Do plants have souls?

Bizarre theology time…can plants have souls? If not, why?

I mean, I can sure understand if some plants don’t have souls. Like individual blades of crabgrass, or something. That’d just be silly. :wink:

But some plants, like big 2,000 year old Redwoods, or the “Methuselah” pine tree, I can sure imagine might have some kind of soul.

Which begs the question…if such a plant dies, does it get to go to a “plant Heaven”? And if it does, does that mean that there’s a plant Hell?

I don’t suppose that it’s any more irrational to assume a plant has a soul than say, a used tire. That’s the neat thing about souls; you can put 'em where ever you want 'em to be. :slight_smile:

Lets throw a little information in here, and see if anything happens:

Aristotle held that plants have souls, but he probably didn’t use the term in its modern sense:

Lecture notes

A little more recently (~1750), Swedenborg had this to say about plant souls:

The Heavenly Doctrines

Then there’s the work of Marcel Vogel back in the 1970’s:

In some circles, folks are still talking about plant souls:
Panel in SLC to explore plant and animal souls (04/21/01)

The concept of what a soul is seems to have evolved from being a motive-force behind life processes, to a more complex encapsulation of the spirit of a thing. Only the later can end up going to heaven or hell.


Plants have a soul, but the don’t have individual souls. Of course, neither do you.

It is the same one. All living beings, from lichen to lyric poets and paramecium to particle physicists, share the same soul. This is the underlying fact of karma: that having the ability to choose, and to sin, you either sully that soul or glorify it.

There is no individual reward for virtue, and it is childish of you to think so. You do it, or you don’t.

The purpose of life is to entangle and subvert every molecule, every quantum of energy, into the Dance. When every quantum of energy is alive, then God will exist. At the instant the God exists, time will cease to be relevent. The God that will exist will be the God that does exist. And always has, since time has ceased to be a limitation.

Or maybe not.

Why would you assume that the older something is (relative only to US of course, not, for instance, a star!), the more likely it is to have a soul?

You can’t hunt butterflys with a hammer. You can use a hammer very usefully, but butterfly hunting aint one of them.

You could watch a baby sleeping. You could give away all your money.

You could sing.

I’m certain that there are more reputable sources for the idea of “earning a soul”, but this is what I got:

Ranchoth isn’t being totally off the wall here. There’s a history behind the concept.

I had a Madagascar palm for 17 years. Huge thing, seven feet tall, multiple trunks, all garnished with thick inch-long spines. We took it with us on multiple moves, during which it attempted to kill us on several occasions while we wrestled it in and out of U-Hauls.

It had a soul. An evil one.
I sorta miss it though (it got too big to get through the door and we had to leave it behind in Texas. I think it is hosting its own “Little Shop Of Horrors” review as we speak).

It is in Texas. You are not.

If you mean a spirit of consciousness, NO.

A plant is a living entity which dies without water or if exposed to freezing water. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Beware of the Cog”

From the point of view of who? A lot of people say “souls=people” (it used to be “souls=white people” I think…). Some people say a soul is “what makes you you” and don’t think it survives beyond death, allowing plants to have a bit of a soul.

I think the interesting case is people who believe a soul is yes/no deal, and that some animals have souls. Does anyone here think that? If so, please speak up :slight_smile:

It’s natural to assume plants wouldn’t, but the animal/plant divide is less clear than I’d hope - plants can have some actions (releasing hormones, snapping, responding to scent from other plants, etc) and some animals are nearly this simple. I don’t know how someone would reconcile this.

There is no way to have a rational debate about this question. There is no evidence that anything has a “soul” including people.

For all I know “They are in Texas” might be the truth by now.

Well, I know that. I, myself, don’t believe in souls. For people, animals, or plants.

However, if you’re debating spirituality or theology, it seems an almost workable question. I mean, plants are living creatures, same as humans or animals.

And if souls did exist, I’d certainly believe that animals have them, as well as humans. And I’d think that plants would at least have some sort of “bone breath” spirit, which I’d hate to think would be merely snuffed out upon a plant’s demise.

Hey, it’s not any sillier than a Star Destroyer vs. Enterprise-D debate. :wink:

i dont think that there is going to be much mileage in this one unless we can first of all try to understand, " what is the nature of the soul?"
“what are its qualities?”
“how can we know about it?”
we are not born with automatic knowledge of say, motor mechanics, so we have to accept knowledge from an authority, ie, a qualified mechanic, who in turn had to accept knowledge from another bonafide authority, and so on.
similarly, if we require spiritual knowledge, it would seem to make sense to inquire from an authority on the subject.
unfortunately, who is an authority, and who is not, is very hard to tell when we have little experience ourselves, or maybe we have even been cheated by so called “authority” or a system of religion before, and so we feel safer in the world of speculation, where one opinion is worth as much as another, and authority is not necessary.

I think plants have souls. But I don’t think humans do. :wink:

Would “Do plants have awareness?” be a less polarizing question?

Cleve Backster had some entertaining results while experimenting with a plant and a polygraph.

This interview seems to be the kindest spin on his results; most other comments seem less than confident that Mr Backster employed scientific method-

Whats your definition of a soul? A consciousness? Some sort of overall definition or which the plant as an organism fulfills?

At one level, you can say plants have a soul in the same way an animal does, or you do, or any living organism does. It has a purpose in life, to survive and thrive, and each of its cells are unified in that purpose. While plants don’t have a nervous system, perhaps a characteristic that would limit its capacity for ‘thought’, it does have means of internal communication, which is basically what a nervous system is. Plant cells have pores in their cell walls through which the cell membranes are connected. The cell membranes of the entire plant is effectively one continuous structure. These channels, called plasmodesmata, connect the cytoplasm and living content of adjacent cells and allow for the passage of small solutes which can act as signals.

How could I have lived so long and never had occassion to use the word “plasmodesmata”? I hope it involves “osmosis” 'cause thats the other one I know.