THERE is a certain sense of uneasiness nowadays in talking about the soul. This for three reasons. It is partly that our way of using the word is an unfortunate one which invites misconstruction. Our first attempts to think clearly about the soul are liable to be vitiated by unconscious analogies. Our attempts end in confusion, and we assume that this must be because the concept itself is unsatisfactory. It is also partly due to a set of arguments maintained by philosophers from Hume to Ryle, the general tenor of which has been that the notion of the soul is logically improper, and that the use of the word ought to be discontinued and replaced by other, more aseptic, circumlocutions. Partly, again, it is due to a very different difficulty, namely that the soul is a sophisticated notion and there are no knock-down proofs of the utility of the term to those who do not feel the need for it. Babies are not conscious of their bodies at first, nor do boys much want to talk about their minds: likewise only gradually do men feel the need for the word `soul', and flat exposition cannot convey the meaning of the word to those who have not felt the want for some such term.
This last point I shall not further discuss. I shall leave it as an article of faith that people do exist as well as things. I shall be concerned to show only that the term is permissible, not that it is obligatory. It will be with the second point therefore that I shall be chiefly concerned: my contention will be the negative one that the arguments of the philosophers who wish to deny the existence of the soul are not valid arguments, and rest upon a series of mistaken assumptions which I shall in turn expose. At the end of the essay I shall attempt a more positive account of what we mean in our different uses of the word `soul'. But I shall also be  elucidating the meaning of the word throughout the paper in the course of my examination of the various arguments; for many of these turn upon a misconstruction of the sense of the word.
Consider, for example, the question that springs naturally to our minds when the word `soul' is mentioned, the question `Do we have them?' Do we have souls? - the question invites misconstruction. It is dangerously like `Do we have noses, legs or kidneys?' or like `Do we have bodies?' We liken the soul to a part of the body, so that it would make sense to ask whereabouts in the body the soul is to be found, whether in the liver or in the heart or in the brain or perhaps in the pituitary gland. And as it is permissible to speculate upon the condition of people who have no nose, or are without legs or have lost a kidney, so we might consider the hypothetical case of a man who would resemble other men in all respects save that he did not possess a soul, and wonder whether it might not be found advantageous in the course of evolution for us all to become like him.
We might then guard against these and similar attacks by explaining that the soul, although like part of the body, is itself imperceptible, immaterial, and non-bodily. The antithesis suggested in the phrase `body and soul' reinforces this account that the soul is just like the rest of the body except that it is itself non-bodily. This line may silence the biological sceptic for a time, but in the end the latent contradiction will work out into the open, and we are forced to conclude that souls, that is non-bodily bodies, do not and cannot exist.
The confusion may be compared with the one that arises around the word `meaning' or rather, the fused phrase `have meanings'. Words have meanings; they also have syllables, some only one, others more than one; words also have sounds, or, in the case of written and printed words, shapes. We can consider the possibility of a word's losing a syllable much as we can think of a man losing his nose or a limb; sounds, like bodies, are not dispensable: a word which can never be uttered is in the same bad way as a man without a body. But meanings are indispensable to  words in quite a different way; we are tempted to make a false assimilation and to construe meanings as ghost-words, inaudible verbal genii which shadow each their own word, being exactly like it in all respects save that they are not sounded; and to construe meaning as an unsounded sound is no easier than to take the soul as a non-bodily body. Nor only in their characteristic confusions are the two assertions similar; they also serve similar purposes: in the one case we are using the assertion to make a deep distinction between words and other, meaningless, sounds: in the other case we are distinguishing men from the rest of the created world: some sounds, we are saying, are differentiated from the rest in that they are uttered by human beings according to regular and acknowledged conventions, as a result of which it makes sense to ask of them whether they are Latin or English, archaic or slang, elegant or ugly, or synonymous or non-synonymous with another word; and some material objects we separate off, to be treated with tenderness and respect, capable of being sympathetically understood as well as merely observed, people of like passions with ourselves, who can be talked to and can love and be loved, and of whom it is permissible to predicate not only terms denoting weight, size, and colour, but words like `generous', `intelligent', `spiteful', `sorrowful', `saint', and `sinner'.
