The Info List - Spirit

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The English word SPIRIT, from Latin _spiritus_ "breath ", has many different meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance either contrasted with or given ontological priority over the material body . It can also refer to a "subtle" as opposed to "gross" material substance, as in the famous last paragraph of Sir Isaac Newton 's _Principia Mathematica _.

The word spirit is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality . The notions of a person's spirit and soul often also overlap, as both contrast with body and both are believed to survive bodily death in some religions, and "spirit" can also have the sense of "ghost ", i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person.

The term may also refer to any incorporeal or immaterial being, such as demons or deities . In the Bible , "the Spirit" (with a capital "S"), specifically denotes the Holy Spirit .


* 1 Etymology * 2 Spiritual and metaphysical usage * 3 Metaphorical usage * 4 Related concepts in other languages * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links


The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin _spiritus_, meaning "breath ", but also "spirit, soul, courage, vigor", ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European _*(s)peis_. It is distinguished from Latin _anima_, "soul " (which nonetheless also derives from an Indo-European root meaning "to breathe", earliest form _*h2enh1-_). In Greek, this distinction exists between _pneuma _ (πνεῦμα), "breath, motile air, spirit," and _psykhē _ (ψυχή), "soul" (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").

The word "spirit" came into Middle English via Old French . The distinction between soul and spirit also developed in the Abrahamic religions : Arabic _nafs_ (نفس) opposite _rūħ_ (روح); Hebrew _neshama_ (נְשָׁמָה‎ _nəšâmâh_) or _nephesh _ נֶ֫פֶשׁ‎ _nép̄eš_ (in 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").

In a lecture delivered to the literary Society of Augsburg, October 20, 1926, on the theme of “Nature and Spirit,” C. G. Jung , expressed: “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 spiritus”.


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. 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. This concept of the individual spirit occurs commonly in animism . Note the distinction between this concept of spirit and that of the pre-existing or eternal soul: belief in souls occurs specifically and far less commonly, particularly in traditional societies. One might more properly term this type/aspect of spirit "life" (_bios_ in Greek) or "aether " rather than "spirit" (_pneuma_ in Greek). * 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. A similar significance has become attached to human blood . Spirit, in this sense, means the thing that separates a living body from a corpse—and usually implies intelligence , consciousness , and sentience . * Latter-day Saint prophet 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." * In some Native American spiritual traditions the Great Spirit or Wakan Tanka is a term for the Supreme Being . * Various forms of animism , such as Japan's Shinto and African traditional religion , focus on invisible beings that represent or connect with plants, animals (sometimes called "Animal Fathers "), or landforms (kami ): 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" (singular and capitalized ). 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.") 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 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 — as in the " Holy Spirit ", referring to a Triune God ( Trinity ) (cf Gospel of Matthew 28:19). * "Spirit" forms a central concept in pneumatology (note that pneumatology studies "pneuma" (Greek for "spirit") not "psyche" (Greek for "soul") — as studied in psychology ). * Christian Science uses "Spirit" as one of the seven synonyms for God , as in: "Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love" * Harmonism reserves the term "spirit" for those that collectively control and influence an individual from the realm of the mind . * 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 Ph.D , LL.D secretary-treasurer of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1919.


Metaphorical use of the term "spirit" likewise groups several related meanings:

* The loyalty and feeling of inclusion in the social history or collective essence of an institution or group, as in "school spirit " or in _esprit de corps _. * A closely related meaning refers to the worldview of a person, place, or time, as in "The Declaration of Independence was written in the spirit of John Locke and his notions of liberty", or to the concept of _zeitgeist _, meaning "spirit of the age". * As a synonym for "vivacity", as in "She performed the piece with spirit" or "She put up a spirited defense" or "that breed of horse shows spirit". * The underlying intention of a text as distinguished from its literal meaning, especially in law; see letter and spirit of the law * As a term for alcoholic beverages —often in the plural, as in "ardent spirits ". * In mysticism : existence in unity with Godhead . 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 .


Similar concepts in other languages include Greek _pneuma _ and Sanskrit _akasha /atman _ (see also _prana _). Some languages use a word for "spirit" often closely related (if not synonymous) to "mind ". Examples include the German _ Geist _ (related to the English word "ghost") or the French 'l'esprit'. English versions of the Bible most commonly translate the Hebrew word "ruach" (רוח; "wind") as "the spirit", whose essence is divine (see Holy Spirit and _ruach hakodesh_ ). Alternatively, 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".


* _ Spirituality portal

* Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul * Angel * Astral projection * Brahman * Daemon (classical mythology) * Deva * Ekam * Geisteswissenschaft _ * Jinn * Non-physical entity * Philosophy of religion * Soul dualism * Spiritualism * Spiritism * Spirit world


* ^ Burtt, Edwin A. (2003). _Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science_. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 275. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ OED "spirit 2.a.: The soul of a person, as commended to God, or passing out of the body, in the moment of death." * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ François 2008 , p.187-197. * ^ 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., New York: E.J. Brill. * ^ Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs 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 and English Lexicon (electronic ed.) (924ff.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems. (N.B. Corresponds closely to printed editions.) * ^ Hull, R. F. C. (1960). _The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol 8 Chapter " Spirit and Life"_. New York, New York: Pantheon Books for Bollinger Series XX. pp. 319, 320. access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ "Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence". * ^ Doctrine and Covenants 131:7 * ^ Suhas, Bhokare. "secret". * ^ 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". * ^ 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 or Wind or ??? at BiblicalHeritage.org


* 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 .


* The dictionary definition of spirit at Wiktionary * Quotations related to Spirit at Wikiquote