Psychometry known as token-object reading, or psychoscopy, is a form of extrasensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object. Supporters assert that an object may have an energy field that transfers knowledge regarding that object's history. There is no scientific evidence that psychometry exists and the concept has been criticized. Joseph Rodes Buchanan coined the word "psychometry" in 1842. Buchanan came up with the idea; the Past is entombed in the Present! The world is its own enduring monument; the discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists. Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history!
Buchanan asserted. He wrote a comprehensive treatise, Manual of Psychometry: the Dawn of a New Civilization, detailing how the direct knowledge of psychometry would be applied to and affect the many various branches of science, it would elevate the various schools of philosophy and arts thereby affecting wide social change and an enlightenment of humanity: The thermometer measures caloric. The barometer measures the weight of the atmosphere. In the case of Psychometry, the measuring assumes a new character, as the object measured and the measuring instrument are the same psychic element, its measuring power is not limited to the psychic as it was developed in the first experiments, but has appeared by successive investigation to manifest a wider and wider area of power, until it became apparent that this psychic capacity was the measure of all things in the Universe. Buchanan continued to promote psychometry throughout his life and his followers believed that it would revolutionize science in a comprehensive way as "the dawn of a new civilization".
Buchanan's work on psychometry was continued by the geologist William Denton. In 1863, Denton published a book on the subject The Soul of Things, their work was criticized by Joseph Jastrow as based on wishful thinking. Others, such as Stephen Pearl Andrews who promoted Psychometry along with his own new science of Universology, built upon Buchanan's ideas; as a lecturer Andrews asserted that such inquiries, as paraphrased by an 1878 New York Times article, "demonstrated that the sympathy between the mind and body is an exact science". In the nineteenth century demonstrations of psychometry became a popular part of stage acts and séances, it is commonly offered at psychic fairs as a type of psychic reading. At New Age events psychometry has claimed to help visitors "meet the dearly departed". There is no scientific evidence. Skeptics explain alleged successes of psychometry by cold confirmation bias. Skeptic Robert Todd Carroll describes psychometry as a pseudoscience; the majority of police departments polled do not use psychics and do not consider them credible or useful on cases.
Proponents of psychometry have argued that psychic detectives have been used by law enforcement agencies on specific cases. However, psychologist Leonard Zusne has noted that "enquiries with police officials... reveal that the involvement of psychics has not been helpful, that second-hand reports of it are in gross error." Law of contagion List of parapsychology topics Parapsychology Retrocognition Precognition List of topics characterized as pseudoscience Discernment of Spirits Joseph Rodes Buchanan. Manual of Psychometry: The Dawn of a New Civilization. Boston: F. H. Hodges. William Denton; the Soul of Things, Or, Psychometric Researches and Discoveries. Boston: Walker, Wise & Co. Joe Nickell. Psychic Sleuths: ESP and Sensational Cases. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-880-5 James Randi. Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Other Delusions. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-198-3 Colin Wilson.. The Psychic Detectives: The Story of Psychometry and Paranormal Crime Detection. Mercury House. ISBN 0-330-28119-4 Richard Wiseman.
Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-75298-6 Psychometry Experiment, a project that gave residents in Ontario, Canada the opportunity to participate in a psychometry study Psychometry - Skeptic's Dictionary
The occult is "knowledge of the hidden" or "knowledge of the paranormal", as opposed to facts and "knowledge of the measurable" referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that "must be kept hidden", but for most practicing occultists it is the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends pure reason and the physical sciences; the terms esoteric and arcane can be used to describe the occult, in addition to their meanings unrelated to the supernatural. The term occult sciences was used in the 16th century to refer to astrology and natural magic; the term occultism emerged in 19th-century France, where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, in 1875 was introduced into the English language by the esotericist Helena Blavatsky. Throughout the 20th century, the term was used idiosyncratically by a range of different authors, but by the 21st century was employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants.
Occultism is thus used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, New Age. Since the late twentieth century, various authors have used the occult as a substantivized adjective. In this usage, "the occult" is a category into which varied beliefs and practices are placed if they are considered to fit into neither religion nor science. "The occult" in this sense is broad, encompassing such phenomenon as beliefs in vampires or fairies and movements like Ufology and parapsychology. In that same period and culture were combined to form the neologism occulture. Used in the industrial music scene, it was given scholarly applications; the idea of "occult sciences" developed in the sixteenth century. The term encompassed three practices—astrology and natural magic—although sometimes various forms of divination were included rather than being subsumed under natural magic; these were grouped together because, according to the historian of religion Wouter Hanegraaff, "each one of them engaged in a systematic investigation of nature and natural processes, in the context of theoretical frameworks that relied on a belief in occult qualities, virtues or forces."
