What is the origin of the soul

119. About the origin of the soul

About the origin of the soul; Pre-existence and metamorphosis according to older views.

Where does the soul come from? We have already seen that most of the ancient philosophers derived the soul from the general world soul, Timaeus of Lokris, Pythagoras, and Plato in particular. Plato says: God placed the images, or the original concepts, in the human soul of all things, as in general in the world soul, of which it is a part. But these images are darkened in her when she enters the dark cavity of the body; the body is the prison and the grave of the soul. Heraclitus also believed that all souls only proceeded from the universal world soul. The church fathers, Lactantius, Synesius and others, considered the soul to be a part of the divine being, and the theosophists said: a fire sprang from the infinite sea of ​​light. Ancient and modern philosophers assumed the pre-existence of souls, so that they would have existed before their bodies, and Pythagoras seems to have been the first of this view to maintain that souls migrated from one body to another until they finally, through this metempsychosis, they would be completely purified, reunited with God as the absolutely pure light. This prediction was also assumed by Vorrats and Plato. During creation, according to Plato, stars were assigned to the souls as dwellings and gradually they came into the peculiar human bodies. Those who lead a purer life return to better stars, but the wicked are transformed into ever lower animals until all evil is conquered. Learning is therefore nothing new in this world either, but only a reminder of what one has already known. “There is indeed, says Socrates (Phaedon), a resurrection and a becoming of the living from the dead and a being of the souls of the deceased, namely a betterness for the good, but a worse one for the bad.” “Just that It also follows, says Kebes, after that sentence, Socrates, if it is correct, which you often used to say, that our learning is nothing more than a recollection, and that we must therefore necessarily have learned in an earlier time whose we are to remind us again, and that this would be impossible if our soul was not already before it came into this human form, so that afterwards the soul must also be something immortal. "

The church fathers, especially Origen, also accepted the preexistence.

Likewise was the ancient doctrine of the Orient of the pre-existence of the human soul, which has sunk from a higher existence and should only use its stay on earth as a life of penance.

In more recent times the preexistence was mainly defended by G. More and Leibnitz. The latter says: God created nothing but simple and immortal substances which he called monads or entelechia after Aristotle, the most perfect of which are human beings; those of animals are more imperfect, and the elements of the body are the least of them. According to him, the seed of all generations was already there in Adam. Those souls which in time become human were earlier in a different kind of organic body.

To the original sinTo be able to explain it more easily, theologians in particular also assumed that souls and bodies were communicated to children by their elders. Another opinion of the origin of the soul was: God creates the soul every time with a conception and connects it with the body. This is where the Latin and Greek Church Fathers belong; the Pelagians as opponents of the doctrine of original sin; then some scholastics who preferred to adopt Aristotle's rational mind. The Catholics and Protestants later confessed to this. - I have my views on this subject in more detail in my own book: Historical-psychological investigations into the origin and nature of the human soul in general and about the Inspirationof the child in particular, Bonn 1824.

This chapter is part of The History of Magic, Book 1