In a recent post I questioned, ‘who am I?’. The question was left unanswered. Most scientists say we are what we think we are. The feeling of ‘I’ is a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain. But, many philosophers claim that we are not the body, but the soul. They claim that our soul is struck in the cycle of life and death, and it is thorough praying to god, or through good deeds, we obtain freedom and become one with the almighty.
Considering ourselves to be the soul would mean we have a unique identity. Every person is separate with their own unique soul, a soul that is separate from the body. This idea is however challenged by a psychiatric diagnosis called DID (Dissociative identity disorder). We know it as split personality.
The famous case of Miss Beauchamp stroked a big blow to the concept of a unique soul. Her personality was divided between Sally and Beauchamp. Sally hated Beauchamp and tormented her with practical jokes. Once Sally packed some snakes and spiders in a box and addressed it to Beauchamp who was terrified of both. They were different personalities struck in one body, different part of the same brain. Did she had two souls, or split souls? A split soul loses its identity anyway. She actually had more than two personalities, thus requiring more than two souls. To me, that’s unlikely. I would rather go with split brain (not literally, not corpus callosotomy) than split soul.
A lot of people claim out of body experiences (OBE) and near death experiences (NDE) as proof of soul. But those who know about schizophrenia would not be surprised if OBE and NDE were just illusions. May be everything is, it is all in our mind. I believe something exists because somewhere in my brain there is information stored about it. The moment that information is erased that thing cease to exist. All our perceived truth exists just in our minds, not outside it....so does god and soul. The concept of unique soul, and thus the concept of ‘I’ probably come from ego. Spirituality and salvation gives us pleasure, and hence we seek it. Why do we need to separate soul (or conscience) from body? Why do we need a god separate from ourselves? Why do we need to separate matter from energy? The truth can be much simpler.