WHAT IS THE SOUL?
What’s true about the word “God” may apply as well to “soul”: Much of the meaning has been sucked out of it. It’s a flabby ghost that has lost its life force. Say “soul” and you’re liable to numb your listeners’ attention.
At best you may inspire them to picture a vague floating blob that feels more like an abstract concept than a real presence. That’s a shame, because the eminence that’s lazily referred to as “soul” is as crucial to
you waking up tomorrow as your heart.
“If you need to visualize the soul,” wrote Tom Robbins, “think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It’s a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved.”
As part of the Beauty and Truth Lab’s ongoing crusade to wrestle the English language into a more formidable servant of the ecstatic impulse, we’re pleased to present some alternate designations for “soul.” See if any of the following concoctions feel right coming out of your mouth: 1. undulating superconductor; 2. nectar plasma; 3. golden lather; 4. smoldering crucible; 5. luminous caduceus.
If none of these work for you—or even if they do—create your own terms.
P.S. Here’s Robbins’ conclusion: “By waxing soulful you will have granted
yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients
considered a divinely animated universe.”