Monday, 3 March 2014
Another crew member tells Zakalwe a story. Because his people discussed the question of the soul so much, a philosopher king ordered a global debate after which he withdrew to think, then published two books, one endlessly repeating, "Souls do exist. Souls do not exist," the other endlessly repeating, "Souls do not exist. Souls do exist." (p. 356)
This might be considered either amusing or profound but I saw it as both wasteful and insulting to religious believers, philosophers and psychologists. Banks could better have spent those two pages summarizing the history of the subject, starting with people inferring a soul from the experience of apparently leaving the body while dreaming. I commend the Buddhist anatta teaching but am interested to hear reasoned expressions of other theories or beliefs.