Do you have a soul? If so, what good is it? What about your mind? Is it connected to your soul? Is your body? What the HELL are we REALLY talking about?

The Greeks and the ancient Chinese were among the first in the world to truly take seriously that there may be a distinction between your Mind, your Body, and your Soul. They wondered about how those three building blocks of the individual related. And theorized about whether the Mind or the Soul even existed.

While much of these early philosophers works have been eaten up (and shit out) by the modern juggernaut of science – a surprisingly large number of ideas that cut to the core of what it means to be human have remained.

Aristotle believed that the soul is “the actuality of a body that has life.” Basically that means that the soul is an OUTGROWTH of the body/brain/mind. He was anti-Platonic to the core, and rarely discussed the soul as something OUTSIDE the body, independent of it. He believed that our brains and bodies and minds in some way CREATE the soul.

I’m not a “soul theorist”, I’m more of Cognitive Theorist (or more broadly a Strength Theorist – where “strength” is taken in its widest meaning), so I don’t want to get into the Metaphysics in a way that obscures the physicality based approach we are using to reach our intended goals.

But I do tend to agree with that basic premise. If the soul exists, it is to the whole of our physical being what our mind is to our brain – an emergent property, or at least in some way directly created by our physical being.

To make this idea less convoluted sounding, I’d like to give a purely non-Religious view of what a soul (or spirit or essence) of a human might be using a metaphor via mathematics.

“Um… did you say ‘Math’? To make things CLEARER?”

Yes, yes I did.

## The Old Bait & Switch

My real reason for writing this post is that I’d like to introduce you to a concept about mathematics that is the opposite of what most people think (by using the example of the Mind-Body problem and how that manifests the Soul) which goes like this: Math is hard; math makes thing unnecessarily complex; why can’t you just speak in plain English?

The truth is the direct opposite of that. Math makes life FAR easier to deal with. Real life is messy, full of irrelevant data that obscures the POINT of what it is we’re trying to understand. By translating a problem into math, we get to free ourselves from the tyranny and the myth that what we see or feel is real.

Plus… As we dive further into the science, philosophy, and application of the Theory of Mind, there will be math. Not a ton *(well, not a ton by the standards of a mathematician)*, but enough to scare off the morons who we don’t want to associate with anyway.^{(1)}

**It turns out that using math makes life easier, more intuitive, and fun.**

Don’t believe me? Read on…

## Why Mathematics Makes Life Easier To Understand – No Matter What You Think

Remember those horrible “story problems” from 10th-grade math class? You’d read the sentences again and again, each time getting more confused.

Then, right when you were on the verge of an emotional breakdown – your hair long-since fallen out, and your ego forever drowned under the weight of reality – you ask the girl with the dark rimmed glasses in the desk next to yours for help.

She laughs a little under her breath condescendingly, but offers to aid you in your struggle. She writes down a simple mathematical formula and in that instant… HAND-TO-FOREHEAD!

Duh! It was SO obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?

While you were hyper-focused on the WORDS in the story, she had translated those words into something more concrete – something formal – something simple: MATH.

**Mathematics is nothing but rigorous abstraction**. We manipulate (intentionally) meaningless symbols in a rule-based way, following the implications where they lead us. We never question whether these symbols are in anyway relevant to the real world. And we shouldn’t. That would cause it to stop being mathematics, and start being science. Math is NOT science – at all. It is more properly placed in the realm of philosophy.^{(2)}

That is both silly-sounding, and one of the most powerful inventions human beings have ever come up with. By using meaningless symbols, we can create an easy ANALOGY of the problem that can be done without the baggage that comes with English words (or Spanish, or Japanese, or whatever). We’re free from the confusion of ambiguity.

A substantial amount of our misunderstandings (and the frustration that is born out of that) stems from our total lack of clarity about what the problem is even asking us.

Once we know what the problem is REALLY saying, we can finally solve it in peace.

How ironic, then, the horrified looks in students eyes whenever the word “math” rears its beautiful head.

## Back To Your Wicked Soul

Finally the fun part! Math!