Part, then, of what is meant by the assertion that the soul exists is that discourse about personal qualities and experiences and emotions is as legitimate and meaningful as discourse about things. Just as part of what we are trying to convey by the proposition that words have meaning is that when we are talking about words we can ask what their synonyms are, how they should be rendered in another language, what their logical force is, whether they have stylistic peculiarities or idiomatic uses, and how best they can be defined, and that these questions, when words are the subject of our conversation, are as respectable as the simpler considerations of pitch and tone, duration, intensity and euphony, which can still be raised when we are talking merely about sounds. The doctrine that the Soul is a Substance in part means only this: that persons can be the subjects of a discourse in which there are  predicated of them attributes and qualities which cannot properly be predicated of things.
This distinction of language - about what can and cannot be said - is grounded upon a distinction of fact: in the one case that words occur only within a system, and are subject to rules of utterance and use, whereas other sounds are not: in the other case that men do behave in ways very unlike those of animals and inanimate things. The questions then suggest themselves: How deep are these distinctions? Is either distinction a difference of kind or are both merely differences of degree? And what are the relations, if any, across the differences? - is the meaning of a word entirely different from its sound, its tonal properties and pitch, or are they to some extent connected? Is the ascription of nonphysical, non-physiological epithets to a man in any way dependent upon phenomena a physicist or physiologist could observe?
These questions are so phrased as to extract answers with apparently alarming corollaries: it is incontestable that our only criterion of difference of word-type is difference of sound - if all words sounded alike we should be unable to distinguish them - and, therefore, it would appear that all considerations of meaning and style must in the last analysis be resolved into differences of sound; so that all philology and logic is, really-speaking, a branch of hypothetical acoustics. Likewise epithets reserved exclusively for humans will be resolvable into sets of `straight' descriptions of observable behaviour; meaning is just a pattern of repeated similar sounds, mind and soul are just patterns of behaviour.
The shocking thesis with which we are then confronted, known as Logical Behaviourism, is one which seems to eliminate the soul, explain it away, analyse it out in terms of behaviour patterns. One's soul is no longer one's inmost self which may long for God with a desire like that of the hart for the waterbrooks, but, rather, a pattern of behaviour or responses that can be correctly classified by housemaster or confessor by some `spiritual' epithet; which epithet, one must remember, is not a categorical but a semi- hypothetical term.1
 Not all this thesis ought to shock: in so far as it is merely a repudiation of a deep dichotomy between body and soul it is true; behaviour may not be an infallible guide to the state of peoples' minds and souls, it may not be so complete an account as some philosophers think, but it is a guide, and the one we normally use. Words like `generous" conscientious', `proud', `slothful' can be used to characterize behaviour, and their application to persons is in the first instance grounded in those persons' language and behaviour. Even in the last instance when a sight of a man's face or the sound of his tread is enough to convey the impression of great holiness or great suffering, there is some observation of physical appearance, language, or behaviour. Barring a few experiments in psychical research, we are no more able to make assessments of men's souls without having met them, or heard them, or read what they write, than we can of their minds. And even if we could, we should still ultimately rely upon behaviour as the criterion: however many allowances we make for temptation, natural difficulties, lack of opportunity, etc., we should refuse to describe a man as generous upon the criterion of telepathy or insight alone, if hd never took available opportunities of being generous, and always talked, looked, and acted, ungenerously. As St Paul says2 behaviour (anastrophe) is the proper criterion of spiritual qualities, and showing forth the requisite behaviour patterns is a necessary condition of a person's being a Christian. By their fruits ye shall know them.
The shocking part of the thesis is in part due to the belief that if the criteria of applicability of a term be given, the meaning is thereby explained, and that if the criteria are behaviouristic, a reductive analysis of spiritual concepts has thereby been obtained; and in part due to a simple confusion in the use of the word `behaviour', which is sometimes used inclusively to cover linguistic as well as non-linguistic behaviour, and sometimes used for the latter as opposed to the former. Now for the revelation and communication of our inmost thoughts and feelings far the most important method available is language: if we cannot talk to  someone then we do feel cut off from really knowing him; knowledge of another person which is based on behaviour excluding language is very much a second best: we cannot be sure our views are correct - they are only shaky inferences we have not been able to check - without speech man becomes an animal - we feel we really should know what animals were like and felt like, if only they could talk to us. Hence, to say that the criteria for the applicability of spiritual terms are behaviouristic criteria, is capable of shocking us, because, if we resist it, it is construed in the first and wider sense and is forced upon us as a truism, and when we accept it, it is interpreted in the narrower sense, in which it suggests that human beings are as inscrutable, because as inarticulate, as animals, and that there is no essential difference between speech-privileged men and dumb beasts.
