What Is Consciousness? Defining Soul, Spirit, and Ego


So I read lots of spirituality blogs — and one thing I notice is this: Words like soul, spirit, and ego get tossed around on the reg— and that’s a problem. Why? Because most of us aren’t clear on what these words really mean — including those of us writing. As a result, insight gets lost in translation. Writing become ambiguous. And prosy.

So for the sake of clarity and understanding– here’s a guide to the following: Consciousness, Soul, Spirit, and Ego. 

.I like to think of “God” as projecting two aspects of itself. One aspect is energy infused with individuated consciousness (spirit) and the other, is energy infused with fragments of it’s own consciousness (soul).

God as infinite intelligence exploring it’s infinite potential through an infinite variety of finite fragments. {see Fractal Imagination: Where Science meets Spirituality}

And just like Mandelbrot sets demonstrate, God does not diminish in size when a fragment is created, nor does it increase in size when a fragment is destroyed — the process, rather, is holographic replication.

This infinite intelligence allows individuated fragments (spirit) to expand via learning until they unite with the whole — and that’s the role of the spiritual person in the cosmic cycle.

Simply stated, this is the idea that the holographic replication of God is consciousness, and consciousness is composed of two parts: Soul and spirit. 


.So, to be clear — soul and spirit are NOT THE SAME! More specifically,

.Soul is group consciousness and group-awareness
Spirit is individual consciousness and self-awareness

.Soul: Source of feelings, desires, impressions, passions
Spirit: Source of freewill, empathy, wisdom


Every living thing has soul, but not all have spirit.

For example, ANIMALS contain the soul component of consciousness but lack the spirit component. That’s why they evolve as a group, have hive mind consciousness, lack freewill, empathy etc.

Whereas the HUMAN contains the soul component and the spirit component — That’s why he evolves individually, and has freewill and empathy.


Remember, in the cosmic life-cycle, everything is evolving.



cosmic life cycle


And this is also important:
Unlike soul, the spirit survives death and rebirth. It can continue growing in its complexity and intensity through numerous physical forms until it eventually achieves congruency, or unity with “God”. The spirit re-incarnates. 




.Make sense? Good! Now let’s talk about EGO. Unlike soul and spirit, EGO is not part of consciousness, but is rather a form of artificial intelligence. 


We need ego in order to operate successfully within our environments. 


And why is this so important? Because EGO is what helps spirit carry out its task!  EGO is like the messenger — it takes the thoughts of spirit, and brings them to the soul –where those wishes/desires can then be manifested. This is how we are “programmed” by spirit.

This programming tool we call EGO, functions as part of the intellect. That’s why plants and lower animals who lack intellect, also lack egos.

The ego itself is an instrument of both SPIRIT and ENVIRONMENT.


intellect 5


.The more we allow SPIRIT (Real self) to control our egos, the more individuality and personality we have through which spirit can accomplish its task. Ego’s support is INTERNAL.

The more we allow ENVIRONMENT (False self) to control our egos, the more we begin to exploit others for the sake of self gain. Ego’s support is EXTERNAL –it is a product of the survival/competition paradigm.

Lying, deception, manipulation, delusion, selfishness — these are all properties of ego if left unchecked by spirit.

So the goal is not to lose the ego — the goal is to conquer the ego. To reprogram it. To refine it. To turn it into an instrument of our OWN.

More specifically, an instrument of our SPIRIT!



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About NSchacht

- San Francisco, CA - When I write with no destination in mind, I encompass all possibility.