Although there are areas of overlap between these different occult sciences, they are separate and in some cases practitioners of one would reject the others as being illegitimate. During the Enlightenment, the term "occult" came to be seen as intrinsically incompatible with the concept of "science". From that point on, use of the term "occult science" implied a conscious polemic against mainstream science. In his 1871 book Primitive Culture, the anthropologist Edward Tylor used the term "occult science" as a synonym for "magic". Occult qualities are properties. Aether is another such element. Newton's contemporaries criticized his theory that gravity was effected through "action at a distance", as occult. In the English-speaking world, prominent figures in the development of occultism included Helena Blavatsky and other figures associated with her Theosophical Society, senior figures in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn like William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Mathers, as well as other individuals such as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Emma Hardinge Britten, Arthur Edward Waite, and—in the early twentieth century—Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie.
By the end of the nineteenth century, occultist ideas had spread into other parts of Europe, such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy. Unlike older forms of esotericism, occultism does not reject "scientific progress or modernity". Lévi had stressed the need to solve the conflict between science and religion, something that he believed could be achieved by turning to what he thought was the ancient wisdom found in magic; the scholar of esotericism Antoine Faivre noted that rather than outright accepting "the triumph of scientism", occultists sought "an alternative solution", trying to integrate "scientific progress or modernity" with "a global vision that will serve to make the vacuousness of materialism more apparent". Hanegraaff remarked that occultism was "essentially an attempt to adapt esotericism" to the "disenchanted world", a post-Enlightenment society in which growing scientific discovery had eradicated the "dimension of irreducible mystery" present. In doing so, he noted, occultism distanced itself from the "traditional esotericism" which accepted the premise of an "enchanted" world.
According to historian of esotericism Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, occultist groups seek "proofs and demonstrations by recourse to scientific tests or terminology". In his work about Lévi, the German historian Julian Strube has argued that the occultist wish for a "synthesis" of religion and philosophy directly resulted from the context of contemporary socialism and progressive Catholicism. Similar to spiritualism, but in declared opposition to it, the emergence of occultism should thus be seen within the context of radical social reform, concerned with establishing new forms of "scientific religion" while at the same time propagating the revival of an ancient tradition of "true religion". Indeed, the emergence of both modern esotericism and socialism in July Monarchy France have been inherently intertwined. Another feature of occultists is that—unlike earlier esotericists—they openly dis
An angel is a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions, angels are depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God or Heaven and humanity. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, carrying out God's tasks. Within Abrahamic religions, angels are organized into hierarchies, although such rankings may vary between sects in each religion; such angels are given specific titles, such as Gabriel or Michael. The term "angel" has been expanded to various notions of spirits or figures found in other religious traditions; the theological study of angels is known as "angelology." Angels who were expelled from Heaven are referred to as fallen angels. In fine art, angels are depicted as having the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty but no gender, they are identified with symbols of bird wings and light. The word angel arrives in modern English from the Old French angele. Both of these derive from Late Latin angelus, which in turn was borrowed from Late Greek ἄγγελος aggelos transliterated by non-Greek speakers in its phonetic form ángelos.
Additionally, per Dutch linguist R. S. P. Beekes, ángelos itself may be "an Oriental loan, like ἄγγαρος." The word's earliest form is Mycenaean a-ke-ro, attested in Linear B syllabic script. The rendering of "ángelos" is the Septuagint's default translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mal’ākh, denoting "messenger" without connoting its nature. In the associations to follow in the Latin Vulgate, this meaning becomes bifurcated: when mal’ākh or ángelos is supposed to denote a human messenger, words like nuntius or legatus are applied. If the word refers to some supernatural being, the word angelus appears; such differentiation has been taken over by vernacular translations of the Bible, early Christian and Jewish exegetes and modern scholars. The Torah uses the terms מלאך אלהים, מלאך יהוה, בני אלהים and הקודשים to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angels. Texts use other terms, such as העליונים; the term מלאך is used in other books of the Tanakh. Depending on the context, the Hebrew word may refer to a human messenger or to a supernatural messenger.
