Monday, 23 June 2008

Is there a soul at all?

I have been having a very interesting discussion in the OBOD message board, about the existance of the soul. Every single religion of the world, despite of the differences between beliefs, accept that there is something trascendental, call it soul, spirit, phsyche. That is not just part of the material world.

Materialist claim that feelings, emotions, and consciousness are just produced by the Brain. I reject that hypothesis because three main reasons:

1) As far as I know there’s no single experiment that can recreate the feelings of one person. We can’t artificially make a person to love another, we can’t make artificially to make a person hate another, etc, etc. And I'm not talking of reduced moments of anger or joy that could be artificially made, I'm talking about the feelings itself, everyone who had love can say that is not just a moment of biochemical joy, even when that effect is reached. We have reached a moment when we are able to understand and even recreate the effects of certain feelings in our body and our brain. We know what part of the brain are stimulated when we feel something, and the biochemical processes that are created because of that feelings; that only can demonstrate the effects of them, not its causes.

2) Even when some sensations are produced just as a reaction, and we can recreate them very accurately, they are the ones that do not involve consciousness, that is, the instincts. For example, if you put boiling water and make people touch it, they all will react in the same way, that is held apart the hand by instinct. How ever, with feelings and emotions is not that simple, the same scenario could create different feelings in different persons, what in a person could make to love other in another could create only indifference or even a negative feelings. They are not just a mechanical actions with predictable effects.

3) Claim that electric impulses can create something more that electric charges and electromagnetic fields; and therefore create something as consciousness, and therefore feelings and emotions, is going to far from effects to causes. There we are saying that something ordinary under specific and not proved circumstances have a propertie that can create something as our psyche; pretty much the same as when a child say that under specific and not proved circumstances their toys can speak to them, that’s an ordinary object to develop an extraordinary property as pshyche.

Now the second argument is, well if they are not created by the brain which is the “obvious” conclusion, then, where are the proofs of them be generated outside of the brain?. To answer that I’m going to tell a little story.

Back in 1957, Hugh Everett formulate a theory that states that every single decision that we make opens the way to a parallel universe, that is there is one universe for every single scenario that is possible, by the way, it was stated pretty much as the same in Borges tale The Garden of Forking Paths, but I'm digressing... Most of the scientific community reject that theory, because of the fact that will be impossible to prove it by experimentation, for them it sounds pretty much as when some people claim that there are other worlds where "fairies or spirits" live, so it was just filed away. After more than 30 years, some physics where investigating one of the more elusive forces of our universe, gravity. We know what its effects are, but we do not know its causes; and among the properties we understand of it, we know that this is one of the more weak forces of the universe. There have been no ways of know why.
Then they turn their heads to Everett’s theory and say, well, let’s have a look, let’s assume that parallel universes exists; and then they propose a hypothesis, the generation of gravity could be done in another universe, It was said that the reason for gravitational force being weak as compared to the other forces is that it is confined mostly to higher dimensions and that we feel only the effects of it in the known dimensions, somehow the idea doesn’t seems too bizarre, if we also compare it with other theories as the superstring ones; and even when some scientist still don’t see it as a good explanations another do. So basically a theory emerged based on a hypothesis that can not be proved, and is only assumed.

So basically we are now dealing with something similar, we haven’t been able to proof that consciousness is just the product of the fluxes of electricity in our brain, we can only assume that they are, with no single proof, and just a risky assumption to equal effects to causes; on the other hand we have the other theory, that assumes that consciousness is generated outside of the brain, by something that someone may call, soul, or spirit, or just psyche. Both theories make its final assumption based on no proofs, just that, an assumption; both trying to explain some observed phenomena, that we know it’s real, that it’s consciousness itself.

As with the gravitational weakness, we are not in position to say that the theory and its hypothesis are true, or dismissed, we can only see them as possible explanations. We can for certain agree or disagree with it, with some arguments; but we cannot possible say without any reasonable doubt that "that's the way the things are", in one way or another.

