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Thread: Do Boats Have Souls

  1. #1
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    Default Do Boats Have Souls

    Have we covered this before?

    Another recent thread about the meaning of replacing large %'s of a boat's parts naturally raised this issue.

    My own take -- I don't know for sure if people have souls. Or don't. Or, if they do, what that means, and what form they take, or how a soul manifests. My suspicion, however, is that there is something spiritual going on that the concept of 'soul' sorta, kinda, maybe, partly addresses.

    And boat? A soul? Again... definitions. And again... certainty. I've got none of either. At least to a high resolution. Just suspicions again. So I have noticed something going on. A phenomenon whereby a boat (or certain other inanimate objects), thru long and intimate usage - having been exposed to our love, anger, care, thought, frustration, satisfaction, blood, sweat, pee, and tears - becomes imbued with something. Something meaningful. Some spirit of its own?

    I remember, as a preteen, the words of a local salmon fisherman whose boat I'd helped maintain. The boat had been in his family for a couple of generations. Upon her sinking, even with plenty of insurance coverage, he said, "When she sank, a part of me went down with her. There'll never be another boat like her. She had the sisu spirit". In fact, that comment inspired the name for one of my boats.

    So... something, methinks.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    In my opinion David, only in the minds of men.

    Humans do bond with inanimate objects though, it's the oxytocin that does it. I bond with my block plane. It doesn't give me an erection, but it feels so right in my hand.

    We also have what I find to be an amazing capacity for mistaking wishful thinking as fact. Just look at the trumpistas for evidence of that. Sorry about bringing politics into it, but there's no better example, except probably religion.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 07-26-2019 at 09:47 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Absolutely boats have souls. They may not come out of the shop/factory with one that's very developed - but they definitely got 'em.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    In a word: no.

    Do people develop feelings of attachment for things? Yes.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Another question along these lines might be, "Is a boat a living thing?" The logical part of me says no, of course, but of all inanimate objects, they seem to come closest.

    I guess sailors are romantics at heart.

    Mike

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Boats, wooden boats at least, have just as much soul as people. That is, none at all, except actually maybe a little.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon1 View Post
    Another question along these lines might be, "Is a boat a living thing?" The logical part of me says no, of course, but of all inanimate objects, they seem to come closest.

    I guess sailors are romantics at heart.

    Mike
    I see boat building as the closest to creating a living thing as I can get with my clothes on, but I don't fool myself into believing it's actually alive. I do talk to them though, especially when conditions on the water are hazardous. "Come on baby, we can do this!", eventually followed by "Thank you sweetheart, you're the best!".

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    I think it might be useful if folks would speak to what 'having a soul' means to them in this instance...

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    No David, you're projecting the emotional experience you feel stimulated by endorphins.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Do people have souls?
    My boat has a sole.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Indeed, I do believe that wooden boats have souls! Each contains, an unspoken quality that which the designer and builder put into them. Each possesses that subtle feeling that defies description, "soul." In my humble opinion, it is an unspoken but very real quality! One of the most provocitive pictures ever painted can be compared to this concept. What does the Mona Lisa say to those who view her and seek to unravel the mystery of her countenance? Michelngelo put the same energy into the David! The Carrera Marble and the beauty of his work speaks to all of us from across the ages; I am a living soul within this stone! Each of us who work in wood and go down to the sea in ships are all perpetuating this concept! Think of it when saiing on a quiet, moon lit night when the boat speaks to you in many subtle ways without the need of words.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 07-26-2019 at 01:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Are boats' souls exclusive to wooden boats only? Can a metal boat have a soul? (I can imagine what the answer would be if I asked about the souls of fiberglass boats.. <grin>) What about carbon-reinforced, fibreglass-sheathed cold-molded wooden boats? Do only pretty boats have souls, leaving ugly workboats to be mere soulless work drudges?
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Are boats' souls exclusive to wooden boats only? Can a metal boat have a soul? (I can imagine what the answer would be if I asked about the souls of fiberglass boats.. <grin>) What about carbon-reinforced, fibreglass-sheathed cold-molded wooden boats? Do only pretty boats have souls, leaving ugly workboats to be mere soulless work drudges?
    They have METAL boats, now? Who knew?

