Thursday, November 29, 2012

‘Old souls’

I still remember the first time I heard this phrase. I had been active in a social organization some time, and an older gentlemen, older than me by several years, and also with more service time, came up to me and asked for how long I had been involved, and I told him.

He responded that he was surprised I didn’t have more service time myself because I generally seemed like such an “old soul.”

Well, I’ve been thinking about that phrase more again recently.

Are there things such as “old souls,” and what do different people mean by that?

Now, regular readers of my pages know that I’m a secularist and a metaphysical naturalist. So, unlike some people, my definition of what might constitute an “old soul” is not based on someone being wise beyond his or her years due to particular lessons they learned in a past life, how much in general they remember from a past life, or anything similar. Nor, contra a religion like Mormonism, do I believe it’s because my soul had a special place on the planet Kolob. Nor, Scientologists, do I believe I have a soul with special connections to the Thetans. Nor, western monotheists, do I believe god specially smiled on my soul in the womb or whatever.

Of course, I don’t believe we have “souls.” We have personalities, generated by our genes causing brain development, which then produces a mind that interacts with the external world and further develops based on such interaction.

Nonetheless, metaphysically denatured, I do believe in the idea of “old souls.”

Reflecting back, I was one early in life.

In my religious household, where as a preacher’s kid, I and my siblings were going to Sunday school and church every week, by the time I was 8 or 9, I didn’t want to sit in Sunday school with the other kids my age. I wanted to be in the adult bible studies class.

Now, why that is, is a good question.

In my particular case, I believe life experiences were partly the issue. By the time I was that age, I was already “aged,” hurt and cut more by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” than the typical American kid in a middle-class family. I had no real friends, only acquaintances. My No. 1 love was reading nonfiction, at several grade levels above my own. So, of course I had no interest in being with kids my age.

That said, the reading skills were not “outrageous fortune,” but rather a genetic gift. Also largely in my genes, whether gift or not, was my tendency toward introversion. A bit of tendency toward introspection was already accompanying that.

The thought about old souls, and how they may be formed and developed, leads to several additional questions.

First, given the background of “old souls” like me … how reliable of a marker is this for the possibility of some sort of child abuse, bullying by peers or both?

Second, how do we better nurture childhood old souls? And adult old souls, for that matter?

Third, how do genes contribute toward this, and in what ways? Are their genes that code for what we would call “maturity”? Or “sobriety,” broadly used?

Fourth, to what degree do old soul types overlap with highly sensitive personality types?

In an America of 315 million and counting, where many old souls may be introverted at times, even “retiring” at times, how do we get them, or us, more involved?


David Torres said...

first and foremost. you need to understand this old soul idea and why its dangerous. first, this is paganism, partly humanism and gnostiscm. this idea is what creates cults and groups that think they have an idea but dont understand the soul or spirit of a person so they create a presupposition. for centuries ideas from thales to socrates to aristotle and plato to alexander the great, man has been scratching his head and taken all these polytheistic ideas and cave dwelling thoughts to hyped levels. the spirit and soul of a man from what the lord has created. the soul for one is from God breathed into us gen 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. the spirit is what reasons and rationalizes it what connects us to God.john 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts. its hard for even men of greece to understand this because we are naturally pragmatic. acts 17:22-31 is mars hill when paul talks to the greek scholars and philosophers about how God was not made by mans hands or in temples and thats where ull find the origin of what you beilieve, nothing but ideas and vain babblings of men with great intelligence trying to understand the spirit, pragmatic we have to feel, smell, taste, see to believe but christ said blessed are those who havent seen and yet believe. im sorry you had a bad experience with christianity and became victim to organized religion but christ didnt come for organized religion but set us free by grace, not legalisms and dogmas of man, agape'd us greek for unconditional love and to die for you and i. i truly am sorry for those who destroyed your relationship with God. im not catholic i dnt believe in denomination but christ alone and how he moves with us today, i would encourage u to read your bible. God bless

Gadfly said...

"There is no god and I am his prophet."

David Torres said...

jesus loves you, seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you matt 6:33. you have to choose christ or the world one will fill u but one will truly give the peace and life after death. you are what you eat and id rather be on christ side cause men cant create peace men cant sustain himself without war and men are fickled emotionally unstable even the most intelligent of men. only through christ will this country understand people. your choice, ur intelligent that brain you have isnt from nothing but created and fearfully and wonderfully made to reason and rationalize, to understand right and wrong. i challenge you to pick up that bible and prove me wrong, choice is yours my friend

Gadfly said...

OK, you've had your second comment. I've temporarily put comments here on moderation so I don't have to get a third sermon hijacking comments.