Human spirit

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The human spirit is a component of human philosophy, psychology, art, and knowledge - the spiritual or mental part of humanity. While the term can be used with the same meaning as "human soul", human spirit is sometimes used to refer to the impersonal, universal or higher component of human nature in contrast to soul or psyche which can refer to the ego or lower element. The human spirit includes our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity.

In the models of Daniel A. Helminiak and Bernard Lonergan, human spirit is considered to be the mental functions of awareness, insight, understanding, judgement and other reasoning powers. It is distinguished from the separate component of psyche which comprises the entities of emotion, images, memory and personality.[1]

John Teske views human spirit as a social construct representing the qualities of purpose and meaning which transcend the individual human.[2]

Distinction between the human spirit and soul

According to historian Oswald Spengler, a distinction between Spirit and Soul has been made by the West and earlier civilizations which influenced its development.[3] The human spirit can be seen as the heavenly component of human's non material makeup - the part that is impersonal or universal. Whereas souls are the personal element unique to each individual. As Spengler writes in The Decline of the West:

In Christianity, the Bible identifies humanity's three basic elements: spirit, soul and body.[4] Christians emphasise that the human spirit is the 'real person', the very core of a person's being, the essential seat of their existence. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Saviour, it is their human spirit that is transformed as they become 'new creatures' in Jesus Christ. The soul which is the seat of the will, mind and emotions does not get converted but needs to be renewed on a daily basis through the recommended Christian disciplines such as prayer and reading the Bible.[5][6][7][8] In Islam, Muslims are viewed as having their own spirits, but one that in a sense is one with God's spirit. For Spengler, the perception of unity this idea led to was important for the emergence of the "consensus" that maintained harmony in Islamic culture, especially during the Golden Age of Islam.[3]



  1. Daniel A. Helminiak (1996), The human core of spirituality: mind as psyche and spirit, ISBN 978-0-7914-2950-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. John Teske (2000), "The Social Construction of the Human Spirit", The human person in science and theology, ISBN 978-0-567-08692-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Spengler, Oswald (1922). "vol2, chpt: 3 & 8". The Decline of the west(An abridged edition). Vintage Books, 2006. ISBN 1-4000-9700-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 1 Thes 5:23
  5. 1 Cor 6:17
  6. 2 Cor 5:17
  7. Rom 12:2
  8. Andrew Wommack. "Understanding Spirit, Soul, And Body". Andrew Wommack Ministires. Retrieved 2010-01-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>