One of the greatest things about science fiction is that it presents the reader with extreme ends begs to ask questions about them, and through these questions they explore deeper questions about life itself. One of science fiction's signature elements, robots with artificial intelligence, might seem like a pitch removed from the reality of our everyday lives, but the presence of these themes has served the purpose of altering the very way we see the world. Science fiction has intensely and extensively explored what it means to be human more than any other genre, and through its storytelling has isolated archetypal questions in new and thought provoking ways.
I will be using Socratic Method now to consider the soul in this entry, and most of my questions will have a science fiction basis. That is because I wish to dive into these new angles and gain a perspective that is consistent with all the different "what ifs" that could theoretically happen. It shows us what governing philosophies stay true no matter what variables are thrown their way.
But enough of my explaining. Onto the questions:
1. If you teleport Star Trek
style by disassembling your body and then reassembling an identical model elsewhere, is the recreated mass really you?
2. What if you didn't
destroy yourself and just created a copy elsewhere?
3. You are atomized in a teleportation beam, but you are reassembled using the exact same atoms. Are you still you?
4. You are declared clinically dead in the emergency room, but doctors bring you back to life a minute later. Are you still you? (Once upon a time this would have counted as science fiction.)
5. Let us say that there is a psychic stone. This psychic stone emanates a thought. Let's just say that it's a contemplation on freedom. It is not a bit a data. It is an actual thought. Mind Readers could probe it and actually feel the thought. The rock is actually thinking. Does it have a soul?
6. A satellite is fitted with psychic technology so that it transmits a thought. Humans on the earth below will have the thought implanted in their heads. The thought exists, but it isn't attached to a body. Is the thought a soul?
7. A person can read minds and he/she has his/her mind filled with the thoughts of other people. Their thoughts legitimately become the thoughts of the mind reader just as much as his/her own. Does this person still have a will of his/her own?
8. You're a psychic with the power to control minds. When is it okay to use this power? What does this say about your beliefs on what it means to be a person?
9. You're a psychic with the power to read minds. When is it okay to use this power? What does this say about your beliefs on what it means to be a person?
10. You split in two like a starfish and become to people. Which person is the real you? Is the other person you?
11. You're a Timelord of Gallifrey, and you regenerate into a new body and have a new personality. Little to nothing is the same. Are you still you?
12. You split in two. Both versions regenerate like Doctor Who into random separate personalities soon thereafter. Do you really exist anymore?
13. You travel back in time (having found a loophole that takes paradoxes out of the equation) and prevent a Terminator from assassinating you. In the process, you see your life change from what it once was. That autobiographical book series or song you wrote that meant everything to you now means nothing, because your life as you knew it never happened. Is the person you saved still you? Are you both the same person?
14. In the same situation as question #13, does your soul exist in two places at once? Is/Are there two of your soul/s? Should I say "is" or "are"? Do you two have two separate
15. You go back in time and meet your mother while she's pregnant with you. You take her back in time or teleport with her and put her someplace where your life will be drastically different starting at birth. Is that baby you?
16. Is it possible for your soul to be in two different bodies and thinking two different sets of thoughts at once? What does it say about your soul if you disagree with yourself?
17. Could the Transcendentalist idea of an "oversoul" be true, then?
18. You visit an alternate dimension and encounter yourself. The other version of yourself has lived almost exactly the same life, thought and felt almost exactly the same things, except he/she's the opposite gender (that's a one chromosome difference). Is that person you?
19. What is the relationship between you and your opposite sex counterpart?
20. What if you two shared a psychic link and felt less like two people and more like one person divided between two minds? Or would it be "one and a half person"? But anyways, what are your thoughts on that?
21. You die, and the next thing you know you're a fetus ready to be reborn. When you're born you find out that you're a baby of the opposite gender of what you were in your past life. How different do you feel?
22. Regarding Question #21, do you think of yourself as your old gender, your new gender, a combination of both, or do you not think of yourself in terms of gender anymore?
23. Do you begin to forget your past life over time?
24. What happens when this cycle is repeated many times?
25. Let's say your soul mate died and went through the same process. Do you still love him/her? Are you still going to marry him/her? What are your general thought on the matter?