Entering the Soul Niche

Why is the soul of such long-lasting importance?

Nicholas Humphrey is a theoretical psychologist whose books include Soul Dust. His study of primate psychology led him to a radical new theory of human consciousness.

We spoke to him about why the concept of the soul is one of such longevity, and importance.


The term ‘soul’ carries a lot of religious baggage. Why is it important to revisit this concept?

Sure, the term ‘soul’ carries a lot of  human – not necessarily religious – baggage. But that’s precisely why we need to treat the concept seriously, rather than abjure it. Thanks to the peculiarities of consciousness, human beings have evolved to be spiritual beings. This began to happen perhaps 200,000 years ago, long before institutional religions got a foothold. Religions, just in the last 10,000 years, have found fertile ground in human spirituality and become parasitic on it. Today, religions tend to constrain humans’ native spiritualit

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