world soul

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

world soul (uncountable)

  1. (religion, philosophy) A single, unifying spirit believed by some to animate every living being in the world and to underlie the value of every inanimate thing as well.
    • 1633, John Donne, "The Canonization":
      You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;
      Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove
      Into the glasses of your eyes
    • 1847, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The World-Soul":
      Thanks to the morning light,
      Thanks to the seething sea,
      To the uplands of New Hampshire,
      To the green-haired forest free . . .
    • 1912, Marian Fell (translator) Anton Chekhov (author), The Seagull, act 1:
      NINA: The bodies of all living creatures have dropped to dust, and eternal matter has transformed them into stones and water and clouds; but their spirits have flowed together into one, and that great world-soul am I!
    • 1913 Gilbert Keith Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature, ch. 1:
      Like many ungainly or otherwise unattractive Scotchmen, he [Thomas Carlyle] was a seer. By which I do not mean to refer so much to his transcendental rhapsodies about the World-soul or the Nature-garment or the Mysteries and Eternities generally.
    • 1940 April 29, "Scientist on Immortality," Time:
      During the long nights on the mountain overshadowing Pasadena, he has done a lot of unorthodox thinking about the human mind, the human soul, the World Soul, Cosmic Consciousness, Cosmos, God.
    • 2001 June 3, Marina Warner, "Books: Where Heaven Touches Down," New York Times (retrieved 19 July 2011):
      [H]er vision of Sant'Agnese resembles the beautiful Neoplatonist concept of the world soul as a great boat, in which every individual is a member of the crew who rows it through the cosmos for the space of existence, and then merges back into its fabric.

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