8 thoughts on “How does adoption affects [sic] the soul?

  1. I don’t know why some of these search phrases stick in my craw so much. There’s one at my blog that has 100 permutations of “adopt falsely”—”adopt falsely definition”, “name meaning adopt falsely”, “meaning adopt falsely”, etc.—which I think would refer to “kidnapping”, or else is just a complete oxymoron.

    I start reading into the intent of the search, and between the lines of the search phrase, and attempt to fathom the psyche of the one searching. “Affect [sic] the soul” of whom? The adopter? This points to someone perhaps of an evangelical bent, believing the hype about being the “adopted sons” of God. (This, based on a mistranslation of the Greek from an unknown Aramaic source which would have two completely separate cultural concepts being referred to as “adoption”.)

    Effect the soul of the adoptee? This seems to focus on our “salvation”, which would probably source from the same place as above.

    This is a bit tangential to the karma discussion we had previously [ link ] which focused more on karmic concepts outside of the monotheistic trio, but reflecting back to them. If we forefront religions which focus on the notion of a soul, what might the effect be on our souls as adoptees? If there is physical rupture, can there be metaphysical rupture as well?

    • Daniel: can you expand on what you are referring to here:

      (This, based on a mistranslation of the Greek from an unknown Aramaic source which would have two completely separate cultural concepts being referred to as “adoption”.)

      • This is quoting from my conference paper. I’m basically saying that Arabic and Aramaic, both Semitic languages, share a conceptual common cultural base, and so it is invalid to project modern mistranslations onto the culture of the time of the Bible:

        Most important in terms of our discussion is that mutabanna [current spoken usage] is not the word translated within the Qur’an as “adopted”; there are in fact two such terms. The first, ad‘iya’a, comes from a root that means “to be claimed by or advocated for”, such as a townsperson is “claimed” socially speaking by a town. In this light, the one so referenced is an unpossessed extension thereof, a literal incorporation, a part of a greater whole that cannot be individually separated out

        The second term found in the Qur’an translated as “adopted” is itakhadha which means “taken in”, as is found in the story of Joseph. The idea of a “son” in the familial sense of the term here is secondary to what might be seen as the acquisition of a “useful” boy servant. More to the point, Joseph’s “adoption” is described in an economic light: He was “hidden as a merchandise” and then “sold for a paltry sum” as he was “given no value” according to the Qur’anic description.

        Most importantly, the Qur’an is very explicit that given Joseph’s eventual reunion with his family, his servitude as well as his rise to power are temporary and invalid situations. Thus we might say that this is a negative use of the term, yet is the one that most closely maps onto the Anglo-Saxon notion of adoption covered so far. Most obvious at this point is that the usual translations gloss over this quite important distinction.

  2. My bias reads the search as the soul of the adoptee, although it might be more interesting vis-a-vis the adopter.

    If I start with the standard dichotomy between (valorized) spirit and (denigrated) matter, then this immaterial/material split immediately posits two more categories: materialized immateriality and immaterialized matter … or (less obscurely): spiritualized matter (Life, with a capital L), and materialized spirit (soul).

    This is the way that I understand soul, and the historically specific expression in the world of one’s otherwise eternal, unchanging spirit. In general, the distinction between soul and spirit (psyche and pneuma) has fallen out of usage, so I expect that the searcher actually means “spirit”. However, if spirit is one’s eternal, unchanging nature, then clearly adoption (along with everything else) has no effect whatsoever on the “soul” in that sense.

    This conflation of soul and spirit would be where I’ suggest trying to tease out what the question might mean in the context of (the trio of) intolerant monotheism(s). In this respect, Fate and Destiny have little meaning, because the divine’s Providence establishes everything from the beginning, to the despair of logic and human existence. In this case, to be adopted must necessarily be Providence, so it necessarily is an integral 9though also inseparable and unchangeable) part of one’s soul: as the historically specific expression of eternal spirit in the world.

