For millennia philosophers have contemplated the enigmatic figure of the soul and its purpose to human life. Whilst some have concluded it to be an important and eternal aspect of existence, others have been slightly convinced of its saliency and propensity to travel onto the afterlife. Whether it be significant or trifling, the notion of an “Old Soul” has sustained curiosity in both Eastern and Western tradition.
The idea of an Old Soul may be a human construction, however, what if there is something behind the idea providing insight into the soul’s origin? Individuals regarding themselves as Old Souls are consistently found indifferent to their epoch, often manifesting precocious conceptions of life without direct assistance from others; do these ideas occur naturally or are they innately present in the psyche? Is there a lingering presence within the soul manipulating conscious thought? To investigate the old soul we must consider the characteristics, postulations of its immortality and it’s confluence with consciousness.
The Old Soul
A prominent feature of an Old Soul is a drive to not just comprehend who and what, but also interpret the why. The desire for understanding endorses an unwillingness to accept plain responses, the more material they gather the sharper their realization of what they don’t know. Through recurrent internal discourse these individuals bond deeply with their conscious and their individual council provides solace and direction, yet, with this close connection they often face difficulty in adapting to the reality their body has been placed in.
Being thrown into a modern world can be tough for the Old Soul and many concomitantly manufacture a dual personality; one attached to daily activities in society and another dominating their thinking when alone, producing questions unpalatable to most of their contemporaries. As their interests go beyond what is typical for their age they find amicability with those older. Less intent on conversing about themselves they seek knowledge from individuals who have truly experienced life, holding tremendous gratitude to those willing to teach personally or by proxy through their work.
There is an essence of prudence within the Old Soul, as they become increasingly connected to their conscious they scarcely tend to act on reflex, consistently putting pragmatic thought behind their actions. With this practicality comes the individual responsibility they place on themselves for their endeavours; grasping their influence on the surrounding environment, blame is seldom angled on others for personal shortcomings. During solitary moments with nature the Old Soul is at peace, their innate love for the natural world provides grace and serenity where the overactive mind can rest and purely be.
A Lingering Essence
Carl Jung referenced the duality living within him, simultaneously existing yet in disharmony with each other. Although his social personality took control of his external efforts, he was nevertheless convinced his “Old Soul” laid the framework for the others construction. In his opinion people are “the victims and promoters of a collective spirit whose years are counted in centuries”; although all of us have our own personal lives we are representations of an essence that has subsisted since the beginning of man.
This essence unknowingly influences our lives, so while we may live in this moment today, there is a spirit within us which has previously existed and will continue on after our corporal demise. This enduring essence can be visualized like the wind; we may be able to see its affects, yet, it is impossible to trace when it began and where it will end.
In Phaedo, Socrates’ grief stricken companions query him about the soul’s eternal nature. One theory he presents is The Cyclical Argument, stating death is actually a state of life, elucidating his point by referring to sleep; in order for one to sleep they must first be awake, in order to be awake one must first sleep. When a new baby is born they awaken into this world, however, if they are to awake they must have first been asleep somewhere else.
A soul is not created anew but drawn from a dormant state into an active state, yet, as the soul becomes intensely linked to the novel flesh the conscious renders it implicitly new. Could his theory expound why some people feel their soul has once inhabited actuality?
The Recycling Of Energy
Traits of an Old Soul can be observed and theories as to why can be concocted, however, the question remains; what makes an individual feel they are an old soul? Perhaps science at the subatomic realm can help shed some light.
Microtubules are a structural component of cells producing their shape and forming part of the cytoskeleton. Through the research of Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose, it was discovered within the microtubules there exists information stored at a subatomic level. Their studies left them with the impression that consciousness is potentially stored in this region providing it access to the quantum realm, a place where the laws of physics and nature do not apply.
Upon death the information stored in the microtubules does not disappear with one’s heartbeat, instead, the information gradually dissipates to point of imperceptibility. One can postulate when the harboured energy is released it returns to the quantum realm; these particles, potentially being the consciousness, go back into the omnipotent all waiting to be measured and once again recollected.
Perhaps, as nothing can come from or go back to nothing, energy is recycled from previous existences, and potentially, particles of former souls converge and create the composition of those new. If this is true, some individuals may have higher amounts of recycled energy in their microtubules, engendering a disposition with traits of someone who has lived before.
As individuals receiving the recycled energy are not aware of their quantum composition they will sense a variance between them and their contemporary world without knowing the cause. There is endless debate on the relationship between the consciousness (unconsciousness/subconscious) and the soul, whether they be one of the same or different doesn’t alter the inherit link they foster and the potentiality of them inhabiting the same realm.
With no irrefutable method to examine the phenomenon the notion of the old soul will remain inscrutable, however, with the theory provided one may observe portions of validity. If nature incessantly recycles its elements to continue life, would it be so outlandish to suggest portions of reused energy enable new life? The Old Soul may indeed not be fully connected with their bestowed epoch.
Image source: Ali Noureldine