Maybe I should stop reading. I just read a thought-provoking article by Rabbi Adam Jacobs titled “A Rational Argument for the Existence of the Human Soul.” In it, he poses an interesting challenge: to describe ourselves without using our name, our profession, or our character traits, something he finds many unable to do. Is our consciousness just an illusion, a trick of the neurons in our brains? Or do we really exist—as individuals, as sentient beings, as souls? That’s pretty deep. In my 45 years, I have to admit I’d never really thought about it. So let me try Jacobs’ challenge: I guess, like everyone else, I’m a human being, with about the same hopes and dreams and fears as everyone else, though a unique product of my cumulative experiences. But that pretty much describes everyone, not just me. To describe just me requires a move to adjectives which are more about me than they are me. I guess I come to the same conclusion Rabbi Jacobs has, that I am a soul, a spiritual being which exists outside of my physical being. Hmm. Not a bad accomplishment for a lazy summer afternoon.
“It is only to the individual that a soul is given.” –Albert Einstein