This is not a quest for finding some deep-seated raw musical inspiration but rather an exploration of the nebulous term soul and what it means.
As a young boy, suffering through the indoctrinations of the Catholic faith (for that indeed is what it was. No intellectual discussions, just rules) we were introduced to the concept of the soul. I recall it was portrayed as some white ethereal presence located somewhere near the heart. It was pure white once the stain of original sin was removed by Baptism.
A rather interesting concept, original sin. Way too complex for the mind of a child. Underscores the tactic of capturing the undeveloped mind early on.
By committing a sin, a stain is cast on the soul. It was no longer white and pure but dark and corrupt. Confession could remove some stains, those caused by the cardinal sins. These are a sort of misdemeanor violations, God’s speeding tickets.
However, if one crossed the line into the majors, the mortal sins, nothing got the stain out.
This doctrinal teaching was more laundry than religious instruction.
A recent exchange on a posting I made got me thinking about this concept of the soul.
I think the religious concept of the soul is an attempt at explaining our existence through divine intervention. Each religion credits their god as the giver of life, the creator, the one true god who made us all. The soul is evidence of god and the promise of the afterlife.
Some religions go a step further and add the element that we are created in god’s own image. This was an easy concept to accept in a world where people tended to live and die within a few miles of their birthplace surrounded by similar humans.
In our world, the variety of humanity offers a different perspective. So the counter-argument is that the soul is the essence of god, that is the image in which we are created. God is the soul within us.
This will not sit well with the religious but, from my perspective, all religions fail in this attempt at explaining life. The fact is that, absent a complete understanding of the existence of the universe and the elemental force that causes something to be alive, they have concocted an unsophisticated but comforting explanation out of fear of their own mortality.
For that is what religion does best, it offers comfort and hope to mortal beings terrified of the inescapable fact that we all die.
Through the concept of the soul, religions offer the possibility of immortality. This would be harmless if that was the extent of it. The problem is religions went further. They not only offered hope of immortality they put a price on admission.
If you want to get to heaven, there was a subscription fee. It is called faith and it had rules and obligations.
Is there a soul? I have no idea.
Is there an unknown element within us that complements our biological existence and continues on when that ends?
Only time will tell.
I no longer worry about staining my soul. I’ve grown out of the indoctrination of my religious upbringing. I know that whatever happens after we die is something we all get to learn when it happens. We can only guess at what that is beforehand.
Is there life after death? No one can say. I want to experience the most I can out of this life and not spend any of it on my knees, praying to a concept created by man.