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Judaism asserts that a human being is a composite of a body and a spiritual soul (see Talmud Sanhedrin 91b for example).

Is there any way to prove the existence of the soul?

Either by deducing from observation or through some kind of logical proof.

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Rav Desssler Mih'tav me Eliahou second volume second part. Enjoy.Patrick –  Davidovici Patrick Mar 11 at 12:20

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It depends what level of proof you are looking for. If you mean irrefutable proof, I don't think you will find as much. If you mean indications, here are a few:

The verse in Koheles (8:1) says

חכמת אדם תאיר פניו

a man's wisdom lights up his face. This has been understood (see, for example, here) to refer to that which there is a light in a person's face, which comes from his Neshama, and when the person dies, there is a noticeable ashening of the face as a result of the departure of the Neshama.

Similarly, the Maharal (Derech HaChaim ch. 3) explains the Gemara in Shabbos 151b:

ר' שמעון בן אלעזר אומר תינוק בן יומו חי אין צריך לשומרו מן החולדה ומן העכברים אבל עוג מלך הבשן מת צריך לשומרו מן החולדה ומן העכברים

A one day old baby does not need to be guarded from weasels and mice, but [the giant] Og king of Bashan, dead, does need to be guarded from weasels and mice

that this natural fear animals have of man, which ends with his death, comes from the G-dly spark (the soul) within the person.

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thank you. was looking more for some kind of proof. but your point of wisdom lighting up the face is very interesting. –  ray Mar 11 at 19:51
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These two bits of evidence (which are much the same) say something changes on death, i.e. that there is a property called "life". I think most people who say there is no soul will agree to that. –  msh210 Mar 11 at 20:16
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@msh210 The fact that there is life does not explain why the face darkens compared to the rest of the body. And it does not explain how biological processes would cause animals to stay away. Of course, science will not now throw up its hands in defeat, but there is no obvious explanation. My disclaimer was that I do not believe there is absolute proof to such a thing. –  YEZ Mar 11 at 20:20
    
@msh210 and although they are similar in indicating the presence of something, they point to very different things through different mechanisms. –  YEZ Mar 11 at 20:22

Kaballah says that the soul enclothed within the body and it is the reflection of the Divine Form, called the tzelem (tzelem Elokim). This can be described as the spiritual mold of man's physical form, linking his body and soul. This mold is derived from the configuration of the sefirot, which structure the worlds through which the soul descends on its journey down into the body.

From the scientific point of view, the problem is: How do you measure or observe non-physical (spiritual) soul with physical scientific instruments? It's impossible!

There is no official scientific proof yet, as there need to be enough evidence to support the claim (proof measures the level of evidence) and not everybody is keen to share that kind of evidences, as the topic is too powerful (e.g. soul can travel anywhere and access all the secrets of the world).

If you looking for scientific proof, here are study areas in scientific community (majority call it pseudoscience) and these are:

  • Remote Viewing,

    According to Wikipedia, remote viewing (RV) is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target using subjective means, in particular, extrasensory perception (ESP) or "sensing with mind".

  • Consciousness,

    Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness. It is ever-increasing awareness of your spiritual essence (soul), the meaning of life and of the underlying spiritual nature in all things.

  • Extra-sensory perception (ESP),

    Extrasensory perception or ESP includes reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP.

  • Near-Death Experiences,

    A sensation or vision, as of the afterlife, reported by a person who has come close to death.

  • Out-of-body experience (OBE) or Astral projection,

    Personal experiences during which people feel as if they are perceiving the physical world from a location outside of their physical bodies. Common aspects include being in an "out-of-body" body much like the physical one, feeling a sense of energy, feeling vibrations, and hearing strange loud noises

  • Kirlian photography,

    Photographic techniques used to capture the phenomenon of electrical coronal discharges which are depictions of the auric or human energy field.

  • Meditation,

    Is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness (self-induced and with full self-awareness). Goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm.

    The meditation from ancient times is the method of communication with other realms/planes of existence (Sephiroth) and entities (higher self, astral beings, dead relatives, demons, angels, God, etc.), astral travel, remote viewing, clairvoyance or altering your body (Reiki, accessing Tree of Life and chakras (See: A Kabbalistic View of the Chakras), spiritual/3rd eye (Binah-Hokhmah) or DNA activation) or time-space reality (psychokinesis, teleportation, opening time/space portals) and many more.

  • Telepathy, Clairvoyance and hypnosis,

    Telepathy and clairvoyance are fancy names for Remote viewing (RV).

Note that Wikipedia is not reliable source in these topics and can easily get you off the track, as by its policy - doesn't takes any sides and it states only majority and neutral point of view.


Are there any real studies?

Please realize that each of above sections and studies are huge and this can't be described here, this is only to show you a brief idea how vast it is. There are plenty of books and research some tempered with semi-religious overtones, some of them clearly scientific so you should start investigate by your-self.