A human messenger might be a prophet or priest, such as Malachi, "my messenger". Examples of a supernatural messenger are the "Malak YHWH,", either a messenger from God, an aspect of God, or God himself as the messenger Scholar Michael D. Coogan notes that it is only in the late books that the terms "come to mean the benevolent semi-divine beings familiar from mythology and art." Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name, mentioning Gabriel in Daniel 9:21 and Michael in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature. In Daniel 7, Daniel receives a dream-vision from God; as Daniel watches, the Ancient of Days takes his seat on the throne of heaven and sits in judgement in the midst of the heavenly court an like a son of man approaches the Ancient One in the clouds of heaven and is given everlasting kingship. Coogan explains the development of this concept of angels: "In the postexilic period, with the development of explicit monotheism, these divine beings—the'sons of God' who were members of the Divine Council—were in effect demoted to what are now known as'angels', understood as beings created by God, but immortal and thus superior to humans."
This conception of angels is best understood in contrast to demons and is thought to be "influenced by the ancient Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism, which viewed the world as a battleground between forces of good and forces of evil, between light and darkness." One of these is a figure depicted in the Book of Job. Philo of Alexandria identifies the angel with the Logos inasmuch as the angel is the immaterial voice of God; the angel is conceived as God's instrument. Four classes of ministering angels minister and utter praise before the Holy One, blessed be He: the first camp Michael on His right, the second camp Gabriel on His left, the third camp Uriel before Him, the fourth camp Raphael behind Him, he is sitting on a throne high and exalted In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels took on particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Although these archangels were believed to rank among the heavenly host, no systematic hierarchy developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkabah and Kabbalist mysticism and serves as a scribe.
Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel, is looked upon fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and in the Talmud, as well as in many Merkabah mystical texts. There is no evidence in Judaism for the worship of angels, but there is evidence for the invocation and sometimes conjuration of angels. According to Kabbalah
Paranormal events are purported phenomena described in popular culture and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described as beyond normal experience or scientific explanation. Proposals regarding the paranormal are different from scientific hypotheses or speculations extrapolated from scientific evidence because scientific ideas are grounded in empirical observations and experimental data gained through the scientific method. In contrast, those who argue for the existence of the paranormal explicitly do not base their arguments on empirical evidence but rather on anecdote and suspicion. Notable paranormal beliefs include those that pertain to telepathy, extrasensory perception and the pseudosciences of ghost hunting and ufology; the term "paranormal" has existed in the English language since at least 1920. The word consists of two parts: normal; the definition implies that the scientific explanation of the world around us is'normal' and anything, above, beyond, or contrary to that is'para'.
On the classification of paranormal subjects, Terence Hines in his book Pseudoscience and the Paranormal wrote: The paranormal can best be thought of as a subset of pseudoscience. What sets the paranormal apart from other pseudosciences is a reliance on explanations for alleged phenomena that are well outside the bounds of established science. Thus, paranormal phenomena include extrasensory perception, ghosts, life after death, faith healing, human auras, so forth; the explanations for these allied phenomena are phrased in vague terms of "psychic forces", "human energy fields", so on. This is in contrast to many pseudoscientific explanations for other nonparanormal phenomena, although bad science, are still couched in acceptable scientific terms. In traditional ghostlore and fiction featuring ghosts, a ghost is a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person. Alternative theories include belief in the ghosts of deceased animals. Sometimes the term "ghost" is used synonymously with any spirit or demon, however in popular usage the term refers to a deceased person's spirit.
The belief in ghosts as souls of the departed is tied to the concept of animism, an ancient belief which attributed souls to everything in nature. As the 19th-century anthropologist George Frazer explained in his classic work, The Golden Bough, souls were seen as the creature within that animated the body. Although the human soul was sometimes symbolically or depicted in ancient cultures as a bird or other animal, it was held that the soul was an exact reproduction of the body in every feature down to clothing the person wore; this is depicted in artwork from various ancient cultures, including such works as the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (ca. which shows deceased people in the afterlife appearing much as they did before death, including the style of dress. Although the evidence for ghosts is anecdotal, the belief in ghosts throughout history has remained widespread and persistent; the possibility of extraterrestrial life is not, by itself, a paranormal subject. Many scientists are engaged in the search for unicellular life within the solar system, carrying out studies on the surface of Mars and examining meteors that have fallen to Earth.
Projects such as SETI are conducting an astronomical search for radio activity that would show evidence of intelligent life outside the solar system. Scientific theories of how life developed on Earth allow for the possibility that life developed on other planets as well; the paranormal aspect of extraterrestrial life centers around the belief in unidentified flying objects and the phenomena said to be associated with them. Early in the history of UFO culture, believers divided themselves into two camps; the first held a rather conservative view of the phenomena, interpreting them as unexplained occurrences that merited serious study. They began calling themselves "ufologists" in the 1950s and felt that logical analysis of sighting reports would validate the notion of extraterrestrial visitation; the second camp consisted of individuals who coupled ideas of extraterrestrial visitation with beliefs from existing quasi-religious movements. These individuals were enthusiasts of occultism and the paranormal.
