What Is a Soul?
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What Is a Soul?

Why Pixar's new movie Soul is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

What Is a Soul?

Some of life's biggest questions include "what is the meaning of life?", "are we alone?", "is there a soul?" and on occasion, "should pineapple go on pizza?". For hundreds of years, scholars and philosophers have gone back and forth on the existence of a soul, with conflicting views such as monism, which states that the soul and the body are one, and dualism, which states that the soul and the body are separate. I personally have pondered into this question myself on occasion, and frankly, there is no way to disprove or prove that there is a soul. It's just something that is reserved to each person. But in Pixar's new movie Soul, the question to whether or not people have a soul isn't asked, it's outright said that people have a soul. What the movie does do, is provide an insight to what a soul is and how we find our meaning in life.

Meet Joe Gardner, a middle age band teacher with a deep and intense love for jazz music, and who has been chasing his dreams of becoming a great jazz pianist his whole life. We open up into the movie with him in band practice, trying to conduct a band where is obvious that no one cares. Put shortly, his life is boring, save for when he plays music. When he plays jazz piano, he goes into a trance, where the entire screen goes blue and he feels like he is floating. That same day, he gets a gig with a big time jazz saxophonist, Dorothea Williams. Here is where the movie starts. As he's walking down the street, excited about his big break, he falls into a manhole, and lands in a dark place as a blue blob. He looks up and sees a great big light, which is revealed to be the great beyond. Joe has died, and is being transported to the afterlife. The plot from here is driven by Joe going on an adventure to get back to his body, accompanied by soul 22, a reluctant and annoying soul who wants anything but to go to earth. But when soul 22 falls into Joe's body, she starts to experience life, and sees the beauty of life in the simplest of things. All the while, Joe tells her that these things are just "everyday things", and that it's nothing to be excited about. The movie has too many details to go into right now, but long story short, Joe learns that the meaning of life isn't one thing, its about appreciating everything and noticing the beauty in the smallest of things (or at least that's what I got from the movie).

The movie explores topics such as depression, existentialism, and the soul in the best and simplest of ways I've ever seen. In terms of depression, there is a place in the movie that is not unlike limbo, where lost souls are stuck because of their own mentality that they are only meant for one thing or that they're not good enough. Soul 22 becomes stuck in limbo because of her thoughts that she could never life a meaningful life. Joe saves her from here by giving her a flower petal that she grabbed from the air while in Joe's body, showing how she was ready to live, and that life is about finding beauty in things rather than focusing on one vocation. Joe learned this lesson too, when he was told by Jerry (what I can only assume was this worlds God) that there is no purpose in life, and that we humans have a bad habit of assigning phrases to concepts that we couldn't even begin to understand. A quote from Dorothea Williams, however, is what struck me. She told Joe a story about a young fish asking the older fish where the ocean was. The older fish tells him that he's in the ocean, and the younger fish replies that he's in water, and that what he is looking for, is the ocean.

This movie is honestly one of the best movies I've seen in a while, and it has become an instant favorite in my book. It's also a lot to write about in one article, so I'm going to leave it up to you to watch it yourself and pass your own judgements.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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