Please find few interesting cherry picks:


Kirlian photography

There are some evidences in form of Kirlian photography where Russian scientist Konstantin Korotkov, who claims to photographs the soul leaving the body at death.

Using bioelectrographic cameras you can record a physical manifestation of the spiritual aura or spiritual "life force" which allegedly surrounds each living thing. A Sephirot is a channel of Divine energy or life-force.


Consciousness

Conventional neuroscience teaches that consciousness (or spiritual soul) is a byproduct that arises from the activity of biochemical and electromagnetic brain. But more researches indicates the opposite is true.

A pair of world-renowned quantum scientists says they can prove the existence of the soul. American Dr Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose developed a quantum theory of consciousness asserting that our souls are contained inside structures called microtubules which live within our brain cells. Their idea stems from the notion of the brain as a biological computer, "with 100 billion neurons and their axonal firings and synaptic connections acting as information networks". Dr Hameroff, Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology and Director of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, and Sir Roger have been working on the theory since 1996.

Marcel Joseph Vogel (research scientist working at the IBM) claimed to be able to duplicate the "Backster effect" using plants as transducers for bio-energetic fields from the human mind, showing that they respond to human thought. He claimed his findings had the same effect irrespective of distance and suggested that "inverse square law does not apply to thought". Vogel was a proponent of research into plant consciousness. He spurred fellow researcher Randall Fontes into furthering this work. He gave his theories regarding the possibility of communication between plants.

Read more:


Near-Death Experiences

There are other scientific evidences supporting separation of body and mind (or consciousness), some examples include Near-Death Experiences [NDE] and the afterlife.

Dr. Kenneth Ring published a scientific paper in the Journal of Near-Death Studies (Summer, 1993) about people who had a near-death experience (NDE) of a type that provides verified evidence supporting the existence of an afterlife.

Currently, a large scientific study - called the The AWARE Study - is currently underway cross Europe and America to determine if veridical perception is a scientific fact. A second study - called The Immortality Project - was awarded $2.4 million by the John Templeton Foundation to fund such projects.

There are many people who have had near death experiences or out of body experiences would swear on their graves that it's real. Scientifically, that's not considered proof, it's an oddity, something that can't be explained.

Sources:


Out-of-body experience (OBE) / Astral projection

Astral projection works with the scientific method, meaning that you can personally try and experience it yourself. There are techniques to do it, and it can be done with practice, and with practice you'll be able to see for yourself if there's any validity to such experiences. Even the most skeptical person can have an out of body experience, if they practice sufficiently to succeed. This happened in the case of the neurologist who recently wrote a book about heaven being real, but it can happen for anyone.

Ability to astral travel is enough evidence of separation of our brain and mind. I don't think there will be ever any scientific proof of the astral travel, generally speaking science can't proof much, that's why we still call them theories e.g. Big Bang theory, Quantum theory, etc. So I think the people experiences are the most convincing facts.

There is also famous documentary called DMT: The Spirit Molecule which is an investigation into the long-obscured mystery of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a molecule found in nearly every living organism and considered the most potent psychedelic on Earth. The documentary traces Dr. Rick Strassman's government-sanctioned, human DMT research and its many trials, tribulations, and inconceivable realizations. A closer examination of DMT's effects through the lens of two traditionally opposed concepts, science and spirituality, The Spirit Molecule explores the connections between cutting-edge neuroscience, quantum physics, and human spirituality.

Suggested books:


Remote Viewing

U.S. Government interest in the phenomenon dates back at least to World War II, when captured documents revealed some fascinating German experiments in the application of the paranormal to military intelligence. But it wasn't until the 1970's, when the U.S. discovered that Soviet Union was spending 60 million rubles annually on "psychotronic" research. Afraid of being left behind in a "psychic arms race," the CIA funded a research proposal from two laser physicists at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). It was these two scientists—Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff—who developed the first protocols and coined the term "remote viewing" (RV). Proponents of the research said that a minimum accuracy rate of 65% required by the clients was consistently exceeded in the later experiments. In 1990 the program moved to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a major defense contractor and a Fortune 500 company with some 38,000 employees worldwide. In 1995, the project was transferred to the CIA and a retrospective evaluation of the results was done. A report by Utts claimed the results were evidence of psychic functioning. The CIA terminated the 20 million dollar project, because the government determined that even if there is some truth to the remote viewing claims, it is too unreliable to be of any military value and no practical value to the intelligence community. When the CIA hired the American Institute for Research—an intel-industry contractor—to conduct an evaluation of RV programs in 1995, the evaluators were only shown the results from the last few years of work at Fort Meade, much of which was frankly garbage; earlier work by viewers like Price and McMoneagle remained classified.

Utts and Dr. Ray Hyman, a psychologist at the University of Oregon and a skeptic, issued separate reports on the Star Gate studies. Utts concluded that "psychic functioning has been well established."

