Getting To The Soul Of Things

“As traditionally understood, the soul is something that is both within us and yet superior to us, a repository for the most precious (or in some accounts “divine”) aspects of us. The soul survives when the rest of us dies, it can continue indefinitely (like a kind of hardy seed preserved in arctic tundra), and may even reinhabit a bodily form at another time. The idea that we have a soul should, if we can manage to believe it, stop us feeling quite so sad that we must die. What makes a history of the soul rewarding is that it offers a useful way into the question of what different societies and thinkers have at various points viewed as the most important aspect of life.”