HOME
The Info List - Spirit


--- Advertisement ---



A spirit is a supernatural being, often but not exclusively a non-physical entity; such as a ghost, fairy, or angel.[1] The concepts of a person's spirit and soul, often also overlap, as both are either contrasted with or given ontological priority over the body and both are believed to survive bodily death in some religions,[2] and "spirit" can also have the sense of "ghost", i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person. In English Bibles, "the Spirit" (with a capital "S"), specifically denotes the Holy Spirit. Spirit
Spirit
is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality. Historically, it was also used to refer to a "subtle" as opposed to "gross" material substance, as in the famous last paragraph of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.[3]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Spiritual and metaphysical usage 3 Related concepts 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Etymology[edit] The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin
Latin
spiritus, meaning "breath", but also "spirit, soul, courage, vigor", ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European *(s)peis. It is distinguished from Latin
Latin
anima, "soul" (which nonetheless also derives from an Indo-European root meaning "to breathe", earliest form *h2enh1-).[4] In Greek, this distinction exists between pneuma (πνεῦμα), "breath, motile air, spirit," and psykhē (ψυχή), "soul"[1] (even though the latter term, ψῡχή = psykhē/psūkhē, is also from an Indo-European root meaning "to breathe": *bhes-, zero grade *bhs- devoicing in proto-Greek to *phs-, resulting in historical-period Greek ps- in psūkhein, "to breathe", whence psūkhē, "spirit", "soul").[5] The word "spirit" came into Middle English
Middle English
via Old French. The distinction between soul and spirit also developed in the Abrahamic religions: Arabic
Arabic
nafs (نفس) opposite rūħ (روح); Hebrew neshama (נְשָׁמָה‬ nəšâmâh) or nephesh נֶ֫פֶשׁ‬ nép̄eš (in Hebrew
Hebrew
neshama comes from the root NŠM or "breath") opposite ruach (רוּחַ‬ rúaħ). (Note, however, that in Semitic just as in Indo-European, this dichotomy has not always been as neat historically as it has come to be taken over a long period of development: Both נֶ֫פֶשׁ‬ (root נפשׁ‬) and רוּחַ‬ (root רוח‬), as well as cognate words in various Semitic languages, including Arabic, also preserve meanings involving misc. air phenomena: "breath", "wind", and even "odour").[6][7][8] Spiritual and metaphysical usage[edit] In spiritual and metaphysical terms, "spirit" has acquired a number of meanings:

An incorporeal but ubiquitous, non-quantifiable substance or energy present individually in all living things.[citation needed] Unlike the concept of souls (often regarded as eternal and sometimes believed to pre-exist the body) a spirit develops and grows as an integral aspect of a living being.[9] A daemon, sprite, or ghost. People usually conceive of a ghost as a wandering spirit from a being no longer living, having survived the death of the body yet maintaining at least vestiges of mind and consciousness. In religion and spirituality, the respiration of a human has for obvious reasons become seen as strongly linked with the very occurrence of life. Spirit, in this sense, means the thing that separates a living body from a corpse—and usually implies intelligence, consciousness, and sentience.[citation needed] Latter-day Saint
Latter-day Saint
prophet Joseph Smith Jr.
Joseph Smith Jr.
taught that the concept of spirit as incorporeal or without substance was incorrect: "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes."[10] Various forms of animism, such as Japan's Shinto
Shinto
and African traditional religion, focus on invisible beings that represent or connect with plants, animals, or landforms (kami)[citation needed]: translators usually employ the English word "spirit" when trying to express the idea of such entities. Individual spirits envisaged as interconnected with all other spirits and with "The Spirit" at 300am (singular and capitalized).[citation needed] This concept relates to theories of a unified spirituality, to universal consciousness and to some concepts of Deity. In this scenario all separate "spirits", when connected, form a greater unity, the Spirit, which has an identity separate from its elements plus a consciousness and intellect greater than its elements; an ultimate, unified, non-dual awareness or force of life combining or transcending all individual units of consciousness. The experience of such a connection can become a primary basis for spiritual belief. The term spirit occurs in this sense in (to name but a few) Anthroposophy, Aurobindo, A Course In Miracles, Hegel, Ken Wilber, and Meher Baba (though in his teachings, "spirits" are only apparently separate from each other and from "The Spirit.")[11] In this use, the term seems conceptually identical to Plotinus's "The One" and Friedrich Schelling's "Absolute". Similarly, according to the panentheistic/pantheistic view, Spirit
Spirit
equates to essence that can manifest itself as mind/soul through any level in pantheistic hierarchy/holarchy, such as through a mind/soul of a single cell (with very primitive, elemental consciousness), or through a human or animal mind/soul (with consciousness on a level of organic synergy of an individual human/animal), or through a (superior) mind/soul with synergetically extremely complex/sophisticated consciousness of whole galaxies involving all sub-levels, all emanating (since the superior mind/soul operates non-dimensionally, or trans-dimensionally) from the one Spirit. Christian spiritual theology can use the term "Spirit" to describe God, or aspects of God
God
— as in the "Holy Spirit", referring to a Triune God
God
(Trinity) (cf Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
28:19). Pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings and phenomena, especially the spiritual aspect of human beings and the interactions between humans and God. Christian Science
Christian Science
uses "Spirit" as one of the seven synonyms for God, as in: "Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love"[12] According to C. G. Jung
C. G. Jung
(in a lecture delivered to the literary Society of Augsburg, October 20, 1926, on the theme of “Nature and Spirit”):