According to Wikipedia, a key sponsor of the research internally at Fort Meade, MD, MG Stubblebine was convinced of the reality of a wide variety of psychic phenomena. He required that all of his Battalion Commanders learn how to bend spoons a la Uri Geller, and he himself attempted several psychic feats, even attempting to walk through walls. In the early 1980s he was responsible for the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), during which time the remote viewing project in the US Army began. He also confirms the stunning success of US Army remote viewing Project Stargate.

Based on the above, The United States Government's involvement in remote viewing is real. At one time or another, the Army, the Navy, the CIA have all funded remote viewing projects. Many other branches of the military and the government—the Navy and Air Force, as well as NSA and NASA, invested in remote viewing. Their programs are less well known and classified.

As Major General Ed Thompson, Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence from 1977 to 1981, once said:

"I never liked to get into debates with skeptics, because if you didn't believe that remote viewing was real, you hadn't done your homework."

Please check more scientific research papers: academic publications and research library at Cognitive Sciences Laboratory (CSL).

See also:


On April 17, 1995, President Clinton issued Executive Order Nr. 1995-4-17, entitled Classified National Security Information. In July 1995 the CIA declassified, and approved for release, documents revealing its sponsorship in the 1970s of a program at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, to determine whether such phenomena as remote viewing "might have any utility for intelligence collection".

Official CIA Statements/Perspectives

With regard to admission by the government of its use of remote viewers under operational conditions, officials have on occasion been relatively forthcoming. President Carter, in a speech to college students in Atlanta in September 1995, is quoted by Reuters as saying that during his administration a plane went down in Zaire, and a meticulous sweep of the African terrain by American spy satellites failed to locate any sign of the wreckage. It was then "without my knowledge" that the head of the CIA (Adm. Stansfield Turner) turned to a woman reputed to have psychic powers. As told by Carter, "she gave some latitude and longitude figures. We focused our satellite cameras on that point and the plane was there." Independently, Turner himself also has admitted the Agency's use of a remote viewer (in this case, Pat Price). And recently, in a segment taped for the British television series Equinox, Maj. Gen. Ed Thompson, Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army (1977-1981), volunteered "I had one or more briefings by SRI and was impressed.... The decision I made was to set up a small, in-house, low-cost effort in remote viewing...."

Sources:


Telepathy, Clairvoyance and hypnosis

Telepathy and clairvoyance are fancy names for Remote viewing (RV).

The CIA funded a research proposal from two laser physicists at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). Two scientists—Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff—who developed the first protocols and coined the term "remote viewing," largely to get away from having to use words like paranormal, psychic, and clairvoyance, which tended to make the Government uncomfortable.

If the remote viewer gets messages of a site from a person who is at the site looking around, then it would be telepathy. If the remote viewer gets messages of a site by "perceiving" the site psychically, then it would be clairvoyance.

Experiments combining clairvoyance and hypnosis go back for centuries. In 1849 the famous mathematician, Augustus de Morgan (1806–1871), wrote of his first experience with what came to be known as "traveling clairvoyance." The early mesmerists (hypnotists) carried out many experiments during which the subjects would be asked to "go somewhere" mentally and to describe what they saw.

It's common knowledge that gifted clairvoyants (or RV) who're cooperating with police, FBI, CIA, etc. and they're known as psychic detectives.

“To the present day, no one has come up with a persuasive experimental design that can unambiguously distinguish between telepathy and clairvoyance....Based on the experimental evidence, it is by no means clear that pure telepathy exists per se, nor is it certain that real-time clairvoyance exists." The evidence "can all be accommodated by various forms of precognition.", Dean Radin

See: ESP Researchers


Tests of remote viewing often involve having one person go to a remote site, while another tries to get impressions of the site. There is no way to distinguish telepathy from clairvoyance in such tests. Some tests have the one being tested try to get impressions from giving him coordinates on a map, for example. But even in those tests if someone is at those coordinates there is no way to know whether any impressions were coming from that person or from the site itself or from other unknown sources, such as the Akashic record.

Ingo Swann and Harold Sherman claim to have done remote viewing of Mercury and Jupiter. Targ and Puthoff reported that their remote viewing compared favorably to the findings of the Mariner 10 and Pioneer 10 research spacecraft. Isaac Asimov did a similar comparison and found that 46% of the observation claims of the astral travelers were wrong. Also, only one out of 65 claims made by the remote viewers was a fact that either was not obvious or not obtainable from reference books.

McMoneagle was in the army for 16 years, apparently serving some or most of that time as a psychic spy. He claims he helped locate the U.S. hostages taken by Iran during Jimmy Carter's presidency.