Many had backgrounds as active Theosophists, Spiritualists, or were followers of other esoteric doctrines. In contemporary times, many of these beliefs have coalesced into New Age spiritual movements. Both secular and spiritual believers describe UFOs as having abilities beyond what are considered possible according to known aerodynamic constraints and physical laws; the transitory events surrounding many UFO sightings limits the opportunity for repeat testing required by the scientific method. Acceptance of UFO theories by the larger scientific community is further hindered by the many possible hoaxes associated with UFO culture. Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience and subculture that aims to prove the existence of entities from the folklore record, such as Bigfoot, chupacabras, or Mokele-mbembe. Cryptozoologists refer to these entities as a term coined by the subculture. Approaching the paranormal from a research perspective is difficult because of the lack of acceptable physical evidence from most of the purported phenomena.
By definition, the paranormal does not conform to conventional expectations of nature. Therefore, a phenomenon cannot be confirmed as paranormal using the scientific method because, if it could be, it would no longer fit the definition. Despite this problem
Animism is the religious belief that objects and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Animism perceives all things—animals, rocks, weather systems, human handiwork and even words—as animated and alive. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous peoples in contrast to the more recent development of organised religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, "animism" is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples' "spiritual" or "supernatural" perspectives; the animistic perspective is so held and inherent to most indigenous peoples that they do not have a word in their languages that corresponds to "animism". Due to such ethnolinguistic and cultural discrepancies, opinion has differed on whether animism refers to an ancestral mode of experience common to indigenous peoples around the world, or to a full-fledged religion in its own right; the accepted definition of animism was only developed in the late 19th century by Sir Edward Tylor, who created it as "one of anthropology's earliest concepts, if not the first".
Animism encompasses the beliefs that all material phenomena have agency, that there exists no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical world and that soul or spirit or sentience exists not only in humans, but in other animals, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder and shadows. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology; some members of the non-tribal world consider themselves animists. Earlier anthropological perspectives, which have since been termed the "old animism", were concerned with knowledge on what is alive and what factors make something alive; the "old animism" assumed that animists were individuals who were unable to understand the difference between persons and things. Critics of the "old animism" have accused it of preserving "colonialist and dualist worldviews and rhetoric"; the idea of animism was developed by the anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor in his 1871 book Primitive Culture, in which he defined it as "the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general".
According to Tylor, animism includes "an idea of pervading life and will in nature". That formulation was little different from that proposed by Auguste Comte as "fetishism", but the terms now have distinct meanings. For Tylor, animism represented the earliest form of religion, being situated within an evolutionary framework of religion which has developed in stages and which will lead to humanity rejecting religion altogether in favor of scientific rationality. Thus, for Tylor, animism was fundamentally seen as a mistake, a basic error from which all religion grew, he did not believe that animism was inherently illogical, but he suggested that it arose from early humans' dreams and visions and thus was a rational system. However, it was based on unscientific observations about the nature of reality. Stringer notes that his reading of Primitive Culture led him to believe that Tylor was far more sympathetic in regard to "primitive" populations than many of his contemporaries and that Tylor expressed no belief that there was any difference between the intellectual capabilities of "savage" people and Westerners.
Tylor had wanted to describe the phenomenon as "spiritualism" but realised that would cause confusion with the modern religion of Spiritualism, prevalent across Western nations. He adopted the term "animism" from the writings of the German scientist Georg Ernst Stahl, who, in 1708, had developed the term animismus as a biological theory that souls formed the vital principle and that the normal phenomena of life and the abnormal phenomena of disease could be traced to spiritual causes; the first known usage in English appeared in 1819. The idea that there had once been "one universal form of primitive religion" has been dismissed as "unsophisticated" and "erroneous" by the archaeologist Timothy Insoll, who stated that "it removes complexity, a precondition of religion now, in all its variants". Tylor's definition of animism was a part of a growing international debate on the nature of "primitive society" by lawyers and philologists; the debate defined the field of research of a new science: anthropology.
