About Brain vs Soul

Hello, a friend of mine asked:

Why sometimes when the brain is affected someone who is a lovely father can become agressive to his children


Why when someone gets old he lapses mentally, when the soul should lapse too?

Thank you!

Your brain is part of your body; your mind is “part” of your soul; to be functionally human requires both.

(NB: for you Thomists out there, “part” is in quotations because I know that philosophically, souls do not have parts, but I can’t think of a suitable nonphilosophical word that would do better.)

We are not souls; we do not “have bodies.” We are thinking bodies, breathing souls. To Saint Paul, a human being is psychikon soma; literally translated, “soul-image body.”

Therefore, anything that profoundly affects our bodies will likewise affect the functioning of our souls.


Alcohol, low blood-sugar levels, tiredness, dehydration, and stress all affect the brain, and can thus predispose people towards behaving differently under their influence. None of this suggests that the ongoing personality, the person beneath the temporary effect, is altered, but they might seem different to those of us who, not being inside their minds, cannot see their version of how life appears.

In other words, I do not see that the soul changes, merely that the conditions faced by the soul change, and that we do not necessarily understand the new conditions.

Sorry, but this does not work: the ικον of ψυχικον is merely the attributive suffix ικος with the neuter ν inflection; it is not εικον, the root for ‘image’, without any inflection.

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