moral guide.
From this simple view, the important ingredient then, to remedy the “moral dilemma”, is engaging soul or self. However, to take this route, one must be able to experience soul or self so that it can be then engaged. If soul is somehow “lost” how does one find it? Moving back again to the definition for clues, we see that soul is also identified with emotions or feelings. The definition tells us that it is Soul that “arouses emotion and sentiment” and that Soul is a strong positive feeling, one of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor. Perhaps we might draw the conclusion that feelings or emotions stand close by or are created out of Soul. Might then feelings be an indicator of where to “find” the lost soul? Here in lies the true dilemma. And perhaps also here lies the alternate force in play with morals. If soul generates emotion and soul is not engaged, neither can feelings be. Now we have not only lost soul, but also lost ability to express soul or self. There must then exist a force moving us forward as humans that is not of either soul with moral discernment or of inherent experience of feeling, but of some other device. The force cannot be of malice, for it is not inherent within soulful life, which we have determined here to be human. What then so deceives the human that it sacrifices its natural guide to good for itself? Could it be no force at all but instead simply lack of life force and therefore “immoral”? Indeed, it is this author’s proposal that it is the later. The dilemma is not born out of deception or apposing energy, but rather out of loss of soul within life form. In short, there is no fuel actualizing the engine. Never-the-less, the engine moves forward without real sureness that it can continue without risk. The engine contains the knowing that it has purpose, but it must continue on, day by day, wondering what it will do “wrong” because the inherent fuel, the life force which creates the “right” can not be felt. Without this guide for its moral journey it becomes immoral by default, not by intent. The dynamic becomes very complicated, yet this is so only because of the need to try other ways to move forward in the absence of actuating force. Fear becomes the fuel that replaces “life force”. The “moral and emotional nature” of the human being becomes more machine like, always seeking outside of itself the fuel that it needs. Life becomes a kind of “filling station” and the guide within slowly disappears until there is little, perhaps, no senses of life force at all, but rather a forcing of life or the survival of it.
Returning to the question, is loss of soul and moral dilemma unique to human beings alone, one can easily hear the dilemma of our planet and of the other species on our planet. Are these dilemmas the same or indeed caused out of the human dilemma? Are other species in loss of soul? Is our planet? Do neither have inherent moral guides?
Much might be said about history or outside guiding forces that have “mislead” the human being into this forest of fear and destruction. But, can a life force be led or is it lack of life force that cannot lead? Again the definition of Soul reveals the answer. Soul is a moving Spirit, a Leader. With its loss we become followers and therefore follow. So is the misguiding force intent or lack of intent? Would we follow if Soul and life force moved us forward?
Simply, is the human’s inadvertent disrespect of self or soul thus our inability to be “aroused to sensitivity and sentiment” that causes us to be insensitive and therefore “immoral” to fellow creatures and planet? Indeed, the loss of self renders the human being non-compassionate, first to self and then to all. Thus, the “moral dilemma” spills over all that is a part and partner to human life without the life force called Soul. The planet and other species reflect to us the truth of the dilemma, yet we cannot hear or see their reflection for we cannot feel the “right” to discern the “wrong”.
If the loss of Soul is at the root of moral decay, then only embracing Soul can rid us of the so-called “moral dilemma”. The dilemma is not moral at all, but instead loss of our essence, our true moral guide, our Soul, our Selves. To rediscover our Self, to authentically feel our life experience, and therefore life force, will return us to our inherent guide of “right” and therefore return us to moral good, indeed to humane.