(1939-11-20) On the Nature of the Soul
Details for On the Nature of the Soul
Anthony
Summary: Rough jottings, in a mixture of English, French, and Ancient Egyptian, in Tony's essay planning book, discussing thoughts on what lies within.
Date: (1939-11-20)
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I don't really usually write in this fashion in my essay planning book, but for once I'm going to treat this as a journal, because my thoughts are, at least for now, too disjointed to make an essay for anyone.. and I have no idea to whom I would submit it, even if could write it. Perhaps Professor Black might look at it, but I should hate to give him substandard work.

What is a soul? Come to that, what makes up an individual? Do people live on after death? Young Evans seems so happily certain in her conventional Muggle Christianity. I envy her that. But I digress, which is an atrocious habit.

What is already known?

There have been several theories already

  1. The standard model
    1. Comprising mind, spirit and soul inter-reacting with each other, and encased within a body. It's a philosophically sound concept, in so far as it goes, although it does presume an immortal soul, and that the three parts are different, which is open to challenge, I suppose. It's old, and so has some merit, in that it's survived so long without actually being disproved.
  2. The Egyptian model
    1. Even older, so I suppose by the merit of antiquity a more tested theory!
      1. The Ib: The 'Heart', seat of thought and emotion. Analogous to the standard model's 'Mind'. Interesting, though, that in the mythology it is the 'Ib' which is weighed against a Feather to see whether one will be devoured after death.
      2. The Sheut: The Shadow. Which follows each of us around. Linked to death.
      3. The Ren: The name. Obviously the birth name. It would make sense, if one believes in name magic, that this is an integral part of the 'being' of the individual.
      4. The Ba: If you like, the spirit. It's the part which makes us 'us'- a person. Some scholars (Malfoy, 1910) have suggested that it's more like the mind of the standard model, but I would argue that just as when someone loses their mind they remain human, so an Ib might depart without rendering the person either unhuman or unalive.
      5. The Ka: Difficult. 'Living essence' I suppose. The thing which the lack of, makes you dead. Perhaps the Soul of the Standard model although that's not quite right.

So, what's the relevance of that? Well, since last Christmas I have been meditating on magic. Much of what we do is so physical, of course, and that's easy to explain. But what of the pain I felt without a mark on me? What of the other Unforgiveable Curses? If one can understand the parts of the mind/spirit/soul on which they work, might it be possible to defend against them?

I wonder if the Cruciatus curse applies the pain directly to the essence of us. To the mind or spirit in the standard model, perhaps to the Ib, Ba, or Ka to the Egyptian model? By extension, I suppose you could say that one who is Imperiused, might have their spirits controlled… the mind can still think, but it cannot give movement to the body without the spirit being free. It's perhaps the case that in the Egyptian model, that it forces out the Ba, and takes its place, giving alternate motion to the body.

Which brings us to the killing curse. In either case, I suspect it simply compels flight of some part of the inner self. I would suspect the Soul, and the Ka, depending on which model is correct (if either are).

But all of this is very hypothetical. I cannot study this, as I can not, and will not cast Dark Magic. I can study the ghosts, if they'll let me, for they are something of the individuals they once were. And, of course, I can talk to Miss Rosenblatz. If she'll speak to me. But I cannot imagine she will do so easily.

What is love? Well, aside from the obvious (and if you're reading this, Eibhlin, the answer is 'wonderful' and 'Please leave my notes where you found them!'), it's hard to tell. It's one of the mysterious forces of the universe, but it must, unless one believes it to be a crude biological urge, act at the level of the inner self. Where remains open, at least to me, to conjecture.

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