By the end of the 19th century, an orthodoxy on "primitive society" had emerged, but few anthropologists still would accept that definition. The "19th-century armchair anthropologists" argued "primitive society" was ordered by kinship and was divided into exogamous descent groups related by a series of marriage exchanges, their religion was the belief that natural species and objects had souls. With the development of private property, the descent groups were displaced by the emergence of the territorial state; these rituals and beliefs evolved over time into the vast array of "developed" religions. According to Tylor, the more scientifically advanced a society became, the fewer members of that society believed in animism. However, any remnant ideologies of souls or spirits, to Tylor, represented "survivals" of the original animism of early humanity. In 1869, the Edinburgh lawyer
Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone; the book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, by 2001 had sold over nine million copies. Eddy and 26 followers were granted a charter in 1879 to found the Church of Christ, in 1894 the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, was built in Boston, Massachusetts. Christian Science became the fastest growing religion in the United States, with nearly 270,000 members by 1936, a figure that had declined by 1990 to just over 100,000; the church is known for its newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor, which won seven Pulitzer Prizes between 1950 and 2002, for its public Reading Rooms around the world. Eddy described Christian Science as a return to "primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing".
There are key differences between Christian Science theology and that of other branches of Christianity. In particular, adherents subscribe to a radical form of philosophical idealism, believing that reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion; this includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, that the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health. The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care—adherents use dentists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, vaccination when required by law—but maintains that Christian-Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine. Between the 1880s and 1990s, the avoidance of medical treatment led to the deaths of several adherents and their children. Parents and others were prosecuted for, in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect. Several periods of Protestant Christian revival nurtured a proliferation of new religious movements in the United States.
In the latter half of the 19th century these included what came to be known as the metaphysical family: groups such as Christian Science, Divine Science, the Unity School of Christianity and the United Church of Religious Science. From the 1890s the liberal section of the movement became known as New Thought, in part to distinguish it from the more authoritarian Christian Science; the term metaphysical referred to the movement's philosophical idealism, a belief in the primacy of the mental world. Adherents believed that material phenomena were the result of mental states, a view expressed as "life is consciousness" and "God is mind." The supreme cause was referred to as Divine Mind, God, Life, Principle or Father–Mother, reflecting elements of Plato, Berkeley, Hegel and transcendentalism. The metaphysical groups became known as the mind-cure movement because of their strong focus on healing. Medical practice was in its infancy, patients fared better without it; this provided fertile soil for the mind-cure groups, who argued that sickness was an absence of "right thinking" or failure to connect to Divine Mind.
The movement traced its roots in the United States to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a New England clockmaker turned mental healer, whose motto was "the truth is the cure." Mary Baker Eddy had been a patient of his, leading to debate about how much of Christian Science was based on his ideas. New Thought and Christian Science differed in that Eddy saw her views as a unique and final revelation. Eddy's idea of malicious animal magnetism marked another distinction, introducing an element of fear, absent from the New Thought literature. Most she dismissed the material world as an illusion, rather than as subordinate to Mind, leading her to reject the use of medicine, or materia medica, making Christian Science the most controversial of the metaphysical groups. Reality for Eddy was purely spiritual. Christian Science leaders place their religion within mainstream Christian teaching, according to J. Gordon Melton, reject any identification with the New Thought movement. Eddy was influenced by her Congregationalist upbringing.
According to the church's tenets, adherents accept "the inspired Word of the Bible as sufficient guide to eternal Life... acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God... acknowledge His Son, one Christ. When founding the Church of Christ, Scientist, in April 1879, Eddy wrote that she wanted to "reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing", she suggested that Christian Science was a kind of second coming and that Science and Health was an inspired text. In 1895, in the Manual of the Mother Church, she ordained the Bible and Science and Health as "Pastor over the Mother Church". Christian Science theology differs in several respects from that of traditional Christianity. Eddy's Science and Health reinterprets key Christian concepts, including the Trinity, divinity of Jesus and resurrection. At the core of Eddy's theology is the view that the spiritual world is the only reality and is good, that the material world, with its evil and death, is an illusion. Eddy saw humanity as an "idea of Mind", "perfect, eternal and reflects the divine", according to Bryan Wilson.
The soul, in many religious and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, feeling, memory, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves and have their physical representative in the world; the actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger there is a self-conscious identity residing in it, a physical representative in the world; some teach that non-biological entities possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, understood that the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of, the most divine of human actions.
At his defense trial, Socrates summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence. The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual; the Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of the Germanic word is unclear; the original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea ”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola compared to Old Saxon sêo.
The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή to translate Hebrew נפש, meaning "life, vital breath", refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, life, person, mind, living being, emotion, passion". Vulgate – Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, every living creature that moveth."The Koine Greek word ψυχή, "life, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα, meaning "body". Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen in Matthew 10:28: Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Paul the Apostle used ψυχή and πνεῦμα to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש and רוח ruah.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribed stele erected upon his death; the inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul, in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body; the 800-pound basalt stele is 2 ft wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois; the Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, whose mystery no mind, however acute, can hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen as the soul's state of nearness to God.
Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant