The Structure of the Human Spirit

13 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2018

Date Written: September 17, 2018


The Origin of Consciousness presents a revised fundamental methodology of science based on the immediate and ultimate effects of W Ross Ashby, then applies it to build a scientific general theory of ‘a person in their environment’.

The theory, ‘diagram 8 nested in diagram 6’, describes the operation of the system under study as a set of linked variables reflecting the flow of change through them. This system of variables is a ‘descriptive explanation’ of how a person interacts with their environment. The causal explanation lies in the immediate effects that underly the theory, itself a set of ultimate effects.

The variables in the theory are congruent with the system, the theory is ethically constructed and exhibits intellectual integrity, the theory meets the reflexive criteria. In short, the theory passes the highest possible intellectual quality standards. The theory is the result of 40 years of research and reflection, offering for the first-time comprehensive understanding of how we ‘work’ as a species. It was judged at the start that if any theory based on these variables explained all aspects of human qualities and outputs, then these variables sufficient. The variables selected to start were attention, attitude, thought, emotion, brain structures, reacting part, body and environment.

If the theory was to be a general theory of people, it had to apply to all aspects of people and all outputs. There could be nothing excluded. The conclusion is that if the selected variables did provide the explanations demanded, and fully met the intellectual quality criteria, then humanity had no inherent soul, nor a specific aspect referred to as the human ‘spirit’.

However, soul and spirit have been crucial ideas that have shaped all human history to a degree that makes them impossible to ignore. The ideas much too powerful, there must be ‘something’. What exactly?

The question addressed: How do we now ‘understand’ terms such as spirit, soul and mind within the first scientific general theory of psychology? The solution lies in the complexity of structure. The theory, diagram 8 nested in diagram 6, is the first proof of human dualism, with mind being the description applied to the interaction within us of the variables, attention, attitude, thought and emotion, with the brain, and hence with the body, thus mind separate from body, but dependent on the body as the ‘mechanisms’ of mind.

The complexity of structure repeated in the multiple nature of our psyche, each ‘unit’ referred to as a mental set. Our spirit then a special mental set, the first formed, likely beginning in the womb and fully formed with the first ‘awareness’ evident in the baby’s eyes after a few days. The core of our spirit is all emotion, and only becomes elaborated with cognitive issues … self-perception, self-confidence, self-esteem ... as the person matures.

We have no soul. The choice is made to describe our ‘soul’ as the trace of life we leave on death. Our spirit then expressing our life and that which we leave behind. On death, others celebrating our life celebrate our soul, the continuing living trace of our existence.

Keywords: human spirit, science of psychology, mental health, ideology

JEL Classification: A12, A13, A14

Suggested Citation

Little, Graham, The Structure of the Human Spirit (September 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

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