It may be asked `Well, what is the difference? What is there about language which makes such a deep division between linguistic behaviour and non-linguistic behaviour? Conceded that linguistic behaviour is more finely grained and so capable of far greater complexity, is not the real difference one of degree only and not one of kind?'
The short answer to this is to say that language presupposes a special status for speakers and hearers: that one could not profitably discuss the nature of discourse without having first settled between what, or rather, as we should say, between whom, discourse can obtain. Linguistic, but not only linguistic, behaviour is of this sort: there are many types of activity besides talking, activities such as smiling, caressing, giving to, hating, hitting, and spitting at, all of which would be pointless except upon the supposition that the persons to whom these activities were addressed were persons and not automata or things; that our relation to them was an I-Thou relation and not an I-it.
To the tough-minded philosopher this may seem to be merely a dogmatic reformulation of the earlier position it was adduced to support; and such a philosopher may again claim that really we always deal with the external world by means of an `I-it' relation, and it is only a minor matter that with the very complex  objects we know as human beings we tend to postpone the satisfactions we like to obtain from them, using them not merely as means to immediate gratifications of our own, but also as means to ultimate, or at least delayed, gratifications, that are none the less selfish for having been postponed. Such a position is in a sense unassailable, because it is in a sense a possible outlook: the sin of Pride can go even to these lengths, making a fundamental cleavage between us and all other men, alienating us and isolating us utterly. That this lonely position is, so far as logic goes, tenable, we do not wish to deny: what we seek to do is to distinguish this from the other positions one may take up, and to resist any logicians' attempt to assimilate them to it. Sin may cut us off from all communion with God and communication with other men, but logic hardly shall.
The actual arguments advanced by some modern philosophers are not watertight. It is not only that they are informed by certain basic, though unrecognized, presuppositions which makes them much less philosophically neutral than they are professed to be, but that certain specific inferences are invalid; and it is usually just on these inferences that the upsetting consequences depend. Professor Ryle, whose Concept of Mind is by far the best exposition of that thesis, can be castigated3 for having three preconceptions, namely that philosophical analysis is best reductive, that the world is composed of simple, manageable, material objects, and that extroversion is a Good Thing; which are indeed defensible suppositions but are nowhere in his work defended or even acknowledged: here, however, I shall attack him for an unfortunate doctrine about the nature of language, which seeks to divide concepts into a set of mutually exclusive category-baskets, divided from one another by a great gulf so that words that wanted to move from the one category to the other could not do so; and for an equation of meaning with method of verification, which does less than justice to the sense of words.
Ryle's thesis is valuable in pointing out that there are differences  between words, which may be called category differences, and that the unconscious neglect of these may lead to a dangerous kind of nonsense; but he is wrong in assuming that there are definite and exclusive categories, so that if a word is sometimes categorially different from another word it is always so; that is to say that if in some contexts it would make nonsense to replace one word by a certain other word then there are no contexts in which such a substitution would be acceptable. The inference thus stated is clearly invalid; and that the conclusion is in fact false can be seen by considering Ryle's own examples:4 thus while it is a mistake to bracket with the colleges and libraries the University if we want to see over them, it is perfectly permissible to bracket them together when one wants to address letters to them; I can indeed write letters to Christ Church, the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum and the University, and per contra there is no logical impropriety in my receiving payments from Merton College, Balliol College, and New College, and from the University as well. Similarly, though John Doe cannot be godson to or meet the Average Taxpayer, he can be better paid than him, more highly taxed and more disgruntled. Thus although it is true that my soul cannot meet your soul in the High, nor weigh two stone more than yours does, whereas my body can do both of these vis … vis your body, it is not therefore true that every conjunction of the two terms is categorially improper or that the prayer book phrase `Our souls and bodies' is a logical pun on a footing with `In a flood of tears and a Sedan Chair'.
Categorial impropriety in such cases has not been proved, though this is not to say it necessarily does not exist. Whether a conjunction or disjunction of two terms is categorially permissible or no is a question which must be decided in each case individually: we need a trained nose for nonsense, which cannot be reduced to the application of a few rigid rules: speaking about it generally, we can say only two things: first there is a presumption against any conjunction or disjunction that men have been inclined to use being nonsense; usually they have some motive  for saying what they do say, and could, if challenged, explain what they meant in other, less felicitous terms; and seldom is there no respect in which two concepts can be contrasted and compared, and so with regard to that respect conjoined or disjoined: and secondly one's determination of nonsense will vary with one's most fundamental beliefs and basic outlook; the materialist will find nonsensical that which to the mystic enshrines the deepest truth, and every rival metaphysics engenders an inability to understand the terms of its competitors. It was predicted and is only to be expected that the terms the Christian most wants to use will appear foolishness to the Greeks.
