Nature Soul I
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, for the first name distinguishes between the collective andspecific field of activity whereas the latter stresses the importance of the free willand the quality of self-consciousness.
2 – Materialistic metaphors fail to give a comparison
Any form of life, including the vegetative, should have an active or specific compo-nent as counterpart to the reactive collective, in order to act adequately on the dif-ferent levels of being, levels which include the ecological, metabolic, immunologi-cal, perceptive, instinctive, latent and adaptive levels. We could also imagine condi-tions where the relation has been reversed and the collective subconscious will be theactive partner instead, having clothed itself then, as it were, with a personality.By ‘form of life’ I mean something very large that includes sub-units or sub-systemswhich, according to the holistic principle, have been split off from a collectivity. Ho-listic means that the relation between collectivity and specificity is reciprocal: thecollectivity may be seen as a unit, just like its underlying specificity, and yet the twocannot be separated. After all, the specific is as essential to an explanation of thewhole as the whole is to an explanation of the specific. For this kind of structure ma-terialistic metaphors fail to give an adequate method of comparison. The foregoingmatches up wonderfully well with the theological concept of the three-in-one God,for just as God is simultaneously trinitary and absolutely unique, the multiplicity andunicity in the surrounding world do not represent a contradiction since they are bothimage of and participation in the divine.This means that we may talk of the soul as of a white corpuscle, but also as of an or-gan (like the liver) or the soul of a plant or soul of a population. For instance, a po- pulation of bees starts to act as an organism as from 30 individuals (Lavie and Roth).This approach fits very well with the definition of morphic fields from British bota-nist Rupert Sheldrake as explained in “The Presence of the Past”. He sees morphicfields as a matrix or vast interconnecting web applying to whole ecosystems as easilyas they do to their underlying species, and to species as well as to their divisions, andto divisions as well as to individuals, and to individuals as well as to their living con-stituents. He even refuses to ignore inorganic matter in the form of entire planets andgalactic systems. He sees it as a resonating organism that, unhindered by time andspace, includes the whole spectrum of the universe. And he is right!
3 – The difference between biological and human intelligence
The specific soul is the animal or ‘natural’ kind of awareness, which the Jewish tra-dition calls the ‘nefesh’. In Christian circles it is also called the ‘vis animæ inferior’.The other kind we might call supernatural, which the Jewish tradition calls the ‘ne-shama’, from a Hebrew word meaning ‘breath’. The ruach or ‘spirit’ is a conse-quence of the neshama. If someone says: “An animal has no soul” he means that ananimal has no soul in the superior meaning of the word soul; and really, the diffe-rence between the vis animæ and the supernatural soul is so great that this statementcannot be considered wrong. In our approach, however, the similarity between thesetwo is accentuated, which fits the biblical usage of nefesh – meaning soul or brea-thing creature, but also fish or ghost.That nefesh does not refer to an immortal soul can be seen in the way this word isused in the Bible. In Genesis 2:7, where in the encounter with the divine presence theneshama or breath of life is blown into what has to become Adam, it causes thenefesh (corpse or being) to come alive. In Genesis 1:24, referring to animals, nefesh