|soul tripartite, Pythagoras, Shakespeare, world
the Sermon on the Mount, human nature, Tripartite Soul
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If the truth is told it is Philosophy (Pythagoras and
Plato) rather than Religion that is seen as having the strongest
tradition of endorsing a tripartite soul view of human nature BUT
the increasing availability of translations of Central world
faiths texts allows for a presentation of the consistent way in
which several important world faiths also strongly endorse
a tripartite view of human nature!!!
Serious scientific studies have also detected
Dr. William Sheldon
Human Personality traits
The New York Longitudinal Study
Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess, Herbert G. Birch
& the wider world
"Transcendental" approach to History
|The Social Construction of Reality
"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."
It seems highly likely that Human-innate
"bundles of relations and knots of roots"
give rise to the "World" of Human Societies!!!
|In an essay entitled "The Over-Soul" Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...The soul looketh steadily forwards, creating a world before her, leaving worlds behind her. She has no dates, nor rites, nor persons, nor specialties, nor men. The soul knows only the soul; the web of events is the flowing robe in which she is clothed. ..."
Jesus' keynote teaching is known as the Sermon on the Mount. Inherent to the Sermon on the Mount is an undeniable assertion, in Jesus' own words as related in more than one of the Gospels in each case, of the relativity of our personal capacities for spiritual expression and progress.
See also the other "Central" teaching of Jesus:-
The Parable of the Sower
The results of Comparative Religion investigation allows us to state that several World Faiths other than Christianity also assert views about spirituality comparable to that implicit to the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Sower - i.e. that human nature is a compound of several elements.
The Masnavi of Jalaluddin Rumi is an overtly religious work formed within an Islamic context more than seven hundred years ago.
In the Masnavi there are several passages which suggest that personal spirituality is relative -
The monk said, "I am searching everywhere for a man
Who lives by the life of the breath of God."
The other said, "Here are men the Bazaar is full;
These are surely men, O enlightened sage!"
The monk said, "I seek a man who walks straight
As well in the road of anger as in that of lust.
Where is one who shows himself a man in anger and lust?
In search of such an one I run from street to street.
If there be one who is a true man in these two states,
I will yield up my life for him this day!"
The Ka'ba is a singularly important Islamic shrine which stands in the court of the Great Mosque of Mecca and is a site of pilgrimage for all Muslims.
The Ka'ba, whose renown waxes greater every moment,
Owes its foundation to the piety of Abraham.
Its glory is not derived from stones and mortar,
But from being built without lust or strife.
See more, similarly directed, quotations from the Masnavi of
and the tripartite soul
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Hinduism or Vedanta is another of the World Faiths which imputes a multi-faceted character to human "existential being".
In the Bhagavad Gita we read -
But by what is a man impelled, O Varshneya! when he commits sin even against his will, as if compelled by force?
The Holy One spoke.
It is lust: it is wrath, born from the "passion" mode: know that this, all-devouring, all-defiling, is here our foe.
and again -
He who even here, ere he is freed from the body, can resist
the impulse of lust and wrath, he is devout (yukta); he is
He who is happy in himself, pleased with himself, who finds also light in himself, this Yogin, one with Brahma, finds nirvãna in him.
The (wise and holy men) whose sins are destroyed, whose doubts are removed, who are self-restrained and pleased with the well-being of all that live, obtain nirvãna in Brahma.
They who are freed from lust and wrath, who are subdued in nature and in thought, and who know the soul, are near to nirvãna in Brahma.
(Note: In the second of these quotations "Brahma" should be read "Brahman")
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Buddhism also joins with Christianity, Islam, and Vedanta in suggesting that human behaviors have several identifiable tendencies -
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who does not cling to
pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the
point of a needle.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.
Him I call indeed a Brâhmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.
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Sikhism proves to be yet another major religion which suggests that human behaviors have three identifiable tendencies -
With lust and with anger,
The city, that is thy body
Is full to the brim.
Meet as saint and destroy
That lust and that anger.
and again -
Root out the choking weeds
Of lust and anger;
Loosening the soil,
The more thou hoest and weedest,
The more lovely grows thy soul;
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Ancient, classical, Greek philosophy also evidences cogent suggestions that human nature is complex with that complexity following the pattern set out in the teachings and texts of several World Faiths:-
Plato was a pupil and friend of the greek philosopher
Socrates. Amongst the many works attributed to Plato's authorship
is his "The Republic" wherein is set out a series of discourses
that allegedly took place between Socrates and a number of other
persons who variously arrived and departed as the discussions
continued. (Plato may actually have been putting his own ideas in
It is in this record, made by Plato, of "Socrates? " philosophising that most intriguing themes are developed -
...can we possibly refuse to admit that there exist in each
of us the same generic parts and characteristics as are found in
the state? For I presume the state has not received them from any
other source. It would be ridiculous to imagine that the presence
of the spirited element in cities is not to be traced to
individuals, wherever this character is imputed to the people, as
it is to the natives of Thrace, and Scythia, and generally
speaking, of the northern countries; or the love of knowledge,
which would be chiefly attributed to our own country; or the love
of riches, which people would especially connect with the
Phoenicians and the Egyptians.
