What the soul is, is of no concern for us to know; what it is like, what its manifestations are, is of very great importance.
~ Juan Luis Vives, De anima et vita
Vives saw half his family murdered by the Spanish Inquisition and so knew the blunt force of abstraction when applied to the job of defining the soul. Metaphysical temptations to the contrary, we sense the truth of what he says. To know impressionist painting or mechanized warfare (manifestations, perhaps, of the soul’s extremities) solely in terms of refraction of pigments or caliber of armaments is nothing but a technically informed ignorance. Similarly, we seem to estrange ourselves through attempts at direct acquaintance but proceed somewhat toward self knowledge by means of metaphor.