    Peace,
    Totally Serious, Like I Usually Am...

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon1 View Post
    Another question along these lines might be, "Is a boat a living thing?" The logical part of me says no, of course, but of all inanimate objects, they seem to come closest.

    I guess sailors are romantics at heart.

    Mike
    Its not a question along the same lines, its the exact same question, just different wording.

    From the Angelic Doctor:

    To seek the nature of the soul, we must premise that the soul is defined as the first principle of life of those things which live: for we call living things "animate," [i.e. having a soul], and those things which have no life, "inanimate."
    The rest of your statement, I concur 100%. Although I must say, it may be limited to sailboats.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Indeed, I do believe that wooden boats have souls! Each contains, an unspoken quality that which the designer and builder put into them. Each possesses that subtle feeling that defies description, "soul." In my humble opinion, it is an unspoken but very real quality! One of the most provocitive pictures ever painted can be compared to this concept. What does the Mona Lisa say to those who view her and seek to unravel the mystery of her countenance? Michelngelo put the same energy into the David! The Carrera Marble and the beauty of his work speaks to all of us from across the ages; I am a living soul within this stone! Each of us who work in wood and go down to the sea in ships are all perpetuating this concept! Think of it when saiing on a quiet, moon lit night when the boat speaks to you in many subtle ways without the need of words.
    Jay
    indeed Jay.

    you feel it in the very touch, sound it makes and way it speaks back when asked. The ability to recognize the soul depends on the person who seeks the connection by chance or awareness. Moreover wooden boats are like lovers souls, some are wonderful and life long partners. Others are wild and dangerous, fun with the raw potential to hurt. If you are open, they will tell you everything you want to hear and things you don’t. The ones which speak to your inner voice and say “Do not worry my darling, I will bring you safely back to shore.” are the ones which drive this life long passion.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 07-26-2019 at 02:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by peb View Post
    Its not a question along the same lines, its the exact same question, just different wording.

    From the Angelic Doctor:



    The rest of your statement, I concur 100%. Although I must say, it may be limited to sailboats.
    But what of 'animism'? Is there nothing to it at all?

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Well, if they do fiberglass boats have fiberglass souls, metal boats have metal souls and wooden boats have wooden souls.

    I'm as sensitive and aware and imaginative as the next guy and I don't buy it, but do recognize it as a nice warm and fuzzy sentiment that feels good. No harm in that, not, anyway, until some jerk comes along and legislates that since boats have souls boats are persons.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I think it might be useful if folks would speak to what 'having a soul' means to them in this instance...
    David, you posed the original question. So you need to define the term 'soul' if you want anyone to speak specifically to that point. Otherwise, we're all just blabbering.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Otherwise, we're all just blabbering.

    Jeff
    Otherwise?

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I think it might be useful if folks would speak to what 'having a soul' means to them in this instance...
    Let me predicate this by saying that a gal ditched me after 4 years of living together saying "You have no soul or spirituality". I wonder if the fact that 9 days after I moved out she was off to Greece for 3 weeks with a man she eventually married had some connection. However I digress.

    AFAIK, no one has ever come up with a universal definition of "soul" and I believe it is indeed possible to confuse something that "speaks to you" with something that has a soul. However, over the years various cars (an XK140 and a P1800 in particular) have most definitely communicated with me. My Norton even more than those two (though the Norton is a bit schizophrenic with both "Boy this is fun" & "Boy are you stupid" messages, often in quick succession ). All three of these vehicles were largely hand built - the P1800 was a true P1800 - # 300 something from Jensen.

    My dad had a 26' wood sloop & that boat hated me. My bunk was the only one that had a leaky deck above it - but did not drip unless I was in it. The tired old Hercules motor would simply not start if I ran the starter. I literally could let go of the key & my dad would turn it 2 seconds later & it'd start right up. Jib hanks constantly pinched me - but I never got pinched by them on another boat - etc. etc. I won't bore you with more.

