Shia Labeouf’s latest performance art piece is called #touchmysoul and has
people talking about the soul. Labeouf invited people to call him at a special telephone
number set up for this performance and “touch his soul.” No further information
was given. It is an interesting concept. From the perspective of the collective
that put together this performance piece, the soul seems to be the seat of
emotions. What they are asking for is someone who will make them smile, give
them goosebumps, or affect their emotions in some way. So, how does one touch
another person’s soul? What is a soul? How do we touch the soul? Dallas Willard
had this to say about the soul.
“While the brain has its role in
emotions, intellect, and will, and while people’s bodies are essential, we must
always remember that the person is the ultimate unit of
analysis: you, me. Thought, feeling, action (involving the body, as well as
relations to others) are ultimately dimensions of the person. And it is the
soul that combines all the dimensions of the person to form one life. It is
like a computer system, which runs an entire commercial operation.”[1]
“The soul is one non-physical
dimension of the person. A human person is a non-physical (spiritual) entity
that has an essential involvement with a particular physical body. The brain,
then—a piece of meat that is of more than usual interest—is one part of the
embodied dimension of the human person. It too is integrated by the soul into
one life, along with all of the dimensions of the person (at least when all is
Augustine, described
the soul as “a special substance, endowed with reason, adapted to rule the

In contemporary
thinking, perhaps a helpful metaphor is to think of the soul as the operating
system (OS) that organizes the actions and thoughts of a person. Many things
will touch or affect the soul but some will affect more than others. We may
experience a beautiful piece of music that affects the soul. Poetry, paintings,
photography, a well-told story or movie may also touch the soul. Theoretically,
if we touch a soul, that soul will be changed forever and will affect the
operating system of the person. If the OS is changed, the whole being is
This leads me
to want to touch the soul of others. It causes me to ask questions about how I
affect others (for good or bad) and causes me to want to have a positive
influence on the souls of those around me. If I can “touch a soul” in a good
way, I can make that person a better person and ultimately affect the world.
What could be grander than that?

[3] The Greatness of the Soul,

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