According to Courtney Brown (social scientist at Emory University), the remote viewing is the ability to accurately perceive information at great distances across space and time - longer needs depends upon a few gifted individuals because we know that SRV (Scientific Remote Viewing) can be taught and learned, and the reliability of trained individuals is "generally much greater than that of the best natural psychics.

Brown next informs us that he discovered SRV after making contact with several of the Pentagon's ex-psychic warriors who successfully spied on the Kremlin during the Cold War.

Following a brief history of the U.S. Military Psychic Warfare Program, we are informed about the work of Robert Jahn and Harold Puthoff and Robert Monroe and Ingo Swann and how important meditation and the work of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is in teaching one to use SRV. After learning how one uses the mind and imagination to sail off into the wild blue yonder and how to master the seven stages of SRV protocols and the six different types of remote-viewing data.

Scientific historians of the next century will no doubt regard January 1996 as the period of the greatest scientific breakthrough in all of human history. It was in this month that two of mankind's greatest scientific accomplishments of all time were announced: the conquest of space and the conquest of time! What is even more remarkable is that these mind-boggling discoveries were made by two relatively unknown individuals with doctorate degrees, but who chanced upon perhaps the greatest scientific discovery of all time -- scientific remote viewing! Using scientific remote viewing (SRV) to conquer space was the discovery of one Courtney Brown, Ph.D., a political science professor at Emory University.

We must not nitpick, however. Dr. Brown informs us that the farthest reaches of the universe are now open to us and can be reached in short order using his rigorous and exacting remote-viewing protocols developed by the US military for espionage purposes. Although these methods are new, they are "valid and exceptionally reliable research instruments, regardless of whether many other scientists yet accept them or are familiar with them".

Sources:


Books:

  • PSI Spies: The True Story of America's Psychic Warfare Program by Jim Marrs
  • Remote Viewing: The Science and Theory of Nonphysical Perception by Courtney Brown

    It's serious scientific book that not only demonstrates the reality of remote viewing but goes beyond that to provide a set of creative hypotheses and experiments about its underlying properties.

  • Phenomenal World by Joan D'Arc
  • The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by PhD Radin Dean (researcher and scientist at IONS)
  • Mind Trek by Joe McMoneagle
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson
  • Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies by Jim Schnabel

Extra-sensory perception (ESP)

From World War II until the 1970s the U.S. government occasionally funded ESP research. When the US intelligence community learned that the USSR and China were conducting ESP research, it became receptive to the idea of having its own competing psi research program.

The problem of extra-sensory perception (ESP) is engaging increasing interest in scientific circles, both in America and the Soviet Union, as well as Western Europe. The experiments carried out over the last decades have accumulated a formidable array of evidence that ESP actually takes place. Since these phenomena are at first sight inexplicable in the context of contemporary science this gives rise to the problem. How are we to account for them? A few die-hard Newtonian mechanists claim that the scientists concerned have all been guilty of deliberate fraud. Other scientists are convinced by the evidence and claim that ESP has already been established. [...] What is apparent is that fewer and fewer scientists are merely uninterested.

Source: Science and ESP edited by J R Smythies (book)

Quotes by Edgar Mitchell, American pilot, retired Captain in the United States Navy and NASA astronaut:

“The subject of the societies’ concern can be broadly classified as Extrasensory Perception (ESP, psychokinesis (PK), and survival phenomena (theta). Collectively, they are referred to as psi, the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet and the first letter in the Greek word for “psyche”, meaning “mind” or “soul.” - Mitchell

“Telepathy, for example, had been extensively studied and documented for a century. The work of J.B. Rhine, Rene Warcollier, S.G. Soal, and many others, including the astounding experiment between Harold Sherman and Sir Hubert Wilkins in the Arctic, could leave no doubt about its existence.” - Mitchell

“ESP is a psychic event in which information is transmitted through channels outside the known sensory channels, either in waking consciousness, trance, or dreams.” - Mitchell


New Scientist Magazine did a questionaire on parapsychology in 1973. It’s first conclusion reported that:

“parapsychology is clearly counted as being exceedingly interesting and relevant by a very large number of today’s working scientists.”

25% of the respondents held ESP to be an established fact, with another 42% declaring it a likely possibility.

“This positive attitude was based, in about 40% of the sample, on reading reports in scientific books and journals. Moreso came from a majority whose convictions arose from personal experience. There was a strong undercurrent among respondents that too much time was being spent proving the existence of ESP, when the real need was to “get on with finding out how it works.”


Stop trying to “prove it”, start trying to figure out what is going on. As you try to figure out what’s going on, you might just stumble across some real science on your way.


Books:

  • Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science. by Edgar D. Mitchell, ScD

So how does proof the existence of the soul? It's up to you how deep you want to go, if it's enough logical proof and if you can connect all the dots together. If you want to go further, then learn how to meditate as it is the key to your inner infinite wisdom.

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wow, thanks for the info –  ray Sep 18 at 17:41

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