There is an aspect to the question of what the soul is which is startling and strange, but so widespread that it cannot be avoided. It is connected to the popular idea that we all have a guardian angel. According to a US poll in the 1990s, sixty-nine per cent of Americans believe in angels. Forty-six per cent have their own guardian angels and thirty-two per cent have felt an angelic presence.
If the universe is alive, if solar systems are alive, if galaxies are alive, if planets are alive, are they conscious? Or are they alive but unconscious, in the same way that perhaps a worm or a bacterium might be alive but unconscious? And is the kind of life that may exist in the cosmos more conscious than ourselves, or do we have to assume it’s a great deal less conscious than ourselves? Are we the smartest beings in the universe? Now the usual answer of science is yes. I think that’s a very improbable assumption.