Are Soul and Self Different? If So, How Are They Different?

Introduction

Every religion has its own interpretation about the self and soul connection. The body of every human being is made up of flesh, mental ability as well as emotional self (Gruyter, 2009). Scholars have over time argued that the body is directed by the soul. They suggest that the soul is the light that directs the body and that the soul is the self that is housed by the body. The soul makes everybody unique by allowing them different desires and emotions.

The following is an exploration of the existence of differences between the self and the soul. The Quran explains the difference between these two concepts. This religion supports that the soul is real and that it exists. It further explains that when a human being dies it is only their body that stops to exist while the soul continues. Researchers argue that in Islam they soul is just separated from the physical body. The soul can therefore never die but exists forever. Muslims believe that in the end, Allah will judge the souls so that some go to hell. (Allen and Toorawa (2011) assert that the soul exists in our bodies since the body can be able to perform certain activities with some degree of will. Human beings grow, reproduce, move and perceive, these activities do not belong to the nature of our bodies but they belong to a principle called the soul.

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According to Islam, souls are of two types. These are rational and non-rational souls. Non-rational souls are held by animals while the human beings own souls that are both types. According to the holy Quran which states that ‘By the soul and (by) Him who made it perfect, and then inspired it to understand what is wrong and what is right for it. Truly is successful the one who purifies (his soul)”. (Holy Qur'an, 91: 7-9). Islam therefore teaches that the soul helps the body to make correct choices. The human soul is always torn between right and wrong. These are believed to be the holy and the satanic powers respectively. This pull is referred to as the self war (Jihad al-Nafs).The soul helps an individual to overcome evil. If the evil powers win, the individual makes wrong choices while if the holy powers win then they make right ones. Greeks in ancient times used to call life soul. This meant that the soul gave life to everybody. (Gruyter, 2009) argues that the soul rests when it’s time to rest and is also active during ‘work hours’. He argued that a combination of soul and body make u a human being. Socrates suggested that souls come back in new bodies when the old ones die. Socrates stated that "I have a firm hope that there is something in store for those who have died, and, as we have been told for many years, something much better for the good than for the wicked." .Socrates believed that souls lived forever.

On the other hand Plato argues that the soul is made up of three parts; the logos also known as mind, the thymos also called emotion, the eros also referred to as desire. Each of the three parts enables the soul to perform its functions properly. Plato wrote that “when the soul investigates by itself it passes into the realm of what is pure, ever existing, immortal and unchanging, and being akin to this, it always stays with it whenever it is by itself and can do so; it ceases to stray and remains in the same state as it is in touch with things of the same kind.” Plato also believed that the soul was immortal According to the Philo sophist Thomas Aquinas all organisms have souls but the human soul is immortal. Aristotle argues that the soul does not exist separately from the body (Gruyter, 2009). He argues that each living thing has a soul. According to Aristotle the soul forms the first actuality of the body. According to Jainism every created objects has a soul include animals plant and inanimate objects but human beings have the most complex souls (Indo-European Jain Research, 2004)Jainism sees the soul as something which is eternal, Self is seen as something with no beginning and has no end. It is something which lived in the past and will continues to exist in the future. The self is sometimes compared to the sky which is formless. Another strong belief in Jainism is the karma. The soul is born into many types of body.

The aim of Jainism is for the soul to attain self realization which is liberalization. Buddhism has a different view about soul and self. This religion argues that nothing is eternal and hence it does not believe in the soul. They argue that the human is made up of various phenomenons. These phenomena are physical phenomena, emotions, sensory perceptions, responses to sensory perceptions, and consciousness.” (Gray, 2014) The Buddha believes is that these phenomena are the ones that continue to exist after physical death. There are two different teachings to this effect. According to Theravada school everything ends after death (Gray, 2014). This means that when one dies another person with similar characters is born. The five phenomena are destroyed upon death but are reborn elsewhere. According to them reincarnation is instant and occurs at the moment of death (Gray, 2014). On the other hand the Abhidharmakosha tradition argue that there is nature of the deceased person continues to exist even after his death and nothing can be done to change the continuation. According to (Watson, 2007) in Confucianism there is no such aspect as self. They argue that the personality of an individual is influenced by the environment and their upbringing. They believe that an individual is born with four beginnings namely compassion, righteousness propriety and wisdom. Through practices of such virtues a Self identity develops. According to the Confucian Personality or Self is achieved through practice of such virtues and it is not a human condition. In Confucianism the self never stops to develop virtues.

Learning should be for one self rather than others. (Watson, 2007) argues that a person sense of is very important since after improving themselves they can be able to improve the community. Soul and self have been argued to be the same by various religions. In Islam the soul continues to live even after physical death. It is only the body that stops to exist after death. The soul is just separated from the physical body. The soul is thus eternal and immortal. The soul will either go to heaven or hell depending on the judgment of Allah. In Jainism every created objects has a soul include animals, plants and inanimate objects but human beings have the most complex souls (Indo-European Jain Research, 2004). According to Jainism the soul is ever living. Self is seen as something with no beginning and has no end. In Confucianism there is no such aspect as self. They argue that the personality of an individual is influenced by the environment and their upbringing. They believe that an individual is born with four beginnings namely compassion, righteousness propriety and wisdom. Through practices of such virtues a Self identity develops some scholars argue that this is what directs the body.

Each religion have different views on the concept of soul and self, For Christians and Muslims a soul exists within the human body and upon death the soul separates with the body and the soul does not die. It goes to either heaven or hell depending on the deeds of individuals. Jainism also believes that the soul exist forever, it is immortal. Buddhists hold to the opinion that nothing is immortal and thus a soul does not exist. They believe that the human is made up of various phenomena which include the physical phenomena, emotions, sensory perceptions, responses to sensory perceptions, and consciousness.” (Gray, 2014) The Buddha teaches that these phenomena are the ones that continue to exist when one dies. Just like Buddhists Confucianism argues that there is nothing like self instead they believe that someone is born with four aspects, namely compassion, righteousness propriety and wisdom. These virtues are the ones that direct the body. . Although Buddhist and Confucianists do not believe in the existence many religions support the existence of a soul and the fact that soul and self are one and the same thing. Scientists also support the concept of soul and self. Plato’s idea of the soul is that it is made up of three parts; the logos also known as mind, the Thymos or emotion and Eros or desire. While different views support, he states that the body without a soul is like existence of soul in the body, he supports that it’s the body that needs the soul. With the soul the body gets the will, desires, and emotions. According to Thomas Aquinas all organisms have souls but the human soul is immortal. Aristotle argues that the soul does not exist separately from the body. He argues that each living thing has a soul. According to Aristotle the soul forms the first actuality of the body. It can thus be concluded that self and soul are one and same thing It can thus be agreed that the soul and self are one and the same thing and that the soul controls the activities of the self.

Conclusion

The soul refers to the self that inhabits the body Islamic religion the soul is eternal goes to either heaven or hell depending on the deeds of the person asserts that the soul exists in our bodies since the body can be able to perform certain activities with some degree of will. Human beings grow, reproduce, move and perceive, these activities do not belong to the nature of our bodies but they belong to a principle called the soul. Jainism sees the soul as something which is eternal. Self is regarded as something with no beginning and has no end. It is something which lived in the past and will continues to exist in the future. According to Confucianism there is no such aspect as self. They argue that the personality of an individually is influenced by the environment and their upbringing. Buddhist contradicts these religions by arguing that there is no soul and that nothing is permanent. Scholars such as Socrates and Plato support the idea that the soul exists as part of the body.

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