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Conversational Tarot — The World card

October 1, 2014

A while back, I described a way to initiate thought-provoking conversations using the messages of the cards.  Today I used the World card, a the pithy meaning I use was this:World Card -- Tarot of the Masters

When we realize that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, we will also realize our oneness with everything.

So, the question I came up with is this:

Who has a soul? Do animals? Would a computer or android if it became complex enough?

Some thoughts:

There are schools of religious thoughts out there that deny that animals have souls. They say that only humans do. I find that view to be egocentric, and I disagree with it. From the perspective of my mind, I believe that the Divine is everywhere and within everything, which (of course) includes our pets. From the perspective of my heart, I cannot look into the eyes of a dog or cat (for example) and not see a soul peering back out at me. (Honestly, there are some people I would sooner think are soulless than any dog I’ve ever known.) Where do you draw the line though? Or do you draw the line? Does a mouse have a soul? How about a grasshopper? Or a paramecium? Does an organism have to have a brain, a nervous system, or consciousness? Or is life the only requirement?

The question gets really tricky when we wonder about a computer. Since I believe that the Divine is everywhere and within everything, I have to wonder if there would be a soul in a sufficiently complex Artificial Intelligence. This question has been considered in our popular culture from movies like Blade Runner, A.I., and Her to characters on TV shows such as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Ethan on the recent show, Extant.

Of course, perhaps the problem is in the phrasing of the question itself. Instead of saying that you have a soul, is it a better description to say that you are a soul that has a body? Maybe, it’s more accurate to wonder if you are one of the infinite forms that Divine Soul inhabits. Consequently, if the Divine is manifest in everything, at the deepest level perhaps the question should not be “who has a soul?” because there aren’t really separate souls. That might be like asking, does your liver have a soul? Does your nose have a soul? Do the individual cells in your blood stream have souls? How about your bones, your teeth, or your hair? When looked at that way, “who has a soul?” may be a very strange question indeed. Perhaps instead, the question might be, “Is everything invested with Divine Soul?”

Postscript: After writing the above comments, I “coincidentally” came across a reference to the following book:  The Earth Has A Soul, The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung.  The proposition that the Earth itself has a soul can take this conversation into even more fascinating depths.  What do you think?

Those are some of my thoughts about this topic.  I would love to hear what you think about this. At the very least, though, I hope this may stimulate some interesting discussions for many of my readers.

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