MichaelEmeryArt

Soul

Thoreau said, "The best part of an animal is its anima (its soul), but the scien­tists never get any further than its shell."

The Needs of the Soul and included in the indispensable Simone Weil: An Anthology (public library), examines the crucial difference between our rights and our obligations — insight all the timelier today, as we grapple with increasingly complex issues of social responsibility and human rights.....................

Weil writes:

The notion of obligations comes before that of rights, which is subordinate and relative to the former. A right is not effectual by itself, but only in relation to the obligation to which it corresponds, the effective exercise of a right springing not from the individual who possesses it, but from other men who consider themselves as being under a certain obligation towards him. Recognition of an obligation makes it effectual. An obligation which goes unrecognized by anybody loses none of the full force of its existence. A right which goes unrecognized by anybody is not worth very much.

It makes nonsense to say that men have, on the one hand, rights, and on the other hand, obligations. Such words only express differences in point of view. The actual relationship between the two is as between object and subject. A man, considered in isolation, only has duties, amongst which are certain duties towards himself. Other men, seen from his point of view, only have rights. He, in his turn, has rights, when seen from the point of view of other men, who recognize that they have obligations towards him. A man left alone in the universe would have no rights whatever, but he would have obligations..................

In a sentiment that calls to mind Einstein’s beautiful letter to the Queen of Belgium, in which he contemplated the existence of “something eternal that lies beyond the hand of fate and of all human delusions,” Weil adds:

The notion of rights, being of an objective order, is inseparable from the notions of existence and reality. [The obligation] always involves to a certain extent the taking into account of actual given states and particular situations. Rights are always found to be related to certain conditions. Obligations alone remain independent of conditions. They belong to a realm situated above all conditions, because it is situated above this world.

.........

The realm of what is eternal, universal, unconditioned is other than the one conditioned by facts, and different ideas hold sway there, ones which are related to the most secret recesses of the human soul.

Weil argues that this higher-order universality, which transcends the specifics of situations, is at the heart of the difference between our rights and our obligations:

All human beings are bound by identical obligations, although these are performed in different ways according to particular circumstances. No human being, whoever he may be, under whatever circumstances, can escape them without being guilty of crime; save where there are two genuine obligations which are in fact incompatible, and a man is forced to sacrifice one of them.

A proper democracy, Weil suggests, minimizes the instances in which we are forced to choose between conflicting obligations and, in doing so, maximizes our rights. She delves deeper into the essence of obligation as a mechanism for conferring dignity upon human existence:

The object of any obligation, in the realm of human affairs, is always the human being as such. There exists an obligation towards every human being for the sole reason that he or she is a human being, without any other condition requiring to be filled, and even without any recognition of such obligation on the part of the individual concerned.

Such obligation, Weil notes, isn’t based upon the factual circumstances of a situation, nor upon any convention, “for all conventions are liable to be modified accordingly to the wishes of the contracting parties.” Rather, it is eternal and unconditional, based upon a duty to the very humanity of the human being — our sole possession of eternity. In a sense, what Weil is describing is the notion of the Golden Rule, found in every major religious tradition and every strand of moral philosophy. She writes:

This obligation has no foundation, but only a verification in the common consent accorded by the universal conscience. It finds expression in some of the oldest written texts which have come down to us. It is recognized by everybody without exception in every single case where it is not attacked as a result of interest or passion. And it is in relation to it that we measure our progress.

And yet she cautions that since the eternal destiny of the human being isn’t susceptible to external actions, it can’t be a motive of any obligation itself. Instead, it serves as an invitation to recognize the only thing we owe one another:

The fact that a human being possesses an eternal destiny imposes only one obligation: respect. The obligation is only performed if the respect is effectively expressed in a real, not a fictitious, way; and this can only be done through the medium of Man’s earthly needs.

[…]

It is an eternal obligation towards the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has the chance of coming to his assistance. This obligation being the most obvious of all, it can serve as a model on which to draw up the list of eternal duties towards each human being.

a writing I found at Aeon(https://aeon.co/ideas/the-revolutionary-figure-of-the-beautiful-self-improved-soul).....In a global culture that appears increasingly obsessed with radical individualism, narcissistic presentations of self, and incendiary political rhetoric, it is hard to imagine that society once cared about the beauty of the soul. But, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Germany and across Europe, the pursuit of a ‘beautiful soul’ became a cornerstone of philosophical thought and popular discourse, advanced by some of the most important intellectuals of the time, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and Wilhelm von Humboldt. To these thinkers, the pursuit of inner perfectibility responded to the horrors of the French Revolution’s irrational mass action culminating in The Terror of the 1790s. Nascent notions of democracy, they believed, could be developed only if each individual achieved liberation from what Immanuel Kant described as the ‘self-incurred tutelage’ of intellectual immaturity by developing cognitive and emotional faculties through aesthetic experiences

At the core of the beautiful soul is the idea that the individual possesses an innate cognitive potential. Subject to the right environmental and educational conditions, this latent potential can be developed to reach a more perfect state of intellect, morality, character and conduct. The beautiful soul is an aesthetic concept focused on developing human capacities and advancing knowledge and culture. It entails the pursuit of personal cultivation to create a convergence of the individual aesthetic impulse with a collective ethical ideal. The beautiful soul is a virtuous soul, one that possesses a sense of justice, pursues wisdom, and practises benevolence through an aestheticised proclivity for the ‘good’.

