Anima mundi

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The world soul (Greek: ψυχὴ κόσμου psuchè kósmou, Latin: anima mundi) is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to the world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. Plato adhered to this idea and it was an important component of most Neoplatonic systems:

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Plato Classical Greek philosopher

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related. [1]

The Stoics believed it to be the only vital force in the universe. Similar concepts also hold in systems of eastern philosophy in the Brahman-Atman of Hinduism, the Buddha-Nature in Mahayana Buddhism,[ citation needed ] and in the School of Yin-Yang, Taoism, and Neo-Confucianism as qi .

Stoicism School of Hellenistic Greek philosophy

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Eastern philosophy

Eastern philosophy or Asian philosophy includes the various philosophies that originated in East and South Asia including Chinese philosophy, Japanese philosophy, and Korean philosophy which are dominant in East Asia and Vietnam, and Indian philosophy which are dominant in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet and Mongolia.

Brahman metaphysical concept, unchanging Ultimate Reality in Hinduism

In Hinduism, Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.

Other resemblances can be found in the thoughts of hermetic philosophers like Paracelsus, and by Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schelling and in Hegel's Geist ("Spirit"/"Mind"). Ralph Waldo Emerson published "The Over-Soul" in 1841, which was influenced by the Hindu conception of a universal soul. There are also similarities with ideas developed since the 1960s by Gaia theorists such as James Lovelock.[ citation needed ]

Hermeticism set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces

Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These writings have greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition traces its origin to a prisca theologia, a doctrine that affirms the existence of a single, true theology that is present in all religions and that was given by God to man in antiquity.

Paracelsus Swiss physician and alchemist

Paracelsus, born Theophrastus von Hohenheim, was a Swiss physician, alchemist, and astrologer of the German Renaissance.

Baruch Spinoza Dutch philosopher

Baruch Spinoza was a Jewish-Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Inspired by the groundbreaking ideas of René Descartes, Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In Hebrew, it is written ברוך שפינוזה. His Portuguese name is Benedito "Bento" de Espinosa or d'Espinosa. In his Latin works, he used Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza.

In Jewish mysticism, a parallel concept is that of "Chokhmah Ila'ah," the all-encompassing "Supernal Wisdom" that transcends, orders and vitalizes all of creation. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov states that this sublime wisdom may be apprehended (or perhaps "channeled") by a perfect tzaddik (holy man). [2] Thus, the tzaddik attains "cosmic consciousness" and thus is empowered to mitigate all division and conflict within creation.


Chokmâh is the Biblical Hebrew word rendered as "wisdom" in English Bible versions.

Nachman of Breslov Ukrainian rabbi

Nachman of Breslov, also known as Reb Nachman of Bratslav, Reb Nachman Breslover, Nachman from Uman, was the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.

See also

The Force is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in the fictional Star Wars universe. It is wielded by "Force-sensitive" characters throughout the franchise: heroes like the Jedi use the "light side" while seeking to become one with the Force, while the Sith and other villains exploit the "dark side" and have always tried to bend it towards their will. The Force has been compared to aspects of several world religions, and the phrase "May the Force be with you" has become part of the popular-culture vernacular.

Patrick Harpur is an English writer. He lives in Dorset, United Kingdom. He is best known for the work Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld which deals with the paranormal in a similar way that Jacques Vallee, Allen Hynek and John Keel have done in the past.

Neoplatonism and Christianity

Neoplatonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West. This was due to St. Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by the early Neoplatonists Plotinus and Porphyry, as well as the works of the Christian writer Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, who was influenced by later Neoplatonists, such as Proclus and Damascius.

Related Research Articles

In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe. The Gnostics adopted the term "demiurge". Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered to be consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered to be either uncreated and eternal or the product of some other entity.

Existence The ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality

Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality.

In philosophy, idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies that assert that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In contrast to materialism, idealism asserts the primacy of consciousness as the origin and prerequisite of material phenomena. According to this view, consciousness exists before and is the pre-condition of material existence. Consciousness creates and determines the material and not vice versa. Idealism believes consciousness and mind to be the origin of the material world and aims to explain the existing world according to these principles.

Metaphysics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.

Mind Combination of cognitive faculties that provide consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception and judgement

The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.

Panentheism is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical, panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

Soul The incorporeal essence of a living being.

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.

Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Ātman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation (moksha), a human being must acquire self-knowledge, which is to realize that one's true self (Ātman) is identical with the transcendent self Brahman.

Moksha, also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which refers to various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation, and release. In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In its epistemological and psychological senses, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization, self-actualization and self-knowledge.

Purusha is a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Depending on source and historical timeline, it means the cosmic man or Self, Consciousness, and Universal principle.

In philosophy, essence is the property or set of properties that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the entity or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity. The concept originates rigorously with Aristotle, who used the Greek expression to ti ên einai or sometimes the shorter phrase to ti esti for the same idea. This phrase presented such difficulties for its Latin translators that they coined the word essentia to represent the whole expression. For Aristotle and his scholastic followers, the notion of essence is closely linked to that of definition.

Panpsychism philosophical concept

In philosophy, panpsychism is the view that mind or a mind-like aspect is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality. It has taken on a wide variety of forms. Contemporary academic proponents hold that sentience or subjective experience is ubiquitous, while distancing these qualities from complex human mental attributes; they ascribe a primitive form of mentality to entities at the fundamental level of physics but do not ascribe it to most aggregates, such as rocks or buildings. On the other hand, some historical theorists ascribed attributes like life or spirits to all entities.

Ātman (Buddhism) Buddhist concept

Ātman, attā or attan in Buddhism is the concept of self, and is found in Buddhist literature's discussion of the concept of non-self (Anatta).

<i>Brihadaranyaka Upanishad</i> Oldest Upanishads of Hinduism.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is one of the Principal Upanishads and one of the oldest Upanishadic scriptures of Hinduism. A key scripture to various schools of Hinduism, the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad is tenth in the Muktikā or "canon of 108 Upanishads".

A Jivan Mukta or Mukta is someone who, in the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, has gained and assimilated infinite and divine knowledge and power and gained complete self-knowledge and self-realisation and attained Kaivalya or Moksha, thus is liberated with an inner sense of freedom while living and not yet died. The state is the aim of moksha in Advaita Vedanta, Yoga and other schools of Hinduism, and it is referred to as Jivanmukti.

<i>Aitareya Upanishad</i> One of the ancient Sanskrit scriptures of Hinduism

The Aitareya Upanishad is a Mukhya Upanishad, associated with the Rigveda. It comprises the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the second book of Aitareya Aranyaka, which is one of the four layers of Rig vedic text.

Conceptions of God in monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:

Mind–body problem open question in philosophy of how abstract minds interact with physical bodies

The mind–body problem is a philosophical problem concerning the relationship between thought and consciousness in the human mind, and the brain as part of the physical body. It is distinct from the question of how mind and body function chemically and physiologically since that question presupposes an interactionist account of mind-body relations. This question arises when mind and body are considered as distinct, based on the premise that the mind and the body are fundamentally different in nature.

The philosophy of self defines, among other things, the conditions of identity that make one subject of experience distinct from all others. Contemporary discussions on the nature of the self are not thereby discussions on the nature of personhood, or personal identity. The self is sometimes understood as a unified being essentially connected to consciousness, awareness, and agency. Various theories on the metaphysical nature of the self have been proposed. Among them, the metaphysical nature of the self has been proposed to be that of an immaterial substance.

This is a glossary of terms used in New Thought.


  1. Plato, Timaeus , 30b–c, 33b.
  2. Likutey Moharan I, 61.