The crucial doctrine of The Concept of Mind and of all reductive analyses of the soul, is the equation of meaning with method of verification: that since the way to verify an assertion about somebody's mind or soul is to discover or observe his linguistic and non-linguistic behaviour, this is all that the assertion can really mean. This doctrine is false. But it is not obviously false. It is prima facie plausible, and the onus of disproof is on those who would refute it. There seem to be four reasons why we must reject the equation here, and insist that it is not simply behaviour we are describing when we use spiritual epithets, but rather the nature of the man who is behaving so. These four reasons are: the coherence of our experience of other people; the inexhaustiveness or open texture of mental and spiritual concepts; the intuitive insight which enables us on occasion to `get inside' other people and understand them `from the inside'; and our own introspective experience which, for ourselves certainly, and for others possibly, shows that mental terms do sometimes denote `mental' occurrences as well as dispositions to behave in an observable fashion.
The first two of these reasons are exactly similar to ones which have been urged in order to establish the real existence of material objects: Logical Behaviourism is on a level with Phenomenalism; and the reasons for rejecting the latter may be turned also against the former. Leibniz5 urged `la liaison des ph‚nomŠnes' as demanding  the notion of substance to explain it, and we may urge that the extreme diversity of sorts of behaviour we are prepared to accept as criteria for the application of a single mental or spiritual epithet would be unreasonable except upon the hypothesis of some unifying principle: we will say that a man is proud or that he lacks faith or that he is intellectually dishonest on evidence which varies very much from case to case; yet we feel it is the same quality which is being discovered to us under these various guises; there is an intuitive feeling of consistency about our varying judgments.
Very similar is the second reason for rejecting the reductive analysis of mind and soul to bodily behaviour which is the inexhaustiveness of the criteria for the application of mental and spiritual epithets. Dr Waismann6 has pointed out how the `open texture' of material object concepts rules out the possibility of any translation of them into the language of sense-data. The same difficulties apply in far greater measure to any attempt to give the logical equivalent of a mental or spiritual concept in terms of descriptions of behaviour. There is no set of statements about behaviour which entail or are entailed by any statement about mental or spiritual characteristics. However carefully, fully and exactly we specify our tests beforehand we shall never be able decisively to discriminate between to einai dikaios and to dokein einai dikaios, being honest and seeming honest. For the heart is deceitful above all things, and whatever criteria we adopt, it always may succeed in conforming outwardly to our requirements while inwardly repudiating the standards we have set. There is as it were a Naturalist Fallacy, or rather a Cephalus Fallacy, in any proposed definition of mental or spiritual concepts in behaviouristic terms; the definition, though often true, is true only ceteris paribus; and it is always possible by considering unusual circumstances to find exceptions to it. The same pattern of behaviour can always be construed as revealing the most  subtle cunning or the strictest integrity; the most incompatible readings of the same person's character can be built up upon the same evidence with equal plausibility: there is an ambiguity of tie between the man and his behaviour which should rule out for ever any hope of an easy equivalence between the two. And if it really was patterns of behaviour and not the character of the behaver that we were chiefly interested in, our rules for the application of the relevant terms would be very different from what they now are. The tie between the two is much more tenuous than philosophers like to think. In fact it is difficult to interpret people's behaviour, to penetrate to the springs of their action. Most men's motives are opaque. We manage well enough for practical purposes, and though we seldom get to the bottom of anyone, we feel that we are not always utterly mistaken about everyone. Though sometimes we wonder.
These two grounds for hypostatisation are the same as those on which we defend our belief that material objects exist: we are motivated by a general nisus towards the greatest simplification of our thought and discourse, and unification of our conceptual structure; on these grounds we talk of persons as distinct from what they do in the same way as we talk of things and not merely how they appear. The other two grounds are peculiar to persons: they are our untutored intuitive insight into other people, and our more self-conscious introspective self-knowledge, with our conscious extension of it by the analogy of feeling.
