By now we have surely witnessed and are hopefully in agreement concerning the point that by any functional definition, brain and body are as inseparable, as (in its day) was – say – the world famous Concorde from its Rolls-Royce engines. Each contributed to the other by way of definition, purpose and performance. We have also increasingly witnessed how a similar complexity of joint function and outcome might be applied to brain-body-mind, although whereas the first two are open to direct observation, the latter is apparent only indirectly and by inference. We have also witnessed in recently posted blogs under this heading how the appliance of those aspects of mind covered in all such recent postings, are utterly reliant upon brain and key elements of physiologic/ neural/biological/biochemical/endocrinological. functioning and activity.
This now allows us to move on somewhat and the contents of this particular blog will be nothing, if not central to the subject matter of this entire compendium of postings. Each in turn has attempted/will attempt, albeit briefly and at times indirectly but in everyday language, to provide a solid, reliable basis for our understanding of what, through body and brain, the emergence of mind – and beyond that, spirit and spirituality – appear to amount to. And that is not all. Ultimately we shall confirm and witness through our own experience as to how it can and does impinge upon and radically influence the quality of our entire lives on earth and – such has been/is the belief of countless millions of people – beyond.
Indeed, the “beyond” of those who, from the time of the first homosapiens, have walked the same paths that we now tread, whether ancestrally or contemporarily, has clearly aroused and fascinated man from the time of his earliest days on planet earth. When life – as we know and daily recognize it, i.e. in ourselves and in others – expires, is that the end or is there some form of continuity: perhaps a chrysalis-like change and emergence into a new reality, different to anything that we have hitherto known?
Some of the earliest records concerning beliefs about the dead are biblical in origin and show evidence of a slow but steady development in the processes of thought. To the ancient Hebrew, any suggested distinction between body and soul would have been completely unintelligible, although death was certainly not perceived as the end. So long as just the bones survived, the soul was thought to continue to exist, albeit in extreme weakness·. Individual responsibility was not attributed to the souls of the dead until the time of Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet (circa 600BC) who relegated enemy chiefs and personnel to the deepest part of Sheol··. The notion of an immortal soul was first introduced some time after, in fact by the ancient Greeks and beyond them, by Greek speaking Jews of Alexandria. ((C) SB.