Inspired by ancient Greek philosophy, the beautiful soul reflects Plotinus’ imperative to cultivate the self in the same way that the sculptor works:

Withdraw within yourself, and examine yourself. If you do not yet therein discover beauty, do as the artist, who cuts off, polishes, purifies until he has adorned his statue with all the marks of beauty. Remove from your soul, therefore, all that is superfluous, straighten out all that is crooked, purify and illuminate what is obscure, and do not cease perfecting your statue until the divine resplendence of virtue shines forth upon your sight …

Sculpting the soul and creating what Goethe referred to as ‘a more beautiful humanity’ is achieved through the internalisation of the Platonic triad of beauty, truth and goodness. Beauty is conceived as the integration of intellectual and aesthetic faculties in the encounter with art and nature. Truth is the result of the logical exercise of rational faculties and the elevating sense of curiosity derived from experiences in the world. Goodness is found in the human capacity to feel compassion for others and thereby contribute to the betterment of society.

The Platonic triad is realised within the soul by exploring ideas through lived experiences, not by blindly following abstract principles or dogma dictated by a church or political system. The concept requires that the individual actively engage her senses to navigate the material world in which beauty acts as her guide. The ineluctable indeterminateness of aesthetic, sensory experience is precisely what makes it valuable in expanding one’s consciousness in order to explore the ultimate questions of reality. Watching a lark’s parabolic trajectory in the sky, observing the fractal patterns found in nature, contemplating the concentric circles produced by rain droplets in pools of water become opportunities to understand the universe and reach a heightened cognitive-affective state. As Goethe observed: ‘A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.’

The concept affirms that, in its universality, beauty offers a means of engaging with the world, providing a common basis upon which positive social relationships can be developed, acting as a lexicon for communicative exchange. Since it is a natural human inclination to share sensory experiences, beauty provides an opportunity to bond individuals in a moment of ultimate meaning, conveying ineffable feelings that cut to the core of existence. By opening one’s perceptual horizons, a person is elevated beyond ego and self-absorption into a realm of universal concern and contemplation. Beauty achieves the good by strengthening faculties of empathy that induce deeper compassion for others and attentiveness to the wellbeing of the social collective. Thus, the marriage of the beautiful, the true and the good is for the beautiful soul more than the metaphysical meditations of antiquity but the very basis of a more just and equitable society.

Although the philosophy was never realised in the way that its theorists envisioned, the beautiful soul is far more than a beautiful idea. In turning towards aesthetics, the philosophers of the German Aufklärung (Enlightenment) did not naively evade political realities. Instead, they offered a holistic theory that recognised the long-term horizon for the flourishing of reason and human understanding. In doing so, they developed a poetic conception of politics that took inspiration from ancient Greek notions of an aesthetic state. In working towards her own self-improvement and fearlessly venturing into society, the beautiful soul was a revolutionary figure, at the vanguard of Enlightenment progress


Self-cultivation was not an idle, vainglorious pursuit of the wealthy, but rather a radical reformulation of what it meant to be human and how to harmoniously exist in society. The beautiful soul anticipated the problems of instrumental reason, overcoming the dangers of mere utility, disenchantment and social isolation by offering an aesthetic world view that facilitated positive human interactions and a multidimensional understanding of human experience. She epitomised Enlightenment values of equality, fraternity and rationality, serving as the model of a citizen who lived up to the responsibilities associated with democracy.

The contemporary turn towards nihilism that lionises the individual at the expense of the collective has made the idea of cultivating a more beautiful soul appear hopelessly idealistic and disconnected from ‘hard realities’. In a realist’s world, we seek utilitarian ends under the guise of pragmatism, turning away from the illusiveness of an immaterial and ultimately unattainable ideal. The mystery and poetry of human nature has been stripped from our daily experience at the expense of our imaginations and our will to envision a more beautiful world. Yet, the social and environmental ills induced by our unfettered economy of instrumentality are proving anything but pragmatic for the long-term sustainability and wellbeing of our species. If we still harbour hope in the human propensity for goodness, then we ought to contemplate anew the poetic, revolutionary figure of the beautiful soul that might once again provide a vision for deepening our intellectual, moral and emotional faculties in the service of a more just and progressive future for us all.

