It's extremely difficult for me to believe that when I think of myself as being "just a physical body" I'm missing something. I am "just" a physical body, but ... what a fantastic entity this physical body is! If we think only for 10 seconds about the incredible number of events that needed to take place in the "right direction" for this "inferior" physical body to exist, then we are no longer going to to say, ever, that "just being a physical body" is not something extremely special in the Universe.
Yes, I am very proud to be a physical body, and a great one at that. I don't have to imagine a supreme being with whom to connect in order to transcend my physical body. And there is no way that I will ever accept that the being inside this body is anything else but one of the functionalities of the body itself. Do you want to call this inner formation "a soul"? Go ahead! Call it anything you wish! However, it won't change what it really is: a physical body with incredible intellectual capabilities.
Our body is a mixture of atoms, fixed into molecules. As an entity, it is simply marvelous. It takes longer for a Sun to form itself and start generating energy to supply to surrounding planets, than it takes, once the proper planet is formed, to generate living creatures. The rare thing here is the planet appropriate for life.
Once the proper planet exists, then the level to which these living entities can evolve depends on time and lots of different and complex conditions. In our case, our species, homo sapiens sapiens, is an extreme amongst the extremes. It's so special! If you conceived for a moment the degree of value that our body has, you would never think that believing of ourselves to be "just physical bodies" is something that needs to be fixed with connecting with "supreme beings". We are supreme beings!
The simple fact that we can conceive our existence, that is, to be conscious of the fact that we exist as aware entities, is already a great marvel in itself. We are aware that we exist, we are aware that we evolve, we are aware of the Universe in which we exist. We have made up a large number of expressions to call our essence and that which surrounds us. We are now aware—if we don't get ourselves lost in the "supreme being" attractive idea—that the simple event of our existence is an incredibly improbable happening in the Universe. And yet, we also know now that, after all, the Universe itself has a tendency to create places where beings similar to us can exist.
We are—something difficult to understand—just one form of life. And life is the concept we have developed so we can name entities that evolve according to a program embedded in helical molecules, perfectly bound together, that we call DNA. We get to become whatever we become—as living organisms—because during millions and millions of years—"year" being just one unit of time, so we can get the idea—molecules of certain elements get together, bind themselves using the free orbits of their atoms and determine to register the bindings into DNA, so the same variations of molecule bindings can take place in almost exactly the same way, time after time after time.
Why do we need the concept of "soul"? Even if the soul, spirit, supreme being hypothesis were true, things would not change for our living condition. We would still need to forego the living paths programmed in our cells and then in our particular creations as a different species. So, what do the souls or spirits need to "come down" to matter—the inferior element—and invade bodies that are already equipped with every single element they need in order be conscious of their existence? If the souls are real, then do they duplicate the capabilities of the physical body?
Everything that traditionally has been intended to be explained as possible only because of the soul, we know now that happens inside the brain. It's the brain and the way its neurons are connected, and they were they interact, that what we call "thinking" happens. Our memories are nothing but active connections amongst neurons. Our feelings and what we call consciousness exist within the brain functions, and the brain itself is only one more organ of the "physical body" they are always under valuing in the name of the superiority of the soul.
I don't even need to ask the question of where the idea of the soul came from. It's useless and we all know the answer. We have learned that different human conglomerates throughout their histories developed different theories to explain what they didn't understand. They created hypothesis and tried to improve them as some deeds were impossible to explain. The soul is the most logical concept to design, since our thought and our imagination almost depict ourselves as separate entities from our bodies. But the fact is that we aren't! Our consciousness, no matter how "superior" it might look to you, is something that exists within the confines of your working organism.
Yes, sadly, when the body stops working, it all ceases to exist. So, the soul doesn't go anywhere? Is there no soul? Then, what is the meaning of life?
Who said that life needed a meaning? Does the Universe need a meaning? Things need meanings only because we abstract them from the flow of events in which they are all embedded. We become real slaves of our beliefs, false beliefs. Why don't we try to concentrate in appreciating the real value of what we are? We are great bodies in an incredible Universe and we know we are! And this is the most fantastic element of it all.