    My boat (that I have now) has spoken to me in so many ways I can't even list them all. She sounds completely different if over canvased or heeled over too far. In both cases the rudder feedback is off, the sounds of the water going down the hull are off-key, etc. When I come aboard after being away for a while I feel a sense of welcome identical to what you feel going into a good friend's house. She's found her way back to her mooring in the fog a number of times - even when I was steering wrong. I swear she pauses when I pull up to the mooring so the person in the bow can pick up the ball more easily - other people have even commented on it.

    Last but by no means least, sitting in the salon late in the evening, polishing off the last of the wine after a good meal, I've had many people comment on how content, safe, & warm they feel in her cabin. I believe she loves to see folks having a good time.

    So - call it what you will - I'll call it soul.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Are boats' souls exclusive to wooden boats only? Can a metal boat have a soul? (I can imagine what the answer would be if I asked about the souls of fiberglass boats.. <grin>) What about carbon-reinforced, fibreglass-sheathed cold-molded wooden boats? Do only pretty boats have souls, leaving ugly workboats to be mere soulless work drudges?
    I may not be a wooden boat sailor I would like to be, but a sailor I am and boats and ships have souls and personalities.
    I don't cuss much for a sailor - that said, I may cuss to much for a preacher...

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Velveteen Rabbit FTW.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Velveteen Rabbit FTW.
    There you go chasing rabbits (again).

    Have the men on the chessboard gotten up & told you where to go?

    It'd be slick if they had...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    I don't know if they have souls but they definitely have personalities.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    There you go chasing rabbits (again).

    Have the men on the chessboard gotten up & told you where to go?

    It'd be slick if they had...
    Harvey? Izzat you, Harvey?

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Animism --


    The Spiritual Force and the Spirit World

    The basis of animism is that the spirit world is stronger than humans. The power of the spirit world infuses everything. Spirits are often believed to dwell in particular objects, such as a tree, or places, such as an area of forest or a village. Sometimes they are believed to move around, even following people to different houses or villages.


    Origin of the Spirits

    Some spirits are the souls of deceased ancestors. Others are beings inherent in nature and the spirit realm. For some people the spirits are intermediaries between humans and a higher god. This is often the case in a folk religion, or a primal religion recognizing a supreme god. In other primal religions, the spirits are the primary beings of the spirit realm. As such their help is sought. Sometimes the help of particular spirits is sought for particular occasions, e.g. during illness or war, for marriage or childbirth, or work and study. Help is also sought for better weather conditions or a good harvest.


    Relationship with the Spirits

    Relationship between the spirit world and the human world is ongoing and requires human effort. Some spirits are seen as friendly and helpful, and gratitude is shown by the human effort of prayer or offerings. Other spirits may be evil or troublesome and need to be avoided or appeased. Human effort is required to ensure the goodwill of the spirits and to ensure that they are not offended or neglected.
    Contact with the Spirits
    Last edited by David G; 07-27-2019 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    They do have hawse'oles.

    If that helps?

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    PS.

    I am not referring to the Owners by the way.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Animism --


    The Spiritual Force and the Spirit World

    The basis of animism is that the spirit world is stronger than humans. The power of the spirit world infuses everything. Spirits are often believed to dwell in particular objects, such as a tree, or places, such as an area of forest or a village. Sometimes they are believed to move around, even following people to different houses or villages.


    Origin of the Spirits

    Some spirits are the souls of deceased ancestors. Others are beings inherent in nature and the spirit realm. For some people the spirits are intermediaries between humans and a higher god. This is often the case in a folk religion, or a primal religion recognizing a supreme god. In other primal religions, the spirits are the primary beings of the spirit realm. As such their help is sought. Sometimes the help of particular spirits is sought for particular occasions, e.g. during illness or war, for marriage or childbirth, or work and study. Help is also sought for better weather conditions or a good harvest.


