Degrees of Souledness

People tend to think of objects and living things as having a soul or not having a soul when really it’s a continuous scale of souledness. For example, people reject the idea of eating certain animals like cats but not chickens, we remark about how, after a major cognitive decline due to old age, that person “isn’t all there”. There is a continuous assignment we make as to the degree of souledness in everything we see and interact with.

This isn’t to say this is correct (a souledness scale points out a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions) but it provides a good explanation for the moral issues we face today—a binary view of souledness (the predominant view) requires consensus and is therefore indeterminable.

From I Am a Strange Loop.

See also:

  • Internalizing Anothers' Interiority

    The most clear sign of a large degree of souledness is the internalization of other creatures' interiority. Compassion for others is what marks greater consciousness and is the difference between, for example, a mosquito who is more of an automaton and a dog who has rightfully earned the title of man’s best friend.

  • Presence of a Feedback Loop Shifts Perception from Mechanics to Desires

    When we see an object that has a feedback loop we ascribe it a more human goal-oriented desire. For example, the plant that curves towards the window “wants” to get more sunlight. Even a simple feedback loop (where the plant points to the window as it grows) raises this innate perception of an object with desires.

  • Perception Is Not Reception and Awareness

    When we talk about perception we should be careful not to confuse it with reception and awareness (or souledness). A thing that receives stimuli is like a video camera, merely measuring photons with a sensor. A thing that has awareness can be as simple as a toilet being “aware” of the water level. Neither perceives the world around it because neither has symbols that activate to translate that stimuli into understanding.