The soul and the senses

As I was happily reading The Picture of Dorian Gray two twin ideas struck me as enthralling and majestic as only few things could be. One is to be found in Dorian’s useless lamentations ‘To cure the soul by the means of the senses, and the senses by the means of the soul!’. Then there is Lord Henry who ravishes all hopes of redemption: ‘Life is a question of nerves, and fibers, and slowly-built up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play – I tell you, Dorian, that is on things like these that our lives depend.’

I wonder if every tiny bit of emotion or any skeleton of an idea don’t show up from the whimsy mists and the sudden brightness of neurons, sinews and the bowels themselves. Is the soul but a faked image of the body? Are we bound to matter so much that there is no room left for what we call soul?

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