Theory of the soul on 21st Century

November 3, 2014

One of the most prominent philosophical theories, Theory of the Soul, was developed by Pythagoreanism, according to which the body is a prison for the soul stopping it from purification. Later on, this theory was reformulated by Plato. And, nowadays, a new one, based on these two, has been developed by the scientific Raymond Kurzweil. Who is trying to liberate humans from their biological chains by merging them with technology.

Raymond Kurzweil is a scientist focused on the study of Cognitive Sciences, one of his latest theories being based on the Theory of the Soul. As it aims to liberate humans from their body, in order to let them develop beyond biological constrains and immortality, thanks to technology.

If the soul can be liberated from the body is a question that has been raised by many psychologists, philosophers and scientists throughout history, including Freud — who talked about “the mysterious leap of the soul to the body.” Yet, according to Greek philosopher Plato, the body is a prison for the soul since it does not allow humans to contemplate ideas and, thus, it stops them from reaching knowledge.

A thesis that can be compared to Kurzweil’s, since he aims to liberate humans from their body. Allowing them to reach immortality regardless of the barriers of physicality, as Plato.

To sum up, it can be stated that the Pythagorean theory — reformulated by Plato — continues to be relevant, as it has been reinvented and contemporarily adapted by a prominent scientist such as Kurzweil. As he is aiming to achieve Plato’s dream of “reaching” knowledge with no constrains nor complications (viz. the body) with technology. Yet this theory is still in doubt. As other philosophers, such as Aristotles, as well as current scientists question, are still pondering whether this is possible. Which leads us to question: can the soul live outside the body? Is Plato’s theory veridic? Can we be us without our body?