Selfie body muscle chest

Body and Soul are the Same

For too long philosophers, thinkers, and common people have believed the body and soul (spirit) to be separate. But what if the body and soul were one in the same? Two sides of the same coin.

Building the body builds the soul

selfie Eric muscle

I was reading Plutarch’s “Lives”, and came across the entry on Socrates. Even our good friend Socrates regularly trained his body, and also was known for his valor during military campaigns.

If our goal is to build our soul, perhaps we should also focus on building our body as well.

Why? Even something basic:

When my bodily metabolism is performing better, my mind also performs better.

I would also say that in the states of my greatest bodily health and strength, I’ve had the most epic turbo thoughts — like when I was living in Vietnam:

Selfie. Hanoi, 2016
Vietnam, 2017. Low bodyfat percentage

The stronger my body, the stronger my mind


The stronger my body becomes, the stronger my mind, ideas, thoughts, and self belief in myself becomes.

The physician-philosopher

Currently reading Nietzsche’s “Joyful Wisdom”, and he talks about his hope for a future physician-philosopher: an individual who realizes that the body and mind-soul aren’t separate, but one in the same.

back muscle flex eric kim

Why is physical strength valorized?

The Farnese Hercules 1742 Richard Dalton 1715 or 20-1791 Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

No doubt about it: society has (and always will) valorize physical strength.

Why? Perhaps true courage is actually related to the body. Mental and intellectual courage is real. But where does that courage originate from? The body!

Hercules statue sketch proportions

You don’t need the physique of a bodybuilder to be courageous. Yet in order to be courageous, you need A body. Also a simple idea:

It is difficult to be intellectually courageous if you’re in poor physical health, sleep deprived, or starving.

Courage perhaps requires a certain level of physiological health, strength, flourishing, and well-being.

Hercules Furens (my ideal physique)
Hercules Furens (my ideal physique)

Why the body-soul split notion?


Why is it that we tend to separate the notion of the body and soul?

Well, it looks like the notion originates from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the soul (human spirit) was eternal, and could migrate after death.

Furthermore, many of the Ancient Greek philosophers traveled to Egypt (and India), and learned from the holy men there — importing notions of the “eternal soul”.

The mortal soul

Memento mori eric kim photography self portrait by cindy nguyen

I prefer the more empirical notion of a “mortal soul”— a soul which dies once your body dies.

What is a “soul”? To me, the soul is your embodied ego. Which means— the neuro-chemical and electric impulses in your body, your memories, your muscles, nerves, sinews, bones, and anything else contained within our fleshy and watery bodies.

Thus from a simple perspective:

Once you die, your soul (and body) dies with you.

Ramifications of a mortal soul

If we accept that the soul is mortal (and we are mortal)— then what? What are the implications of NOT believing in an afterlife? The ramification:

Once you die, you’re dead forever.

Then what? What is the purpose or point of life, or being virtuous while you’re alive — assuming there isn’t a heaven, hell, or afterlife?


Virtue for the sake of virtue

King Leonidas— a true man of virtue.
King Leonidas— a true man of virtue.

You don’t act virtuous for some sort of payment or profit. You do it because when you don’t act virtuous, it hurts your pride.

Pride is good, pride is perhaps the regulating force of our virtue.

How should we live our lives?

Then comes the moral and ethical question:

Assuming there isn’t an afterlife, how should we live our lives while we’re still alive here on planet Earth?

Selfie ricoh

Of course you dictate how to live your life. Purpose is self-appointed.

Conclusion: You’re the ultimate judge.

Live your life according to your own morals, ethics, and direct your life in whatever means much to you.


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