Interest article on soul

Towards an Evolution of Being

Age old question? Are you a body with a spirit attached, or a spirit with a body attached? Truth is you’re only spirit. This can be difficult to get your head around when we’re in a body, but it’s not something to cause undue worry. Today we’re going to look at this body-spirit thing through the lens of evolution.

Evolution as we know it happened in stages in response to environment. We began life swimming in the primal soup of the cosmos. Eons later we evolved from simian-type beings, to hunter-gathers, to farmers, on to the industrial age, and so on. So why should it stop there? Doesn’t it make sense that the process will continue, that we will keep evolving, maybe into some other form, until eventually we have no need of the body at all? In fact to think otherwise is to assume the human species is now done, that we can’t develop further. Against the evolutionary model we’ve been using this just doesn’t make sense. For it postulates that after thousands of years the process would suddenly, dramatically, and without precedent, take a different turn.


And our physical growth uncannily mirrors the larger evolutionary process; as we ‘evolve’ from infant to a child, then adolescent, and finally (hopefully!) an adult.

You start life as a seed, then crawl out of the waters of the womb as it were. Now, doesn’t the innocence and uncomplicated life of the child mirror the hunter-gatherer existence, allowing the world to take care of you, while also believing in magic? You view the world with a mixture of awe and terror. The next stage, adolescence, reflects the agrarian age. Here you begin to organise or manipulate your environment to get what you want; you carve out a patch for yourself. Your attitude now is one of trial and expectation. The busy adult-life which follows reflects the industrial age and modernity where science and reason come together to form a better life. The simplicity of the child and the wisdom of the adult are merged.


There’s a beautiful sense of balance here which has nothing to do with degree or comparison. The spaceman is not better than the caveman, only further along the road. The adult is not ‘better’ than the child, just older. Evolving, as we do, we carry the best of what we evolved from to the next level. That’s all. The spaceman once was that caveman, the adult the child. 

Actually it’s not strictly true that you started as a seed. For from what did the seed originate? You actually started as nothing. And you go back to nothing. In fact you are nothing (people with their egos still intact can stop reading now!) But this ‘nothing’ isn’t what you might think, it isn’t scary nothing. It’s more “no-thing” as opposed to “no existence”.


Hint: it could be described as Emptiness.


And in truth you never ceased being this. Even as you continued to develop and grow, be it as a hunter-gatherer, or a child picking flowers going to school, your essential essence never changed. Because it is unchangeable, imperishable, immortal.  And that’s good news. A ‘thing’, after all, can be destroyed, but a ‘no-thing’ cannot.

Same story with world evolution. Before we crawled out of the sea and split into two, before the stars and planets were formed, before the Big Bang even there was nothing – no-thing.

Spirit is the next stage

Initially when we transition to a higher order of reality things seem harder, but then as we adopt we find they actually work better, and we wonder how we got on with what we had before. This is true, be it going through the various stages of life, or when we adopt to any new circumstance.  Nothing is really lost, only brought forward, in a new way, into the next stage.

For example, a time comes when the joy that childhood games once gave us is no more. They now bore us.  But these are not really lost, only set aside, to surface again in the new emergent form, which may see us go on world adventure-trips, learning to ski or scuba dive, and so on.  There is no loss, only incorporation and gain.  This happens smoothly, except when the transition between stages is arrested. When this happens we cling to some aspect of the former state, e.g., regression to childhood, a part of us resists the natural change and development.

We’re stuck!

This can manifest itself in societal dysfunction (which is evident all around!) but also at a personal level in serious neurotic disorders.

What is Spirit?

When we think of spirits (and I’m not talking about the kind you consume!) we generally think of some insubstantial form floating around the stratosphere. A spook perhaps, or a friendly Casper. Something deficient almost.  Ok, now the ability to pass through walls and solid objects may have its usefulness, but overall we see it as ‘a thing without a body’.  We even speak in terms of a ‘disembodied’ form, which only betrays our propensity to shape the spirit world with human eyes. As a result we end up envisioning it as a kind of blob, tiny bodies with spiky arms and legs; little spirit people with little spirit dogs playing in heaven.

 The body and spirit are not in competition. They both serve a different purpose. Neither is the nature between them hierarchical, rather it’s complementary. The spirit needs the body to move around in and experience objective reality, the body needs the spirit for its very being. There’s no need to devalue one at the expense of the other.


However, and I’m always emphatic about this, when we’re in the body, or the dream, or whatever it is, we must honour that. There is no other way to live in it. The current dream we’re in says we evolved from primates, the universe is over 13 billion years old, and so on. This is the reality of that dream. It may or may not be real on another level. On the level of our awakening it makes no sense at all. Different levels have different meanings and each meaning will reflect its own reality. Integrity is living in the level we’re at to the very best of our ability, acknowledging what is.

