Sunday, May 14, 2017

Coloring book

In substance dualism, I'd say the relation between soul and body is analogous to the relation between nature and nurture. The soul is the foundation of human personality. The source of character traits. Where memories are stored. And so on. 

However, embodied experience has a tremendous conditioning impact on personality. Formative influences during maturation. Mood-altering hormones. Interaction with other humans. The sensible world as a frame of reference.

I don't think a soul is a blank slate. But embodied experience affects how we turn out. Take hypothetical scenarios about the kind of person I'd be if my mother died when I was young, if I was born in a different century, if I was born in a different country or different part of the country. Although I'd have the same core personality, I'd turn out differently if my formative influences were different.  

To take a simplistic illustration, the soul is like a coloring book with line drawings. Innate patterns. The body is like palette which colors the line drawings. 

That segues into the question of why the resurrection is necessary. An idealist would say that since a virtual world is indistinguishable from a physical world, what's the advantage of a physical world? 

i) To begin with, if the physical world is illusory, why does God create a collective psychological experience that mimics a physical world, including the natural limitations of physicality? For instance, we can do things in dreams that we can't do in real life. But if idealism is true, why isn't experience emancipated from what's physically possible–like a dream? 

If everything is mental, and God is starting from scratch, why the apparent physicality of the template? Why not something more surreal?

ii) Many saints die before the age when embodied experience informs the soul. The resurrection gives them a chance to catch up.

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