We have already alluded to our intuitive understanding of other people as one of the ways in which we gather together diverse and inexhaustively variable patterns of behaviour as manifestations of the same mental or spiritual quality. We are able, on occasion, by the exercise of a certain sympathy - (sumpatheia)- to penetrate behind observable behaviour and to put ourselves in another's shoes and to see, to feel, to understand, what we would ourselves do if situated in his circumstances. Sometimes we can do this, sometimes - often - we cannot. That we sometimes can is a fact of the highest importance, strangely overlooked by philosophers, though well known to, and appreciated by, [143 historians, critics, novelists, and poets. This intuitive sensibility is not, as it is sometimes misleadingly put, a sixth sense; it is not a parallel to, nor a rival of, the ordinary five senses; even those who are most gifted with insight cannot know what other people are like without any observation; they are not possessed of some sort of telepathic power, but rather are marked by an ability to understand relatively much on a relatively small basis of observation; they can read a man's character in his face or in his posture and can discern his inmost fears from a chance word or a casual phrase. Their advantage over us is not that they can make observations which we cannot make and so can assert simple categorical statements which we are not privileged to assert, but rather that they are possessed of a well of singular hypotheticals in themselves, so that given this and this expression, stance, or behaviour, they can sense which of other actions, attitudes, and responses, would `go with' this one. This intuitive flair consists of not an extra sense but extreme sensibility: nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu, nisi ipse intellectus.7
Philosophers, who have for the most part been hag-ridden by the belief that all intellectual operations of repute must be either deductive or inductive inferences, have tended to neglect the phenomenon of intuitive insight, and when they have had to take notice of it, to construe it as a set of finely grained unconscious inductions. This view is, like all explanations in terms of unconscious processes, hard to refute. Nevertheless it is to be rejected, partly for technical reasons, partly because it squares neither with our experience of ordinary life nor with the evidence of great literature. The explanation does not save the phenomena: it does not accord with our own private experience - that was hardly to be expected - nor does it accord with what we know in general about men and about intuitive understanding; if intuitive understanding were just a matter of unconscious inference based upon subconscious memories, that is, if it were just a distillation of sense-experience, then it should increase proportionately with the increase of each individual's total sense-experience; but, though  insight certainly is increased by experience (in a sense wider than that of `sense-experience'), it is not totally dependent upon it; witness the fact that different people with the same backgrounds and very similar experience have different sympathies, and find it easy to be in tune with and understand respectively different sorts of persons.
The evidence from great novelists and playwrights also tells against the claim that our intuitive insight is just unconscious inference: here we have people part of whose genius it is to make appear consistent behaviour which hitherto would have been incomprehensible: if it were just a matter of observation it is difficult to see why Plato or Augustine or Shakespeare or Dostoevski were peculiarly well- placed observers; nor why we, whose walks of life do not usually lead us into the strange situations that they are accustomed to relate, are able to follow their lead and find, upon their pointing it out, an innate plausibility in conduct we previously would have considered implausible; nor, if we were confined to constant conjunctions of observed instances, why reading great authors should crystallize our views so much, nor why, after having read them we should look upon the world and see people with eyes so different from those we had before.
For these reasons it seems to me best to accept the findings of ordinary experience and common sense, and acknowledge that we often do exercise a peculiar facility for understanding other people and interpreting their behaviour; and consequently to allow our normal ways of speaking, which will not have it that our knowledge of other people is `flat' and all on a level with our knowledge of sticks and stones, but gives it a sense of depth and profundity; a feeling that we can penetrate deeply into people, and with human beings get behind their superficial appearances, not by the use of eyes other than our physical eyes, by our physical eyes indeed, but using them to observe acutely and actively, rather than waiting passively and dully for sense-data to occur.
Our final reason for repudiating the reductive analysis of mind and spirit to patterns of behaviour is our own first- personal experience. Exception may be taken to the language of introspection  and privileged Access in so far as these metaphors suggest an inward eye peculiarly well placed for seeing through an internal aperture to an internal screen beyond. But that each person is not in a privileged position for self-knowledge, that when we have twinges of pain they are not `mental occurrences' but, basically, dispositions to give certain sorts of answers to doctors' questions, and that our temptations, our agonies of indecision, and our final resolutions, are discoverable to us only by the same methods as they may be detected by other persons, to this doctrine, if seriously maintained, we can only say, with St Augustine, Da veniam, non credimus. We concede, of course, at once, that introspected mental occurrences are not always necessary conditions for the application of mental or spiritual terms; that drivers, once they have ceased to be learners, can drive carefully though unselfconsciously; also that sometimes introspection may not even be possible. We concede also that, for obvious reasons, the criterion for the applicability of terms in a public language tends to be overt and publicly observable behaviour rather than private and unsharable experiences. But this is not to say, and we do not concede, that the significance and point of such language is therefore thus restricted: rather our whole interest in and need for such language is through its correlation with private experiences, and this is the best, although inadequate, means open to us for expressing and communicating what we alone can feel. As applied to ourselves at least, then, we reject the behaviourists' analysis; and so, arguing by what is sometimes described as an analogy, we reject it when applied to other people too. For, observing that in all overt particulars, other human beings resemble ourselves and applying simple scientific procedure, we conclude that if they are really mere automata then we must be automata also, and all our experience an epiphenomenal illusion: `Either I allow' we say `that other people have souls, or else I begin upon a systematic elimination of `I'.'