If I say none of this around me is real am I shutting my eyes to the suffering of the world, or ignoring the contribution I could otherwise make?  Awakening is the very opposite of this. It is recognising the stage we’re at, honouring it, while keeping in mind its temporary or transitory nature. 


Following all this you might think that the next stage is the boneyard. Not so! That’s not a level at all, that’s a cessation of a finite form (the body). The next stage in human evolution is much more exciting.

The Right to Shoes!?

Cessation of any form of matter simply means it’s worn out, it doesn’t mean the essence that animates matter ends. When shoes are worn out you throw them away. Now this does not mean that shoes are evil, or that wearing them makes you any less spiritual. It simply means they served a purpose and now can be set aside. Likewise at the end of each life we put aside our physical body, now worn out, only to reincarnate in a new one if needs be, until such a time when we’ll have no need for bodies. But people believe in death, as an end not a transition, and therein lies the problem, and the source of much fear.

Remember there’s nothing evil or wrong with your body, despite what you may have been taught. Be very clear on that. Believing that it is ‘sinful’ or somehow defective is what’s keeping you in it, keeping you ‘stuck’. The natural transition to the next stage is somehow arrested if you want to go back and ‘fix’ whatever you perceived is wrong with your body. There’s nothing to worry about anyway, remember we carry the best of what we evolved from and incorporate it into the next stage, be it reincarnation or pure spirit. We only gain, never lose. 


Shoes are just shoes, bodies are just bodies. Be fine with yours, but also be ready to lay it aside when you need to. You really are a spirit with a body – not so much attached – as a learning tool.  

We used the example of evolution here. Maybe this is somewhat misleading for evolution suggests a journey of some sort.  And every journey must have an end point. However, the human journey takes place only in human consciousness; seeing with those human eyes again. You are already where it is you think you’re going. You need only realise this.

You are the evolution of you and it is in the emptiness that ultimately you find your fullness.- unscripted-self.com

Reading the Above,how we have evolved: I think ,yes we have live in the Present,yet never forget the Past in terms of Truths,as simply of a truth as "how to build a fire" if we find ourselves,alone,without modern conveniences,we must be able to survive,continue on.


Example: Currently very few people could Survive if they found themselves alone in say a environment in Nature, say along the Upper Mississippi river,in summer,naked,no tools,nothing yet their body and nature,yet they lived their entire life (say you are 30 years old,thus mature age)..You truthly now see the hold "be part of a tribe / society is",inter-dependent, how tools where formed,thus technologies,thus comforts.

Here one can see clearly the Power of the self/ego,how it regulates us to be part of the pack,the tribe,how important it is to be accepted.
Yet,how equally important it is that if we wish to be accepted,we must accept others " Idiosyncrasy", (as long as not harmful to whole of tribe)
........The term "idiosyncrasy" originates from Greek   "a peculiar temperament, habit of body"


Eccentricity (also called quirkiness) is unusual or odd behavior on the part of an individual. This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive. Eccentricity is contrasted with "normal" behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems and pursue certain priorities in everyday life. People who consistently display benignly eccentric behavior are labeled as "eccentrics".

(from Greek ekkentros, "out of the center", from ek-, ex- "out of" + kentron, "center". Eccentric first appeared in English essays as a neologism in 1551 as an astronomical term meaning "a circle in which the earth, sun, etc. deviates from its center." Five years later, in 1556, an adjective form of the word was used. In 1685, the definition evolved from the literal to the figurative, and eccentric is noted to have begun being used to describe unconventional or odd behavior. A noun form of the word – a person who possesses and exhibits these unconventional or odd qualities and behaviors – appeared by 1832.)

According to Weeks' study, there are several distinctive characteristics that often differentiate a healthy eccentric person from a regular person or someone who has a mental illness. The first five characteristics on Weeks' list are found in most people regarded as eccentric:[7]

  • Enduring non-conformity
  • Creative
  • Strongly motivated by an exceedingly powerful curiosity and related exploratory behaviour
  • An enduring and distinct feeling of differentness from others
  • Idealism in the sense of wanting to make the world a better place and the people in it happier[9]

More Clearly one Understands how damaging .Preventing someone not be accepted into the Tribe/Society,due to the societies belief systems,such as Racism,religion,gender,sexual-orientation  the "This is My Reality,so everybody else's Reality should be as mine",

doesn't work,if one needs a tribe,and as Human being,we need the Tribe!


I believe that only when Humanity accepts "Nature" is the Ultimate Force,the Ultimate and only Religion.Belief system,that all human formed belief systems,are full of" Pre-conceived Notions"