The fact that some scientist have been interested in support the “soul” theory, as with this two books: The God theory and Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World , that were written by scientist; prove that is not something just illogical or irrational, albeit not demonstrable at the current development of science. Is just a posibility, and until we have a sound proof that discard that theory, we can neglect it just "because".

For some it will be not of any importance to know that their beliefs are based on something rational, for me it is, and I have spend a lot of time thinking on the subject for many years. I have reach the conclusion that the lack of evidence do not implies that something is impossible or irrational.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

New project started

I'm writing this post to let you know about a new project I have started, that is a website about Druidry in spanish language.

It's now published at

The name of the site is "La Arboleda Sagrada; An Garrán Beannaithe" (The Sacred Grove)

The site, came to my mind as a way to give information about Druidry to the spanish-speaker comunity on the internet, since there's not a lot of info on that language.

I have incorporated three basic sections

1) Tradición (Tradition) with articles about What is Druidry, the Beliefs, Ethics, Rituals and Festivals

2) Los Druidas hoy (The Druids today) with info about the activities of the contemporany druids, the orders, the ecologic campains.

3) Foro (Forum) an online forum in spanish language to discuss druidry and celtic paganism related topics, maybe a first step to begin an on-line druidry comunity on spanish language

4) Recursos (Resources) this is probably the section with higher expectations... the objective is to create an on-line library with texts and articles about Druidry and Celtic culture and history in spanish language. At the moment it has the translations of articles by some very wise people I have contact, and have granded their persmision to publish their articles; two articles of mine, based on some drafts I had put on my blog; some incantations as The Amergin song, and Amergin's invocation of Ireland, as well as Athair ar Neamh a beautiful prayer by Eithne Ni
Brahonain and the begining of a big project... the translation of ancient books, text, poems and incantations.

At the moment I have the translations of The boyage of Bran, The second battle of moytura, and the Galic wars of Caesar.

I'm now working on the translation of the following texts:

The Irish Triads, ed. Kuno Myer
Carmina Gadelica ed. Alexander Charmichael
The Cattle-Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúalnge)
And the complete Irish mythology by Lady Augusta Gregory

As you can imagine these translations are going to take me months, since I have other things to do, and I'm working at the moment alone on this project, but I'll upload them little by little, as I get some parts finished. The process of the translation have been so inspiring, to find the right word to express the meaning, get me in a deeper involve of the texts themselves, meditating about them, learning about them.... it was just great!!!

Once these are translated and published, I'll follow with other texts and so on... It's an ambicious project, I know; I hope it doesn't get out of my hands. I also know that there's some danger in translating these texts, since I'm doing it from the english translation since I'm not fluent on
gaelic, nor a celtic scholar, nor a professional translator (If you know somebody who have that credentials and that also is fluent in spanish, I'll love to have him/her check the translations I'm working on) but I hope it helps the people who is really interest in celtic culture but for
several reasons (mostly about time and money) can't learn english (or gaelic) and/or access to the information that is available in printed and electronic books.

The articles published, listed here by last name alphabetic order, are as follows:

Phillip Carr-Gomm / OBOD:
The seven gifts of Druidry (los siete regalos del druidismo)
Ethic and values on Druidry (Ética y valores del druidismo)
Eco-campaign (Campaña Ecológica)

Erynn Rowan Laurie:
Following a Celtic path (siguiendo un camino celta)
The Truth vs the World (La verdad contra el mundo)
An Essay on Sacrifice (Un ensayo sobre el sacrificio)

Brendan Cathbad Myers:
Initiation and the Druid Secret Language (iniciación y el lenguaje
secreto de los Druidas)

Kenneth Proefrock:
The Practice of medicine (la práctica de la medicina)

Graeme K. Talboys:
The nine dimensions of the way of the Druid (las nueve dimensiones del
camino del Druida)

Loretta Wilson:
The Brehon Laws (Las leyes Brehon)

Hope you like it!

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