The connection between spirit and life is one of those problems involving factors of such complexity that we have to be on our guard lest we ourselves get caught in the net of words in which we seek to ensnare these great enigmas. For how can we bring into the orbit of our thought those limitless complexities of life which we call "Spirit" or "Life" unless we clothe them in verbal concepts, themselves mere counters of the intellect? The mistrust of verbal concepts, inconvenient as it is, nevertheless seems to me to be very much in place in speaking of fundamentals. "Spirit" and "Life" are familiar enough words to us, very old acquaintances in fact, pawns that for thousands of years have been pushed back and forth on the thinker's chessboard. The problem must have begun in the grey dawn of time, when someone made the bewildering discovery that the living breath which left the body of the dying man in the last death-rattle meant more than just air in motion. It can scarcely be an accident onomatopoeic words like ruach, ruch, roho (Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili) mean ‘spirit’ no less clearly than the Greek πνεύμα and the Latin
Latin
spiritus.[13]

Psychical research, "In all the publications of the Society for Psychical Research the term 'spirit' stands for the personal stream of consciousness whatever else it may ultimately be proved to imply or require," wrote James H. Hyslop, secretary-treasurer of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1919.[14] In mysticism: existence in unity with Godhead.[citation needed] Soul may also equate with spirit, but the soul involves a certain individual human consciousness, while spirit comes from beyond that. Compare the psychological teaching of Al-Ghazali.

Related concepts[edit] Similar concepts in other languages include Greek pneuma and Sanskrit akasha/atman[1] (see also prana). Some languages use a word for "spirit" often closely related (if not synonymous) to "mind". Examples include the German Geist
Geist
(related to the English word "ghost") or the French 'l'esprit'. English versions of the Bible
Bible
most commonly translate the Hebrew
Hebrew
word "ruach" (רוח; "wind") as "the spirit", whose essence is divine[15] (see Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
and ruach hakodesh). Alternatively, Hebrew
Hebrew
texts commonly use the word nephesh. Kabbalists regard nephesh as one of the five parts of the Jewish soul, where nephesh (animal) refers to the physical being and its animal instincts. Similarly, Scandinavian, Baltic, and Slavic languages, as well as Chinese (气 qi), use the words for "breath" to express concepts similar to "the spirit".[1] See also[edit]

Spirituality
Spirituality
portal

Angel Brahman Deva Ekam Geisteswissenschaft Great Spirit
Great Spirit
or Wakan Tanka is a term for the Supreme Being. Jinn Philosophy of religion Soul
Soul
dualism Spiritualism Spiritism Spirit
Spirit
world

References[edit]

^ a b c d François 2009, p.187-197. ^ OED "spirit 2.a.: The soul of a person, as commended to God, or passing out of the body, in the moment of death." ^ Burtt, Edwin A. (2003). Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 275.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ anə-, from *ə2enə1-. Watkins, Calvert. 2000. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, second edition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., p.4. Also available online. (NB: Watkins uses ə1, ə2, ə3 as fully equivalent variants for h1, h2, h3, respectively, for the notation of Proto-Indo-European laryngeal segments.) ^ bhes-2. Watkins, Calvert. 2000. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, second edition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 2000, p.11. Also available online ^ Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1999). The Hebrew
Hebrew
and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (711). Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill. ^ Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew
Hebrew
and English Lexicon (electronic ed.) (659). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems. (N.B. Corresponds closely to printed editions.) ^ Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew
Hebrew
and English Lexicon (electronic ed.) (924ff.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems. (N.B. Corresponds closely to printed editions.) ^ "Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence".  ^ Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
131:7 ^ Kalchuri, Bhau: Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, Volume Eighteen, Manifestation, Inc., 1986, p. 5937. ^ Eddy, Mary Baker (1875). "Glossary". Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures (TXT)format= requires url= (help). p. 587. Retrieved 2009-03-11. GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.  — "Glossary" entry for "GOD". ^ Hull, R. F. C. (1960). The Collected Works of C. G. Jung
C. G. Jung
Vol 8 Chapter " Spirit
Spirit
and Life". New York, New York: Pantheon Books for Bollinger Series XX. pp. 319, 320.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Hyslop, James Hervey (1919). Contact With The Other World (First ed.). New York: The Century Co. p. 11.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Ruach: Spirit
Spirit
or Wind or ??? at BiblicalHeritage.org

Further reading[edit]

François, Alexandre (2008), "Semantic maps and the typology of colexification: Intertwining polysemous networks across languages", in Vanhove, Martine, From Polysemy to Semantic change: Towards a Typology of Lexical Semantic Associations, Studies in Language Companion Series, 106, Amsterdam, New York: Benjamins, pp. 163–215  Baba, Meher (1967). Discourses. San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented. ISBN 1-880619-09-1. 

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of spirit at Wiktionary Quotations related to S

.