Contrary to popular belief, souls are not perfect (the idea of perfect souls is incompatible with interactionism and the purpose - what would be the point of physical life if souls were perfect and unchanging?). In fact, souls are initially latent, little aware, and with minimal internal control (akin to children). They need to develop in order to become independent and capable of self-determination. In a way, souls can be seen as a raw material that have to undergo various processes (experiences) and the treatment of tools (the body and mind). In other words, they are the units of volatile energy that require a form to give them stability. To maintain a soul's coherence, its energy is first limited by the body and then by the mind, until the self is capable of controlling it. So, although the soul should not be identified with the mind, the mind (as well as the body) affects the soul. Plutarch (among many others in the Ancient world for whom the perception of the soul was a matter of fact) thought that the variations and movement of colours could reveal the passions and vices of the soul. So, the energy of the soul gradually grows and gets harmonised through the evolution and development of the mind.
The soul is shaped through life experiences, in other words, through an interaction with the internal and external environment. Every experience affects its shape - redistributes energy (which we may be aware of as a feeling, the recognition of the effects that an experience has on us). This, however, does not mean that the soul is directly involved. As in a dream, the dreamer is not really in that realm, but s/he still experiences, and these experiences can have an effect even after waking up. To follow this analogy further, like a dreamer while dreaming, the soul is, in a way, suspended during the life-time. It could be said that the soul sleeps (meaning that the self is not normally aware of non-material reality). This is why the soul does not exist for most of people, as the one who dreams usually does not exist for the one in the dream. In terms of quantum physics, the soul is suspended in a state of uncertainty until the function that is physical life, collapses (at the moment of death). Sometimes the soul can become aware of a larger reality (lucid dreams - when the person realises that s/he is dreaming without actually waking up, would be an equivalent), but such events are arguably rare. This is not to say that the soul is completely passive. The soul affects the brain (body) by intent and energy shifts, but its influence is not very strong, although it can increase in time (the more effects the self can have, the more developed life is). So, differences between souls are the result of having different experiences and making different choices.
The overall dynamic of the soul can be also considered in terms of the balance (or imbalance) between the two basic principles, static and dynamic:
- The stronger static principle is manifested as the slackness of the soul and a longing for security and predictability, which can lead to inertia and stagnation. If this principle is balanced, it can contribute to internal and external harmonisation. Balance is achieved by developing agency (which includes curiosity, courage, creativity, and also personal responsibility).
- The dominant dynamic principle can be recognised as the restlessness of the soul, a longing for freedom from the constrains of the physical environment, body and mind, which can lead to chaos and even madness. If balanced, it can contribute to self-actualisation and development. The balance is achieved by nurturing self-discipline.
The most important characteristic of the soul is that it is a focused energy. This focal point that enables awareness and intent can be called the self. However, the self needs to be distinguished from I (personality); awareness needs to be distinguished from the materials of awareness (such as thoughts, images, feelings etc.); intent also needs to be distinguished from other possible causes of activity (reflexes, urges, desires, will). To make this clearer, these three properties and how they relate to the material aspect of the human being are discussed next.