In this series, I am going to explain a frequently neglected tradition common in both Eastern religions and philosophies, as well as certain “Western” esoteric traditions: namely, that the body is fundamentally alien to the true self, and that at essence, we are immortal spiritual beings which are either immaterial, or at least, “material” in a more purely energy-oriented sense that has nothing to do with “solid”, enduring bodies.
My aim is to try to re-popularize alternative conceptions of the self that differ radically from many of the philosophical anthropologies current in fashion:
- Materialism — the idea that we are just matter and energy in a spatiotemporal void and that our consciousness dissolves upon death.
- Phenomenology and post-structuralism — the idea that the human self is fundamentally situated historically and concretely, and entirely or predominantly determined by our historical context.
- Christianity — The Neoplatonist influence upon Christianity entails that there is a strong element of the astral/etheric/subtle anthropology that I have in mind here, but the Christian doctrine of the resurrection bodies articulated in 1 Corinthians 15 entails that humans do end up ultimately physical incarnations, and irreducibly so, even though there is an immaterial self which endures an intermediate state in between death and resurrection.