Excerpt from my book with the above title:
What do I believe in when I believe that man has a soul? What do I believe in when I believe this substance contains two carbon rings? In both cases, there is a picture in the foreground, but the sense lies far in the background, that is, the application of the picture is not easy to survey. — Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, P.M.S. Hacker, Joachim Schulter. Blackwell Publishing: West Sussex, England (2009) at ¶422.
Technological Society is making enormous progress in the goal of eliminating physical violence and its pain from the world. Soon, the use and usefulness of physical violence as a means of social struggle will be limited to the ethics with a monopoly on violence called law. Part of this progress will include the acceptance of suicide or euthanasia as it is sometimes called as a pain killer option for physical violence inflicted upon the individual by the universe such as aging and physical sickness. I have never had a problem with this acceptance nor is it an aspect of Despair. The natural course of events will eventually allow for suicide in euthanasia form to become an acceptable social practice, this acceptance has no effect upon acceptance of suicide as an act of the soul rejecting life. However, with this acceptance, the distinction between suicide of the body and suicide of the soul will become important. If suicide is socially accepted and allowed as a permanent pain killer for physical pain that makes life not worth living why not allow it for Despair in life as not worth living?
I do not want to get into metaphysical arguments as to whether there is a mind/body distinction; as Camus said in the beginning epigram of this book, these are games that keep me busy in life after I have decided life is worth living but do answer the question of whether it is worth living. Philosophers and the Other so disposed may ridicule the soul as a category error, but for one who is truly contemplating suicide not just pretending to do so, questioning the meaning of life and finding no answer is a distinct reality from asking whether one should take antidepressants for breakfast to get through the day. Whether or not the brain may or may not need the latter does not answer the former question. These are distinct wordgames. The holistic whole of the Self and Other suffer Despair not the brain or any other part of the whole individual; The brain may need drugs to make it through the day but I want an answer to my question on the meaning of life to make it through life without contemplation of suicide and suicide.
Ignoring such a conceptional distinction is a symptom one is not actually contemplating suicide but only engaging in aesthetics in order to avoid its contemplation; it is a sign of delusion and incompleteness in one’s philosophy making it hypocritical at best as popular reasoning and fundamentally unsound as intellectual reasoning. Physicists when resolving their physics problems now ignore the nonsensical nature of i and the infinity (∞) within π and e, however ignoring them does not change the fact that the concept of √-1 is conceptually different from √1 nor does it solve Zeno’s Paradoxes or Thomson’s Lamp Paradox that occur when treating ∞ as a sense experience or even as a number. Such ignoring of conceptual problems is allowed physicists so they may achieve the predictive meanings of their wordgames. Philosophy is not seeking predictive meaning for life to resolve Despair but meaning in an existential sense. Analogously, scientists, so-called cognitive scientists, and other pragmatists trying to eliminate sense experience symptoms of Despair may ignore the homunculus fallacy when trying to eliminate empirical symptoms of Despair, but such ignoring does not solve my Despair nor anyone’s Despair; even if eliminative materialists are correct in arguing that the pronoun “I” simply represents a collection of chemicals in the brain, this does not change the fact that I feel Despair at such a description of reality regardless of how powerful the “I” of those who fabricate such descriptions feel from their materialist wordgame and the tenure and popularity it gives them among those who share their Blue Pill.
Philosophers who ignore a conceptual difference between the body and the soul in the “one truly serious philosophical problem” expressed by Despair are either in Despair themselves and have taken a Blue Pill to ignore it or God has given them the gift of being a god for whom existence is an end-in-itself — in which case, they most likely have no soul thus the question at issue does not matter. I am therefore I think and I want more than just thinking from life is the reality leading me to Despair; if one is satisfied solely with the aesthetics of thinking as an end-in-itself, then luckily one is saved from Despair. I know Despair even in moments cold-bloodedly free of any pain. In fact, it is in these moments free of pain in which Despair is most likely to lead one to suicide in the sense of it being a rejection of life: not just as a shock reaction to physical pain in which my act of suicide may be an affirmation of life. Suicide of the soul involves a denial of life done with a clear mind seeing life for the random and arbitrary farce it is and rejecting it.
I therefore submit the following definition for the “soul”: it is that aspect of the holistic individual that seeks meaning in life beyond mere existence. It is the attribute of the holistic individual that makes my present contemplation possible.