What is I?

I read this article today.


It’s an interesting article. It comes to a standstill at the end:

People always say the word soul and I never really know what they’re talking about. To me, the word soul has always seemed like a poetic euphemism for a part of the brain that feels very inner to us; or an attempt to give humans more dignity than just being primal biological organisms; or a way to declare that we’re eternal. But maybe when people say the word soul what they’re talking about is whatever it is that connects my 90-year-old grandfather to the boy in the picture. As his cells and memories come and go, as every wood chip in his canoe changes again and again, maybe the single common thread that ties it all together is his soul. After examining a human from every physical and mental angle throughout the post, maybe the answer this whole time has been the much less tangible Soul Theory.


It would have been pleasant to end the post there, but I just can’t do it, because I can’t quite believe in souls.

It wraps up endless discussion with used-to-be-friends. Why, exactly? Why can’t you use the concept of Soul? Is it because it’s tied into religion? Because that would be stupid: religion was born for two purposes: to exploit masses of naive people and to help explain that feeling we have of the presence of a soul, in us, and in our collective. Whereas I agree the former is very undesirable and must be fought, the latter is part of being human. It doesn’t just apply to humans though, as anybody who has ever worked or interacted closely with animals will tell you: animals have a soul too.

Is it about the word? You may not like the word, but that’s just because it’s been too closely linked with religion, perhaps? What if you saw it as a standalone word, a word for want of a better one, a word that could have been just “apple” but we choose soul merely to express that something, that something you were just about to touch in your nice article?

What has happened here: you mentioned that word, then you stopped. Your analytical ability stopped, your open-mindedness and curiosity stopped. you reached a standstill. Why? Of course what connects a 90 year old man with dementia to a photograph of him when he was 6 is something relating to that soul. And what makes us we is that soul. It’s that awareness of self: once there is a awareness, there is a soul. Why can we not explore it? Either we are religious, or we deny its existence with no basis that I can see. Why?

My soul is struggling now. With anxiety, as I choose to call it, as it sums it up nicely. My anxiety is caused as it was before by many people dictating my actions. Oddly enough the newest and strongest source of anxiety is the little 8-year-old next door. She insists a lot, and it’s difficult to make her visits to my own little 8-year-old come to an end. I was never good with kids, and this little sack of bones and skin is something I am learning to deal with every day, with the help of my anxiety pills and my B12. I am being good, I am not yet thinking of running away. But I do ask myself questions. Questions like where am I? I often ask myself that when I have all these people around me, whose needs and expectations and plans and thoughts I have to keep in mind before I even step out of the house for any reason.

THAT causes me to be anxious.

I told my daughter after much insistence to and fro that she could go over to see her neighbour, but only for twenty minutes, as my husband said we would be going out in 30 minutes. That was 40 minutes ago. Shall i go and call her? Shall I wait till we actually head out? Shall I make a list of things we need to get? Shall I disable the  bank’s messages of our pending doom overdraft ending? Shall I once again doubt my husband’s ability to say that we will be fine this month when it’s the 11th and as far as I know, we’re not?

So many thoughts racing through my head it gives me a headache and makes me dizzy, physically so. Working is my best option, and I love it: I am translating the second book I had lined up, this is the autobiography-fictional historical novel of an Italian cook I knew in Cambridge. This I love doing so this alone I should do. But no, a dear guests is coming tonight, my husband’s chosen brother, and I have to train my brain to think how happy I am to see him (I am) rather than how much I dread even more curbs on my independence (I am dreading it like I want to run for miles).

Just reading that article though has caused me huge sadness. How limited supposed bright minds can be. I remembered talks with the one I thought was my friend about the soul and about our core and how that determines how some people click with each other more than others and about how when we click like that we should encourage that feeling, not abandon it… It was ages ago and now it’s over. I will go back to being happy as soon as I let everything good about the house and its surroundings and my boys both being here and a happy 8-year-old flood my mind again.


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