The doctrine of a world-soul in a highly abstract form is met with as early as the eighth century before Christ, when we find it described as "the unseen seer, the unheard hearer, the unthought thinker, the unknown knower, the Eternal in which space is woven and which is woven in it." In Greece, on the other hand, the first essays of philosophy took a positive and somewhat materialistic direction, inherited from the pre-philosophic age, from Homer and the early Greek religion.
In Homer, while the distinction of soul and body is recognized, the soul is hardly conceived as possessing a substantial existence of its own.
Even uncivilized peoples arrive at the concept of the soul almost without reflection, certainly without any severe mental effort.
The mysteries of birth and death, the lapse of conscious life during sleep and in swooning, even the commonest operations of imagination and memory, which abstract a man from his bodily presence even while awake-all such facts invincibly suggest the existence of something besides the visible organism, internal to it, but to a large extent independent of it, and leading a life of its own.
Severed from the body, it is a mere shadow, incapable of energetic life.
the well-known allegory of the charioteer and the two steeds in that dialogue).
Often, as among the Fijians, it is represented as a miniature replica of the body, so small as to be invisible.
The Samoans have a name for the soul which means "that which comes and goes".
It is composed of two elements, one an element of "sameness" ( tauton ), corresponding to the universal and intelligible order of truth, and the other an element of distinction or "otherness" ( thateron ), corresponding to the world of sensible and particular existences.
The individual human soul is constructed on the same plan.