Modern Psychology defines soul as “instinct”. Psychology, which is called “ilm an-nafsiyya (the science of soul)” in Arabic, emerged as a branch of science in the West toward the end of the 19th century. Those who were interested in philosophy dealt with man but neither those who were interested in theology nor those who were interested in ilm an-nafsiyya dealt with spirit.
The materialist view that emerged together with the industrial revolution started to examine human behaviors. When the view that man is a talking animal was put forward by Descartes, all of the cultural values and divine interpretations were put aside and people tried to define man again as “a talking being”. Thus, the issue of how man talked started to be studied within the framework of psychology.
Common needs of humans and animals like eating, drinking, taking shelter and reproduction are among the needs of the soul whereas some psychological needs of man that are not present in the other beings are among abstract needs. The feeling of love is also present in animals but it becomes perfect in humans. In addition, the fact that man is aware of the concept of time, that he can question his past and that he has consciousness are properties that distinguishes him from other living beings.
Analytical psychology makes a definition of the soul with the concept of “instinct”, which it names as “id” and in which irregularity is the rule. It is a soul in which symbols that can be called nonsensical are present, which pursues all kinds of mean desires and wants them to be realized at once. In this level in which postponement is not liked, inspection is avoided and haste is prevalent, the characteristics are the starting steps that are not regarded as sufficient for man.
The definition of “id” by Freud makes one think that he obtained this knowledge from Ghazzali. It is difficult to say something clear because no resource is mentioned but his definition of id corresponds with the concept called “nafs al-ammara (the evil commanding soul)” by Ghazzali. Defining this knowledge of Imam Ghazzali as basic instinct, Freud combined human motives and instincts with the maternal instinct and other instincts in animals. This is a thesis stating that man also has certain instincts and that he develops by the help of these theses. The equivalent of this thesis in spiritual and biological psychology showed that the symbolic thoughts in man does not occur through trial and error and that analytical thought cannot develop in this way.
The soul wants everything due to its structure. With its expression in religious literature, “the soul is stupid; the devil is cunning”, it is meant that the soul just wants without taking into consideration to what extent its desires are beneficial for it.
The front right part of the brain functions as “taking pleasure” and the front left part functions as avoiding pain, agony and grief, and controlling pleasure. In depression, the front left part does not work properly and when the front left part of the brain is stimulated through magnetic stimulus therapy and medication and the chemistry of that part is corrected, the problem disappears. It is possible to say that the control of the front left part of a man’s brain who abuses his relatives sexually, who harasses young girls and women verbally on the road is out of order. Tendencies like the postponement of desires, determining an aim and acting in accordance with this aim defined as social norms are recorded in our brain. A person whose brain functions of this kind are out of order are in a position that cannot be held responsible for what he does.
The most distinctive characteristics of the soul are telling lies, slyness, egoism and superficial charm. A glance by the soul makes everything attractive and the pains that others suffer do not disturb the soul unless they do not harm it; that person does not suffer a twinge of conscience.
The soul is like uranium energy. Energy will not be of any use where the soul does not exist. However, to be able to direct energy to a good way will gain man dynamism.
If man lives based on only the stimuli coming from the soul, he will be a selfish, sordid and self-interested person. If there were no social feelings and heavenly doctrines humanity would be destroyed soon because people would be individuals that exterminated the others for their own sake. If there were no soul, man would not demand anything; he would fulfill his vital functions only.
The soul of man has certain layers. They are animal, plant and human layers. The plantal soul includes breathing in and out like plants; the animal soul has basic instincts and the state of living with other living beings. The human soul is the layer of the soul in which abstract notions are present. This is what distinguishes man from the other living beings.
Animals do not harm any living beings of their own species or other species unless they want to satisfy their hunger. However, man is different; he does not pursue his basic needs only; he has the tendency to demand more; he has feelings like being appreciated, being trusted and the fear of being in danger in the future. The feeling of being sovereign in the world exists in man only. Therefore, man is different from the other beings in terms of purpose.
The purpose of the other species of living beings was determined in their creation but the determination of purpose for man was left to man himself. Man has a will that can be regarded as limited and the purpose is determined under the effect of this will. The value of a living being depends on its purpose. Values can be measured by the greatness of the purpose. However, if a person uses his aim in order to sanctify his ego, he will do wrong. A person who regards himself to be in the center of the universe like this can transform himself into a small earth god.
Animal aspects in the human soul are related to eating, drinking and sexuality in idiots whose IQs are around 50. These people, who have no ability to think in an abstract way, are like autistic people. When the IQs of these people, whose intelligence and souls are at the level of animals, reach above 60, they may become open to new perceptions and learning. If these people can develop their emotional and social intelligence, they will use their mind correctly. Therefore, there is a difference between the soul of a person whose IQ is 50 and a person whose IQ is 150.