I’m going to use a super-simple (high school level, at most) mathematical model of what I believe the Soul to be, so that we can understand each other better. It is not meant (at all) to be “accurate”, but rather descriptive. It is designed to make something more intuitively easy to understand, so that we can dive deeper into real science.

Again, what follows is more of an exercise in philosophy and pedagogy, NOT science. There is nothing “real” about these equations, unless by “real” you mean they exist on a blog and look pretty.

## Defining Our Sets & Functions

Let’s define TWO value functions, so that we can move the etherial messy words “Mind”, “Body”, and “Soul” into the real of numbers.

The first will be called the **Physical Value Function (PV)** and the second will be called the **Spiritual Value Function (SV)**. The second will be defined in terms of the first (that is, SV is a function of PV). So, we need to clearly define what is going on with PV.

In order to do that, we need to define 2 SETS.^{(3)} A set is simply a collection of items.

- Let
**I**be the set {Mind, Body}. (Where “I” stands for “Individual”.) - Let
**N**be the set {1,2,3…,10}. (That is, the numbers 1 through 10.)

Now we can define PV.

**DEFINITION**: PV is the function that takes elements i from I and maps them to n in N, such that *PV(i) = n*.

And example would be:

It is totally arbitrary to have decided that the value function only goes between 1 and 10, rather than say 1 and infinity. But given our propensity to talk about values on a 10-point scale it seemed appropriate as a start.^{(4)}

## The Spiritual Value Function

Now that we have the basic building block of our Spiritual Value Function, lets unveil it!

The value of your soul is this:

What that means is that the value of your Soul is equal to the AVERAGE of the values of your Mind and of your Body. So if you strengthen one, then the value of your Soul goes up.

So if we plugged in some numbers, say and , then we’d end up with a Spiritual Value Function that looked like this:

Therefore, the value of our Soul would be 6, if the value of our Mind was 7, and the value of our Body was 5.

## Discussion

While I have been working on some decidedly more complicated formulas for the Soul Function, I chose to use this one first as an intuitive model.

THE POINT is that we want to define our SOUL as something that gets stronger DIRECTLY through training of both the mind and body, and that letting either of those sink down degrades the Soul.

Again, this isn’t something to be taken literally, but rather “British” literally 🙂 That is, for fun and as an aid in helping us further our discussion on the Theory of Mind as it relates to making us stronger people overall.

To some, that would mean strengthening the soul. This is one way of looking at how that might be done: Strengthen your soul by training BOTH the mind and body, not just one.^{(5)}

### footnotes

- Note, it turns out that wordpress is now “packaged” with LaTeX installed (via Jetpack) – this is huge. I’ve been a proponent of a (near-as-possible) paper-free education system for some time. Paper is great for your own working out of problems and note taking. But it blows-hard as a format for teachers to read. Having an online way for students to write up their math in an easy-to-read format is far more future-proof. Given that, I’d like to see some forks of LaTeX designed specifically for blogs and webpages. [↩]
- Neither Mathematicians nor Philosophers are particularly comfortable with this. Both would like to keep the fantasy that mathematics is a science, or at least more connected to science than it is. While Godel showed rather convincingly that mathematics is not a subset of Logic (proper), it is certainly in the same family (like how Jerks and Snatches are in the same family, but quite different than curling or leg pressing). In this way, I am quite the neo-Nicolas-Bourbaki. Math should be done for its own sake, the way Art is. THAT is from where its paradoxical power stems. [↩]
- Interestingly, in the old days, “sets” were called “classes”, which is far classier in my opinion. But, alas, those days of fine dressing and ink-quill mathematics are gone. [↩]
- Of course we could choose not to use “value”, but “strength” (and that is how my more complex equations work), but I wanted to avoid the ambiguity of that word “strength” for now. [↩]
- The major area I think a simple “average” model fails is that it doesn’t take into account the value of a true
*balance*between Mind and Body. Nor does it take into account the truly negative impact of what a lack of balance can have on your spirit – your wholeness – your soul. I will present further equations/definitions for the Soul Value Function in the future that take these considerations into account. But, this is a nice little start. [↩]