God: The Source of My Hope
The Human Soul: Hope is an important aspect of living but before we consider it in depth, we better delve a little bit into what we mean by soul; a consideration that will help us understand and make clear to ourselves of what hope should consist and on what it should be grounded. Hope, love, faith, trust, peace, confidence, and many others in that order of things belong to the faculties of the soul. A healthy soul exhibits all the mentioned and others like prudence, modesty, justice, temperance, austerity etc. What is ‘soul’? Where is it located and from where does it come? Of what nature is it? And why is it? To answer this question I have to try and recall my experience as a being with soul or what I have heard about the soul. Is ‘soul’ a being conjured up by reason but not ‘real’ i.e. ‘out there now’?
I have already talked of recalling my experience as an individual with a soul; therefore, I am already convinced about its not being a fabrication by reason. I could say that the center of the material self is the heart. The heart we can say is the engine of the body. Immaterial powers or faculties are contained in material entities but they are centered and ordered in the soul. The soul, therefore, is an immaterial entity that we posit as the center, the coordinating junction to all immaterial functions. It is the soul that is the organizational unit of all that, in transcendence, we refer to as the ‘I’. ‘I’ is our material self as enlivened by the immaterial self. Therefore as the heart is to the material self, so is the soul to the ‘I’. I have often heard people who are well grounded in issues of love talk about ‘the heart’. They use phrases like, ‘my heart is all yours’. They say this to mean that the whole of me, ‘I’, belongs to you. They use the word ‘heart’ because, as an organ, the heart is the engine of the body, everything depends on it. We use the word engine analogically; just as the engine is in a vehicle so is the heart in a living body. The lovers should come to me to further their education. The heart is an organizational unit at the material level. There is the organizational unit that is immaterial that bridges the material with the powers they contain. It is because of this organizational unit that we are able to talk of ‘I am doing this’. It is because of this that a person is one unit i.e. material and immaterial. Therefore, maybe the lovers should grow and advance into saying to each other ‘my soul belongs to you’ so as to mean ‘I’ totally belongs to you - in totality indeed. But where shall we locate this organizational entity? Given it is clear that it is not a material entity, so we cannot locate it in matter. However, it is possible to talk of it as enveloping matter. What I mean is that, immaterial powers centered in it permeate the whole body and reign over the body. It is the source of the passions, the feelings, the thoughts and all acts of transcendence that human beings are capable of. However, I have every reason to say that the soul manifests itself in greater detail as the mind. The mind/intelligence, I would say, is the soul at work. It is in the functioning of the mind that one in an immaterial way moves away from self, observes self and affirms self in a holistic way i.e. ‘the I’. Having said that, it occurs to me that discerning is proper to the soul. It is in the soul that acts of anticipation; transcending and beholding the whole take place. This is possible because the soul as immaterial belongs to the order of things that are not limited by space and time. Belonging to the unlimited yet enveloping limited matter, the human soul is what offers to human beings capacity for auto-determinacy.
Having understood what soul is, we can comfortably say that spiritual leaders are people that deal in matters of the soul. Matters of the soul are spiritual matters i.e. matters that affect us immaterially in a way that our gusto is influenced. Spiritual matters, we can say, are about I in relation to self and others. We say this because the totality of our being i.e. I entail me in myself and me as intended towards others. In the final correlation, spiritual anticipation captures I in relation with the whole. What we are talking about is ‘ I moving away from me (self-transcendence) and taking distance from the You and It that makes what we call the other (other-transcendence) so as to see I and my position among all in the whole. In this state I is immanent as an entity but transcends self as to not only behold itself and capture self in relation to the whole but also to behold and capture other things as they are in self and in relation to the whole. Therefore, the spiritual anticipation is about totality, the end, finitude; it is teleological. The hope of people depends on what they think about the end. It is ingrained in what they think about the totality of everything. It is enveloped in the meaningfulness of today that only finds ground in what it anticipates. If the fulfillment in this second anticipates fulfillment in totality then I would be fulfilled in hardships because I have hope that I will attain fulfillment in totality.