Some of you may remember me from PA1. I usually lurk and do my own consciousness research and experiments, but have pretty much dropped out of the forums since the great divorce.
Now to the question: do all humans have souls? If someone had asked me this a month ago, I would have probably responded with a knee-jerk reaction: of course they do, we are all sentient beings.
I have come across some information which seems to have convinced me this may not be the case:
Much of this is discussed at the articles and forum at cassiopea.org. They claim that as much as half the population may be what they call Organic Portals (OPs), who integrate into society, do what they are told, but are entirely without what souled beings would call emotions. They cite the existance of psychopaths as aberrant OPs, meaning their programming has failed.
Here's an outside article on psychopaths: http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html
I'm also reading the book The Mask of Sanity. If anyone is interested, I can probably find the link as it is a free download. Here's a brief synopsis of the book:
Psychopaths are all around us and nearly everyone has encountered them in their life. They are defined as being entirely devoid of emotion and are able to fit into society by mimicing others and have learned to pretend human emotion and empathy, but are unable to feel it. Because they have no emotion, they have no qualms about deceiving and hurting others. They give off an appearance of being well-meaning, articulate, and considerate and often play the guise of a "con man". They are often surrounded by family and needy friends/lovers who continually bail them out of trouble. They are often responsible for writing bad checks, embezzlement, deceiving needy people and extracting money from them, brawling, acts of violence towards animals, childish pranks, petty theft, social engineering attacks, etc.
When discovered, they usually admit guilt without any touch of embarrassment and then continue on. The book concludes that they are formed by nature -- that their upbringing has no effect on their condition. The ones who grow up in stable families often become white-collar criminals, lawyers, civil workers, and higher-level con men. Think of Bernie Madoff as the classic example. The ones who have poor upbringings, resort to lower-level crime.
They are immune to therapy and actually use therapy to develop their conniving skills. They are often able to convince doctors, lawyers, and judges they are worthy of parole and being released and many of them in adulthood have been arrested 60 - 100 times and spent half of their adult life in institutions only to be released and then re-admitted.
Now, I'm not so sure of the OPs theory, but I have run into a few psychopaths in my life. The book stipulates that it is because of the parents and supporters that we do not have different legal standards for them.
So, the question remains, if someone is completely devoid of feeling any type of emotion, does this mean they are lacking in a soul?
I would be interested in any responses, as I've never seen this topic covered before.