The traps of the soul of the people with high IQs are more than others. A person with high intelligence can start a war; if he is an engineer, he can deceive the company he is working for; he can kill people to make them serve him. As the intelligence level of a person gets higher, his potential of danger increases.
The soul is a kind of energy that consists of desires, inclinations and instincts. The desires of the soul at human dimensions are the inclinations in man like feeling secure, having psychological satisfaction, being applauded and praised, and having money, property and fame. As the intelligence level of a person gets higher, the expression areas of these desires will move from the abstract to the concrete.
The greatest fear of the soul is not to be able to realize its desires. The soul regards everything that prevents its needs and that can be called basic needs as its enemy. A person who regards all elements that help to satisfy its desires as friendly and the others as hostile is a person who is completely soul-focused. This person, who is egocentric, self-interested, who does everything for his interests and who sees himself in the center of the world, wants his desires to be met.
The soul has both abstract and concrete aspects. Its concrete aspects are inclinations toward eating, drinking and sexuality; its abstract aspects are inclinations like the desire for fame, the instinct to control everything, putting himself in the center of the universe and being wealthy. These desires generally increase as the level of development brought about by education increases.
In psychological definition, the soul has different descriptions and layers ranging from the abstract to the concrete consisting of id ego and superego, defined differently.
Id represents the desires and it is an ego that thinks of only its own interests and whose focal point is itself. This is a level of ego that feels sufficient with its own part without seeing the whole; it is distinct in children. These properties of the soul need to be controlled and even trained. In the place where man lives, there are limits for the soul imposed by the environment; the human soul wants to steal the apple in the garden of the neighbor; if that person obeys his soul, he realizes this desire. Moreover, if nobody objects, he continues to do it. However, if there is an authority that intervenes, he starts to question himself and the soul is trained in this way.
In our brain, there are some skills that postpone the desires and motives and that resist against them. These life skills are taught to the brain socially beginning from the childhood. Man learns the boundaries of his personality just like he learns his own areas and boundaries; he also activates his inner and outer control mechanisms in order to learn the social boundaries. The development level of man becomes apparent at this point.
The relationship between man’s vision and level of intelligence is important. For instance, the aim of a person whose IQ is 120 and a person whose IQ is 100 is not the same. Man’s value is determined not only by the job he does but also by the vision of that job and the purpose he exerts efforts for. If a person lives only for himself, his value is as much as himself. What kind of a person can be the ideal person? Man himself has the freedom do decide regarding the issue. He will either live for himself and regard meeting his primitive needs as the aim of his life or he will define himself as a being with responsibilities in the universe and act accordingly. At this point, the necessity for the soul to be trained occurs.
The way to train the soul is determined by the purpose of man, religion and philosophy. If people are given correct purposes, both inner peace and social peace will be realized. The soul learns what it is taught regarding the issue. The training of the soul is an area where the difference between individual interests and being beneficial becomes apparent. The mind is the faculty that helps us differentiate between the good and the bad at this point.
The mind that makes conclusions by making comparisons between the positive and the negative makes this differentiation through a different system of reasoning. One of these reasoning methods is deduction. This method observes everything and reaches a conclusion. The second one is the method of induction, in which the whole is reached from small things. The third method is comparison, which finds its own truths by comparing things. A person directs events in accordance with his own purpose by using these methods. However, a person who acts under the influence of the soul is directed by external events. Such a person can easily be enslaved by a sexual trap. If a person’s ego ideal is to satisfy his pleasures, he can readily waive his position for his interests and abandon his social aims.
The mind is the ability to establish a balance between the desires of the soul and the personal interests and the expectations of the community from that person. If we liken it to driving a car, the desires and instincts drag man to the left and the aims and purposes to the right. At this point, the mind functions as a steering wheel and determines which direction to go by maintaining the balance. At this point, conscience, one of the greatest assistants of the mind steps in. Conscience, which we can define as “inner responsibility”, is a mechanism that confirms the correctness of what we do and the accuracy of our decisions like a court of appeal; it determines man’s bodily, emotional and spiritual needs among them and makes the mind make a decision and enables it to act based on that decision. They are all processed in the brain as the mediating organ of our personality structure.
The spirit software in the human brain is a program drawn with our genes unchangeably and recorded in DNA; the changeable software in the brain looks as if it has been written with electromagnetic energy. Our spirit software is activated by this magnetic energy in the universe. Even if we do not see the connection we establish with the spiritual reality, we know that it exists through methods of reasoning.