As beautiful as simplicity is, it can become a tradition that stands in the way of exploration.

–Laura Nyro

The Hidden and Impossible Soul

We thought it was in the breath, the first one a newborn breathes, perhaps coming from the ever present wind. Breath of life, breath of God, a misty air that the soul rides between worlds.

We thought it was in the blood, the water in our veins that give us life, or is wasted by being spilled on the ground.

We thought it was in the brain, perhaps the electrical impulses that caused the body to jerk and move, alive or dead.

We thought it was in the cells, all the chemical reactions, perhaps we would find one that required an ingredient, or a spark, that could not be accounted for, that came from Elsewhere, until we lost the trail.

We thought maybe, we could weigh it. If we account for all the molecules and their atoms, break them all down, take them out, and if they add up to less than 100%, then the thing we missed might be bad math or something that oozed through the crack, or it might be the soul, perhaps weightless or just nearly so, a non-atomic mass in an atomic universe.

How could I have been so blind? Of course, You hid it Everywhere.

Looking for the soul by first removing all the atoms, molecules, bacteria, cells, blood, and air is like looking for Earth by removing all life, dirt, rocks, magma, metals, crystals, water, and atmosphere.

What is left?

Nothing but the idea of Earth. Nothing but the idea of human, of life. The idea that there is a soul.

Maybe that’s all that ever existed of the soul. Maybe that’s all that ever existed of Earth. Maybe without the imagination, Earth is just a collection of organic machines, water, rocks and minerals, and air. Without imagination, I don’t exist, I don’t have a name, I don’t have words for things between things, how can I have a soul? I am just another creature roaming the planet.

With an imagination I can have a soul. Even if I can’t put it into words. That would take too much practice. I’d rather pretend one just has to have a knack for that sort of thing.

It used to be that the earth was simply the dirt under our feet, from known horizons to the endless oceans, whether we hatched from an egg, rode on the back of four giant elephants and/or a turtle, or a flat disc floating in water.

Now Earth is one of trillions of planets, spinning in incomprehensible, but very simple, dances around billions of stars that seem to last forever, as everything seems to be eternal except the lives of our fellow organic machines.

The atoms are eternal but were created and will be destroyed somehow, presumably. DNA is eternal, kinda, and carries life from one generation to the next, slowly changing as needed to survive. My body is eternal, replacing itself every 5-11 years, a changing wave my consciousness will ride until it wears out.

My thoughts are eternal, generating from a fog of early life to the present moment, creating consciousness and being recorded in these symbols, so that You can read them, in case You needed to, and I can understand them, because I need to.

Now they are inside You, struggling to prove themselves worthy of Your attention.

You will decide if my soul is eternal or not. You will decide if I am something more than just another animal roaming the planet.

You will decide for me and everything else, and the simplicity or complexity of the answer decides the simplicity and complexity of souls.

The soul is the quintessence that is larger than everything and hidden inside the smallest thing.

You are the soul that we’re all seeking. Where are You?

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