This then is a fact so far, and one which it is not difficult to apprehend.
No, it is not.
But here begins a difficulty. Are all our actions alike performed by the one predominant faculty, or are there three faculties operating severally in our different actions? Do we learn with one internal faculty, and become angry with another, and with a third feel desire for all the pleasures connected with eating and drinking, and the propagation of the species; or upon every impulse to action, do we perform these several actions with the whole soul…
...As there are three parts, so there appear to me to be three pleasures, one appropriate to each part; and similarly three appetites, and governing principles.
According to us, one part was the organ whereby a man learns, and another that whereby he shews spirit. The third was so multiform that we were unable to address it by a single appropriate name; so we named it after that which is its most important and strongest characteristic. We called it appetitive, on account of the violence of the appetites of hunger, thirst, and sex, and all their accompaniments; and we called it peculiarly money-loving, because money is the chief agent in the gratification of such appetites.
Yes, we were right.
Then if we were to assert that the pleasure and the affection of this third part have gain for their object, would not this be the best summary of the facts upon which we should be likely to settle by force of argument, as a means of conveying a clear idea to our own minds, whenever we spoke of this part of the soul? And shall we not be right in calling it money-loving and gain-loving?
I confess I think so, he replied.
Again, do we not maintain that the spirited part is wholly bent on winning power and victory and celebrity?
Certainly we do.
Then would the title of strife-loving and honour-loving be appropriate to it?
Yes, most appropriate?
Well, but with regard to the part by which we learn, it is obvious to everyone that its entire and constant aim is to know how the truth stands, and that this of all the elements of our nature feels the least concern for wealth and reputation.
Yes, quite the least.
Then shall we not do well to call it knowledge-loving and wisdom-loving?
Of course we shall.
Does not this last reign in the souls of some persons, while in the souls of other people one or other of the two former, according to circumstances is dominant?
You are right.
And for these reasons may we assert that men may be primarily classed as lovers of wisdom, of strife, and of gain?
And that there are three kinds of pleasure, respectively underlying the three classes?
Now are you aware, I continued, that if you choose to ask three such men each in his turn, which of these lives is pleasantest, each will extol his own beyond the others? Thus the money-making man will tell you, that compared with the pleasures of gain, the pleasures of being honoured or of acquiring knowledge are worthless, except in so far as they can produce money.
But what of the honour-loving man? Does he not look upon the pleasure derived from money as a vulgar one, while, on the other hand, he regards the pleasure derived from learning as a mere vapour and absurdity unless honour be the fruit of it.
That is precisely the case.
And must we not suppose that the lover of wisdom regards all other pleasures as, by comparison, very far inferior to the pleasure of knowing how the truth stands, and of being constantly occupied with this pursuit of knowledge…
Pythagoras also, in earlier times, advanced a similar view
of human nature.
In 518 B.C. Pythagoras travelled west and during his journey
reputedly had a significant interview with the prominent ruler
Leon of Philus whilst both were attending some public
King Leon was most impressed by Pythagoras' range of knowledge and asked which of the arts he was most proficient in. Pythagoras replied that, rather than being proficient in any art, he regarded himself as being a philosopher.
King Leon had never heard this term before and asked for an explanation.
This is the recorded reply:-
Life, Prince Leon, may well be compared with these public Games for in the vast crowd assembled here some are attracted by the acquisition of gain, others are led on by the hopes and ambitions of fame and glory. But among them are a few who have come to observe and to understand all that passes here. It is the same with life. Some are influenced by the love of wealth while others are blindly led on by the mad fever for power and domination, but the finest type of man gives himself up to discovering the meaning and purpose of life itself. He seeks to uncover the secrets of nature. This is the man I call a philosopher for although no man is completely wise in all respects, he can love wisdom as the key to nature's secrets.
And lastly the Bard of Avon bringing down the curtain on this review -
O! what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite, down!
and again -
There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
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So we have the teachings or the works of -
...all either implicitly or explicitly imparting the unmistakable idea that each person's capacity for spirituality is one - amongst other! - potentialities of behaviour.
We have then, from a Comparative Religion survey of the teachings of several World Faiths, from Philosophy, and from Poetry, (and also from Common Sense based on experience!!!), more than sufficient grounds for accepting that there exists a range of particularly evident human behavioural potentialities or proclivities.
Some social theory
based on Humanity's tripartite soul
Pythagoras - Plato - Shakespeare
world faiths and the Tripartite Soul