While incarnated in a human body the soul forgets its divine origin and its memory of spiritual existence. It falls into a state of spiritual ignorance and material intelligence that we call “ego” or “personality.” Thus, when most people speak of the soul, they are really speaking of the consciousness that owns, and ultimately controls a particular human body.
The body itself is like an automobile, and the soul is the driver. Without the automobile the driver cannot travel the roads at high speed in safety and comfort. Without the driver, the automobile is just an inert piece of steel and glass or a speeding hulk on its way to a crash.
Without a soul, a human body would be either comatose or a mindless animal conscious only of its base instincts. Without a body, a discarnate spirit existing within the earth sphere is nothing more than a ghost that cannot interact directly with matter or earthly energies.
A body with a brain, but no soul might still be able to operate, but would be driven exclusively by the immediate needs of the body. It might search for food or sex, or seek immediate shelter from adverse conditions, but it would not form anything other than instinctual sexual and social attachments, or create anything other than instinctual social structures. Perhaps most importantly, a body without a soul would possess no ability to make the moral judgments which make it possible for us to live in a civilized world.
Without individual souls, human social structures would never progress beyond those we see in the animal kingdom. Greed and jealousy would rule, and nothing of value would endure. Social structures would remain small and static. They would be exclusively instinctual and last only as long as they served the purpose of procreation or the desires their strongest member. In the words of Thomas Hobbes, human life would forever be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Without individual souls, what we think of as our civilization, as well as those that preceded us would never have existed because narcissism and individual self-interest would predominate over honesty and social cooperation. Honesty and social cooperation are qualities of the soul and are NOT built into the automatic behavioral patterns that come as standard equipment with the human body. We call the automatic patterns “human nature”, and narcissism is its main motivating feature. In fact, narcissism is the major personality trait of non-socialized persons and the chief reason that people find themselves in trouble with the law!
Definition: nar·cis·sism: noun
1. Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
2. Self-centeredness arising from the failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.
3. Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
The soul’s first major occupation is overpowering the body’s natural narcissism. In other words, it is responsible for taming human nature.