The world is a Rorschach test, but that doesn't mean it's just anything we want to be, because the extra-mental inkblot is objectively real, but so too are subjects objectively real -- even the most real, in the sense that no one has, or ever will, arrive at a nonfatuous theory of how a world of objects can give rise to subjects, any more than one could posit an exterior without an interior or an up without a down.
At the very least the two give rise to and co-define one another, but guess what: dualism is off the menu, so while the human subject is temporally and existentially posterior to so-called objects (which actually have an interiority of their own on pain of being unknowable), subjectivity itself -- and even personhood -- must be ontologically prior.
Which isn't a problem if we call to mind the old gag that what is first in intention is last in execution (i.e., the idea of the house is prior to its construction).
Thus, perhaps the cosmos is just a side effect of someone wanting to create human persons. If there's another way to get the job done, I'm happy to hear it. But I have no interest in a theory that is self-refuting, nor ones that render human existence impossible. In other words, materialists and other cosmic flatlanders need not apply.
Back to where we left off yesterday. Or started, rather, with the venerable idea that the soul is the form of the body. I guess we have to draw a sharp distinction between soul and person or self, since these latter are very much involved with other persons -- i.e., are intersubjective -- whereas the soul is simply the animating principle of the individual.
Recall that any living body is animated by a soul, while only human beings are said to have rational souls.
Looks like we're gonna need to rethink this whole scheme from the ground up, at least insofar as soul and person coincide, because traditional definitions of the soul don't involve anything like intersubjectivity, or of humans being members of one another. If anything, it's the opposite, since the soul-as-form goes to the individual as opposed to any kind of intersubjective sharing of substance.
Let's consult a standard glossary for guidance, since I'm no scholar. Soul: "the substantial form of a living body by which matter is organized so as to be an individual of a given type, with characteristic powers to perform a range of vital functions."
So, a human soul does everything an animal soul does. It has vegetative and sensitive powers, as seen in, say, Joe Biden, but with the additional power of reason -- not meaning logic per se, but rather, a capacity for objective and disinterested conformity to truth and reality.
More from the glossary:
Sometimes, especially in human beings, "soul" is popularly used to designate an individual's psychic dimensions, by contrast with "body" in the sense of an individual's physical dimensions.
Wrong. Such thinking only fuels the kind of dualism under which western civilization has been laboring for a few hundred years.
I don't blame Descartes for this, since who reads Descartes, anyway? The idea that philosophers are somehow the unacknowledged legislators of the world is just self-flattery for people who pretty much have no influence over the world. In my opinion.
This is not to say that no philosopher has such influence. Marx, for example, must be the most influential philosopher ever, but even he has influence only because his ideology piggybacks on certain enduring and ineradicable human traits such as envy, spite, scapegoating, pride, pseudo-omniscience, gnosticism, and plain old hatred.
A note to myself somewhere... here it is... and don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying this is some great idea that no one ever thought of before -- nevertheless, here it is: factions are prior to their reasons for being.
This is just another way of saying that man is tribal, and that politics for the sub-Raccoon revolves around the organization of atavistic hatreds. Thus, the progressive hates you because he hates -- beginning with reality, so don't take it personally.
Vis-a-vis Cartesian dualism, no one ever became a dualist because he was talked into it by some infertile egghead or tenured mediocretin. Rather, because it seems like common sense.
It's the same with good things, say, liberty. As we've pointed out before, Americans first lived and embodied liberty for a few hundred years before positing it as an abstraction. It's why the left wants to import all these illegals into the country, since they don't know what liberty is and will therefore reliably vote for illiberal Democrats.
So, dualism is a philosophical nonstarter. But so too is monism. The latter can seem obvious to people from certain other cultures and religions, but the western way -- or the way of Christendom -- is... trialism, or something.
Let's bring back our Venn diagram, only turn it upside down -- or bright-side up, rather:
Now, lets meditate on this image and see what we can come up with... First, let's pretend this is an image of the Trinity: there are three circles, but the white area symbolizes the substance they all share.
Here's another image:
Here, let's imagine the three areas at the top as the Trinity (A, B, and AB), and C as the creation. Here again there is a shared substance, AKA the substance of Being.
This shared substance is obvious if we consider the areas of AC, ABC, and BC. But if we limit ourselves to only C, then this can lead to various ontological deformities from pantheism to materialist monism to Kantianism (which denies any real knowledge of the other circles of reality, since it is enclosed in C).
In these deformations, it seems that the main problem is a rupture between C and the Trinity above. What to do....
I know -- what if ABC symbolizes the Incarnation, for it is at once the substance of the Trinity, but is present down below in area C. Let's consider the alternatives: what is AC from the standpoint of the man enclosed in C? Let's say it's the kind of dualism we see in Islam or certain strands of Protestantism, which is to say, God + world.
What then is BC? Let's say it is any kind of atheistic dualism. And like any other inadequate philosophy, both of these (AC and BC) are true in what they affirm but false in what they deny, which is to say ABC.
Eh, I don't know, Bob. You may have stretched your illustration beyond the breaking point.
Possibly, but if you drive the cosmic bus, there will be occasional buswrecks.