“You don’t have a soul” – An excerpt from “A Canticle for Leibowitz”

Published in 1959, A Canticle for Leibowitz is the story of post-apocalyptic society being reborn by the research and dedication of The Church.  In the third “act”, man has again built nuclear weapons…and used them.  The scene that spawned this quote is a conversation between the Abbot of a remote Abbey and a doctor who is asking to treat patients in the Abbey’s courtyard.

“You don’t have a soul, Doctor.  You are a soul.  You have a body, temporarily.”

Food for thought.

Are we eternal souls who inhabit mortal husks briefly or are we , as more people think, humans who have souls?  It’s a bit of the chicken and egg conundrum, isn’t it?  The answer can really only be known by someone who recalls a past life or is omniscient enough to know how it all works.  If we are eternal souls, how are the bodies we inhabit chosen and why don’t we, as a rule, recall previous lives.  Maybe our souls are eternal and we only inhabit a body once or every now and then.  Maybe it’s not an endless cycle of death and rebirth.

Or, maybe there isn’t really a soul at all.  Maybe we’re just here until our meat suit expires.

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3 thoughts on ““You don’t have a soul” – An excerpt from “A Canticle for Leibowitz”

  1. myspokenheart May 10, 2013 / 18:10

    …thought provoking… and now I am curious about this book and will be looking it up at my local library… is it a good read?

  2. Mary Weber May 11, 2013 / 10:35

    Now I’M curious about the book too. Intriguing question. Something that feels like it should be chatted about for hours around a campfire with good beer, good friends, and pipe smoke. :0)

    And love that quote – beautiful. :0)

  3. lorwynd May 11, 2013 / 10:57

    It’s a good read from the standpoint of how it shows history repeating itself and presents ideas for pondering, but it is very dry. I haven’t quite finished my review of it, but a quick one word summation would be: unexciting.

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