    Relationship with the Spirits
    Relationship between the spirit world and the human world is ongoing and requires human effort. Some spirits are seen as friendly and helpful, and gratitude is shown by the human effort of prayer or offerings. Other spirits may be evil or troublesome and need to be avoided or appeased. Human effort is required to ensure the goodwill of the spirits and to ensure that they are not offended or neglected.
    Contact with the Spirits
    i know this to be true - if we are open, we can know of past and present of things, with people far away, with wild animals whom one encounters and with revered objects which the great father or folks parting some of their own godly essence brought into life which will speak when one is awake to hear. my great grandfather, a powerful shaman-healer for the lennie lenipe tribe, of the Delaware, a man I never met, speaks to me in dreams as a spiritual guide and guardian told me that this is how the world is and not to dismiss the soulful words which are always around us. my most prized objects which i have loved and have spent much my life keeping are more subtle, but will whisper messages of calmness and security, of danger and of their own history before you ever had them in your possession or when they were away from you.

    a wooden boat, a wooden sailboat even more has more input from the builders hand and the owners blood than other things of this soulful sort. As does a fine of knife which many have held, a well loved car which draws one to touch the hood or lovingly embrace the gear stick or even in my case, a wonderful motorcycle I have owned and lived with for more than 35 years.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 07-27-2019 at 12:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    People have felt this way for a long time particularly about boats as evidenced by the tradition of christening them and then refering to them as "she", not "it".

    Building and then launching a boat and seeing it come to life afloat was as close as I will ever come to giving birth.

    Maybe a boat is a vessel for souls, kind of how the body is considered a vessel for your soul. Don't they say "how many souls on board", not how many people?

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Didnít that bony old raft guy carry souls?

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    If boats didn’t have souls, no one would mind a bit when the harbor master called the excavator and dump truck.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Didn’t that bony old raft guy carry souls?

    Peace,
    Robert
    Is that why you nail the coins in the mast then, pay the ferryman when she goes?
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    Assuming all material objects are the happenstance result of a blasting Cosmic pulse, it makes no sense and is a meaningless question.
    As a creative work of human mind and hand, we have material expression of art, besides a mere object ( as already mentioned previously in this thread) and there is very likely a transfer of non-material life to the craft, during the process of creation. This might not be the case where an ape brakes off a twig and tosses it into a stream.
    Knowing something, however, of the magnificence manifest by the Ocean where it meets the southern edge of our African birthplace, the creation of a boat to swim the waters there, surely is imbued with an inherited strength, which could be perceived as a soul.

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    Default Re: Do Boats Have Souls

    I will start off by stating what is my core belief...I was given life by my Creator, and was gifted with a spirit, as are all men. And while we may all have our own varying opinions about that statement, I will hazard that we can mostly agree that man has an abiding impulse to himself create(and, alas, other impulses that are the opposite of creating!).
    Things that our hands touch and shape can take some essence of our life. A trained musician can breathe life into even a cheap school orchestra violin, but if a Stardivarious or Guaneri comes under his hand, sublime sounds are created. Where does music that moves our hearts come from? Why does great Art transfix us? Why does a simple skiff or lovely sailboat thrill us? These things are not quantifiable, but we have all felt them.
    And it is our human hands I think most of, being trained as a boatbuilder and finding my expression in using my tools to shape wood. It reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Ursula LeGuin, who was well known for her Science Fiction and Fantasy works, she had an amazing ability with words to evoke strong, deep feelings.
    Her short story, "Gwilan's Harp", which I read about 45 years ago, tells the story of a gifted and famous harpist, from a long line of harpers, who met with an accident destroying her harp and shattering her arm, after many years she started playing again, and while everyone could tell her technique was no longer what is was, it still stirred folk. And then LeGuin writes this:

    "Her wrist that had been broken grew a little stiff as the years went on; then the arthritis came into her hands. The work she did in house and farm was not easy work. But then who, looking at a hand, would say it was made to do easy work? You can see from the look of it that is was meant to do difficult things, that it is the noble, willing servant of the heart and mind."

    I rather like that.

    So my belief is that many of the things we make are imbued with some measure of the spirit we each have, and that when someone else touches them, hears them, reads them, ventures out on the waters in them...they become moved...because their spirit within them recognizes the handiwork that was imparted by their creators.

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