Hypotheticals, Ai

What Is The Soul?

What Is The Soul?

In a previous post, I outlined what I feel is the most compelling evidence that the soul doesn’t exist: our personality seems to originate from the brain. Now, let’s back up and explore the idea of the soul from a different perspective.

If we did have a soul, how could it operate, and still be consistent with the facts we see?

One idea is maybe the body is like an exoskeleton that we wear. And maybe this exoskeleton has a lot of amazing features.

This already feels true in some sense – if you get a cut on your hand, it will heal over time, all on it’s own.

Maybe the brain is the same. Maybe it works independently from the soul, on auto-pilot.

The soul could exert will power to change the body and reprogram the brain, but absent that, it will continue to operate according to its programming.

One new piece of data to consider is how ChatGPT and other AI models work.

If we assume that ChatGPT doesn’t have a soul, then how does it generate such convincing responses?

ChatGPT works by predicting the next word in a sentence. Given an incomplete sentence, it generates a list of potential words, and assigns each one a probability. Then, it picks one of the likely words, adds it to the sentence, and starts over – but now with the longer sentence as input. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think our brains do the same thing.

If we engage in our mental auto-pilot, we automatically pick the next likely word. This likeliness is based on neural pathways that have been used over and over again. It’s the part of our brain that rationalizes, that is reactionary. It doesn’t fully engage in the topic, it just says what makes sense.

But there are key moments in life, where I specifically choose a different word.

I interrupt myself. I stop being reactionary. I engage fully.

Maybe that is the soul, exerting control over the brain?

As we get older, we mostly use auto-pilot. I don’t even think when I get up and drive to the gym – my body is almost completely on auto-pilot until the time I get home. I have engrained that habit so much, that it doesn’t take any will power.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing – it’s incredibly powerful to form healthy habits.

But what of the soul?

Maybe that’s why time goes by faster as you get older. We exert ourselves, forming habits and creating new ways of thinking, only for the brain to adapt and slowly automate our patterns.

This model of the soul rings true for me. There are people I meet who are full of soul, who seem very present and engaged. And there are others who seem soulless, disconnected, and passive.

So maybe the soul exists after all.

Tags: Hypotheticals, Ai

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