We have given our grounds for maintaining that men after all do have souls; it is important to realize that the word `soul' does  not have the same meaning in all its uses and contexts. Thus in the fused phrase `- have souls' we may or may not be using the word `soul' to include `mind'. In the preceding arguments we have been using the word in the inclusive sense, and have been discussing what philosophers call the problem of Other Minds, the question whether other people are conscious beings like ourselves or are merely automata -`little bits of paper blown about by the wind'. If we do not believe that people have souls then we shall not do by them as we would be done by, except in so far as expediency dictates; we shall not hesitate to use them merely as means and not at all as ends; and we shall not hope to understand them from the inside, but only as an experimental psychologist can: whereas if we believe that they do have souls we shall respect their interests and their integrity, we shall enter into personal relations with them, we shall feel that the humanities are different in kind from the natural sciences. People who believe that animals have souls regard them as therefore possessing rights, and savages who hold that trees have souls always ask a tree's permission before cutting it down. In these cases Soul includes Mind, and is being contrasted with Body: in other senses the contrast is between Soul and Mind; if we ask whether a particular man has still got a soul, or has lost it, we are not wondering whether he is become insane. `The good of one's soul' is defined by exhaustion. For all the other goods external criteria can be given, in terms of cause and effect, of physical euphoria or measurable abilities, or of what other people think; whereas it is what is good for one, yet not because it is good for one's reputation, career, pocket, estate, body or mind, but just good for one, good for one haplos. This definition by exhaustion is characteristic of the concept of the soul: we approach by, as it were, a via negativa, always knowing and being able to specify what it is not, always contrasting it with some other concept that we know: when we are dealing with the bodies of men we feel there is something behind the body: when we have understood and are able to assess the intellect of man we realize that there is something more besides: and when we consider character and realize how it is  shaped by circumstance and how far it is formed by other men, we see that this cannot exhaust the real man, the man himself whom we seek. The soul is beyond personality. It is beyond morality too: the soul slips through the net of obligations that forms the moral law. To discharge one's debts and to do one's duty, however willingly and however scrupulously it is performed, is a chilling achievement, is merely to be a Pharisee: there is a feeling that such a man is not being quite natural, quite honest with himself, quite spontaneous, - a suspicion that he is guilty of mauvaise foi: there is not the spirit, the liveliness, which we seek, and which we do find in the self-expression and self-fulfilment of the creative artist. They are live individuals. Creative artists, we feel, do have souls. And we should like to believe of all men that each in his own life was a creative artist. We yearn, not for a new law, but for a personal morality beyond the Law, beyond Pharisaism: for no other morality, however rational and however lofty, can ever really get a grip upon the soul; only the love of God is adequate to win it, and perhaps only God is capable of loving one, not for some external attribute, but for oneself and soul alone.
We are peeling the onion. Every attribute and quality of man, as soon as we recognize and understand it, becomes detached from the essential man himself: `soul' often means `self'. David loved Jonathan, his friend, his allos autos as his own soul.8 Often we can translate `soul' by self, but in the active nominative rather than the passive accusative. The ego rather than the me or the id: and whereas when we try to peel the qualities off things to reveal the essential substance underneath we are engaged in an impossible and unnecessary task, when we turn to know ourselves and one another it is not so clear that the task is futile or that the urge to accomplish it ought to be resisted. Certainly it can be begun: this the paradox of consciousness shows, that however selfconscious one is, it is always possible to go to a further stage. Provided we do not adopt the flat and superficial interpretation of the universe there is no reason to believe that it should be possible to exhaust the soul into a limited number of definitive qualities.  But only provided. We might almost say, though we have not proved it here, that belief in God was a necessary and sufficient condition for belief in the soul. Sufficient obviously, for whoever believes in the existence of the Christian God must also believe in the existence and the value of his children: and necessary, for whoever does not believe in God will not believe in others either. Nor long believe even in himself alone.
Return to bibliography
Return to home page