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We are used to think about our so-called souls (or self, or personality, or individuality) as the centre of our being. Ironically, brain anatomy contradicts this: the tissues most likely to account for the soul are the peripheral ones, the cortex and the gray matter.

Studies of evolution show that the organic structures that latter developed as a brain were at first simple channels for stimuli, allowing a big multicellular organism to act as one whole being. That is, the cells at the head of the worm could adapt to conditions that were still afflicting only the tail. Then a node at some point of this channel was formed, and grew and grew, reconnecting to itself into increasingly complex patterns of feedback. Thus we have a brain.

But consciousness was never a central issue for the brain. It was never it’s core. Even now, that we became this self-righteous species who believe itself different from all the others because it can think, even now our brain will stop this soul and personality stuff when it has more pressing businesses to deal with — for example when we are very drunk or with extreme injuries or ill.

The other way round is just as dualistic as this one, though. That is, to argue that “men are just animals” or that “human beings are evil by nature” does also propose a strict moral canvas to judge human behaviour. We are much more complex than either.

I personally couldn’t care less. I just find it funny.

But i would definitely favor any ontology that wouldn’t make our souls the center of the universe.


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