    Soul would seem to be conditioned by time and place, so adoption affects it insofar as adoption explicitly involves a change of time and place–more specifically, a change of culture, because the change of time and place is not simply like vacationing or traveling to a foreign land for a while. Once again, I could invoke the assumed goodness of Providence (even if that outcome means rotting in Hell or the equivalent for eternity), but properly speaking that is a matter for the spirit (after death) and not a part of one’s “walk with the divine” while alive.

    The overlooked category in all of this is Life (with a capital L). So one might also ask, how does adoption affect one’s Life (as spiritualized matter). I imagine the searcher poses the question as (s)he did because spirit is valorized over matter–the drama of the journey of one’s soul is accorded far more attention generally than the journey of one’s Life.

  3. Let me just lay this out for thought and reflection. This is certainly not to be taken dogmatically. One problem with the word “soul” is its long association with religious contexts. It has acquired a bunch of meanings. I want to get to an experiential feeling for the idea.

    1) The soul has produced adoption practice. Not just a single soul, but many over a long time and many cultures. Adoption practice is related to a wide set of social practices, policies and beliefs. Everything (unless it is purely natural) is the result of human thinking. Adoption is an effect of the soul.
    2) Like all social things, phenomena of all kinds, adoption works back on the soul – affects thinking and feeling. In our thinking, we may effect change with the help of social influences in adoption practices, beliefs. Our own subjective considerations about the impacts, the various phenomena, that we result from our observations about adoption and its wider context work into us, perhaps strengthening resolves, educating us about people and society, creating questions.
    3) There is a future aspect to the effects in our soul. As individuals we may or may not believe that there is a future to the soul beyond the boundaries of death. This subject is dependent upon belief which is not to say mere opinion. The work upon the soul for future evolution of the individual and society is taken into consciousness which strengthens thoughts and feelings, adding a personal element. These processed elements engage other spiritual realities who engage in whatever way they will. Meanwhile the persisting part of the soul takes a residue of experiences into another incarnation.

  4. You both have given answers providing a lot of amazing food for thought. SL, this separating of the corporal from the spiritual is something that bothers me; the philosophical roots of it influenced Islamic philosophy as well; the Sufis speak of “seven facets” of the soul, which integrates the two, but ultimately there is a separation. Mark, you seem to be saying (correct me if I’m wrong) that the “soul” is not inherent to an individual, and has a preponderant weight that projects backward in time and carries forward in time. I have to think about this a bit. Thank you both.

    • The thinking and feeling part of a human life is the “soul”. The individual, through consciousness, becomes aware of thinking and feeling. World and social events are effected by the soul, unless they are purely natural (like earthquakes or volcanoes). The events interact with each of us, more or less consciously – and through our thinking about them and feeling stimulated by them – react or respond to events (such as adoption practices). Or not. The inner aspect of these processes of thinking and feeling are real. The question is what becomes of these in the long run.

    • Hey Daniel: if I gave the impression that I don’t find the valorization of spirit over matter to be a problem, I apologize; I was articulating the point of view, not my point of view.

      In terms of the terms I used, I would be inclined to like “soul” as being neither only spirit or matter. Apparently Aristotle (the fuck) did correctly note that some things may be analytically separable but are only comprehensible synthetically, i.e., in their non-separated state. Thus,w e might separate a sonnet into form and content, but form and content only analyze the holistic thing that the sonnet itself is.

      Thus, again striking with my terms, I’d be inclined to say that “soul” may be analytically separable into matter and spirit, but matter and spirit themselves analytically don’t tell us what the “soul” This sense of soul has strong links to soul food and soul music (and also Thomas Moore’s fantastic “Care of the Soul”), and in this sense is a sense of soul I’m not disinclined towards.

      The separation of matter and spirit is problematic enough; the valorization of spirit over matter (or vice versa, when I encounter it) is a major, if not central, problem currently in many places. I have a full-length play I wrote about this, in fact.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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